Wednesday, August 17, 2022

165 km cycling for Bertine House, Ukraine

We are very happy and grateful for all the loyal supporters of Traveling Light. Without donors, volunteers, prayers, and financial contributions it is impossible to support so many projects in more than thirty (!) European countries.

It is of course a great joy for us when people come up with fundraising efforts... whether that is baking cake, ice skating, running or cycling! It is always exciting when someone wants to perform in exchange for support... for an excellent cause.

Henk Swijnenburg from Bleskensgraaf is well known from the Weissensee ice skating campaigns. To stay fit during the summer, Henk goes cycling, as many people in Holland do.

This weekend he wants to cycle a 165 km trip with a group of friends to raise money for Bertine House in Poltova, Ukraine. A project that we have been supporting for years.

Bertine House is part of the Teen Challenge family and offers a safe place to mothers (and their children) who want to kick their addiction habits and start a new life.

Henk has also ice-skated for this project in the past, but it seemed good to him to set up a summer campaign for the mothers and children because they could definitely use some encouragement.

Bertne House was first located in Donetsk, but in 2014 they had to leave everything behind because of the war. In this blog post you can read more about the fundraising efforts we did then.

They were able, partly through an American donor, to buy a house in Poltava. In recent years, dozens of mothers and children received a new life by getting to know Jesus Christ.

Despite the fact that there is now another war, life in Bertine House continues 'as usual', children are born and marriages are planned. Hope is alive, certainly under these circumstances.

Henk is planning to cycle 165 km on Sunday 21 August, from Bleskensgraaf, via Dordrecht to Rockanje and back. A beautiful route!

Surely, we would welcome your support. Any amount is welcome, large or small. The full 100% will go to Bertine House in Ukraine, with whom we have direct contact.

If you would like to make a donation, you can do so in different ways, please take note:

  • Send a donation to St. Traveling Light, Papendrecht IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U and mention BERTINE
  • 💳 Give by card
  • 👉When in the USA, make your tax-deductible gift payable to EEO Inc. Make sure to mention TC UKRAINE-BERTINE

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Project children's home Teen Challenge, Armenia

For those who have been reading our news blog for a while, the work of Teen Challenge in Armenia is not unknown. In 2020, our ice skating team raised a nice amount towards the purchase of a second drug and alcohol rehab center.

The war situation and political unrest in the country led Gagik and Lusine Mkrtchyan to also establish a ministry for orphaned and at-risk children.

Over the past few years, they have been able to remove numerous children and women from burning villages and very dangerous places.

Many children are at risk to use drugs and alcohol and being out on the streets. To this end, the couple wanted to establish a school. We were also able to make a gift towards that initiative in 2021.

Last May, at the Europe Teen Challenge conference in Prague, we had time to catch up with the Mkrtchyans. They told us that, in addition to their own five children, they have taken in ten orphans.

It will come as no surprise that there is an urgent need to build an addition to their house so as to create extra (bed)rooms. The plans are there, and now the funds need to be raised.

In the month of July, the proceeds of our shops De Schor and Twinkeltje will go towards this project. But of course, it is also possible to make a specified donation for this purpose if you feel prompted.

Let's bless this special family with a substantial gift so they can start with their construction work.

If you would like to make a donation, you can do so in different ways, please take note:

  • Send a donation to St. Traveling Light, Papendrecht IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U and mention TC ARMENIA
  • 💳 Give by card
  • 👉When in the USA, make your tax-deductible gift payable to EEO Inc. Make sure to mention TC ARMENIA

THANK YOU in advance for your donations and prayers! The situation in the country is still unstable Gagik and Lusine would like to see children grow up in a safe and loving home environment.

Monday, June 27, 2022

Project and travel updates

Greetings to all of you from Sergey Romanenko and the men at the Teen Challenge rehab home in Berdychiv, Ukraine.

Thanks to your help, we were able to transfer a generous gift for repair and maintenance work on the men's rehabilitation center there. (Click on the photos to enlarge).

They are currently working on the installation of drainage around the outer walls, quite a job that requires participation of everyone currently in the program. Repairing the stucco will be next.

Work projects are part of the daily rehabilitation program, in addition to participating in Bible studies and doing household chores. The men always love it when there is a nice job to do. It is very rewarding to see the home well maintained!

Thank you to everyone who has donated to this project.

✦✦✦✦

Last week Jan drove to Slovenia, accompanied by one of our faithful supporters. Together with staff and students from Teen Challenge they drove from there to Montenegro to attend Čuvar Brata Svoga or the 'My Brother's Keeper' conference.

It is already the ninth time that we participate in this event, as Traveling Light. It is a powerful weekend for men from all Balkan countries (former Yugoslavia) and reconciliation, forgiveness, unity, and spiritual growth are central themes. They covered a lot of miles in a week!

It is an enormous privilege for us to witness what God is doing in the Balkan countries! Music is a big part of the conference program. See this video!

✦✦✦✦

Also, many thanks on behalf of port evangelist Alexander Eberson for the donations. We were able to transfer an amount of 400 euro for the purchase of Russian and Ukrainian Bibles for the sailors on the ships.

It is always great to see how you respond to such a call for help.

✦✦✦✦

At the moment we are still receiving donations for the construction of a new Teen Challenge men's rehab center in Moldova! If you would like to make a donation, you can do so in different ways, please take note:

  • Send a donation to St. Traveling Light, Papendrecht IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U and mention TC MOLDOVA
  • 💳 Give by card
  • 👉When in the USA, make your tax-deductible gift payable to EEO Inc. Make sure to mention TC MOLDOVA.

Monday, June 6, 2022

Zurich, Alpha course, TC Finland, and port evangelism

Two weeks ago we (Jan and Marja) were in Zurich for the annual meeting of Comunita Brezzano. Together with all those present, we commemorated our friend Maria Meier who passed away last February.

She has been running the Christian therapeutic community in Tuscany for almost thirty years. We have been there many times, taking different groups with us. We were invited to lead the afternoon prayer meeting in Zurich. Prayer about how to proceed... 

All in all, it was an inspiring and encouraging weekend, for everyone.

✦✦✦✦

Last week we (Krijn, Cora, Jan, and Marja) attended a business meeting of Alpha Netherlands in Driebergen. That meeting was very encouraging and inspiring as well. We are partakers in the dream of reaching 1 million people in the Netherlands with the gospel, through the Alpha course.

Anyone can become a 'dream bearer' through sponsorship, which is a great investment! Visit the Alpha website wherever you are. In the past year, we have facilitated an Alpha course in our secondhand shop twice and we want to start the 3rd one in September!

✦✦✦✦

On Monday, June 13, Cora will again participate in giving Alpha in prison, this time in the Rotterdam detention center. The Alpha course will be held on Monday afternoons.

So, please note: there will be NO Tea & Talk in our shop Twinkeltje from June 13 to July 25. Instead, we are open on Wednesday afternoons from 13:30-15:30 hours. Tell your friends!

✦✦✦✦

Speaking of our shop, in May the proceeds (from Twinkeltje and Atelier de Schor) were more than 1,000 euro, which we donated towards the work of Teen Challenge in Lithuania. For June we have chosen Teen Challenge Finland as a project.

Led by Niklas and Heidi Furu (see photo), a fantastic group of volunteers are reaching out to addicts, homeless people, the poor, lonely, and displaced persons. They don't have a TC rehab, but their street outreach is fantastic. They also run a second-hand shop. Surely, they can use some encouragement.

✦✦✦✦

Finally (but certainly not unimportant): Harbor Evangelist Alexander Eberson makes an appeal:

"During my ship visits, I experience an increasing demand for both Russian and Ukrainian Bibles. In my opinion, there is no better chance at the moment than to give Bibles to these sailors who are open to the gospel. With a Bible we give the best we can to them:  'the forgiveness and comfort of the Lord Jesus!' For 1.75 Euro you can give a sailor/woman their own Bible. Will you help?"

If you would like to make a donation, you can do so in different ways, please take note:

  • Send a donation to St. Traveling Light, Papendrecht IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U and mention name of project/country.
  • 💳 Give by card

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Project construction new TC center Soceteni, Moldova

It has been several years since we visited Teen Challenge in Moldova. In addition to the existing men's and women's center in Falesti, we also visited the newly opened men's rehab house in Soceteni, just outside the capital Chisinau.

It is a very old country house, which has served as decor in several movies. The house was donated by the mother of one of the guys who went through the existing Teen Challenge program and got a new life!

Jura (2nd left in photo), who leads the program, was an addict himself and after completing the program in Falesti, four years ago, he was called to run the new center.

The house is full and in the past few years, many men have found new life in Jesus Christ. Johannes Müller Petersen, the founder of the TC rehab centers and various churches in Moldova, sent out a message that construction has begun for a new men's rehab center on the property of the old farm.

The new center will be about 120 m2 and will have three floors. A gigantic project that requires a lot of money, of course. 👉But what a vision, what faith and hope, and what a miracle that this project is going to take shape!

During the Europe Teen Challenge conference in Prague (beginning of May) we met again with the guys from Teen Challenge Moldova.

Our friend Krijn took a picture with them, he has raised a lot of money for TC Moldova several times with his ice skating fundraisers and they have not forgotten that.

We would like to support and encourage them to continue this project and we hope that you will again help invest in a healthy future for Moldova.

All donations, large and small, are welcome. We look forward to your response!

 If you would like to make a donation, you can do so in different ways, please take note:

  • Send a donation to St. Traveling Light, Papendrecht IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U and mention TC MOLDOVA
  • 💳 Give by card
  • 👉When in the USA, make your tax-deductible gift payable to EEO Inc. Make sure to mention TC MOLDOVA.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Europe Teen Challenge conference Prague

From May 5-8th, we (Krijn, Cora, Jan, Marja) attended the Europe Teen Challenge conference in Prague. The last international conference was in May 2019, so you can imagine the joy to see everyone again.

Staff, students, and volunteers from the Teen Challenge programs from almost all European countries attended! We estimate there were about 250 people.

We set up a large book table and had the opportunity to talk to many friends, to pray together, and encourage one another.

Of course, we received updates on the various ongoing projects and many group pictures were taken 😁 It was really fantastic for Krijn to meet the people behind the projects he did his ice skating fundraisers for.

We also spoke with various people about current needs and projects. So you will see messages about that in the coming months.

We also gave a presentation about running our secondhand shop / coffee house as a community center. We received a lot of positive reactions to our TC Talk.

We really want to let you know that everyone is extremely grateful for the regular help they receive to keep their rehab centers for people with life-threatening problems running. In all of this, Jesus Christ is the answer!

It was also great for us to get so many enthusiastic responses and to see so much gratitude.

We are currently raising money for the men's center in Berdichev, Ukraine. The project of the month in Twinkeltje and de Schor is the men's home in Lithuania. The next project is a new men's home in Moldova.

All donations, large and small, are welcome. If you would like to make a donation, you can do so in different ways:

  • Send a donation to St. Traveling Light, Papendrecht IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U
  • 💳 Give by card
  • 👉When in the USA, make your tax-deductible gift payable to EEO Inc. Make sure to mention which Teen Challenge center you want to support.

Saturday, April 30, 2022

Project maintenance Teen Challenge men's home Berdychiv, Ukraine

The Teen Challenge rehab centers in Ukraine are all running according to the latest reports, including the ones in Berdychiv. Our friend Sergey Romanenko informed us this week that the men's house is pretty full!

Together with the women from the other two centers in the village of Raygorodok, they celebrated Passover. A festive event, despite circumstances, as you can see in the photo.

It's really worth re-reading this blog post about our visit to the men's center in 2019 and the beautiful meeting room/chapel they had just finished.

Sergey always has plans for expansion while at the same time the home is in constant need of regular repairs and maintenance, which is understandable when you live with so many people in one house. We are happy to support him in this and hopefully, you will also want to help.

Let's send them a nice donation for the daily expenses in the men's center and also to be used for maintenance, repair, and expansion plans of the existing building.

Remember that construction and renovation projects also provide work for the men. Work is part of the daily rehabilitation program, in addition to participating in Bible studies and performing household chores.

If you would like to make a donation, you can do so in different ways:

  • Send a donation to St. Traveling Light, Papendrecht IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U
  • 💳 Give by card
  • 👉When in the USA, make your tax-deductible gift payable to EEO Inc. Make sure to mention TC Ukraine - Berdychiv

Friday, April 1, 2022

Project Roma support, Bulgaria

In our previous blog we shared the 'Roma Bread Basket' project in Macedonia. We will stay with the Roma population for a while and reflect on the work of Radko and Nevin Kratsov in Bulgaria.

In their most recent newsletter, they shared about the birth of their third daughter Melissa. We are all thankful that mother and baby are doing well.

Last January Radko and his team were able to distribute tons of warm clothing to more than five hundred families. Currently, the Christian Roma community in Bulgaria is joining forces to help their brothers and sisters in Ukraine.

That is quite remarkable, writes Radko in his newsletter because many Roma are among the poorest in Bulgaria, and yet they are now doing their best to help others in need.

There are several large Roma communities in Kharkov and Kherson. Radko was supposed to give a conference there for about fifty Roma pastors in April, May, and October, but unfortunately, that cannot take place now because of the war. They stay in touch with each other as much as possible!

Conferences, training sessions, and youth meetings in Bulgaria and Macedonia are again on the calendar for the coming months. In his work with YWAM (Youth with a Mission), Pastor Radko focuses first and foremost on the spiritual development of the Roma population. He knows from his own experience that receiving God's love is the beginning of a new life... for everyone!

His personal story can be seen in this very interesting documentary.

Radko provides education and leadership training in Bulgaria and surrounding countries and helps Roma to develop a Biblical view for every area of ​​life: relationships, work, health, finances, etc.

If you would like to support the work of Radko and YWAM in Sliven, Bulgaria, please make your gift payable to: St. Traveling Light, Papendrecht IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U and make sure to mention: ROMA BULGARIA.

👉You can give by card as well.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Project 'Roma Bread Basket' Macedonia

The cost of living is rising everywhere, that's for sure. This is also the case in Macedonia where our friends Sokrat and Lena Apostolovski have been working for many years among the Roma population in Skopje.

We have visited them there several times in the past and seen what a wonderfully encouraging work they do.

Guiding and helping vulnerable families, organizing children's clubs and summer camps, planting churches, and also hosting the annual international Roma conference.

Poverty is still a problem in this community and Sokrat and Lena offer support where possible.

They have started up another project for the coming period, project 'Roma Bread Basket'. This project must ensure that seventy Roma families have at least one meal a day, as well as practical groceries such as soap, shampoo, and toilet paper.

The shopping packages are put together and delivered by young people from the community, so it also creates a bit of employment and structure within the Roma community.

We would like to help Sokrat and Lena to set up this 'food bank' initiative. It is nice to see how people in every country stand up to help others through small-scale initiatives. We applaud that!

If you would like to make a donation, you can do so in different ways:

Send a donation to St. Traveling Light, Papendrecht IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U. Make sure to mention: ROMA.

💳 Give by card

Thank you!

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Year report, project of the month, and emergency fund

We have shared it on social media recently: 2021 was an excellent year for  Traveling Light. Significantly more (50%!) donations were received than in 2020, so we were able to support a large number of projects.

A short (financial) annual report can be found on our website. More than 119,000 euro in donations came in, compared to 77,800 the year before! A result for which we are extremely grateful. Without your help, supporting dozens of projects across Europe would not have been possible.

We are confident that you will continue to support us in 2022, no matter what happens in the world. Giving is a blessing. Giving makes rich!

The monthly project in Twinkeltje and De Schor is Teen Challenge Winiarczykowka in Poland. All proceeds from sales this month will go to this loving home for displaced and troubled people.

A number of people have asked whether we are raising funds for emergency aid for people in Ukraine.

Europe Teen Challenge (most of the rehab centers and shelters that we support are part of ETC) has opened an emergency fund. It is our prayer that all centers will be able to operate, such as Bertine House in Poltava (see photo, shelter mothers and children).

Within Ukraine, temporary shelter is also provided for refugees from Kiev and a number of other large cities.

Financial support will also go to the bordering countries where Teen Challenge centers offer refugees temporary shelter. So you can donate via ETC or via Traveling Light, clearly mention Ukraine.

If you would like to make a donation, you can do so in different ways:

  • Send a donation to St. Traveling Light, Papendrecht IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U
  • 💳 Give by card
  • 👉When in the USA, make your tax-deductible gift payable to EEO Inc. Make sure to mention which Teen Challenge center the gift is for.