Thursday, April 28, 2011

Conference Ludwigslust, Germany

Ludwigslust Castle
Well, slowly this new weblog is getting it's proper form :) As you can see we have added a subscribe by e-mail button in the sidebar. If you sign up with your e-mail address you will be notified through feedburner each time a new post appears on this blog.
In the first week after announcing our first project, the Teen Challenge home in Ukraine, we have received almost 1000 euro's in donations here in Holland! Wow! We are happy with such a great response and are confident we will reach our goal soon!

Tomorrow morning we will leave on the BMW R1100GS for Ludwigslust, Germany, a small town in the north east of Germany, a seven or eight hour ride! We will be speaking and giving some work shops at a weekend conference in a small church, Fels in der Brandung. We have visited this church last summer and were received with such love and kindness that we are very excited to go back there! Churches in that part of former Socialist Germany do experience a lot of resistance. We will be happy if we can let our light shine!
Have a great weekend everyone. Peace!

Friday, April 22, 2011

First project!!

Rehabilitation home in Onyfrievka
During the Europe Teen Challenge Conference we had several talks with the directors of Teen Challenge Ukraine, Sergey and Mariana Glushko. A young and dynamic couple that have a heart for those suffering as a result of drugs and alcohol addiction. Sergey knows what the power of God can do in such a life, he was a drug addict himself and is now totally free!

Sergey told us about his dreams and vision and, we must admit, his enthusiasm is very contagious! Currently there are already six centers in the Ukraine, also an orphanage! There is however a need for more residential homes, so even more former addicts can live, work and study. "The house we are currently looking at is perfect", Sergey told us. "It is close to the church and to the orphanage, it even has apartments where staff members can live and some land so we can start a vegetable garden. It is in the village of Onyfrievka." The house will offer room for an additional 30 people! Just imagine the difference this will make in the lives of people who think there is no hope and no future!

The price of this property is 12,500 US$. We went home and just couldn't stop thinking about it and so this will be the first project we would love to support! We believe it can be done! We already started fundraising in Holland and we are planning to visit TC Ukraine as soon as we have all the support necessary to really bless this young couple! If you're in the USA and feel you want to join us in our efforts, it is possible to give your tax deductible gift HERE. Make sure you mention ONYFRIEVKA UKRAINE!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Visit to Gdansk

During the conference we had time to visit the old city of Gdansk and what a surprise that was! The beautifully restored houses in the old center reminded us of Amsterdam and Copenhagen, same architecture, same atmosphere! It was such a joy to stroll around the old streets (no cars allowed!) with our group and sit down for a well deserved cup of coffee and homemade apple pie! It was also a time to get to know each other better. We got better acquainted with the directors of Teen Challenge Ukraine, Norway, Ireland and Scotland and many more. After the coffee break we visited the Solidaridad museum and learned more about the world famous movement that started right here at the docks. The monument is a tribute to those that lost their lives during the violence. The pillars are three crossed adorned with anchors of hope!

During the weekend we heard many personal stories. Testimonies of God's great power over sin and addiction. People being totally set free after years of drugs and alcohol abuse. Some centers in Western Europe are struggling as a result of liberal government regulations. The availability of free methadon and heroine, social security and good healthcare results in many addicted people becoming functional in their dis-function... and thus reluctant to radically change their lives. On the other hand; many centers are being opened in eastern and northern Europe and the Middle East! I will post more about this soon....

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Country reports

One of our favorite things on the Teen Challenge Conference agenda is the country reports. Representatives from the various Teen Challenge centers throughout Europe give reports of their recent activities and developments, often with the help of a short slide show or dvd. New centers are still being established all over the world.
Worldwide, Teen Challenge currently has 1170 centers in 87 countries and 27 nations are in the development stages of opening a center or coffeehouse.
The first European update report came from TC Slovenia, our favorite European center of course! In the photo you see Matjaz & Magdalena (TC Slovenia), Suzanna (TC Italy) and myself. In the fall of 2010 Slovenia opened her first residential home for drugs- and alcohol rehabilitation and discipleship training, the Dennis Griffith House. According to Matjaz their first winter was difficult, with students coming and going, not being able to commit to a year long program. But as of now they have two dedicated and serious students as well as two staff members: Dejan & Renate!
We furthermore heard news from TC Poland, the UK, Ukraine, Hungary, Portugal and Lithuania. Each country is dealing with specific, sometimes culture related, problems and circumstances, but the solution is the same everywhere:  the good news of Jesus Christ still has the power to change lives, forever!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Europe Teen Challenge Conference 2011

We have a heart for the ministry of Teen Challenge and many of our international contacts came as a result of our involvement as volunteers with this organisation. Every year Europe Teen Challenge hosts an international conference, where staff, students and volunteers come together for a few days. For us it is a great way to meet people, to talk and listen and find out what the needs are in the centers throughout Europe. Is is our desire to visit some of the centers in the coming months and see how we can offer help and encouragement.
This year the conference is being held in Gdansk, Poland. We flew form Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam where we met with the directors of Teen Challenge Holland. It turned out we had booked the same flight! How awesome is that? We had not seen each other since last summer, when we volunteered at the center in Holland, so there was plenty to talk about over coffee at the airport and during the flight.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

We signed the papers...

This morning we signed the official papers that make Traveling Light a registered non-profit here in Holland! Now, we can move on the next step, which is the opening of a bank account at Rabobank, Papendrecht and apply for a ANBI status with the federal tax department. ANBI is what 501(c) is in the USA.
In the meantime we are still working on this blog (as well as on a Dutch version) and an official website. We'll keep you posted!