Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy New Year!

We would like to thank you all very much for the gifts, the love, the support, the prayers and the ideas you shared with us during this first year. We wish you all a happy, healthy, wholesome and most of all blessed 2012!

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

[Matthew 5:14-16]

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Photo's De Spetse Hoeve, Groningen, Holland

Fire alarm installation
Last month we were able to donate 2,500 euro's to Teen Challenge De Spetse Hoeve, Groningen, in Holland. The money was desperately needed because they had to bring the fire safety system on the old farm up to code; orders of the fire department.

Because we are currently not in Holland we asked the directors Stephan & Marianne Barendse to send us some pictures of the work that is being done. We are happy to share 'm with you. Isn't it fun to see your donations at work?

Installation of lightning protection system
The checking of the excisitng fire alarm installation alone costs 750 euro's. They also had a lightning protection system installed on the roof, quite a job as you can see on the photo's.

Teen Challenge De Spetse Hoeve offers 24-hour help for men with all kind of addictions, there are currently 13 men in the residential program. You can check their website HERE and use Google translate if needed. Haha, let us know how that turned out for you.

If you have a friend or family member that is fighting addiction and wants to be free, please contact a Teen Challenge near you! It is often a matter of life and death.

As for us, we are happy that we were able to help them with this financial need and we sure hope we can be of service again in 2012!

PS: The gifts thermometer for Steve & Barbara (ICF), Ljubljana, Slovenia has risen to 2,100 euro's... almost there!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Update & notes

We are in Tonopah, Arizona, USA at the moment, quite a remote area... but wifi nonetheless :) So, here's a few updates on current projects:
  • Since we announced our latest project, the support of pastor Steve and Barbara in Ljubljana, Slovenia, the gifts kept coming in. So far we have received 1,800 euro's for them, which is super! What a great response. It makes the goal of 2,500 euro's suddenly less difficult. What do you think, will we reach our goal before the end of this year?
  • We have removed some sensitive information about the Arad project in Israel, for security reasons. We hope you understand this. There have been some threats from ultra orthodox, so please pray for the safety of Polly and the women involved in the program.
  • As far as the Onyfrievka project in Ukraine is concerned, negotiations to buy the property are still continuing. Please pray with us for a breakthrough in this, so that a new Teen Challenge men's house can be opened asap!
The work we do as Traveling Light is slowly being noticed in Europa and the USA. In recent weeks we have received some very kind and encouraging reports. So, thank you to our supporters, it is only because of your generosity that we can do what we do! Who knows, one day we will incorporate as a non profit in the USA too.

Greetings from Jan and Marja.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Project Ljubljana, Slovenia

As we are nearing the end of 2011, we would like to introduce you to Steve and Barbara Telzerow, the people behind our next project. They are the pastors of the International Christian Fellowship (ICF) in Ljubljana, Slovenia and faithful supporters of Teen Challenge Izhod, Slovenia.

We have met them on several occasions over the past few years and visited their church. The International Christian Fellowship or Mednarodna krščanska skupnost (hey, try to pronounce that without hesitating) was born about 13 years ago in a prayer meeting and currently meets in a rental building in Ljubljana. Although the church is small, they have a great vision for the future of Slovenia. Last year they organized a nationwide outreach with evangelist Nick Vujicic. Nearly 17.000 people attended the events in that week. Many churches came together and worked in unity. Our friends Matjaz & Magdalena Horjak were hosts of the event in the city of Koper and we were just thrilled to hear their stories and we agreed with them that this had to be the first of many events to come. Slovenia 4 Jesus, yes! We just love it when people have a heart for evangelism. Together we can reach a person, a street, a town, a country... yes, the whole world, with the Good News.

The idea began to grow to sow our seeds into the ministry of ICF. When we e-mailed pastor Steve to ask if he had any needs we could help him with, he was greatly surprised. He wrote: “Thank you so much for your letter. It was extremely encouraging to receive. I deeply appreciate you asking about our needs. It has come as a great surprise. I am very rarely asked that question. Thank You.”

Well, being an encouragement to believers; that is certainly our goal! To make a long story short; we desire to raise € 2,500 for Steve and Barbara and ICF. The money will be used to purchase heating fuel for their house, to pay the expenses of a women’s conference they recently helped organize and to support a children’s bible club among gypsy children, which is really exciting. Hey, wouldn’t it be great to be a part of revival in Slovenia? Let’s sow our seed in fertile soil. Let's encourage one another.

For more on the event with Nick,see also:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

2,500 euro for The Spetse Hoeve, Holland!

Hooray, we're celebrating again here at Traveling Light. We have reached another goal: 2,500 euro's for Teen Challenge The Spetse Hoeve in Groningen came in, thanks to the faithful and often surprising donations from our supporters.

Thank you very much; we are very grateful for all of you who helped us to reach this goal, one way or another... whether through your prayers, your encouraging words or your donations. The money will be used to bring the fire safety system in the old farm up to code. We are happy to help 'm pay the bill :)

Things are going very well at Teen Challenge, the Spetse Hoeve. Seven men graduated last summer and there are currently 13 men in the program, all being set free from addictions and becoming disciples of Jesus Christ!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

New website Ark in the Negev

One of the projects in Israel we have sponsored and will continue to sponsor and pray for is the recently opened women's home, Ark in the Negev, in Arad. It operates under the flag of Teen Challenge and we are so honored to be able to introduce this ministry to our supporters in Holland and beyond.

When Polly Sigulim told us a few years ago about her dream to open a center for abused and addicted women (and their children) in Israel, we were thrilled. It took her a lot of work and patience before the center became a reality. We here at Traveling Light are excited that we were able to sow our seed into this ministry and we can only hope and pray we will have many more opportunities to give and so be part of this wonderful work in Israel. We can only do this with the help of your faithful donations, for which we are truly grateful.

You know what is so cool about being part of the Teen Challenge family? We can help each other, worldwide. One of these weeks a team from Teen Challenge Czech Republic will go to the center in Israel for some maintenance and repairs. Is that a blessing for the ladies or what?!

The center has now a web site too, please feel free to check it out at Ark in the Negev.

PS: The gifts thermometer for our project The Spetse Hoeve, Teen Challenge Netherlands has risen to 2,400 euros, only 100 more to go and together we have reached another goal! Our heartfelt thanks to all of you who gave.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Greetings from Slovenia

Staff member Dejan & a student happy with the saw!
About a month ago Traveling Light donated 2,250 euro's (about 3,000 dollars) to Teen Challenge Izhod, Slovenia. The money was needed to purchase firewood and a chainsaw in preparation for the coming winter.

Last week we received a thank you note from Matjaz and Magdalena Horjak as well as some photo's. We just LOVE to share it on this blog, so you all know where the money goes. And besides that... who doesn't want to see such happy faces?

Dear friends,
You, who have donated your financial gifts to TC ministry in Slovenia through Travelling Light thank you sooo much! We really appreciate your help, which enabled us to get wood for the whole winter and a chainsaw to cut it. Thank you for being a part of a ministry which helps to restore broken lifes. Thanks to you we will enjoy a warm winter. :-) We are truly overwhelmed by your compassion and a heart to give. 
Truck load of firewood
May God bless you abundantly in all areas of your life!

In His love 
Matjaž & Magdalena Horjak + TC team

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Update project Spetse Hoeve

We barely announced our new project The Spetse Hoeve, Groningen, or donations started rolling in :) Wow, the gifts thermometer rose to 2,050 euro's in just a few days, that is so awesome.

Our goal is to raise 2,500 euro's needed to pay the recent fire safety bill that was presented after inspection. They will need to purchase new fire extinguishers, fire alarms, camera's and cables, an AID and some other emergency equipment.

Together with Stephan Barendse, the director of the Spetse Hoeve and Teen Challenge Holland, we also came up with a way to bless the guys in the program personally. Each time a student enters the program they receive a pocket New Testament. For many that is the first time they read the good news. After a few months in the program the men receive their own Bible. A good quality Bible costs around 50 euro's. If the Lord puts it on your heart to purchase a Bible for one of the students in the program, you can do so by sending a special gift of 50 euro's to Traveling Light. Make sure you mention 'Spetse Hoeve Bible'. 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Visit Netanya, Israel

During our stay in Israel we not only visited the women's home in Arad, but the new food pantry in Netanya as well. We also volunteered at the existing soup kitchen in Netanya, which takes place every Monday at Beit-Asaph Congregation. When they open their doors many people (some elderly, some single moms, some low income) can come in for a free hot meal, groceries and clothes. Below are some pics we took:
Collecting donated food for the soup kitchen
Lunch with Brian Slater and the volunteers of that day
Sorting, folding and displaying 2-hand clothes
New, to be opened, food pantry in Netanya
Presenting the cheque from Traveling Light
Many thanks, also from Brian Slater, for giving generously for this project. Oh yes, there is another cool photo we want to share with you... in the soup kitchen and food pantry there is always a book table with bibles and other mateial. Since it is forbidden in Israel to evangelize to Jewish/Muslim people, there is a sign at the book table that says 'free to take'. In that way material is not being hand out, but people take it home by choice and that is okay! We found some beautiful bibles there, like this one:
Old and New Testament in Hebrew and Arabic!
While Jan served the people their meal, I had the opportunity to pray with several older people for physical ailments. So much joy was released that two elderly ladies started to shout and sing. It was awesome, God is so good!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Project Spetse Hoeve, Groningen

In the first months since the founding of our non profit organisation, we have been able to financially, practically and/or spiritually support projects/churches in Ukraine, Germany, Israel and Slovenia. It is our goal to stay in contact with the people behind these projects as much as we can.

Stephan & Marianne Barendse
The next project we would like to introduce to you is one in our own country, Holland! As some of you may know, we have good contacts with Stephan and Marianne Barendse from the Spetse Hoeve. A home where men with all kinds of life controlling problems are welcome. The Spetse Hoeve operates under the flag of Teen Challenge and they offer personal as well as group studies and work projects. Stephan & Marianne exchanged their city life in the heart of Amsterdam for a life in rural Groningen, the north eastern corner of Holland. We greatly admire their choice and courage. The Spetse Hoeve has a wood workshop, a vegetable garden, a green house, a  second hand store and a bicycle repair shop.

Teen Challenge Spetse Hoeve
While we were in Israel we had a pleasant talk via Skype with Stephan, the director of Teen Challenge Netherlands, and a few things surfaced that are of interest for our organisation. After a recent visit from the fire department the Spetse Hoeve received a list of things to do in order to keep up with the current regulations. They will need to purchase new fire extinguishers, fire alarms, camera's and cables, an AID and some other emergency equipment. A hefty bill of 6000 euro's! The day Stephan contacted us through Skype was a good day, because they had just received a 3500 euro gift from World Challenge. So... where does that put us? We believe we can raise the other 2,500 euro needed to pay this fire safety bill. We hope you will believe with us.

Is there a better investment than the investment in human lives? What it it were your brother, son, father or husband who needed the help of a rehabilitation program like Teen Challenge? Every life is important, every life counts, every life is valuable. Men's lives will be forever changed in the Spetse Hoeve, and so their families will be forever changed. There is no greater joy!

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
[Matthew 6:19-21]

Friday, October 21, 2011

2,250 euro for Teen Challenge, Slovenia!

It's time to celebrate again here at Traveling Light. Oh, how we love to bring good news: the 2,250 euro (3,000 dollars) for Teen Challenge Izhod, Slovenia came in, thanks to your generosity.

The money will mainly be used to purchase a good chainsaw as well as heating fuel for the coming winter. It is just awesome that we are able to help our friends in Slovenia in this simple and practical way. Let's pray that this coming winter there will be homeless and addicted men who decide to seriously turn away from the lifestyle that is slowly destroying their future and that they will enter through the doors of Teen Challenge.

A heartfelt thanks to everyone who has made this possible!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Visit to Arad, Israel

Women's home Ark of the Negev
While on vacation in Israel, we visited the women's home, Ark in the Negev, In Arad, Israel. Our organisation has been able to donate 1,500 euro's (7,500 NIS) towards this project in Israel and we were honored to visit the house last weekend.

Arad is a desert town, high above the Dead Sea, not too far from Be'er Sheeva. The house is tucked away in a quiet street overlooking the Negev desert. We met with several of the volunteers who are living there at the moment and who will be functioning as house mothers once the first guests will arrive. How wonderful it is to be able to provide a safe house for women and children!

New patio furniture
We were shown around the house, which looks cute as a button. All walls are freshly painted, the rooms clean and orderly with new beds and furniture (a gift from Operation Blessing, the 700 club). Others donated a washing machine and some potted plants for the front yard. 

We shared a wonderful meal together and talked and talked.... We also prayed together for the future of this house and everyone who will enter through the doors. And you know what was so great about the meal we had? Here we were, Jew, Arab and Christian, all with different backgrounds, but united in the name of Jesus!

PS: the gifts thermometer for Teen Challenge Izhod, Slovenia has risen to 2,100 euro's!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Update on Slovenia project

Last Monday we announced our new project: Teen Challenge Izhod, Slovenia. We will be raising 3,000 dollars (or approx. 2,250 euro's)  for the men's center in Nova Vas. They will need this for heating fuel and the purchase of a chain saw (600 euro's).

The gifts thermometer rose this week from zero to 1,300 euro's, which is awesome! We transferred the money for the chain saw, so they can get to work, chopping trees,  before winter comes. Thanks everyone, for helping others, your gifts are greatly appreciated.

Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
[2 Corinthians 9:7]

Monday, October 3, 2011

Project Teen Challenge Izhod, Slovenia

MS 280-L
You may wonder... what in the world is a chain saw doing on this weblog?

Well, you may remember our friends Matjaz & Magdalena Horjak in Slovenia. We have written about their work among the drugs addicts in Slovenia on this weblog and we have visited them on several occasions. After years of preparation and waiting they opened the Dennis Griffith House in Nova Vas, Slovenia, a rental home where men who sincerely want to break their destructive habits can come and enter a year long program, as offered worldwide through Teen Challenge. There are currently three men in the program and Matjaz has been blessed with full time staff member Dejan & Renata Berginc!

The Horjak family
Recently we asked them if they could give us a list of current needs. As many other Teen Challenge programs they largely depend on donations as well as on any income they can make through operating small businesses. In Slovenia the men have a moving company and quite regularly they are asked to remove trees from people's property. In order to do this they have an immediate need for a good chain saw. Matjaz emailed me the page from a tools catalogue to show us the one they want to buy. They will need 3,000 dollars for the coming winter, which is about 2250 euros. Part is for heating fuel and about 600 euro's is for the chain saw.

This is a project Traveling Light would like to take on. Why? Because lives are being changed here, forever! Because we just love small projects like this where people are really working hard to make a difference in this world!

Who wants to join us in raising the needed funds?

For those in the USA, you can donate HERE, make sure to select TC Slovenia at step 2!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

1500 euro for women's home Arad, Israel

Hooray! We're happy again here at Traveling Light. We're happy because we can bring you good news. The 1,500 euro's for Ark in the Negev, a women's home in Arad, Israel, came in.

A heartfelt thanks for everyone who donated for this cause. How awesome that we can support and help Polly Sigulim this way, from Holland. The home was officially opened September 20th and the money we are going to send will be used for the purchase of sturdy deck furniture and much needed repairs of the patio cover.

Polly had the dream to open a home for abused women in Israel for years and now her dream has come true. Within a few weeks we are hoping to visit the new home. We will then post a report and some photo's on this weblog!

In days to come Jacob will take root, Israel will bud and blossom and fill all the world with fruit!
Isaiah 27:6

Monday, September 26, 2011

Weekend Conference Ludwigslust, Germany

Fels in der Brandung
We just came back from a great weekend in Ludwigslust, Germany. Pastor Gerhard from Fels in der Brandung, a small and active evangelical church in the North Eastern corner of Germany, had invited us to come and speak at his church. We gladly accepted his invitation to come and encourage the believers in Ludwigslust and surrounding areas. The last few times we visited were as much a blessing for us as for them! So, we packed the camper and headed east.

Family of God
We picked as theme for this conference: Building Better Relationships. We spoke on the importance and relevance of a relationship with Jesus, who came to communicate grace and truth, with the Holy Spirit who communicates power and with the Father who communicates love. Except for these spiritual relationships, we also spoke about natural relationships, as in husband and wife. Saturday afternoon we watched the movie Fireproof, a very powerful movie when it comes to the marriage relationship. It was subtitled in German, so most people were able to understand what it was all about.

Relaxing and fun afternoon stroll
We were super blessed with a sunny and warm autumn weekend. We took time for a long walk through the castle gardens, an absolute beautiful place to visit! It gave us time to enjoy the outdoors, to stretch our legs and to talk with many people who attended the conference. Pastor Gerhard has a way of inviting people from all over the place, and this time we were blessed to have among us a group of men from Afghanistan and Iran, currently seeking asylum in Germany. They attended the whole conference and heard the message of grace, love and salvation. What an honor to have them in our midst!
New friends from Afghanistan

We were also very happy to have spiritual and practical support from our home town, Papendrecht. Matthijs Goedegebuure came with us and took care of all the praise and worship sessions. Wow, can he sing or what? His songs brought many people to tears, especially when he dug up some old favorites like The old rugged cross and Don Franciso's  He's alive. Piet & Anneke Stehouwer came as well, their presence is always the icing on the cake as their love and kindness is evident in everything they do.

Powerful praise & worship
Sunday afternoon we headed to the Evangelisch Freikirchliche Gmeinde in Putlitz, a small baptist church about an hour away. Jan had the honor to speak there as well. After the service we were invited for a traditional kaffee & kuche fest! Wow, what a hospitality, what a kindness and love and what a great delight for our taste buds :)

We can look back at a great weekend, many people were touched by the love of our heavenly Father. The international fellowship was awesome and the kindness and love with which we were received and welcomed was again outstanding. All the ladies that took care of the food are such a blessing, they made us feel right at home. Special thanks are in place for our translators, we just LOVE working with Julie, Christoph and Thomas! 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Update Womens Home Arad, Israel

Arad, Israel
Today we received an email from Polly Sigulim in Israel that we would like to (partially) share with you all.

Dear Friends, Shalom from ARAD! 
We are thrilled to finally be able to announce to those who have stood with us in Prayer and encouragement that the ''ARK IN THE NEGEV'' is actually OPEN! We are ready to receive our first 'trainees' ! The 'ARK IN THE NEGEV' is a home style, live-in center for Israeli women who are in need of spiritual guidance, disciplining and practical vocational training. This Is a life changing, 'learning program' based on the WHOLE Bible and it's principles. We are happy to invite ALL who wish to join us in blessing this Home, to a 'Dedication to the Lord' evening. We will have an Open House, with a Pot Blessing Dinner and we invite all who come to bring either food or drink. Please join us in celebrating the birth of this new program and adventure that the Lord has put together. For those who wish to bring a 'house warming gift' an indoor house plant would add much and be wonderful for that final 'perfect touch'.

Yes! Things are moving and slowly taking shape. We pray and hope to be able to present Polly and her staff with a gift as well. The gifts thermometer is steadily rising, we have received 1.000 euro's already, so we need 500 more in order to reach the desired goal. The best thing is that within a few more weeks we will be able to see the house for ourselves when we visit Israel.

PS: Please, click on the link below for an interesting article and film about Polly's work in Israel.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Ark in the Negev project

Well, today we transferred the 3.000 euro's for the soup kitchen in Netanya, Israel. With that done, the project didn't come to an end, it's just getting started. We will continue to follow Brian Slater's efforts, who manages the soup kitchens in  Israel. He is ALWAYS in dire need for volunteers, so if you're thinking about visiting Israel, make sure to sign up for a couple of days or weeks of volunteer work. You can email us about details.

The next project we would like to sponsor is also in Israel. May we introduce to you Polly Sigulim. Jan met Polly in 2009 during a seminar in Israel and later that year we both met her during Spiritual Emphasize in Riverside CA, an annual event organized by Teen Challenge Southern California. She then stayed with us in Ventura for a week or so and during that time she shared her dream with us: the opening of a home for battered and abused women in Israel. A safe place for women from all backgrounds (Jewish, Arab, Bedouin, Russian etc.) where they can experience the love of Yeshua (Jesus).

Polly grew up in the USA but has lived in Israel for more than 20 years. She became a widow at a young age and was left with the care for her three small children. She also took in many foster children. Now that her children are adults she really wants to give meaning to her life by helping others in need. We believe in Polly's dream and are happy that now we are able to help her 'officially'. A few weeks ago she e-mailed us that she finally was able to rent a house that would serve as a womens' home. Yes, we are so happy and excited that Polly's plans are beginning to take shape. We asked her for immediate needs and she told us she is getting a lot of help from all over, even from the 700club, which is awesome. However, they still need money to fix the roof of the porch and to purchase patio furniture, so they can have a livingroom outside. Arad is in the Negev desert, so it's always warm. They will need 1,500 euro's for this.

We think that is just the right amount for Traveling Light. We will start fundraising this week for this small scale project that will have a huge impact on the lives of women, mothers, & children in the land of Israel. We are hoping to visit the new home next month.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Money for soup kitchen Netanya comes in!

Hooray, we are celebrating again here at Traveling Light (something we just love to do). Thanks to our faithful partners we were able to raise 3.000 euro's for the new soup kitchen in Netanya, Israel. Yes!

We wrote a beautiful check which we will symbolically present to Brian Slater when we visit him in Israel next month. The money will be transferred through internet banking, so Brian can use it as soon as possible for the new soup kitchen. Again, we were delightfully surprised at the gifts that came in like a life giving stream from all over the place. We even received a gift from the prayergroup at Church of the Living Christ in Ojai, CA. Thank you ladies, we love you and God loves the cheerful giver :)

We hope you all enjoy reading about the projects we want to sponsor. It is almost like we are zooming in at a tiny speck on this globe where people are working hard to make this world a better place. We just LOVE to send them support and encouragement from Holland. Next week we will introduce you to Polly Sigulim, the lady behind the Ark of the Negev project, a house for battered women in Arad, Israel.

As for now we like to wish everyone a great weekend and leave you with a blessing from the Book of Proverbs (11:25):

A generous man will prosper, he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.

Monday, August 22, 2011

5-year old girl starts fundraising

We just want to share with you how the 5-year old daughter of a friend helped us to raise money for the soup kitchen in Netanya, Israel.

Little blond Mara decided that a cupcake sale would definitely bring in some money for this new project that we decided to sponsor. And who would disagree with that? So she headed to the kitchen and, with a little help of her parents of course, started to make some cup cakes. She used colorful decorations to make 'm even look more yummy. Mara then walked the streets in her neighbourhood and sold her homemade cup cakes. Her action brought in 20 euro's, which is an awesome amount for a little girl like that, especially when you're saving up money for a Nintendo.

And you know what we did with the bag of coins she handed us? We prayed over it as Jesus prayed over the loaves of bread and the fish that later fed more than 5.000 people. Anything we put in God's hands will be blessed and multiplied. We pray that many people will receive food and clothing through Mara's act of giving. We are so honored to have supporters like her!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Birth announcement and Israel update

Last week we received news from Dejan & Renata Berginc (Slovenia) that they are the proud parents now of a brand new, healthy and pretty baby girl: Bianca. Dejan is a staff member with Teen Challenge Slovenia. Together with Matjaz Horjak he runs the new men's home in Nova Vas. Dejan used to be a drugs addict himself, he went through the program in Czech Republic, because at that time there was no facility in Slovenia. After finishing the program he had the growing desire to help others as he had been helped. He works in the men's home now and is happily married to Renata. If you want to surprise them by sending them a card or present, please e-mail us for their address at 

As far as the Onyfrievka project is concerned; we are just waiting for all paperwork to be filed. As soon as we receive green light form the Ukraine, we will transfer the money. Please pray that all paperwork will be filed properly and in short time!

Last week we announced the new project we would like to sponsor in Netanya, Israel: equipment for the new to open soup kitchen where Brian Slater will feed the hungry, poor and lonely people of Israel. The first need for this set up is about 3,000 euro's. We are so happy to see that the gifts thermometer here in Holland is rising steadily. As of today we have already received more than 2,200 euro's and we are well on our way to present Brian with this love gift!

"In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive'."
[Book of Acts 20:35]

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Project Netanya, Israel

Now that we have raised the 10,000 euro's (!) for Ukraine we will be introducing our next project. This doesn't mean the Onyfrievka project is a closed chapter, by no means! They are working out the official details and everything that comes with buying a house in Ukraine, so we will wait for the signal to transfer the money. Then, the real work can begin: renovation of the house. We'll keep you updated.

The next two projects we would like to support are a soup kitchen in Netanya and a home for abused women in Arad, both in Israel. We believe it is important for all Christians, as well as for Christian churches and organisations, to support Israel. God told Abraham (one of the patriarchs of Israel) that He would bless those who would bless Israel. Well, we all want to be blessed, right?! So, two projects in Israel it will be. Let's start by introducing the man behind the soup kitchen in Netanya: Brian Slater.

We met Brian a few years ago at a mission night in Jubilee Church in Camarillo, California. He presented a slide show and told the audience about his work in Israel. We felt an immediate connection with him and his work and we have been in contact ever since. Brian was born and raised in a Jewish family in Southern California and later moved to Israel where he met his wife Racheli. They have three children and Brian works through Chosen People Ministries (an American organisation). He manages soup kitchens and clothes distribution centers in Tel Aviv and Netanya, where he feeds hundreds of homeless, poor and lonely people (including Holocaust survivors) every week. He works with a team of volunteers who faithfully help him. We have been supporting him, not just financially, but also practically by translating his newsletters into the Dutch language and distributing them among his support group in Holland. We have visited him in 2008 and a year later, in 2009, Jan went to volunteer in his soup kitchen for a few days.

It is not allowed in Israel to evangelize in public, but behind the doors of the soup kitchen people can be prayed for or take books, bibles or flyers home. They also play worship music and show movies during the meals. In Israel it is as hard for Arabs as for Jewish people to live out their faith in the Messiah. They often experience persecution, criticism and sometimes exclusion from their families. Yet, the number of people confessing their faith in the Messiah (Jesus) is growing every day. Jan witnessed the reconciliation between Arab and Jew in person when he visited Netanya. Jesus is the only one who can bring real peace in people's hearts!

Brian just signed the papers for the rental of a store front building in the center of Netanya where they will open up a soup kitchen. we have asked him for a list of immediate necessities so we can purposefully start fundraising for this project. They are in need of tables, chairs, benches, curtains, coffee makers, banners and a wheel barrow as well as many other things. The most needed items can be purchased for about 3,000 euro's. So we will start all over again and try to come up with the needed funds as soon as possible. That way we will be able to bless the people in Israel and who knows we will be able to do much more in the near future. YES!

We are planning to visit Israel in October and we will certainly go and see Brian and hand him a helping hand in the new soup kitchen. You can click on the following link to see a slide show of the happenings in the soup kitchen in tel Aviv:

For those in the USA who would like to give, please click on the below secure link to give a TAX DEDUCTIBLE gift and don't forget to designate your gift in the special designation box to: The Slater Family in Israel.
By Pay Pal

Thursday, August 4, 2011

10.000 euro's for Ukraine!

We are so happy and thankful, we want to scream it from the roof tops: the 10.000 euro's needed for the Onyfrievka project in Ukraine are here. We have received the necessary gifts towards the purchase of this building and all we can say is thank you, thank you. Praise the Lord! We started our non profit in faith, not knowing where it would lead us or how things would turn out. All we knew was that we wanted to help Sergey & Mariana.

Today, after sending some e-mails back and forth, we talked with Sergey through Skype. There are some details to be discussed with the owner of the house. We will wait for international bank details and then transfer the money. Jan is planning to go and visit Ukraine when all details have been worked out.

The fact that we have reached our goal doesn't mean that we will stop fundraising :) There is a need wherever we look and we have some other projects in mind that we would like to support. More info will follow.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Visit to Vilsbiburg, Germany

One cannot stay angry when singing before God!
Teen Challenge Gutes Land
After Jan's visit to Teen Challenge Slovenia he left for Germany. A five hour drive brought him to the small town of Vilsbiburg, in the vicinity of Munich. Last year we visited Teen Challenge Gutes Land there, upon invitation of the directors Dirk & Meike Hellmann. They showed us around the beautiful farm and told us about the work they do there: bringing hope to the hopeless! The farm gives room to men with life controlling issues. Often it is the first time they truly hear the Gospel and they can experience the life changing power it brings.

Too cute to eat, right?
The centuries old farm currently houses 7 men who are in the Teen Challenge program and two families who work as staff. The program receives part of their income from the pigs they farm and from a kinder garden school they operate and of course from gifts! Local supermarkets and stores that are in favor of the program donate a lot of food which is really wonderful, because feeding 10-12 people three times a day is costly. Dirk travels around the schools in the region to teach drugs and alcohol prevention. In cooperation with Teen Challenge Landshut (a youth center) he is also involved in street evangelism.

Sing & make music for God!
Jan was invited to share a word from the Bible during their Tuesday night meeting. This is always a great way to bring encouragement to both students and staff! As always they started with singing several songs for God. When we do that, something wonderful happens: problems, anger and difficulties disappear during praise and worship. Jan really experienced this in both Slovenia and Germany, one cannot stay angry when singing before God!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Visit to Teen Challenge Slovenia

vegetable garden & chicken coop
When we attended the Europe Teen Challenge Conference in Gdansk, Poland last April we met with our friends Matjaz & Magdalena from Teen Challenge Slovenia and promised to visit them this summer. So, last Thursday evening, after work, Jan took off for a short trip with the sole purpose of encouraging and helping the staff of Teen Challenge in beautiful Slovenia. Although he had planned to go on his BMW motor bike, he had to go by car due to extremely bad weather in this part of Europe.

Communal kitchen & dining room
About a year ago, in April 2010, we visited the newly rented house in Nova Vas. At that time we were able to help with cleaning up the yard and planting a vegetable garden. Last winter the first students arrived, men with serious life controlling issues crying out for help. Currently there are three men in the program, who are serious about following the Teen Challenge curriculum and growing in their relationship with Jesus Christ. Jan was invited to share a message from the Bible each morning during morning chapel. Sharing from the Word of God is as encouraging for Jan as it is for the students, because they are so hungry for God's truth.

hard work under the sun
Teen Challenge operates a moving and cleaning company, so during the day the guys also work. The money earned pays partly for room and board and utilities. This is not a government sponsored program and, as elsewhere in the world, Teen Challenge depends on donations from supporters, churches and other organisations. The truck you see in this picture was donated by a family in California!

Ready for church
On Sunday morning they all attend an Assemblies of God church in Ljubliana, which is about 75 miles away. Why so far? There are not that many evangelical churches in Slovenia, a country that has been oppressed by communism for many years which left no room for God. The official recognized church in Slovenia is the orthodox roman catholic church. It is such a blessing to see these former drugs/alcohol addicts leafing through their Bibles and learning more and more about the life they can have in Jesus! 

Teen Challenge Slovenia is a small ministry. The work seems insignificant on a larger scale: still so many addicts, still so much crime, still so much pain and hurt. But let us not forget that every life counts for the Lord. He cares for the individual, so much so that heaven rejoices over every lost soul that  comes home to Jesus! How awesome is that. God is patient, He doesn't give up. Let us behave likewise. As Jan said: was it worth it to drive 3000 km to pray for someone to be set free from bondage? YES!
Men @ work

A small scale, local project where lives are being changed, one at the time. Although under the flag of Teen Challenge, each center has a responsibility to raise funds and keep things going. A helping hand is always welcome.

From Slovenia Jan drove to Vilsbiburg, Germany, where he visited another Teen Challenge men's home. But we leave that story for the next post.

Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation [2 Peter 3:15]

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Interview with Sergey Glushko, TC Ukraine

Sergey & Mariana Glushko

As you all know by now the first project we would love to support through our Holland based non-profit is the purchase of property in Ukraine, also called the Onyfrievka project. We are currently raising the 10.000 euro's needed to purchase this property. We thought it would be fun and interesting to ask Sergey Glushko, the director of Teen Challenge Ukraine, a few questions. Here we go!

Sergey, can you tell us how you became involved with Teen Challenge (TC)
First of all I’m involved in TC Ministry because I was a drug addict myself. Second, from the year 2000, after God saved my life, I have always been working with people with life controlling problems. The last few years I was really dreaming about transformation in the Ukraine through rehab ministry. Then I met Kevin Tyler (coordinator TC Eurasia) and after a conversation with him I went to TC Poland and then to TC Czech Republic where I found a new way how we can help addicted people. After this trip I received the vision to start TC in Ukraine. Because through this discipleship/rehab program I saw how many people are able to continue to live clean after they leave the program. Many of them become good and great people in society and church.

What are some of the things Teen Challenge is doing in Ukraine?
We serve in 10 methadone clinics where we are doing counseling and motivate the addicted people to start a new life with Christ. We are sharing testimonies and the Gospel with them and invite them to our Coffee Houses and rehab centers.We also serve on the street and train station. This is an area where we try to reach homeless adults and street kids. We lead a Coffee House Ministry. Today we have already 6 Coffee Houses for people with life controlling problems. After they come to the Coffee House we encourage them to enter the Residential Rehab Program.

Today we have more than 10 centers already, who would like to be a part of  the Teen Challenge family. Then we encourage those who are in the program, and will finish soon, to build close relationships with local churches. Because we believe this is one of the keys for them to be strong Christians; belonging to a good and healthy church. Also, we are doing many other trainings, seminars and conferences where we teach leaders and other workers who are involved in Christian ministry. Every year we organize camps for people from rehab centers from all over Ukraine and other countries.

How did you find the property in Onyfrievka?
Kevin Tyler knows one of the pastors in this area for more than 15 years. And in this church they have a few rehab centers, but far away from church and civilization. We started to visit them in 2009 with seminars and training. Later they decided to become part of TC. I recognized that one of the reasons why they always struggled (no support, no result) was because they live far away from people and a church. I started to encourage them to try to find some building close to civilization and close to the church. Finally they found this empty house. And now we have the dream to buy this facility and use it for God’s kingdom.

What are your plans with the property?
We would like to renovate this building, because this house is very empty. And start a rehab center where about 30 people can go through a Christian discipleship program. Also, these people will be involved in local church ministry (Coffee House, orphan shelter and many other activities) and they would like to start some small business with chickens. Through this business they want to raise their support for the center (I think this is great idea!!!).

Any words for your supporters?
I just want to share with you from my heart: We have had this project in our hearts for many years. I know we cannot do anything alone, but with your help, support and participation we can influence many people who are still lost, broken and addicted. Thank you that you believe with us!!! Your participation means a lot for Teen Challenge in Ukraine. Thank you for your investment in many people's lives!

With love Sergey Glushko (Teen Challenge Ukraine).

Thank you Sergey for taking time to tell us a little bit more about Teen Challenge Ukraine. We are believing with you that with God, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!