We welcome your cheerful gifts for the following CURRENT projects

Friday, July 20, 2018

Report Teen Challenge summer camp Ukraine

Our great minisry team
Last week we (Jan and Marja) participated in the annual summer camp in Ukraine organized by Teen Challenge and the Jewish Messianic community in Berdychiv.

We had a great time with about 230 men and women from various drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers. Talking, singing, dancing, praying, exercising, eating together ... you name it.

Our heartfelt thanks goes out to our interpreters Darina, Julia, Olga, Sara, Victoria and Zhenya. We could not have done anything without them.

Jan gives a workshop
The camp was held for the 11th time this year, just outside the village of Raygorodok, about 20 minutes drive from Berdychiv. The camp is being organized for people who are currently in Christian drug and alcohol rehabs or have gone through a program or still need to go.

Traveling Light has been sponsoring the camp since 2012. This year, again, we did receive many donations from you for this purpose. Know that you have invested in human lives. THANK YOU!

Bible in hand :)
The theme for this week came from Psalm 118: 17, "I will live and not die!" A beautiful theme, especially if you've been on the verge of death, literally and/or spiritually. We taught several Bible studies based on this theme.

It is such a privilege to teach at the camp, the students are hungry and curious about God's word, they take notes, ask questions, share their stories and actively participate in all assignments!
New life!

In the afternoons and evenings everyone had the opportunity to come to us for counseling. We have had very special sessions in which many received God's love, mercy, forgiveness and healing. We are so grateful for the Holy Spirit, who is the REAL counselor.

It is also an enormous encouragement for us to see how God keeps changing people's lives! The stories are sometimes too bizarre for words. Twenty years of heavy addiction, homelessness, long prison sentences, no hope of recovery ... and then there is God 💙

Some people we remember from last year
We have celebrated throughout the week that there is NEW LIFE in Jesus Christ.

We were able to encourage and inspire so many people, it was wonderful to be given this opportunity. At the end of the week no one wanted to go home.

Oh yeah, we started every morning (before breakfast) with music and dance :) If you watch the video below, try to imagine in which situation these people were a year ago ... Many of them would no longer be alive, were it not that someone told them about Teen Challenge.

That is reason enough to continue the sponsoring of this kind of work.

Gifts are ALWAYS welcome to IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U St. Traveling Light in Papendrecht.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Work week Italy & project Casa Shalom

During last year's work week

Summer vacation is almost there. For Traveling Light it means ... preparing for the work week in Italy.

[If you want to know what a work week is like, you can read HERE about previous years.]

From Monday August 27 to Monday September 3rd, 2018 we will be in Comunita Brezzano in beautiful Tuscany.

We still have room for 1 or (max.) 2 strong men who want to join us. Please contact us if you want to come.

The theme for the coming work week is 'Hope for the future'.

Afternoon break
We also made a promise to Maria Meier, who runs Comunita Brezzano.

The bathrooms and showers in Casa Shalom (where we stay every year) have to be remodeled to bring everything up to code. They need around 1,500 euro to get this job done.

It would be nice to help her not only with wood cutting, but also with the maintenance of this beautiful Tuscan guest house.

And back to work...
Renting out Casa Shalom brings in funds to run this Christian therapeutic community, a small-scale rehab facility that is largely sponsored through donations. People with serious addiction and / or psychological problems can live and work here for an extended period of time.

They can find peace and get to know God.

Your cheerful gifts are always welcome at St. Traveling Light, Papendrecht IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U and make sure to mention: CASA SHALOM.


Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Activities + travels

Last week, Traveling Light attended the 10th Roma Leaders conference in Ohrid, Macedonia. For Marja it was the third time she could be there.

Roma leaders from various countries and churches came together for education, prayer and encouragement. It is a great opportunity for us to hear what is happening in the Roma communities in the various countries.

AND... we get to meet up with our friends Sokrat & Lena Apostolovska. This lovely couple organizes these annual conferences and for many years they have been involved in children's work among the Roma in Skopje.

The proceeds of our secondhand shop Twinkeltje over the month of June will therefore go towards their work!

This Thursday we will organize a mission evening in Twinkeltje again. This time we have guests from the USA: Jeroen and Robin Honingh. They are on their way to Israel where they will spend three months volunteering wherever they can. We met them years ago in Israel in the soup kitchen of Brian Slater in Netanya. We had a click right away.

They will share about the how and why of their annual travels to Israel and how they manage to take three months off from work to volunteer in another country. It will be an inspiring evening. Door is open from 19:30 hrs and coffee and tea are brewing. WELCOME.

This coming weekend the ZIP festival will be held on the beach at Salmsteke/Lopik. Sunday afternoon Jan will be preaching. Take a blanket or chair to sit on and some food to share. We'll stay there till sun goes down!

Jan left for Slovenia last week Monday. Together with the staff and students of Teen Challenge he drove from there to Macedonia for the My Brother's Keeper conference. He attended for the 7th time!

It turned out that the conference (where some 350 men from the Balkans are present) was held near Ohrid ... but we did not see each other 😎 This conference is also a great opportunity for us to see, hear and experience what is going on spiritually in the Balkan countries.

It helps us to pray with more passion for the nations. Please join us in praying for a safe journey home for Jan. Thank you.

Current projects:

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Sponsoring Teen Challenge summer camp, Ukraine

Morning ritual :)
As in previous years, we want to sponsor the annual summer camp in Ukraine which is being organized by Teen Challenge Ukraine and the Jewish Messianic congregation in Berdychiv.

The camp is a special time 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.

They are expecting around 200 participants this year.

A mid week camping out, playing games, laughing, Bible study, music, food, prayer and friendship is a very special time for the participants. For many it will be the first time they go on a summer trip like this, especially if they have lived in the streets or been in prison.

Jan teaches Biblestudy
Last year we (Jan and Marja) participated in the camp, from peeling potatoes to giving Bible studies to praying for and with people.

We had a fantastic time. This year we have been invited again to come and share some Bible studies. The camp will be held from July 9-13, 2018 and it costs about 25 euro per person to attend this summer camp.

Many people do not have the financial means to pay for this camp. So, we promised to help again.  We know and have seen and experienced that this week can be life changing for many people!

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.

Enthusiastic students
Sponsoring the summer camp is a very direct and practical way to give heed to the Biblical calling:

Go and make disciples of all nations...

Current projects:

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Road trip Germany and Poland (2)

The gate Wroclaw
From Berlin (see our previous post) we drove to Wroclaw in Poland. A beautiful city with a colorful historic center and lots of students: about 120,000! Last October we visited The Gate, the youth work of Teen Challenge in Wroclaw.

The Gate is run by young people from local churches and is known among students as an 'alternative club' because of the alcohol-free zone. The club offers opportunity to talk about the more serious things in life.

The Gate organizes worship evenings, mini concerts and workshops, as well as meetings on the university campuses and they are active during festivals and theme weeks.
Book signing
Every week a growing group of students comes together. For some, a visit to The Gate is the first introduction to the Christian faith.

The Tuesday night we were there, it was a full house, how wonderful! We had many interesting conversations, there was music, singing, prayer and we were invited to share bits and pieces  of our life stories. We were able to give away many copies of Łaska dawania, the Polish edition of Marja's book Grace of Giving.

ETC annual board meeting
We had the privilege of supporting The Gate earlier this year by sending a donation and it was great fun to visit them again. We would like to continue our encouragement.

The next morning we walked around the historic city center and then we left for Krakow to participate in the annual Europe Teen Challenge conference.

Every year, staff, students, volunteers and interested parties from around 30 countries come to the conference. Most are involved in Christian rehabilitation work. Traveling Light also attends the annual board meeting.

With Janusz and Bogusia
We come together for encouragement, fellowship, sharing stories, strengthening the various friendships and praying with and for each other.

For Janusz & Bogusia of Teen Challenge Winiarczykowka we collected 1,300 euro in our secondhand shop Twinkeltje in April. Well, that's a way to make people happy 😁

Gesi from TC Albania
Gesi Hysenaj, from Teen Challenge Albania, handed us a copy of 'The Cross iand the switchblade' in Albanian language. Wonderful, Traveling Light has co-sponsored the translation and publishing of this edition. It is the first time in history that this life changing book is available in Albania.

Well, we could share for hours about all the beautiful encounters and the gratitude we receive for you (the donors)! At such a conference we see and hear how all donations have been used and how the support and encouragement from the Netherlands is appreciated.


👉We are currently collecting funds for Teen Challenge's women's home in Lithuania. We have planned a short visit beginning of August. Please, send your gift to St. Traveling Light, Papendrecht IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U. Make sure to mention: LITHUANIA.

When in the USA you can donate to: Eastern Europe Outreach Inc, make sure to mention: LITHUANIA.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Road trip Germany and Poland (1)

Posing in front of the moving van of Casa Bet-El
Just like last year, we made a tour of Europe in early May with Jim & Lynda Hayes. On our way to Krakow in Poland, where the Europe Teen Challenge conference was held, we visited several people and places ... and each and every one of them was so special.

Last year we visited Casa Bet-El (nice website by the way) in Berlin, Germany for the first time. Casa Bet-El is a christian rehab for men with addiction problems.

The A-team :)
We were very impressed by the wonderful (and difficult) work that Vito and Anna Katrin Franceschin and their team are doing there. We kept in touch and were invited to spend a few days with them.

Community living means doing life together: eating and cleaning up, barbecuing and exercising. But also praying with and for each other. Of course there were some technical problems for Jan to solve. He doesn't go anywhere without his  toolbox!

During breakfast Vito shared how God saved him years ago from a life of drug use, trafficking and crime. Quite a bizarre story and at the same time the motivational factor to do this work (Vito and Anna Kathrin live from donations).

Lunch at Casa Bet-El
We furthermore had the opportunity to teach from the Bible and to have many personal conversations with the staff and men in the program. We had a powerful evening of worship in which God's Spirit was present with deliverance, healing, restoration and comfort.

Casa Bet-El has revenue from El Rastro, a second-hand store in Berlin, and from a moving business. With the truck (see the photo above) staff and residents go around town to pick up stuff, move furniture and clean out homes.

By the way, the truck needs to be replaced with a new one. If you are called to help with that, donations are always welcome. Make sure to designate your gift CASA BETEL. We will make sure your gift gets to them!

Jan shares encouraging words with the Nehemiah Gemeinde
This visit was a huge encouragement for all of us. As always, we go out to give (funds, love, time, fellowship, words of the Spirit etc.) and we end up receiving blessings in return.

On Sunday afternoon we were also guests at the Nehemiah Gemeinde in Potsdam. We have known them for years and it is always good to see old acquaintances and meet new people in this church.

Jan shared an encouraging word and we were blessed with a generous gift for one of the projects of Traveling Light.

Tuesday morning we left for Wroclaw, Poland. More about that in the next blog!

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

PS: Click on the photos for an enlargement.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Project Teen Challenge women's home, Lithuania

Teen Challenge women's home in Slievana
It is always nice to introduce a 'new' country on this blog. Well ... new, Lithuania is not new of course, but it is the first time that we will support a project there.

We have been in contact with the people of Teen Challenge in Lithuania for years, although we have not been there yet (we will definitely do so!).

Teen Challenge has been active in Lithuania since 2001. There are now three drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers; two for men and a house for women.

Rasa Pakėnienė.
The women's center is located in Slievana, near Kaunas. The house has fifteen beds and women can live and recover safely, together with their children! Rasa Pakėnienė is the director of the women's center.

A while back we received a request for financial assistance. The roof of the women's center is leaking and water is flowing through it. The current roof is too old to be repaired, so it needs to be replaced with a new one. 

Replacing also means insulating, so that it will stay warm inside in the winter and cool in summer. The roof surface is about 200 m2.

This means quite a big job that requires extra funds (estimated quote: 12,000 euro). We would like to help Teen Challenge Lithuania, so that when winter comes again, women and children will stay warm and dry.

Teen Challenge women's home, Lithuania
If we team up, it should be possible to raise at least part of the funds necessary to complete this construction job. We hope you want to help in giving the women and children in Lithuania a new roof over their head.

Please, send your gift to St. Traveling Light, Papendrecht IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U. Make sure to mention: LITHUANIA.

When in the USA you can donate to: Eastern Europe Outreach Inc, make sure to mention: LITHUANIA.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Travel and project news

Board meeting ETC, Krakow 2018
We recently made a trip to Germany and Poland, together with Jim & Lynda Hayes. We made some encouraging visits on our way to Krakow, Poland, where the Europe Teen Challenge conference took place. We will tell you more about that trip soon. Keep an eye on this blog!

"Let your light shine before men ..." [Matthew 5:16] is the motto on our website. Everyone who has been reading this blog for some time, will know that we do this on a local, regional, national and international level. Shining our light simply by (for example) offering a helping (technical) hand, raising money for a new washing machine in a rehab or through sharing personal prayers and encouraging words.

Over the last few years we have been organizing monthly prayer meetings: for Europe, for our region and for individuals. We meet on Fridays and Tuesdays in our secondhand shop Twinkeltje and pray for unity and a spiritual revival in our county.

It is therefore that we would love to sponsor the Slingeland festival that is being held from June 22nd to 24th June. Every year this festival is being organized by Hart voor de Waard, an interdenominational organization that aims to share the Gospel in a simple and outgoing manner.

Far away and close to home, let's support outreach events and in doing so encourage one another! You can send your gift to St. Traveling Light, Papendrecht IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U. Make sure to mention: FESTIVAL.

  • We were able to transfer 3,000 euro for project village kitchen Navazi in Georgia. As soon as we have photos/news, we will post it on this blog.
  • The next project will be the support of the Teen Challenge women's home in Lithuania.
  • This Friday, May 25, we organize a special Israel event in Twinkeltje. We have al kinds of products, snacks and drinks. Doors will be open between 19:00-21:30. Korenbloemstraat 20 in Papedrecnt. See you there!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Prison ministry

Cora Donk
Traveling Light visits and supports (small scale) projects throughout Europe. We are also very active in our home town, particularly since the opening of our secondhand shop Twinkeltje in September 2016.

Twinkeltje is so much more than a coffee house, we use the facility to organize workshops, prayer evenings, mission events, bicycle lessons for new immigrants and discipleship trainings.

👉 But did you know that we are involved in prison ministry as well?

Board member Cora Donk is the owner of Twinkeltje and takes care of daily business there, but she is also involved in prison ministry in the penitentiary prison in Dordrecht. She serves as a volunteer in the interdenominational team that organizes the church services and since last year she is involved in giving the Alpha course.

Alpha is a series of sessions exploring the Christian faith. Each talk looks at a different question around faith and is designed to create conversation. Alpha is run all around the globe, and everyone's welcome. It runs in cafés, churches, universities, homes and prisons. More than 24 million people worldwide have done Alpha. In the Netherlands there were more than 265,000.

The current course is coming to an end and Cora has bought a nice present for all participants. The prisoners may choose an inspiring book, such as 'The Cross and the switchblade', 'Run baby run' and 'Knock-out'. All of them stories from people who have personally experienced that God can and wants to give everyone a new beginning!

Changed lives! It keeps us going because we believe it is always possible.

Gifts (large & small) for the various projects are always welcome! Make your gifts payable to IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U St. Traveling Light in Papendrecht.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Project Udruženje Restart, Serbia

Drugsprevention lessons
In the past we have supported Udruženje (foundation) Restart in Serbia. An organization that aims to reach and encourage homeless and addicted people to leave the streets and enter a faith-based rehabilitation program.

With a team of volunteers, initiator Boris Štrbac is committed to helping people get a start on new life. The team of volunteers regularly visits the streets of Novi Sad and Subotica to make contact with homeless people and addicts. They also provide drugsprevention and information lessons in primary schools.

Good connections with rehabilitation centers in Serbia and neighboring countries are a must. At the end of last year, Teen Challenge Macedonia organized a 'Living Free' training in which participants from Albania, Romania, Slovenia and Serbia were present.

Living Free training
Living Free is a course that can be followed by people who do not want to enter a residential rehab but nonetheless are struggling with addiction problems.

According to Boris, one of the biggest problems today is to help people, who have finished rehab, to find useful jobs. Restart helps as much as possible and has now begun to raise funds in order to buy a van and to start a moving business (following the example of Teen Challenge Slovenia). In addition, the old computer equipment in their office needs to be replaced.

We received a request for support. Restart can do the work thanks to donations and a great team of volunteers. We know how that is!

Volunteers in front of the Restart office
Traveling Light would like to see that all the good work in Serbia continues. There are various christian organizations working in the field of rehabilitation and street outreach. Reintegration in society is certainly part of this work and ideas to create employment surely make us happy.

Restart is a ministry of the New Life in Christ Church in Novi Sad.

You can (indirectly) let your light shine in Serbia by sending a gift to IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U St. Traveling Light in Papendrecht. Make sure to mention RESTART.

If you know of someone who can help with equipment or a van, that would be great. Contact us!