Thursday, March 29, 2012

News & prayer

Men @ work!
We send you greetings from Stephan and Marianne Barendse, Teen Challenge De Spetse Hoeve, Groningen, here in Holland. Last weekend we visited them and had such a good time together. As you can see in the picture Jan was able to offer some practical help :)

The spring weather was gorgeous and we joyfully celebrated the first bbq of 2012. We had more than just a good time because we also had a very powerful prayer time together. Many people, programs and needs came up and of course we prayed for all other Teen Challenge centers as well, especially for Serbia.

Don't forget to watch this video, a powerful testimony of one of the guys in the program and spring greetings from Stephan and the team!
Women's center

As far as our project for Teen Challenge Raskrsce, Servië is concerned... Please take a look at the pictures of the women's home, established in 2008. It has cost blood, sweat and tears to build a beautiful home like this. The work must go on, the need is too big to stop this work. Please keep praying for our brothers and sisters in Serbia who are struggling to survive.

Dorm room
We have received several responses to our plea, to temporary step up for Serbia by donating $100 per month. But not enough! Maybe $100 (or 100 euro when in Europe) is too big of a sacrifice for some. We would like to encourage you then: BE CREATIVE! Try to find 4 family members, friends, co-workers or church members who can donate $25. Together it will make $100, enough for another sponsorship. Or maybe 10 people who want to give 10, do it as a team...

Well, you all get the idea. If you want to be a sponsor, send us an email

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Project Raskrsce Teen Challenge, Serbia

Old life ... new life
See the picture on the left? That's Milena... She could be your daughter, your sister, friend of neighbor. Her life has been changed by the power of the gospel, the good news about Jesus Christ. Helping people to step from darkness into light, that's the business of Raskrsce Teen Challenge in Serbia.

In 2000 Sasa and Svetlana Ivanovic opened a home in Serbia for men with serious addictions. They knew that world better than anyone, as they struggled through years of heroin addiction themselves... until they found true freedom! Their hearts desire was to help others and they have been doing so successfully ever since. We have met them on several occasions and were amazed at their powerful testimony. In 2008 they opened a women's facility too. Beautiful homes where men and women are being loved and cared for.
Sasa & Svetlana Ivanovic

Their support comes from churches, individuals and organisations in the USA and Europe. As of January 1st 2012 they lost a big chunk of support ($5000 per month) and unfortunately they had to let some of their workers go, sell two of their vans and they were forced to cut back on salaries as well. Tragic of course, as these homes are their life's work. They quickly got behind on paying their utility bills and recently the gas/electrical company came by to give them a last warning before disconnecting their utilities. All in all a difficult situation, Sasa and Svetlana do not even want to think about closing the homes. Raskrsce Teen Challenge must stay!

Men's home
Their cry for help came to our attention. "'This is the most difficult and challenging time we are going through since we started the centers" said Sasa in a recent email. Well, we have come up with two ways to help...
1) We want to raise 4,500 euro to help them pay their utility bills. The sooner we can send money, the better!

2) We have named the second part of this project: STEPPING UP 4 SERBIA. We are currently looking for 50 Teen Challenge centers (but churches, businesses, families, and individuals are invited too!) who are willing to carry the burden together. We are looking for people who, despite of their own circumstances, have faith to step up for Serbia and donate $100 (or €100 when in Europe) per month as of April 1st, 2012. Your monthly support will be temporary, at least UNTIL new long-term sponsors come forth, which will happen if we keep praying! By helping Serbia to carry the burden it becomes much lighter. The Bible clearly teaches: Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2).

If you are one of the 50 sponsors we are looking for, don't send us any money yet, send us an e-mail as soon as possible at simply saying: Yes, we want to step up 4 Serbia. We have already started the count down. As we are typing this message people are stepping up, we still need 41 sponsors!

We truly believe we can do this together. Shouldn't we treat others as we want to be treated?! We are looking forward to your replies. This is a very URGENT need!

Monday, March 19, 2012

5,000 euro for Teen Challenge Gutes Land!

HOORAY! We have barely recovered from the commotion caused by the fundraiser for Teen Challenge Ukraine, that resulted in a total gift of 2,500 euro and a haircut for Jan, and it's party time again! The 5,000 euro mark for Gutes Land, Germany has been reached.

The money will be used for the construction of a so called after care house, where students who have completed the program will be able to live for a while, before going back to the world. That way they can get used to daily life step by step and still enjoy the safety of the Teen Challenge family and grounds. We are planning to visit Teen Challenge Gutes Land in April, so we will post some more photo's later.

Thank you all for your faithful gifts, gifts that contribute to a better life!

For our next project we will travel to Serbia...

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Greetings from Ljubljana

We received mail from pastor Steve and Barbara from Ljubljana, Slovenia. Remember how we were able to donate 2,500 euro to help them with some of their expenses this winter? Well, they are sending their greetings; here's an excerpt from their latest mail:

"... Just want to say thanks again for your gift. We had a warm home this winter. The ladies have covered their minus from the women's conference and our friend who works with the gypsy children was greatly blessed. This next weekend, we have Ron Brown (the director of Teen Challenge Southern California) here in Slovenia. He will spend some time with Matjaž and Magdalena at the center during the week, then Ron will speak for our first men's gathering Friday night... An update on the women's conference in Serbia in April: they already have approximately 700 registrations. In June, the men's gathering in Serbia will take place. I will send more info to Jan soon. Trust you are well. Please let us know when you will be visiting our region! Blessings from Slovenia!"

By the way:
* We still need 200 euro for our project Teen Challenge Gutes Land, Germany
* Our next project will be Teen Challenge Serbia, where there is a huge need for support!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Successful fundraiser for Teen Challenge Ukraine!

This past Sunday morning Jan walked, without any suspicion, through the doors of De Hoeksteen church in Etten Leur. He gets invited to speak there on a regular basis...

The dear folks at De Hoeksteen, however, knew about our latest project, the sponsoring of the annual Teen Challenge Conference in Kiev, Ukraine. We had shared with them our desire to sponsor people from all over Ukraine by paying part of the cost for the conference. We had set our goal at $1,350 and Jan had offered to cut off his ponytail if that amount would come in before the conference. Well, what do you think? The offering during this Sunday morning service was more than $2,800, which De Hoeksteen gladly donated towards our project! YES!

Rene from Acolite, Breda
To make this an even more special morning De Hoeksteen had invited one of the best hair dressers in Holland to come and cut off Jan's ponytail. Under the artistic hands of Rene, from Acoli Elite in Breda Jan received a brand new haircut and that after 35 years.... go figure :)

New Jan :)
Together with the gracious gifts we already received from you all, we are able to donate $3,300 towards Teen Challenge Ukraine, what a wonderful, warm gift of love and encouragement. We will post more news and photo's in April, after we have visited the conference in Kiev.

By the way, Jan spoke about practical faith that morning, about adding actions to our faith. Well, all of our faithful supporters have certainly understood that. Thank you all, thank you De Hoeksteen!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

News & prayer

We have gathered some news, prayer items and photo's (!) for you on this blog. Please keep an eye on our writings this week, as we will give you news on the gifts thermometers for project Gutes Land, Germany and project Annual TC conference, Ukraine.

Teen Challenge the Spetse Hoeve in Groningen, sent us some more photo's of their newly installed fire distinguishers.  Thanks to  your donations the fire safety is up to code again at the Spetse Hoeve!

We have purchased our tickets to fly to the Ukraine. We hope to be in Kiev from April 5-9 2012. We will attend the annual conference and visit with Sergey and Mariana, who are also planning to visit Onyfrievka with us, where we will be speaking in the church.
We received a newsletter from Ark in de NegevIsrael. For security reasons we will not post anything on this weblog, but if you would like to receive the newsletter, please email us. There are currently three women in the program, please pray that will find peace and hope! Pray also for the volunteers who are working there. A team from Teen Challenge Chech Republic went to visit and worked on building a beautiful white fence!

Dirk Hellmann, the director of Teen Challenge Gutes Land sent us some more photo's, taken on the farm in Germany. We often talk or write about 'projects' on this blog, but basically this is all about PEOPLE! Behind every face is a story and a future. Faces are the heart of our projects. So, here is a great pic of the guys in Gutes Land. Awesome, right?!

Last week we received a newletter from Teen Challenge in Serbia. They had to lay off four of their paid workers  because a big sponsor couldn't support them anymore. They lost 25% of their support as of January 1st. This is a huge discouragement for the directors Sasa & Svetlana Ivanonic and their staff and students. Teen Challenge Serbia has a men's and a women's home. We don't know yet how we can help them with Traveling Light, but we DO know that we can pray! Please, pray with us that new sponsors will arise, that more than the lost 25% will recover and that this year will be a year of growth and favor. Will you help us?