We welcome your cheerful gifts for the following CURRENT projects

Friday, July 21, 2017

Project expansion women's home, Belarus (3)

My name is Sergey. I’m 39 years old and I was born in Belarus (one of the countries of the former USSR) in an orthodox family where I actually never heard about God. When freedom came to our country Christian booklets sometimes got to my hands. It was interesting to me to read about God.

One day I watched a feature film on TV and one of the heroes in that movie read a passage from the Bible – from the Sermon on the Mount. When I heard the words “but I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” tears appeared in my eyes – I could not see such love in this world!

I understood that those were the words from the Bible. And I decided to find a copy and to read in it (I did not even have a small part of the Bible yet). I found and bought the Gospel of John and the Revelation of John and started to read. I repented before the Lord at home and started to pray regularly and considered myself a Christian. But I was alone and did not tell anyone about my faith. Sometimes I would read the words 'brothers and sisters' in the booklets and I also prayed the Lord’s prayer “our Father in heaven…' and I noticed that it was written 'our Father…', not 'my Father…' and I understood there should be other Christians with whom I should pray.

Women's crisis center
I wanted to find an orthodox priest to talk about this but then I decided that it was better to pray and ask 'Lord, where are my brothers and sisters?' Several days after that I was passing a small Christian library in the center of our city and at that time a man from this library talked to me and offered me a booklet. I said that I had it. He offered me another one and I answered that I had it as well. Then he said “look, you will not be saved by books”. I went home and a thought came to me: 'this man offered Christian literature, maybe he is the brother that I’m looking for?' I went back to him the next day to talk and he invited me to a church service.

Renovation 2nd floor is necessary
I visited the church and at the end of service I gave my life to Jesus. When I came out of the church I knew I had found what I was looking for. At that time I was almost 16 years old at and very happy to be in God’s family. Through all these years I have never regretted giving my life to Jesus. After some time, when I already served in a rehabilitation center, the Lord told me that He would send me to the people whom the world does not bless but curse. Several years later I was sent to serve with homeless people.

The Lord blessed me with a sweet wife and 4 children. I praise Him for everything He has done in my life and for everything He will do in the future. Glory be to Him!    

Sergey is coordinator in the Baranovichi center and he is also our interpreter and guide. Because of him we can stay in good contact with our friends in Belarus. The donation thermometer for project expansion women's home has risen to 4,000 euro. yeah!

Gifts are still welcome at St. Traveling Light, Papendrecht IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U. Make sure to mention: BELARUS.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Activities and project news

Photo: Oles Sh
We have just returned from Ukraine after a very special week. About 250 men and women from various rehabilitation centers were present at the annual summer camp organized by Teen Challenge and the Jewish Messianic Congregation in Berdychiv.

Traveling Light has been able to sponsor the whole event with a wonderful donation of 3,000 euro. We will write a bit more about our experiences in the next blog post. We had the opportunity to teach on a few topics. In addition, we prayed with many, many people and shared words of knowledge, wisdom and prophecy. It was amazing! Thank you for your prayers and donations.

Hard working volunteers
The month of June was pretty quiet in our second hand shop Twinkeltje but very valuable because of all the meaningful conversations we had. On the last day of the month some of our faithful volunteers catered at an anniversary party and we received a generous donation for their work.

So, we were able to donate 1,000 euro for the work of Radko & Nevin Kratsov among the Roma in Bulgaria. The shop is closed for the month of July due to vacations.

Bible study during work week
From August 28 to September 4 we will again organize a work week in Tuscany. There is still room for up to 2 people maximum. Please contact us if you want to join.

You can view our agenda for the 2nd half of 2017 HERE and if you have some time on your hands, please take a look at our renewed website and share all that positive news with someone else. The support of all these practical, small scale projects is only possible because of you.

HAPPY SUMMER!

PS: Gifts are always welcome. You can send your gift to St. Traveling Light, Papendrecht IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Project expansion women's home, Belarus (2)

Meeting up with Sergey and Joseph
In the previous blog post, we shared the story of Svetlana. She serves in the women's house in Baranovichi. In September 2015 we visited the building (formerly a school) and at that time the renovation of the ground floor was still in full swing.

During the Europe Teen Challenge conference in Italy last May, we sat down with our friends from Mission Return in Belarus, Sergey and Joseph.

They told us about the daily happenings in the center, which has been divided into a homeless shelter, a drugs and alcohol rehabilitation program for men and for women and a women's crisis center (an overnight home).

Ingang vrouwenhuis
There is an urgent need for the expansion of the crisis center for women. The plan is to completely renovate the 2nd floor, quite a job. Whether we want to help with fundraising...

Well, you probably already know the answer, of course we want that! They are doing such a great work there: providing a safe and warm place for women who have been abused and/or have no place to go and to share the love of Jesus with them.

Stairs to 2nd floor
We received a list of materials needed for the renovation, from cement and tiles to wash basins and electricity. The calculation is that they will need about 8,000 euro for the entire renovation. Well, we'll see how far we will come.

If you have a heart for the work among women in crisis situations, you can send your gift to St. Traveling Light, Papendrecht IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U. Make sure to mention: BELARUS.

We have seen with our own eyes how Mission Return works and how well they have spent the previous gift (for the kitchen). We have full confidence in the social and spiritual work they are doing there.

We trust we can make them happy with a generous gift!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Project expansion women's home, Belarus (1)

My name is Svetlana. I am 42 years old and I was born in Belarus in a family of common people. My father was a hard-working man, he repaired houses and furnaces and after work he brought alcohol to our home. My mother worked as a weaver and in her free time she sang in a local restaurant.

In the evenings my parents drank alcohol and usually they started to argue about «who took the money». They screamed, cursed and beat each other. Several times my mother beat my father with the knife. My mother was an aggressive woman, she beat us so we afraid of her. Several times she tried to commit a suicide but every time she was saved. As children we were waiting until our parents went to sleep so we could do our homework for school. My brother Slava said: "when I will grow up, I will destroy all shops with alcohol”. Now I understand that these words were said because of despair.

When everything became quiet I looked through the window up to heaven and asked: “God, if you are somewhere – do something”. Teachers from school sometimes visited us but we never told them what was going on at home – we were afraid to be sent to an orphanage. When I completed the basic school I entered the music school (to learn to play accordion). My parents were not interested in my education and I was not a good student at all: often I missed the lessons and I started to visit discotheques, drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes. At the age of 17 I became pregnant and people advised me to do an abortion. Often I wept in the nights. I couldn’t see my future. 

Svetlana and her family
But one day Valentin (the father of my child) and his mother came and took me to their village. I had turned 18 and we got married. Our healthy and beautiful daughter Viktoria was born. When Victoria was 3 years old I entered the Specialized School of Culture in a big city in our country. I brought alcohol and cigarettes and offered it to my friends to celebrate my birthday. One girl, Elena, said that she did not drink alcohol or smoked cigarettes but that she believed in God. Elena invited me to the service in an evangelical church. People were greeting each other and smiling. I had never seen such sincere, kind and loving relationships between so many people. For me it was amazing. It was interesting for me to observe the faces of people there. I could see the sense of hope and future in their eyes. I heard songs about God and tears appeared in my eyes. I understood that God Himself was in that place and that He touched me.

Women's home in Baranovichi
The thought came to me: He is the One I need! There was a call for those who wanted to accept Jesus in their hearts. I went forward and was prayed for. I began to visit a small group of believers and on Sundays I visited a church in a neighboring village. After three months I was baptized in a local river. My relationship with Valentin and his parents was not good, but when I believed in Jesus it became even worse. After 6 years of marriage he divorced me. I did not wanted to go back to my parents so I moved to another city and started to work there as a teacher in an art school. I visited church and gained many new friends, who supported me in a difficult times. I continued to communicate with my parents, brother and sister. I told them about the love of God for mankind, about the sacrifice of Jesus. From time to time I visited my parents.

Every time I visited them I remembered the scenes from my childhood and I felt again like a defenseless, helpless child. God touched my brother Slava and he opened his heart for Jesus, but living with my parents he also drank a lot of alcohol. Looking at him I remembered how he told me in his childhood that he would destroy all alcohol shops when he had grown up. But he also became an alcoholic. My mother kicked me out from her home and cursed me. My father and mother died in one day because of alcohol. Later Valentin and his parents also died from alcohol.

Group studies at the women's overnight home
I moved into the flat of my parents and started to work as a music teacher in a school in Baranovichi. Nothing was functioning in the flat, no gas, electricity, water or plumbing. Brothers from the church came to help me with this and so I met Evgeniy who had been in a rehabilitation center where the Lord had set him free from addiction. We got married and the Lord gave us three children: sons Michael and Ilya and a daughter Vasilisa. My oldest daughter Viktoria helped me in everything.

During this time my brother wanted to become free from alcohol and nicotine. He went to a Christian rehabilitation center. Although he had been an alcoholic for many, many years, the Lord set him totally free. He married Lidia and today Christians come to their flat, they praise the Lord together, sing songs and testify about what God has done in their life. The neighbors see this and are astonished how much Slava has changed. Now Slava serves in the rehabilitation center and helps addicted people to find freedom.

My husband Evgeniy and I serve also in a rehabilitation center: the women's home. We have women who do not have a place to live, who came out of prison and who were refused by their relatives. When I talk with these women I learn that almost all of them come from a family of alcoholics and in their childhood they had the same experience as I had. I understand their inner feelings. I know that only Jesus can heal these wounds and I point them to Christ. I thank God for His love.

Gifts for the much needed expansion of the women's home are very welcome! St. Traveling Light, Papendrecht IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U. Do not forget to mention: BELARUS.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Project relocation coffee house The Bridge, Tetovo

The Stoilovi family
Do you remember Jordan & Vesna Stoilovi from Macedonia? We helped them in the past with funding for a children's playground and their coffee house The Bridge.

We regularly receive their newsletters and so stay up to date with the developments in Tetovo, a city in the north western corner of the country, mainly inhabited by people of Albanian descend.

Jordan has a desire to reach people in his city who do not know the love of God. He is in coffee house The Bridge every day, to talk with visitors.

New location of The Bridge
In recent years, he has been able to build good relationships with various guests and some of them have now become believers and were baptized. They regularly meet in The Bridge for Bible Studies.

The Bridge will be moving to a larger building in a new location. That is of course great news. The new property used to be a (post) office until recently, but soon it will be the new accommodation for Jordan and his team.

Jacek & Magdalena
Yes, we are writing 'team' because after years of praying and waiting Jordan and Vesna are finally getting help from a missionary family from Poland! During the last few years Jacek and Magdalena have worked for OM among the refugees in southern Macedonia. They have now found living space in Tetovo and will help to reach more people with the good news about Jesus Christ.
Soon this will be The Bridge coffee house

Well, a new location for The Bridge it will be. Jordan has asked if Traveling Light wants to assist in fundraising for the kitchen and the purchase of tables, chairs and benches among other things.

Of course we want to help and we hope that you will come along as well. Together we can give them a nice donation so they can open the new Bridge soon. We hope to visit them again later this year.

Gifts (large and small) are very welcome! St. Traveling Light, Papendrecht IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U. Do not forget to mention: BRIDGE.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

European spring tour 2017 (4)

Lunch time in the rehab center
From Sered, Slovakia it is about a 7 hours drive to the Teen Challenge men's rehab center in Nova Vas, Slovenia. The time we are spending in the car strengthens us spiritually for all visits. We pray and sing together, listen to preaching (yeah!) and discuss principles from the Bible. And then, time flies :)

We were welcomed warmly in the men's center by both workers, volunteers and the men in the program. There are currently more than 20 men in the house. They are eating in two groups now, because the kitchen is too small.

Andreas is now in the re-entry home and runs the tool shop
The men usually stay for a year or more and then they can move to the new re-entry home. They live there independently while trying to find work, but still quite near the safety of the Teen Challenge center. Slowly but surely they are preparing for reintegration into society.

Andreas is such a man who lives in re-entry. He takes care of the tools and machines. Do you remember how it started with 1 chain saw? Now they have six! We also went to take a look at a large piece of land where the men are keeping goats and pigs for the program.


In front of the new church
After that we visited the new church that was planted by Matjaz & Magdalena Horjak in the nearby city of Koper. It is great to see how the work among addicts and homeless bears fruit. There is no better investment than investing in human lives.

We were treated to a good night's sleep sleep in a bed-n-breakfast with beautiful views of the mountains and the sea. The next day we continued to Rimini, Italy where we participated in the annual Europe Teen Challenge conference.

Every year this is a great opportunity for us to speak to staff and students of the European centers. This way we keep up to date with developments and of course we receive many new applications for project support.

Russian edition for Ukraine
We also had the opportunity to present the Russian edition of Marja's book 'Grace of Giving' to many Russian speaking country representatives.

After returning home, we were able to

'Body guards' at our book table :)
Thank you very much for your generosity.

PS: Upcoming projects include relocation of The Brigde in Tetovo, Macedonia, the expansion of the women's house in Baranovichi, Belarus and the work among Roma Christians in Bulgaria. Keep reading this blog!

Gifts (large and small) for the various projects are always welcome! St. Traveling Light, Papendrecht IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U.

Monday, May 29, 2017

European spring tour 2017 (3)

'Once I was blind, now I see...'
From Winiarczykowka in Poland to the Teen Challenge center in Sered, Slovakia is a beautiful drive through mountain scenery. We really enjoyed it.

The men's rehab center in Sered accommodates around 15-20 men who suffered from addiction or other life-threatening problems. We were a bit late for lunch, but they still offered us a large bowl of soup and homemade apple strudel .... how delicious!

Library in the chapel
The men in the program take care of the cooking, the garden, the cleaning, the animals and all other daily activities. And so they learn to use their talents in a good way.

Jan gave an encouraging message in the afternoon at the David Wilkerson Memorial Chapel (Traveling Light is one of the sponsors of this beautiful building). The worship was lead by two men from the program, it sounded heavenly. Those guys can really sing! After the service, we climbed the tower to check out the library.

Director Stanislav Kunak handed us the Slovak edition of the book 'The Cross and the Switchblade'. We felt so honored to see the name of Traveling Light in the back of book among the sponsors who helped to publish this book.

The proceeds of our second-hand shop over the month of January went towards this project. The story in this book has touched and changed thousands of lives and is still doing so, worldwide!

Bringing comfort and hope
We had the opportunity to pray with the mother of Milan, who worked faithfully at Teen Challenge for years and died suddenly last year. She misses her son enormously and feels sad quite often. She had a picture of Milan and us in her purse which was taken during one of our previous visits.

During dinner at an excellent local restaurant we became acquainted with Zuzana, who will translate my book Grace of Giving into the Slovak language (!). We also had a great and inspirational conversation with a local businessman who has been called to publish evangelical books in the Slovak language and will pick up this project. Yes, networking is something we love to do as well :)

Early birds
We slept in the house of Milan's sister and we had the opportunity to minister in prayer to the girls living there. The next morning we had a full house at breakfast as pastor Lubor & Danielle of the evangelical church in Galanta came along and we encouraged them in personal prayer... resulting in these smiling faces.

On to Slovenia!

PS: Click on the pictures for an enlargement

Gifts (large and small) for the various projects are always welcome! St. Traveling Light, Papendrecht IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

European spring tour 2017 (2)

Winiarczykowka house
On to Poland we went! This part of the trip was a 700 km drive from Potsdam to southern Poland. We had promised to visit Teen Challenge Winiarczykowka.

We have mentioned this special home quite often on this blog. It is a former border post where now homeless elderly people are offered a safe and warm place. Currently, more than 20 men are living there.

Catching up and praying
We received a very warm welcome. Four men had even given up their own beds for the night, so we could sleep! Janusz and Bogusia Gornicki cooked a delicious meal for us and with Kaja's help (our interpreter) we were able to listen to their wishes, dreams and ideas, talk about daily needs and happenings and, of course, pray very personally for them.

Wow, their gratitude towards Traveling Light for all the times we were able to help with a gift is huge, almost embarrassing really. We could make them happy again with the news that the month of April in our second hand shop Twinkelje has brought in almost 1,300 euro, an amount that goes entirely to their work in Winiarczykowka.

Praying together is powerful
They immediately came up with list of things they wanted to use that money for, including buying a few new couches for the chapel and setting up a mud room for all work wear and shoes.

The next day, Jan spoke during the morning chapel time and we had the opportunity to pray with almost everyone, often for the recovery of physical conditions. In the picture you will see Jim & Lynda in action.

Through people from the Hoeksteen church in Etten-Leur we received reading glasses to give away and boxes of vegetable seeds. They were very happy with these gifts! Thank you very much for that.

Super nice storage room
We were furthermore given a tour of the house, the vegetable garden, the new greenhouse and the place where the new purification plant was placed. We also saw the new storage room, they were able to purchase the professional storage racks thanks to a gift from Traveling Light.

Chapel time
Such a visit (although short) is an encouragement for the workers, the volunteers (trainee and interpreter) and the men who live there since they rarely receive international visitors. It is certainly an encouragement for us as well.

How wonderful to see that all gifts are spent so well. We just love to share that with you all.

Well, on to Slovakia!

PS: Click on the pictures for an enlargement

Gifts (large and small) for the various projects are always welcome! St. Traveling Light, Papendrecht IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U.

Friday, May 12, 2017

European spring tour 2017 (1)

German, English and Dutch prayer partners
Traveling Light offers threefold support and encouragement to existing Christian organizations and communities in Europe and the Mediterranean: practical, financial and spiritual.

The fundraising is clear, you can read all about it on this blog. We give practical help for example during the work weeks we organize in Italy. But spiritual encouragement, what exactly does that mean?

To give you a little bit more insight, we will share some highlights about our recent trip throughout Europe on this blog. We visited five countries, drove 4200 km and ended at the European Teen Challenge conference in Rimini, Italy.

Prayer for the Franceschin family
Together with our friends Jim and Lynda Hayes we first drove to Potsdam, Germany. We have good contacts with the Nehemiah Gemeinde there. We participated in a 24-hour prayer event during which we prayed with believers from various churches. We received clear words (of knowledge, wisdom and prophecy) from the Holy Spirit while praying/singing. Words that were a huge encouragement to the local church. On Sunday Marja preached an inspiring message during the morning service.

El Rastro, a very hip and happening shop
We also visited Casa Bet-El, a drugs- and alcohol rehabilitation center for men on the outskirts of Berlin. Vito and Anna Katrin Franceschin are the leaders there and last year they invited us to come and visit. What a wonderful work these lovely people do! We felt privileged to pray for them personally and prophetically.

Christian, Jan and Anna Katrin
Part of the cost of running the rehabilitation center is paid through the profits from their second hand store El Rastro... which we visited as well. The men in the program pimp old furniture which they sell in the store, such a great job!

All visits, speaking engagements, meals and overnight stays in Germany are arranged by our friend Christian Zedler, whom we affectionately call 'our manager' :) The hospitality and enthusiasm with which we are being received over and over again is absolutely wonderful. It greatly encourages us.

On to Poland!

PS: We travel on our own expenses. All donations for Traveling Light go towards the projects, not to us.

Gifts (large and small) for the various projects are always welcome! St. Traveling Light, Papendrecht IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Sponsoring summer camp Teen Challenge, Ukraine

As we announced earlier, the next project we want to ask your attention for is the sponsoring of the summer camp in Ukraine which is being organized each year by Teen Challenge Ukraine and the Jewish Messianic congregation of Pastor Sergey Romanenko. They are expecting more than two hundred participants in Berdychiv this year.

And hooray, this year we (Jan and Marja) will go to the Ukraine and participate in the summer camp.

The camp will be organized for men and women who are (or have been) in drugs- and alcohol rehabilitation centers all over Ukraine. But also volunteers, workers, leaders, pastors, church members, children and family members are welcome. A mid week camping out, playing games, laughing, Bible study, music, food and friendship.

The camp will be held from July 3-7, 2017 and it costs about 25 euro per person to participate. Many people do not have the financial means to pay for this camp. Due to the war and financial crisis monthly income has dropped below 200 euro. Go figure...

If we want to help again? Yes! Of course we will help. Making people happy by enabling them to go to the camp is something we love to do. We trust you will come alongside and sponsor a brother or sister in Ukraine.

If you have it on your heart to help, please send 25 euro (or a multiplication thereof) to St. Traveling Light, Papendrecht IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U and make sure to mention: SUMMER CAMP UKRAINE.

Sponsoring the summer camp is a very direct and practical way to support believers in Ukraine from where you are!

Photo's: Victoria Moore

Other current projects: