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!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Long awaited update

It has been a while since we updated this weblog. That doesn't mean we've been lazy or inactive :) It is our great joy to share the following news with you:

Onyfrievka property
Over the past month a steady stream of gifts came in, all dedicated to the Teen Challenge Onyfrievka project in Ukraine. Small gifts, large gifts, surprising gifts and spontaneous gifts. We are super happy to announce that we have passed the € 6.400 mark here in Holland! Isn't that awesome? We are striving to collect the needed 10.000 euro's that are necessary in the first place to purchase the property in Onyfrievka. We will be planning a trip to the Ukraine soon, but we NEED to have the 10.000 to take with us :)

For those in Europe who would like to help us, you can donate to our Dutch non-profit, see the FAQ's tab at the top of this weblog.
For those in the USA who would like to help us, you can give your tax deductable donation HERE, make sure to mention Onyfrievka.

Dennis Griffith House, Slovenia
Next week Thursday Jan is planning to hop on his BMW motorcycle and go to Slovenia, where he will visit Matjaz & Magadalena Horjak. The Teen Challenge center is up and running since last winter and they always need encouragement, whether it is in the form of practical help, financial support or spiritual uplifting. Of course we will post about this trip on this weblog and share some photo's of the new Dennis Griffith house.