Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Historic meetings in Israel

The new salon in the women's home
Traveling Light loves to be there when new ideas are being born, when projects are getting launched and when old dreams are being revived. It is at such moments that we have an opportunity to encourage, bless and inspire and often give a financial gift. In doing so we sow seeds in fertile ground and in due time we will see the fruit! Never forget that your gifts are so much more than money; they help to change lives, to build the Kingdom of God and to write history.

So it was with the women's home in Arad, Israel. Director of Teen Challenge Israel, Polly Sigulim, walked around with the dream for a women's home for years, but it took a long time before it came to pass. About three years ago she visited us in our home in Southern California and she shared her dream with us. When we heard her story we knew it would become a reality, one day. This past weekend we looked back at our meeting then, and realized... a lot has happened since she shared her dream with us.

Back porch with playground for kids
About a year ago the Ark in the Negev officially opened. A beautiful home where women (and their children) with life controlling problems are welcome to stay. Not for a few days, but for twelve months. The first year has been difficult for Polly and her staff and volunteers. Several women came and went, but they couldn't make the commitment to stick to the program. Some women even left the program after several months, to go back to their street life. Why? No one knows. But we DO know that God will send the right people at the right time and that the door at the Ark is open.
A gift from the USA made it possible to open up a real beauty salon at the Ark where the women can learn to become a hair dresser. Volunteer Barbara is a certified teacher.

New lounge set & bird cage!
Last year we were able to donate 1,500 euro for the purchase of a lounge set and the repair of the porch cover. No earth shaking gift, maybe not even worth mentioning; but we can say that the money has been used wisely and reaches much further than we can ever imagine. Last weekend we were seated on the new chairs, in the shade, and met with the pastor of a Messianic congregation and a group of Christian Arabs from Nazareth. Together with Polly they are working on a project to improve education among Bedouin tribes in the Negev area. We will share more about this in the near future. When we heard them talk and when we prayed together, we just knew it... something new is being born here. The Holy Spirit is moving and gathering His workers from among all peoples and nations to begin a work that will make history. Dear friends, this is so exciting! This is exactly what we love to be a part of, and through your gifts and prayers you can be part of it too.

Practical help & spiritual encouragement go hand in hand
Jan did several small repairs around the house and on the cars. In the meantime I brainstormed with Polly about some creative ideas that could bring in some money for the Ark. No doubt we will be able to take on a project or two for the Ark. So, keep an eye on this blog.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

News items & prayer

Enjoying the shade

Shalom! Greetings from Israel. We are enjoying a shady afternoon on the porch in kibutz Metzer where we are staying with our friends Nahum & Nomi. We can't think of a more enjoyable place right now for relaxation and a little work ;) From here, we just love to share the following news and prayer items with you:
Prayer meeting with Brian & the volunteers
  • Yesterday we spent the whole day at the food bank in Netanya, Israel, where we volunteered with Brian Slater. Last year we were able to donate 3,000 euro for the set up of this new food bank. Remember Mara, the little blond 5-year old who baked and sold muffins for this project? Now, we have seen with our own eyes how the new food bank operates, thanks to Brian's hard word, the help of many volunteers and the gifts you provided. The people were lining up outside long before the food bank opened. Brian lets 5 people in at the same time, after they show their welfare ID cards. Then he talks with each person, blesses and comforts them and shares a joke. He truly makes everyone feel comfortable and loved. He uses many languages: Hebrew, Russian, English, Yiddish. Spanish etc. In the meantime we packed hundreds of bags with dry foods and had time to talk with the people, hug them and even pray with Aleksander, who was very said and missed his wife who passed away recently. In the evening we prayed with the whole team for the work being done among these, often poor and lonely, people of Netanya. The group of volunteers that day came from Holland, USA, Uzbekistan, Romania, Cuba  and Norway. Next week we will go and help in the soup kitchen.
  • During the 3rd quarter of 2012 we were able to donate (as in the 2nd quarter) more than 1,500 euro towards our project Stepping up 4 Serbia, wow! That is awesome. We recently received a newsletter from Teen Challenge Serbia with two testimonies of changed lives. The work goes on, despite the difficult times. The directors Sasa & Svetlana Ivanovic are very thankful for the help they are getting from Traveling Light. "We feel we can finally see the light at the end of a dark tunnel. God has not forgotten us...", Sasa wrote in a recent email. We hope to meet up with them again at the end of November, during the Teen Challenge Fall leaderships Conference in Slowakia.
  • The 5,000 euro for our project Coffee Bus TC Czech Republic is almost in. We have set our eyes on several really GOOD second hand buses, which are must cheaper when purchased in Germany. We are looking for contacts in Germany who can handle the necessary paper work to export such a bus to Czech Republic.
  • For our next project we will take you to Macedonia! A country (region) with a strong biblical history. Nowadays a third of the population is muslim and two third Macedonian orthodox. Evangelical christians make up 0,5% of the population. Needless to say this is fertile ground for sharing the good news. We will share more about this, soon!
Practical things to pray for: a spiritual breakthrough at Teen Challenge Serbia, protection for Brian and his family, the purchase of a good bus for TC Czech, wisdom and the leading of the Holy Spirit in choosing our next projects, more supporters for Traveling Light!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Shared joy is double joy

Marjan showing his new teeth

Now, this is definitely something that makes us really happy... and we hope it will do the same for you! Marjan shows his brand new teeth.

Do you remember that a few months ago we asked for your help, on behalf of one of the graduates in Teen Challenge, Slovenia? Project Teeth for Marjan is one of those things we just LOVE to do at Traveling Light: paying attention to individual people. After a bizarre life of addiction, homelessness and crime Marjan ended up at the doorstep of Teen Challenge, more dead than alive. Eighteen months he stayed in the program at the Dennis Griffith house in Nova Vas, Slovenia where he learned to live, to hope and to dream all over again.

So proud, so happy...
After his graduation from the program, Teen Challenge helped him to go back to work. It was his desire to go to the dentist for some major dental work. Well, we can say that appointment has changed him to the point where we hardly recognized him (look at the old picture one more time to see the difference). In this simple manner we have been able to help someone, who has been rescued from the pit by God, restore his dignity. Part of the bill has been paid by the other men in the program (YEAH!) and the rest, we were able to donate thanks to your gifts. A HEARTFELT THANKS to all of you, on behalf of Marjan.

Helping one person on a world wide scale of pain and suffering... does that make a difference? Yes, it does! Just imagine him being your son, brother,husband, friend or father...

In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents [Luke 15:10]