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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Visit to Slovakia

Sunday service at Faith Baptist Church Bratislava
A few weeks ago we promised to write a short report on this blog about our visit to Slovakia, back in April.

Marja's book "Spirit of Truth" has been published in Slovak language and we were invited to the presentation. It was a very exciting and hopeful weekend.

We spoke about the theme 'truth' during a youth evening in the Faith Baptist Church in Bratislava. Around forty (!) young people were present and we discussed common lies and Biblical truth.

Later that weekend Marja spoke in the same church during the Sunday morning service about the attack on truth, just like in the time of Jesus.

Of course we visited the Teen Challenge drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in Sered and we spoke in the David Wilkerson Chapel about the importance of knowing the truth and about the lies that often keep people imprisoned for years.

Teen Challenge chapel Sered
"You always remain a user," "you need drugs or alcohol," "you will never be anything." Lies the enemy whispers. We prayed very personally with the men in the program and then used a meal together.

Radio Pokoj was present throughout the weekend to make recordings of our speeches and also to conduct a number of interviews. We supported Radio Pokoj last year with a gift, so it was really nice to work together again.

Lutheran church in Vrbovce
We also had coffee with Pastor Miroslav Hvozdara of the Lutheran church in Vrbovce, a small town on the border with the Czech Republic, about 100 km north of Bratislava. He works among homeless people and addicts, fantastic what this man is doing. We encouraged him and prayed together.

Not so far from there we went to look at a beautiful property that could perhaps become a second Teen Challenge location. We ended up praying together on the floor, asking for wisdom, insight and provision.

Prayer time
Well, sometimes people ask us what we do when we are traveling ๐Ÿ˜€ We never know  beforehand, but it is always exciting! The focus is always on prayer and encouragement for people working in the Kingdom of God, throughout Europe. (We travel on our own expenses, your donations will always go towards the projects.)

  • Wednesday, June 5th we will host another MISSION NIGHT in Twinkeltje. We have Teen Challenge Sweden visiting us . They will share about the coffee house/secondhand shop that they have recently opened there! Evening starts at half past seven with coffee and tea.
  • Financial donations for all our awesome projects are always welcome at IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U St. Traveling Light in Papendrecht.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Changed lives in Belarus

In April we visited the Europe Teen Challenge conference in Zeewolde (Netherlands) where about 450 people from more than 40 countries were present. For us such conferences are always a wonderful opportunity to catch up with the people behind the projects we support.

For example, we sat around the table with the staff of Mission Return from Belarus. We have helped them several times with finances for the expansion and renovation of an old school building in Baranovichi in which a shelter for homeless people, classrooms for people in rehabilitation and a crisis shelter for women are located.

Renovation and building work is still going on at the 2nd floor in the left wing. The women's shelter, also known as the 'Overnight Home' is on the first floor.

Since the opening (2016) 16 women and 18 children have found safety and a new start through the shelter.

One of these women is Anna (29). She was addicted to alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes and had sexual disorders in her life. Anna has 4 children from her first two marriages and is now married for the third time. Her ex husbands took her children away from her through the court. They mocked her when she was drunk and put it on the internet.

Anna was very depressed and started looking for a way out. She understood that she would soon lose her children and asked around for help. She was advised to seek help from Christians. Deep in her depression Anna came to the crisis relief center early this year and immediately agreed to go to the rehabilitation program in Kukovo.

There, Anna received prayer, she repented and received freedom from her addictions. She is now visiting a church and has found work. Thanks to the prayers, she has also been reunited with 3 of her children.

Anna's story is one of the many stories we heard. How wonderful that there is a place for first contacts, a place that helps women to move on to one of the Christian rehabilitation centers elsewhere in the country and get free! Those first encounters and conversations, that first sign of hope ... it is often the beginning of change.

The proceeds from our secondhand store / coffeehouse Twinkeltje over March went towards the work of Mission return in Belarus.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Your cheerful donations for all our awesome projects are always welcome at IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U St. Traveling Light in Papendrecht.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Project Stolpersteine Dordrecht

Entrance Auschwitz
On May 2 it was Yom Hasjoa (Holocaust Memorial Day). An international day on which the destruction of six million European Jews during the Second World War is being remembered.

May 4th is national remembrance day in The Netherlands. The message is the same all over the world: never again!

It has been four years since we wrote a message about the Stolpersteine ​​in Berlin, the bronze plates / stumbling blocks in the sidewalk bearing the names of Jewish people who lived there and died in concentration camps.

A Stolperstein
More than 70,000 stones have now been placed throughout Europe. In the Netherlands, the first 'stumbling block' was installed on November 29, 2007 in Borne.

Traveling Light wanted to sponsor 7 Stolpersteine ​​and in doing so commemorate the Holocaust victims. Due to changes in the organization, our order was delayed again and again.

We recently came into contact with the Stolpersteine ​​Dordrecht foundation and we have agreed to sponsor 7 Stolpersteine ​​in the city of Dordrecht (Marja's city of birth).

So, closer to home. The organization in Berlin also figured it was more logical to sponsor stolpersteine in our own country. Later this summer the stones will be installed in the streets of Dordrecht in memory of families who were taken and died during the Holocaust.

Names of Dutch Jewish people murdered in Auschwitz
We were in Auschwitz last year, which made a very deep impression.

Individually and as a non profit foundation, we have a ๐Ÿ’—for peoples and nations and wherever we go we bring a message of peace and reconciliation made possible by our Jewish Lord Jesus Christ!

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Events and meetings

Enthusiastic team
We have had a number of special events and meetings in recent weeks which we would like to share with you.

On Wednesday, April 17, we participated in a local event, raising funds for non profits such as sport clubs and ngo's. For every 2,5 km you run or walk, a local business pays your organisation 1,50 euro. A great way to team up and bring in funds for our projects!

We ran no less than 62 rounds together and raised 93 euro. It was a great evening, very nice to be on the move together. Thanks everyone!

Thursday evening, April 18, we watched The Passion with a number of people in Twinkeltje, on a big screen. We all loved it! There was someone from the neighborhood who did not know the Easter story yet and was very touched ...

Seder meal in our secondhand shop / coffee house
On Friday, April 19, we celebrated the Jewish Seder meal with a group of  Traveling Light friends and volunteers.

We took turns reading the Haggadah and saying the prayers. Just like last year, Good Friday coincided with the start of Pesach and that made the evening very special.

Communion meal with our volunteers
Friday evening, April 26, we held our annual inspiration evening for our volunteers. We came together for a good meal, to catch up and encourage each other with stories and testimonies.

Doing life together, meeting as often as we can and inspiring each other ... we just love that kind of fellowship!

And yes, then came Saturday April 27 of course, the free market during King's Day. It was an happening as usual and we sold lots of secondhand stuff: 330 euro.

That amount brought the proceeds for the month of April in Twinkeltje to more than 1,100 euro! An amount that will fully benefit the work of Teen Challenge in Slovakia... we  were there in April as well, but more about that in another blog post ๐Ÿ˜

In the meantime, gifts are pouring in for the kitchen in Berdychiv. Very nice!

๐Ÿ‘‰ Your happy donations are always welcome to IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U St. Traveling Light in Papendrecht.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Project kitchen Teen Challenge Berdychiv, Ukraine

New addition TC men's home
We regularly write about the fantastic work of Teen Challenge among the homeless and addicted in Berdychiv, Ukraine. As a matter of fact, we always write about Berdychiv (a city about 200 km west of Kiev), but actually the men's and women's homes are in the town of Raygorodok.

Last year we visited (read here) and we could see with our own eyes how beautiful the expansion of the men's home has become, a project that Traveling Light has sponsored.

Front TC men's home
The home offers a safe place for men with addiction and other life-threatening problems. They live and work there for about a year before returning to society. The rehabilitation homes are connected to the Jewish Messianic congregation in Berdychiv.

The first photo shows the new addition that was built next to the dormitory and which is being used as a classroom, chapel and meeting room. In the overview photo of the men's house that new space is located on the right. On the left you see a small white walled extension, that is the kitchen and the old bathroom.

Current kitchen
Director Sergey Romanenko told us last year of the plans to thoroughly renovate that kitchen space. The shower room is now in the new part, so there is room to expand the kitchen. A project much needed when you consider that there are around 10 to 12 men living in the center.

He recently emailed us asking if we want to help with an initial amount so that they can purchase building materials. Winter is over and the men are eager to start a new building project and to roll up their sleeves ๐Ÿ˜€

Sergey & Irina Romanenko
Many of them have a background and skills in construction work. A building project on site is a great part of the practical program and a healthy addition to the Bible studies and group lessons they follow.

Do you want to help them with a gift for the renovation of the kitchen?

If so, then please send your gift to IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U St. Traveling Light in Papendrecht and make sure to mention BERDYCHIV.

๐Ÿ‘‰When in the USA you can make your tax-deductible gift payable to EEO Inc. Make sure to mention: TC Ukraine, Berdychiv.

PS: In July we (Jan and Marja) we will visit them again!

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

News and photo's

ETC conference 2019
Last week we were present at the annual Europe Teen Challenge conference (this time in The Netherlands) with a book and information stand. Staff, students from the rehab programs and volunteers from Teen Challenge from 43 countries were present (around 450 participants).

Always a wonderful opportunity for us to catch up with everyone, meet new friends and encourage people! We have received several invitations to visit TC programs all over Europe. Keep an eye on our calendar.

Opening TC coffee house Croatia
Among others, we spoke with Ico Matuliฤ‡ from the Teen Challenge Croatia team. They recently opened their coffee house in Split. We helped them in 2017 and 2018 with a gift for street work and the translation of Living Free study material. They now officially have a coffee house location where conversations and Bible studies can take place. On behalf of them, thank you very much everyone.

Ready to travel
We also spoke with Igor Budanov from Church Novi Sad. At the end of last year we wrote about the new church community that a group of believers (TC graduates) started in Serbia.

We were able to help them with a donation for the purchase of a passenger van. Recently they were able to purchase a nice second-hand Nissan van. Thank you everyone for the help.

Twinkeltje welcomes our guests
Kuanysh & Madina Akkuzova from Teen Challenge Georgia visited our secondhand shop / coffee house Twinkeltje before and after the conference. We had a very inspiring and above all encouraging mission night together. They shared their personal testimonies. Both were born in Muslim families in Kazakhstan. It is wonderful to hear how God has changed their lives (as well as the lives of family members). We prayed with them and everyone gave words of encouragement. It was awesome.

We took up an offering for the work of Teen Challenge, which came to 1,500 euro! Wow, thank you all very much.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Donations are always welcome at St. Traveling Light, Papendrecht IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Passenger van for Teen Challenge Berdychiv, Ukraine

Last November, we wrote a blog post about the old Mitsubishi van of Teen Challenge Berdychiv, Ukraine being on its last legs.

The van is used to transport men, women and children from the rehabs, to the city, to the church, to the coffee house or to the doctor when necessary.

They needed at least 3,500 euro in order to purchase a good secondhand passenger van.

We send out their request for help through our blog and in December we were able to transfer 3,000 euro and another 600 dollars came through our friends from the USA. And so they could purchase a nice Volkswagen passenger van.

We received these photos last month, everyone is super happy with the van! Think about it, you all made it possible. On behalf of the men, women and children from the rehab homes: THANK YOU.

We love it when it works like this. Present a project, raise funds, donate the full amount and then receive feedback. Direct help, personal relationships (we hope to go to Berdichev again in July), no money wasted and happy faces. Knowing that your donations are being used properly is awesome, isn't it?

๐Ÿ‘‰Mark your calendars:
Saturday April 6th we are organizing another MISSION NIGHT in our shop Twinkeltje, this time with guests from Georgia. Kuanysh & Madina are originally from Kazakhstan. Kuanysh came to Teen Challenge as an addict. He is now director of Teen Challenge Georgia. A great testimony.

Gifts for all those special projects are always welcome, you can send a donation to IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275. BIC: RABONL2U St. Traveling Light in Papendrecht.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Project Teen Challenge coffee house Sweden

A sneak peek in the new shop in Sweden
As you may have noticed we are really excited about the concept of Twinkeltje ... a combination of a hip second-hand shop and a coffee house for the neighborhood.

Wherever we go, we tell about Twinkeltje and so a similar initiative got started last year in Moldova and since last week also in ร–rebro, Sweden.

Last November we spoke with Christian Alderblad of Teen Challenge Sweden. He shared his desire to open a coffee house. With his team of volunteers he does street outreach among the homeless and addicts. The need for a simple meeting place for further conversations was there, but how to fund such a thing? We shared the concept of Twinkeltje with him: do not think money, think people ๐Ÿ˜

Team TC Sweden
And so they prayed and looked out for a suitable location... and as of this year Teen Challenge is renting a store in the city. The team of volunteers worked hard to get everything up and running. Calls were made for people to help with items and materials.

Last week the "englahaket" was officially opened. It all looks very colorful and the shop has received its first visitors. Exciting of course. Click HERE for a short video.

The team now focuses on inviting people on the street for a walk-in evening or - afternoon while the shop will also be open for sales at other times. After all, rent has to be paid, and the rates are quite high in the city.

Setting up shop
We promised to help them with the start-up. Maybe you wonder why? Surely Sweden is not a poor country? Of course it is possible to find support in Sweden. But as Traveling Light we want to encourage (creative) initiatives to reach people with the gospel, whether that is in Holland or Hungary, Germany or Georgia.

We have visited Christian and his team in Sweden and we think it is great what they are doing to change their city!

We have a ๐Ÿ’— for nations and people and we want to bless Sweden. And think about this... if you do not sow seed in a country, you cannot harvest either! We pray and expect the spiritual climate in Sweden to change through these young people!

If you have a heart to help homeless people, addicts and displaced persons (the municipality of ร–rebro has quite a few refugees and labor immigrants who often wander in the streets) then send your gift to IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275. BIC: RABONL2U St. Traveling Light in Papendrecht. make sure to mention: SWEDEN.


Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Project updates & agenda

Construction of the NFD rehab center in Lebanon
It is about time we post some updates about several projects we have supported. We regularly receive quite a few messages and photo's that we would like to share with you all.

Back in August 2018 we introduced Garo & Gabriela Margossian from Lebanon to you. Garo is the founder of NFD foundation, an organization dedicated to drug prevention and helping addicts to overcome their addictions. Read our full article about Garo's project here.

The Margossian family
The construction of the rehabilitation center is progressing steadily. Garo explained that they are working in stages ... every time funds comes in, they can continue to build ๐Ÿ‘ Much is still needed to finish this project.

By the way: in September Garo and Gabriela became the proud parents of Adelina Grace. She is a true answer to prayer.

In April of 2018 we presented project church kitchen in Navazi, Georgia. It took some time before the money arrived at the right place, but at the end of the summer pastor Temuri Muzashvili was able to start the construction. The communal kitchen will be added to the church.

Construction of church kitchen in Georgia
Construction is progressing steadily. During the winter months most of the work is at a standstill. However, we regularly receive photos and messages from Temuri. Always nice to see how the building is being constructed. In the photo, the dark red roof is the new extension.

Last year January we also donated the proceeds of our secondhand store to the work of Teen Challenge in Kazakhstan.

For some years they had a desire to convert an existing barn at the men's rehab center into a automotive paint booth for spraying cars and car parts. Well, the booth is in full use!

Paint booth at TC center Kazakhstan
They purchased the materials, sheathed and insulated the walls and ceiling, conducted the light, filled the floor with a special solution and installed heating. The room was remodeled and today it is working successfully. Men who have completed the program can find a job here. Fantastic!

Saturday, April 6: Mission evening Georgia with guests Kuanysh & Madina Akkuzov
Wednesday, April 17: Sponsor walk for Traveling Light
Saturday, April 27: King's day free market

Donations are always welcome. You can send your gift to IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275. BIC: RABONL2U St. Traveling Light in Papendrecht.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Project port evangelism

Alexander & Tonja Eberson
At the beginning of this year we received an e-mail from seafarers' pastor and evangelist Alexander Eberson. In search of encouragement and support, he ended up on our blog. Always nice ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

And so we (Jan and Marja) drove down to Terneuzen (bordering Belgium) for coffee with Alexander & Tonja to get further acquainted. There was an immediate click and their little daughter Hannah thought it was great that we came to visit.

Personal contacts are the foundation for everything we do at Traveling Light.

Alexander has been active for many years as a seafarers' pastor/evangelist in the seaport of Zeebrugge, but as of January he is also doing this work in the ports of Terneuzen (Sluiskil etc.) and Ghent.

Alexander with several sailors
Alexander is affiliated with the Sailors' Society, an English organization. This means that he receives a small allowance from them, but furthermore every evangelist must build his / her own network and support.

The work as port pastor / evangelist is twofold. First, there is the regular contact with Christians on board the sea vessels and second, there are the conversations with sailors who do not yet know Jesus. Alexander enjoys both aspects and to him every meeting and conversation is meaningful.

Various materials and gifts
His question to Traveling Light was whether we can help with finances for the purchase of materials such as Bibles, books and DVDs, but also calling cards so that the sailors can call home.

Of course we want to help. As most of you know, we have supported seafarers' evangelist Guus Peters for years. After he passed away at the beginning of last year, we no longer had contact with anyone who worked in the ports of Ghent and Terneuzen.

We are therefore happy with the contact we now have with the Eberson family. Alexander also knew Guus personally.

If you have a heart for sailors and want to help Alexander to reach them, make your gift payable to: St. Traveling Light, Papendrecht, IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U. Make sure to mention SAILORS.

Thank you very much for your support!