Monday, December 30, 2013

Year end gift for coffeehouse in Tetovo, Macedonia

Jordan & Vesna
Do you remember Jordan Stoilov? In 2013 we visited him twice in his coffeehouse The Bridge, a meeting place in the center of Tetovo, Macedonia. Visitors are welcome to sip coffee, read books, join a Bible study or just talk. The population in Tetovo is predominantly from Albanian descent and about 83% of the people are Muslim. 

Years ago Jordan was addicted to heroin, but he entered the Teen Challenge program where he learned that God loved him and had a better plan for his life. He started a new life and later went to Bible school at YWAM.

He is happily married now with Vesna and together they have a son: Jakov. Jordan wants to let his light shine in his city and reach people who do not know the love of God.

At coffee house The Bridge
Traveling Light was among those who helped him financially to set up a play ground for children in the neighborhood. Because of this play ground he has been able to establish good relationships with the parents of these children. Since last September a group of Albanese men is visiting the coffee house regularly. Two of them are interested to learn more about God and the Bible, the others not so much. But, all of them want to learn English! That is a great way to build friendships and to get to know these men better.

Last year's shoe box event 
We recently received a special gift of 1,000 euro that we would like to donate towards his work in coffee house The Bridge. Jordan wants to purchase a laptop/computer that can be used to follow English lessons online. Other visitors will also be able to use the internet. He furthermore needs some supplies, such as cups, books, playing games, reading material etc. Next month he will also hand out 200 shoe boxes with toys in two kinder gardens in Tetovo. This is a great way to connect with parents and workers in the kinder gardens. 

In February we hope to visit Macedonia again and we will certainly go and see Jordan.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas goodie bags for sailors

During the past Christmas days Guus and Annemiek Peters went to the ports of Gent, Terneuzen and Antwerp to deliver their Christmas goodie bags for the sailors.

The photo shows the big smiles (click on the picture for an enlargement), the men were very happy with their gifts! We are thankful that Traveling Light was able to sponsor 60 Christmas goodie bags.

Shared joy is double joy... well, the picture tells it all, right?! Thank you very much for your support and encouraging comments regarding this special December project. Next week we will visit Guus and Annemiek and hear their stories first  hand.
Keep an eye on this weblog and/or our Facebook page.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Project children's clothes Syria

Syrian children
The year is almost over, but we would like to highlight a special project that we are running in the Netherlands right now. It is the collection of clothing for children in Syria.

We don't need to explain how terrible the situation in that country and in the various refugee camps is. We came in contact with Adnan Khayat, who was born in Syria. He rented a 20 ft container that needs to be filled up with clothes, shoes, jackets, children's clothes. sleeping bags, blankets, diapers, toys etc. As soon as the container is filled he will ship it to Syria. He will then fly to the area and, with the help of friends and family who are living there, distribute everything.

Adnan Khayat
It is getting really cold in Syria and the surrounding countries and Adnan really hopes to get the container filled before the end of the year, so he can ship it as soon as possible. This is very direct, practical help. We certainly want to encourage and help him in his efforts. All clothing is welcome, but we mostly need children's winter clothing and shoes.

We have asked our supporters in Holland to check their closets, garages and attics in search for clothing. Although this specific project is for our local supporters only, there might be some things you can do in your country. Ask around, ask your church, go online, find ways to help the people in Syria. If you cannot find anything, organize it!

Let your light shine!



Monday, December 16, 2013

Project dental work Theo

HOORAY! The 5,000 euro needed for project women's home Berdichev, Ukraine came in. Fantastisc, this happened really fast. Thank you very much for all your support. We will have pictures soon! We have a wide variety of projects lined up, so let's move on...

If you have been a reader of this weblog for some time, you may have noticed that every now and then we have projects to help individual people on their road to recovery. Especially when their past has been a mess. We have helped formerly addicted people to pay for dental help and study expenses. Why do we do that as a non-profit? Because Jesus has an eye for the individual. He used to pick people from a crowd (no matter what their background was) and showed His love and grace to them.

We will stay in the Netherlands this time. We would like for you all to meet Theo. Please read below how a visit to a Christmas Eve service changed his life!

Theo grew up in a broken home and as a result of all the trouble became very violent at a young age. He was taken away from his home and placed under government care. During this time he was abused and raped and when he finally turned 18, he was looking forward to starting his own life. He was looking for happiness. When his girlfriend died in a motorcycle crash his life went down hill. As he says: "I did everything God didn't want me to do."

He got into a new relationship and married. When their daughter was born, he began to believe in happiness again. But his violent past got a hold of him and after a while he ended up in prison. His marriage fell apart and he lost contact with his daughter. When she turned 18 she contacted him again, a small light in the darkness of his life. But there was just too much pain and reproach and their relationship did not work out. Theo decided that happiness was not meant for him.

During this time he got invited to a Christmas Eve church service in The Hoeksteen Church in Etten-Leur. Theo had visited the night mass in his town, but had never been in an evangelical church. After that night he decided to visit The Hoeksteen more regularly. For the first time in his life he experienced peace (which is much more valuable than happiness). He has been coming to our church for quite some time now and slowly he is letting God heal his inner wounds.

One day we asked him whether we could help him to heal his outer 'wounds'. Theo's teeth (or, what was left of it) were a mess. God looks at the heart, but human beings will mostly look at the outside when meeting for the first time... So it was decided that Theo would go to our sister-in-law, who is a wonderful and highly experienced dentist. She has done a great job giving him advice and soon he will be able to smile again :) Traveling Light is honored to pay that part of the bill not covered by his insurance. We will need about 600 euro.

To us, this is practical Christianity: helping someone to get back on their feet and live a dignified life.
All gifts, large or small, are welcome on Rabo bank nr.
IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275
BIC: RABONL2U

Monday, December 9, 2013

Short film Onyfrievka project

orphanage (left) & rehab home
It was April 2011... We just registered Traveling Light as an official non-profit organisation. Our first project was a huge faith project: we needed 10.000 euro for the purchase of a building in Onyfrievka, Ukraine. Why huge?

Because no one knew about our organisation yet, there were no supporters, there was only an empty bank account. We had no money to advertise, no budget for flyers or a good website. It all started with this weblog and the faith that God was on our side. Wow, so much has happened since that April in 2011. We are very thankful for all our contacts, projects and supporters

Please, watch the video below. It shows the orphanage in Onyfrievka (which already existed) and the new rehabilitation home that has been divided in a men's and women's section. The video also shows the new fence around the property (another project we raised funds for) and the students at work. Wonderful, such a blessing to see that all donations have been put into practice. This past August we visited the place and we were very pleased to see it all so well taken care of. This is how we want to continue in 2014.

Currently we are fundraising again for the purchase of a home in the Ukraine, this time it will be a rehab home for women and their children in Berdychiv. We have received a large donation which has really sped things up, we still need 900 euro. Will you help us?


Europe supporters, you can send your gifts to Rabo bank nr. NL91RABO0118582275 t.n.v. Traveling Light. BIC: RABONL2U
USA supporters, you can send your tax-deductible gift to Eastern Europe Outreach, make sure to mention BERDYCHIV, UKRAINE

Monday, December 2, 2013

Christmas goodie bags for sailors

Guus & Annemiek Peters
Apart from our latest project women's home Berdichev, Ukraine, we would like to announce a special December project...

In the picture you'll see Guus and Annemiek Peters. For years they have been working among sailors in the ports of Terneuzen, Gent and Antwerp, sharing with them the good news about Jesus Christ. We will write some more on this weblog about their work and passion in the near future. For now you can read all about their ministry on their website havenevangelisatie.nl 

Guus has written about his encounters with some of these seafarers in his book Navigating to the Muslim heart. We have taken some copies of the Arabic version to Israel to give away.

Each year Guus and Annemiek head down to the cold and windy ports on December 25th and 26th (yeah, when we're all celebrating at home) and there they hand out Christmas goody bags to the sailors. A small token of love, but with a huge impact in the hearts of these men, who are often far from home and lonely.

Guus and 'his' sailors
Many of the sailors are from the Philippines. Guus is like a father and friend to many of these men and he has tried to be in contact with most of them after the typhoon wrecked their country. You can imagine that, this year, a Christmas gift will be very special for them. A light in the darkness.

For 8,50 euro you can sponsor a Christmas goody bag. This year the men will receive a warm fleece sweater, a hand made beanie, a Jesus DVD, a book (in their own language) and soap.

Contents of this year's Christmas goodie bags
If you would like to bless these sailors this Christmas, send your donation of 8,50 euro (or a multiple) to St. Traveling Light, Papendrecht,
IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275
BIC: RABONL2U

Make sure to mention: SAILORS

What a wonderful and practical way to shine light in a dark world...

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Project women's home Berdychiv, Ukraine

HOORAY! We have reached our goal of 7,000 euro for project heater Teen Challenge Poland. Fantastic! Thank you very much everyone who gave and prayed. This past weekend we met with Tim Urbaniak from Poland, at the Europe Teen Challenge Fall meeting in the UK. He told us that the new heater will be installed in the first week of December. Photo's will follow soon.

Pastor Sergey Romanenko and his family
Now, we would like to introduce you to pastor Sergey Romanenko and his family. He is the pastor of a Jewish Messianic congregation in Berdychiv, Ukraine. He is very much involved in the work among the addicted, homeless and poor in the Ukraine.

It is his dream to open up a rehabilitation home where women and their children can live and grow towards wholeness. Many addicted women in Ukraine refuse to enter a rehabilitation program because they cannot take their kids with them. Their children will have to stay with family or in orphanages.

This will be a safe home for women and children
This is really sad, because the separation of mother and child is a hindrance to (emotional) healing. Quite often the addicted women have lived in the streets, have been abused and prostituted. Their child is often the only valuable thing they have and cling to.

This past August we talked about the need for family rehab homes, when we were visiting Ukraine. It turned out pastor Sergey already had a house in mind that he wanted to purchase... They already had some money saved towards the purchase of property or at least towards the making of a down payment.

The kitchen needs renovation
It just broke his heart to see all these women walk away from the change to start a new life, out of fear of losing their child. It is therefore his dream to open many homes for women and children. In faith he went to the local bank for a loan... he did not want to miss out on this house. We believe with him that this will be the first of many homes to be opened throughout Ukraine.

It was his wish to start with the renovating of the house as quick as possible, so women will be able to move in soon. Well, together with a team of volunteers he has started to work in and around the house. We do not doubt for a moment that this will become a safe and warm place where women and their children can live and encounter the love of Jesus Christ on their way to restoration and well being.

Pastor Sergey needs 5,000 euro to officially purchase this house. Traveling Light would love to help him with this. We cannot think of a better and more joyful investment.

Will you help us?
All donations (large or small) are welcome.

Europe supporters, you can send your gifts to Rabo bank nr. NL91RABO0118582275 t.n.v. Traveling Light. BIC: RABONL2U

USA supporters, you can send your tax-deductible gift to Eastern Europe Outreach, make sure to mention BERDYCHIV, UKRAINE

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Expanding our network in Israel

Always finding something to repair
As we wrote in our previous post, we celebrated our vacation in Israel. We have used some of our time there to visit several people and programs on behalf of Traveling Light.

We visited the Teen Challenge women's home in the south. Jan was able to do some practical (read: technical) work at Polly's home, who is the director of the program: fixing the washing machine, fixing faucets, repairing the shutters etc. We were happy to be able to do something in return of her hospitality.

The two Mondays we were in Israel we volunteered in the soup kitchen and clothes distribution center in Netanya. We worked with volunteers from all over the world as we served meals, handed out bread and clothes. We had the privilege of praying with an older Jewish lady who wanted peace in her heart. We explained to her that only Yeshua can give the peace that surpasses all understanding.

No baskets, but boxes full of bread
We also had a wonderful meeting with a Palestinian family in Jerusalem. What a loving couple! The man grew up in a Muslim family from East Jerusalem and his wife in an Arab Christian family from Bethlehem. They came to faith in Yeshua and talked about Him and the Word with such love and respect. Together they are blessed with five children.

For security reasons we will not post pictures or names, but please pray that the Lord will be their provider and protection. We will write some more about them in the near future.

With Brian Slater at Beit-Asaph in Netanya
We were also invited to visit a high-tech company that, besides many other products, makes audio players programmed with the Word of God. The little gadgets work on solar power and/or battery power. The spoken Word can go out in thousands of languages and dialects to people who cannot read, who are blind or those that find it difficult to read. We will write some more about this in the future. We are very glad with all the new connections we made, we truly believe that the Lord sets them up!

Good news: we only need 975 euro to reach the goal for our current project heater Teen Challenge Poland. Who wants to help us with this last portion?

PS: Are you working at a Teen Challenge center somewhere in Europe and do you have a need? Please, consider giving a gift to help TC Poland, it will set the wheels in motion for your ministry as well!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Hair cuts for a cause

René van Alphen
What in the world is Traveling Light up to, this time? Haha, well, we like a joke and we like practical thinking and acting. Hair dresser René van Alpen (Rene Professional) loves to be practical as well, so it's no wonder we get along pretty good!

Do you remember how René (from hair salon Acoli Elite in Breda) cut off Jan's ponytail last year, and how that raised 2,500 euro for the sponsoring of the annual Teen Challenge conference in the Ukraine? That was a great fundraiser.

This time René had another idea. He donated five heads for the salon in the Ark in the Negev, the women's home of Teen Challenge in Israel.

Polly, director of the Ark
The salon is being managed by volunteers. They teach the women in the program (who often lived on the streets for a long time) how to be a hair dresser. The heads they use for practicing purposes are quite expensive, so we were happy to take the heads René donated and bring 'm to Israel on our current trip over there.

Polly, the director of the Ark, was pleasantly surprised, as you can see in the picture. She placed the heads (for a while, at least) on the jewelry table... Jewelry made by volunteers and ladies in the program. Sales help to keep the house open.
We have an idea to help Polly with the jewelry, so keep an eye on this blog.

One of the volunteers currently working in the Ark is Pia Bakker from The Netherlands. She did a DTS training at YWAM and is now volunteering for three months in Israel.
Showing off the new heads

She offered to cut Jan's hair and while doing so she explained everything she did to one of the women in the program. Pia did her work with much love and passion. We just LOVE to see that in young people!

It is really an encouragement for us to see a young girl like Pia stepping out in faith and offering her time and talents as a volunteer, towards women who have been living a hard life on the streets.

Volunteer Pia Bakker
Well, it is clear that offering practical help can be very rewarding and fun. We get to meet interesting people and we can always find a way to encourage them!

Personal attention, small scale projects, direct help, building relationships... these are all key words that describe the ministry of Traveling Light.
______________________________________________

We are currently fundraising for our project heater Teen Challenge Poland. The new heater will keep the men's rehabilitation center in Lekini warm during winter!
If you love what we do, please help us to move forward and send your donation to RABO bank number 1185 82 275 St. Traveling Light, Papendrecht. IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U

Monday, November 4, 2013

For God so loved...

Sharing the good news with  the poor and helpless
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son... An offer beyond our understanding, especially because we (now that it is our turn) don't always love the people in the world. Often we speak (or think) words of judgement and critique: it's their own fault, wrong choices, bunch of criminals etc. etc. But God... how does He look at people?

Mobile contact center Teen Challenge Czech
It is not always easy to look at people through the eyes of God, and yet... this is what we need and want to learn. That is why at Traveling Light we support the work among the last, least and lost in society: the addicts, the alcoholics, the homeless and prostitutes. Humans beings like this man you see on the picture above, which was taken in Czech Republic.

Do you remember we helped Teen Challenge Czech Republic to purchase a coffee bus? Last week we received a news letter from our friends in Czech Republic with some photo's. The coffee bus (now called: the mobile contact center) regularly visits (once a week) the second largest city in Czech, Brno and newly, also Teplice, known for it's red-light district.

God knows him by name
The outreach team of Teen Challenge Czech is determined to find the least, the lost and the broken... they do find them in the strangest places. Like Petr, they found him during their street outreach in the underground channels of Brno. They would never have thought that in a distant corner there lies a man, who is ready to die in hopelessness. Through the Holy Spirit, they were able to find Petr and share the good news about Jesus with him. The following week he visited the mobile contact center and decided to come to the rehab program that night.

Sharing soup and the good news in the bus
Through this coffee bus ministry a number of people have already decided to enter the Teen Challenge program. So, you see that the gifts we donate reach people beyond our imagination. Every person that comes to the mobile contact center and receives soup, coffee, attention and love, is a person that God knows by name. A person He loves with a desperate and passionate love. Who knows, they are the future preachers, pastors, business men and artists of their nation! When they make the choice to go into one of the rehab centers, we celebrate! Petr has made that choice. That is the fruit of your generosity and prayers. 

And so we move on with our small scale, local projects. Jesus once said: I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent... We rejoice with heaven, because it is clear that every human life counts!

PS: the teller for the heater in the rehabilitation center at Teen Challenge Poland stands at 5,100 5,400 euro. We still need 1,600 euro.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

We just LOVE our sponsors!

Meindert van der Wal
We have written it before and we'll say it again: a non profit organisation can only exist and survive because of volunteers, friends and sponsors... (yes, we're talking money here).

Meindert van der Wal is such a sponsor! In July of this year we were in Poland with him, and his son Jan, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Teen Challenge Poland. Meindert has been visiting Poland for many years and he has a very special friendship with  Zbyszek & Ewa Urbaniak, the founders and directors of Teen Challenge Poland.

fundraiser flyer
When Meindert heard about our project heater Teen Challenge Poland, he came up with a fundraiser idea. He decided to print a big stack (1,000 pieces!) of flyers with a picture of the current heater and the request to donate 10 Euro's for the replacement of this old heater.

Well, you can imagine... anyone who crosses Meindert's path receives a flyer ;) What a great idea. Gifts are beginning to come in and we are very thankful for that. The costs for a new heater are about 7,000 euro's. We have already passed the halfway mark, we still need about 3,000 euro's.

Dining room in the Lekini men's center
This huge wood burner takes care of the heating in many of the rooms of the men's center in Lekini. A system of underground pipes transports the heat to the various buildings on the grounds of this former military base. We are very thankful for the 52 men that are currently living there. Men that have decided to change their lives for the good. How great will be the happiness in their families.

Will you help us to support this life changing work in Poland?

Thank you!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Spiritual encouragement

Coffee break during a conference
Through this weblog we try to keep you, as supporters and those having interest in our travels, up to date on the latest happenings at Traveling Light, as we move around in Europe and the Mediterranean area. However, the posts on this blog show only a fraction of everything that's going on.

We are always fundraising for one, or at the most two, projects at the same time, which we will always mention by name. So, you know where your money is going. No games, no gimmicks. Most of the time we have a waiting list with projects coming up, but to keep things clear and simple we have decided to concentrate on one or two countries at the same time. At the moment we are fundraising for Project heater Teen Challenge Poland. We still need about 3,000 euro for this.

Behind the scenes much more is happening. We constantly receive emails and phone calls from people and organisations somehow connected to our Traveling Light network. Quite often these contacts lead to new projects. Beside the many conversations we have wherever we go, we always hand out booklets (like What on Earth am I here for?), CD-Roms and DVD's.

When traveling we have Marja's books available for purchase (hey, we are trying to make a honest living). But we give away many free handouts as well. Anything that points to Jesus Christ as the Messiah and savior of the world can change and touch a human heart. We have materials for Jewish people, Muslims and gentiles, so to speak.

Sometimes we get those materials donated (from super sweet people in our network), but often we purchase everything with private money. It is such a joy to give away material that brings honor to God and that is food for a good discussion. Sometimes people just need to go home and read everything in silence and contemplate.

We are very grateful users of all forms of media to reach people with the good news. We often give away DVD's like God of Wonders, which is a beautiful film about creation. Currently we have books in English and Arabic from evangelist Guus Peters: Navigating to the Muslim heart. We will write about his ministry in the near future.

Next week a man, we are acquinted with through the Hoeksteen Gemeente, will be going to Moldova and he will be taking 100 cd-roms containing the Bible in many languages, such a s Hebrew, Yiddisch and Russian. We were able to get the CD-Roms through Israel en de Bijbel and we are very grateful that our brother will be taking the Word to Moldova. It is one of those countries where we have contacts, but that we have never been able to visit (yet). It is exciting to know that we can send spiritual encouragement ahead :)

A gift is so much more than a little money, it is seed being sown into the fields of Europe, even into the farthest corners of the continent. We can expect a great harvest!

Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.
[2 Corinthians (9:10]

Saturday, October 5, 2013

New chances

At Traveling Light we often talk about 'projects', but seriously... it is always about people! It is always about changed lives by the power of God! Please take some minutes to watch the video below, it shows the story of human lives that were changed in the program of Teen Challenge in Poland. You can see the guys, the husbands and fathers that started a new life. This is so touching. You can see views of the women's home and the men's center (where the new heater is needed), but what really makes this video so special are the faces of people who are thankful for the new life they received. Isn't it wonderful to know that your donations towards these men will have eternal impact?


We have received more than 3,300 euro so far for project heater Teen Challenge Poland, we are almost halfway! We still need 3,700 euro. We are very happy with all gifts, whether big or small, one-time or monthly. You can send your gift to RABO bank number 1185 82 275, IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 and BIC: RABONL2. When in USA: send your gift to Eastern Europe Outreach and make sure to mention TC Poland, HEATER.
THANKS!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

News items & prayer

'Go into the world...'
It is, again, time to share some news and prayer items with you all. The international network of Traveling Light is expanding and that means we are having more and more contact with people, organisations and churches who are working with the homeless, poor, addicted and sick. Lives are being transformed all over Europe. These workers refuse to be discouraged by the negative news the media keeps pouring out, they simply realize every human being counts!

We see it as our calling to support them in their work among the outcasts of society. We receive many positive comments from people, but we hope you realize we can only do this because of your gifts. So, please invest in our projects, so we can help even more people.
  • This weekend we will visit the Agape Gemeinde in Lubeck, Germany. We have been invited to speak about the theme Reconciliation. Offering spiritual encouragement is also an essential part of the mission we have as Traveling Light. The Agape Gemeinde is a church we have not visited before, so please pray for a safe trip and a blessed and useful conference.
  • Do you remember we donated 1,000 euro this last May for a playground in the city of Tetovo, Macedonia? In June Jan and one of our volunteers went to visit Jordan Stoilov, who took this initiative. It was clear that many children from the neighborhood used the playground and within just a few months the playground was in need of repairs and adjustments. A mission team from England came last week to fix things up. You can see the pictures here. We are planning to help Jordan with his coffeehouse The Bridge, this is one of the many projects on our waiting list.
  • Another project on our waiting list is the purchase of a home in the Ukraine that will be converted into a rehabilitation home for women AND their children. Many women in the Ukraine refuse to go into rehab because they will have to be separated from their children. We are in contact with Teen Challenge and a Messianic congregation that wants to open a new home. We already have pictures of the house that is for sale. Coming up soon....
  • Currently we are fundraising for Project heater Teen Challenge Poland. We have not yet received an answer to our challenge for a church, ministry or business who wants to take care of the fundraising (7,000 euro) for the second heater. Please, ask around in your church or group and email us at janandmarja@gmail.com. Please, pray with us that this amount will come in soon, because winter is coming. You can send your gift to RABO bank number 1185 82 275, IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 and BIC: RABONL2. When in USA: send your gift to Eastern Europe Outreach and make sure to mention TC Poland, HEATER. THANKS!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Investing in human lives

New life, new beginning, new chance
The best and most trusted financial advice ever given to mankind, came from Jesus Himself. In Matthew 6:19-20 He says:

Do not store up riches for yourselves here on earth, where moths and rust destroy, and robbers break in and steal. Instead, store up riches for yourselves in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and robbers cannot break in and steal. For your heart will always be where your riches are.

The heaters are HUGE
These words may be more than 2000 years old, but they are still very accurate and up-to-date. One look at news papers and television will confirm His words: our possesions and money are not safe on this earth. There is financial crisis, corruption, theft and inflation. Is that sad? Yes, of course! Is there a solution? Yes, of course! When we start to invest in eternal treasures, nothing or no one will be able to rob us. That is why Traveling Light loves to invest in human lives and we have so much fun doing that.

Janusz Górnicki, son of the colonel
Let's take a look at our current Project Heater Teen Challenge Poland. A new wood burner does not sound very spiritual or heavenly ;) but this heater warms the buildings where 52 Polish men are currently living. Men that have decided to start a new live, without addictions and destructive behavior.

Just try to imagine what that means for their parents, wives and children, for their families and co-workers, for the people in their street. A heater is just an iron object and it will eventually wear out and disappear. But the men in the program are fathers, sons, brothers and husbands... they are living there in a safe environment where they can begin a new life and they will get to know God. That is really the most important thing.

Dinig room at the Lekini center
There are many rehabs and programs that can help people off of drugs and alcohol. But what then? At Teen Challenge they teach their students that God has a plan and a purpose for their lives, a reason for living. Understanding and dis-covering THIS is what really changes a person's life. Janusz came in years ago as an addict and now he runs a rehab center in the south of Poland. That is possible, that is how things often develop. That is investing in human lives.

We still need 5,400 euro for this project, because winter is coming soon. Who wants to help us?
When in Europe: send your gift to RABO bank number 1185 82 275, IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 and BIC: RABONL2U
When in USA: send your gift to Eastern Europe Outreach and make sure to mention TC Poland, HEATER
Don't forget to share this blog post through your social media. THANKS!

PS: Click on the pics to enlarge them.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Work week Italy

Beautiful place to chill
The mission of Traveling Light is three fold: to offer financial support, spiritual encouragement and also practical help. Sometimes that happens all at the same time :) as with our project Casa Shalom in Italy. This July we donated 5,000 euro to this therapeutic community in Tuscany and last week we went there with a group of nine people to work and to give Bible studies.

Team work week Italy
It was the first work week we organized as Traveling Light. We (Jan and Marja) drove in our car to Pisa. Along the way we visited the lady who translates my books into Italian and we were also invited to speak at an evangelical church in Genoa. Monday afternoon September 2nd we arrived at Pisa airport, meeting with Alen Grasinar. Alen is a Teen Challenge graduate from Slovenia. He overcame his heroine addiction and just finished the program and wanted to join us for this work week. He drove all the way from Ljublijana.

Lots of chainsaw work to be done
We picked up six other volunteers who flew in from Holland. Nine people + luggage + guitar + groceries in two cars.... needless to say we had a blast! We rented Casa Shalom for a week, a beautiful old Tuscan house in the mountains, only accessible through an unpaved winding road several miles long. We had a wonderful and intense week together. Every day the seven men disappeared into the woods to cut trees, saw blocks and split them into smaller parts.

Practical help
The guys worked like horses and they must have cut more than 5 m3 of wood which they stacked in the cellars of the women's and men's home. A huge job done, which really surprised and pleased the directors. They were very much impressed with the fact that our guys were willing to unconditionally sacrifice their time, money and labor to help Comunita Brezzano. We also picked kilo's and kilo's of raspberries. Maria makes jam and juice which she sells elsewhere.

Each evening at eight o'clock we would all gather at the peaceful patio for Bible study and talks. The directors (Maria and Boris) and the three men that are currently there for rehabilitation joined us. They were very thankful and enjoyed the time, attention and fun that we shared with them as a group.

Great bbq with the whole gang
We can really say that we were able to shine our light in the lives of these people. They asked us when we would come again :) As a group we also learned from each other. We hope to organize more trips like this in the future.

A big thank you to Alen, Andreas, Frank, Geert-Jan, Menno, Sjanna and Teun (aka Antonio) for their unlimited energy, humor and enthousiasm. The theme for this week was Giving it all. And that's what we all did. What we do for others, we do for the Lord!

The photo's of this work week can be viewed by clicking on this LINK.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Photo's project Onyfrievka, Ukraine

Onyfrievka home and fence
We just came back from a visit to the Ukraine. We had an incredible week, we could write a book about everything we experienced. It was a very useful, encouraging and blessed trip, in every way.

We were invited to speak at the annual Teen Challenge conference, we visited the Coffee House in Kiev and made a trip to Onyfrievka, the place of our very first project, the establishing of a residential rehabilitation home. Do you remember?

Residents and workers at Onyfrievka house
In the summer of 2011 we raised 10,000 euro which was enough for pastor Aleksander Fedorov (from Church of the living God in Onyfrievka) to purchase a building where they wanted to start a rehabilitation home for people with life controlling problems. At the beginning of this year we donated another 6,000 euro for the construction of a fence around the whole property. On the property is a children's home, a rehab home and several other buildings. Last week we were able to see everything with our very own eyes.

We were given a tour
The home is not completely finished, but it houses several men and women already that are well on their way to start a new life. The children's home was already there, which is also being managed by the church of pastor Aleksander Fedorov. At the moment sixteen children are living there. The church will try to find families in the Ukraine who want to adopt these children. One of the ladies in the rehab center has her child close by, in this house, which is a huge relief for her and makes her time in the program a little easier.

Nap time in the children's home
The rehab home and the children's house are looking great, and the fence is perfect, very good quality. It provides protection for everyone in the center and children's home. It is so wonderful to see how the donations of Traveling Light are being used, that makes us really happy. The gratefulness of the people who live and work in the home is overwhelming, it is beyond their understanding that help came all the way from Holland. All these happy faces and changed lives... that is why we do what we do!

We would love to help them again in the near future.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Project heater Teen Challenge Poland

Zbyszek & Ewa Urbaniak
May we introduce to you Zbyszek & Ewa Urbaniak. They are the founders and directors of Teen Challenge Poland. For the past 25 years they have given their time and talents to the work among people with life controlling (addiction) problems in their country.

Throughout Poland there are men and women's rehabilitation homes, after care and coffee houses. Recently we visited the men's home in Lekini and the women's home in Broczynie. The men's home is located in a former military base and their is a very special story attached...

Years ago a colonel from the Polish army came to Zbyszek, with his son who was addicted, and asked for help. At that time they already had the Broczyna center with 22 people in it, but there was a waiting list of six months! A difficult situation if you really need help. The colonel suggested to take a look at a former military base that had been standing empty for years.

Men's rehabilitation center in Lekini
With help from various corners of the world they were able to buy and upgrade the base. Over the years hundreds of men have been able to start a new life here. At the moment 52 men are living at the Lekini center. By the way, the son (Janusz Górnicki) of the colonel is doing well, he is married, has kids and runs a home in the south of Poland.

The former military base consists of several buildings (dormitories, kitchen, offices, restaurant etc.) and is being heated in winter through 2 huge wood burners. An extensive system of pipelines transports the heated water underground to all buildings, like a kind of city heating system. The heaters need to be replaced. The price per heater is about 7.000 euro. Traveling Light wants to raise funds for one heater.

main wood heater
Let's be honest, we all have a choice: we can join in the talk about drunken Polish people or we can be pro active and support the loving work among these families in Poland. When the life of a man or woman changes radically and for real, their families, friends and sometimes even villages will be effected. We have seen if with our own eyes! We are greatly impressed with the work that is being done in Poland to help people with life controlling problems to start a new life and a new future with the help of Jesus Christ.

We are not afraid to put out a challenge to churches, organizations, businesses or individuals.... Who dares to take on the other heater ? Ask around, share this post.

Please, contact us if you have faith to raise 7,000 euro as well. Together we can bless Poland! Email: janandmarja@gmail.com

For those in the USA, you can give your tax deductible donation HERE. Make sure to designate your gift: TC Poland, HEATER