Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Europe Teen Challenge Fall Meeting, Hlohovec, Slovakia

We just came back from a visit to Slovakia. A while back we received, through Europe Teen Challenge, an invitation to attend the Fall Leadership Meeting in Hlohovec. A wonderful opportunity for us to meet the country directors from all over Europe in one weekend.

After care house, Gutes Land, Germany
We decided to drive all the way to Slovakia, so we could spend the night at Teen Challenge Gutes Land in Vilsbiburg, Germany. We were welcomed by three happy and grateful men, who currently live in the after care house, that we also gave a donation for. In the meantime they were able to find jobs (hallelujah) nearby, so they are gaining more and more responsibility. Wednesday night we were invited to share the Word with the twelve (!) guys that are currently in the program, a full house for sure. We also visited a company that imports and exports second hand citybuses. The owner turned out to be very friendly and willing to help us finding a bus for Teen Challenge Czech.

Teen Challenge Sered, Slovakia
While at the conference in Slovakia we visited the Teen Challenge children's home and men's home + re-entry house. Wonderful to see such work in action. During the weekend we were grateful for the opportunities to talk with many of the people behind our projects, such as Sasa & Svetlana (Serbia), Matjaz & Magdalena (Slovenia), Peter Ministr (Czech) and Jonatan & Valentina Vlaisavljevic (Macedonia). They send their greetings to all of you! We also met some new faces and were greatly encouraged to hear that in all corners of Europe new initiatives to share the gospel with the down and outcast are popping up. God is calling people everywhere to put their hands to the plow, no matter how small the work may seem. We heard of new plans in Malta, Finland, and Austria. Small scale projects that we just LOVE and that need a lot of encouragement.

Our Project Coffee Bus Czech Republic turns out to be a bit more complicated than we first expected. There is a law in Czech Republic that says buses older than eight years cannot be imported. We will further discuss with Peter Ministr what to do now. Maybe we can purchase a smaller passenger van or a camper, although there seem to be age restrictions for these vehicles too. Please pray with us that we will be able to somehow help them set up this mobile coffee house to be used for outreach purposes.

Prayer for TC Macedonia
Our Project Heating System Macedonia is going well... we have almost reached our goal. The Teen Challenge house in the city of Skopje is currently heated using electricity. This is not very economical. Most of the houses in Macedonia are heated with the help of a wood burner that transfers heat throughout the house. As soon as we are able to donate the 2,500 euro needed for this project, a contractor will come to put in a new heating system. We are confident this will take place before winter starts.

We are so thankful, and we see it as an honor to deliver donations, prayers and greetings wherever we go!

Friday, November 16, 2012

News items & prayer

We have gathered some news items and prayer requests and, as we often twitter: it's all good news at Traveling Light :)
  • In a very short time we have received  more than 1,000 euro for our Project Heating System Teen Challenge Macedonia. so that project is going very well. Please pray that the outreach work in Macedonia will bear much fruit!
  • Womy Equipment Supplies in Holland has a beautiful M.A.N. bus (1996) for sale that we would like to purchase for our Project Coffee Bus Teen Challenge Czech. Jan will go there next week to take some pictures and get some more information. We want to bless Teen Challenge Czech Republic with this bus. Please pray that we will be able to get a good deal and that there will be enough money to get the paperwork and insurance done and to fill it up with diesel.
  • Next week we will drive to Hlohovec in Slovakia. We will visit the Teen Challenge Fall Meeting, where many European directors will gather. It is a great opportunity for us to meet many people all at once.
  • On the way to Slovakia we will visit Teen Challenge Gutes Land in Germany, where we are always welcome to spend the night. There are currently three men living in the after care house that Traveling Light donated some money for earlier this year. Please pray for a safe journey.
  • A while back we received a thank you note from pastor Gerard Lewerenz from Fels in der Brandung Evangelical Church in Ludwigslust, Germany. His writing is a great encouragement for us and we hope you will experience this as well: "Greetings from Ludwigslust... I will let you, and your whole team, know that we are really, really thankful for all the things the Lord did through you in the lives of our people, your teaching and the worship touched all people during the whole weekend. It was a spirit filled and life changing weekend conference. Thank you so much for all the things you did, for all the love and energy you put into this weekend. We will never forget this incredible time."

We often emphasize that our projects are small-scale, but at the same time we can see that the area of influence Traveling Light has, is growing and expanding. You can certainly help us too, by sharing this weblog with others or by telling them about our Facebook page.

Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
[1 Corinthians 15:58]

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Project Heating System Teen Challenge Macedonia

Jonatan Vlaisavljevic, Director TC Macedonia 

The next project we would like to sponsor brings us, again, to a former Yugoslavian country: Macedonia. During the Europe Teen Challenge conference last April we met Jonatan Vlaisavljevic... yeah, try to pronounce that last name without hesitating.

Jonatan is the director of Teen Challenge Macedonia. Teen Challenge is a worldwide organisation of non-profit, faith-based drug and alcohol recovery programs (More info on Wikepedia)

Jonatan lives with his family in Skopje, the capital of Macedonia. The house they live in has three floors: on the first floor is the Teen Challenge office, on the second floor their living quarters and the third floor can be used for re-entry purposes; that is for students who have completed a Teen Challenge program and are getting ready to get back into society. Currently, there is no residential program due to heavy financial crisis. However, they are still going full speed with what they have: Turning Point Ministry, day program, church services, teaching, evangelism etc. This way they can reach people who need help and often have never heard of the HOPE they can have in Jesus Christ. In Macedonia most people are either Muslim or belong to the Orthodox Church.

House/office/re-entry in Skopje
With the European winter fast approaching they need wood for their current heating system, but also a new heater, boiler and water drain system. The estimated cost will be around 2,500 euro. We love to offer help  by taking on these extra costs. We want to do this as an encouragement to Teen Challenge Macedonia, inspiring them to continue their much needed work among their country men. Do you want to help them too?

We are very happy to be in contact with a Christian community in Macedonia, a country that has a rich biblical history and significance. The apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 8:1-2, And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.

P: We are planning to go to the Teen Challenge European Fall Meeting in Slovakia, where we will have a chance to catch up with Jonatan on the latest happenings.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

5,000 euro for coffee bus Teen Challenge Czech!

The coffee bus at Teen Challenge IRELAND

HOORAY! At the beginning of each month it is always fun to see new funds coming in, At Traveling Light we love the excitement of counting the blessings you've sent us... and yes, the 5,000 euro for project coffee bus Teen Challenge Czech Republic is in!

We are looking to purchase a second hand city bus in excellent condition that we will donate to Teen Challenge Czech Republic. The bus will be transformed into a mobile coffee house. Actually, Teen Challenge Ireland has such a bus and that inspired and motivated Petr Ministr (the director of TC Czech) to obtain one as well. The bus will be used for outreach purposes: to reach people on the street with coffee, warm soup and a meaningful conversation. A coffee bus is basically the same as a coffee house, but it has wheels! It is a place where the homeless, the drug addicts and the prostitutes are welcome for coffee and where they can hear the good news that Jesus wants to set them FREE! By moving the bus from place to place, more desperate people can be reached.

We are still looking for a good bus and currently we do have an option to purchase one. We will keep you informed.

This project does not end with the purchase of a bus, of course,

  • We need to take care of all customs forms and paper work
  • the tank needs to be filled with diesel
  • we need to drive it to the Czech Republic
  • and the guys at Teen Challenge, Prague, will have to convert the bus into a coffee house

A heartfelt thanks to everyone who helped us to raise funds for this project! To be continued....

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Fun support

You know what makes us very happy? Supporters that come up with surprising and creative ways to raise funds for Traveling Light. It is both inspiring and encouraging to see how gifts come our way.

Last weekend we were in Vriescheloo, which is all the way in the North-eastern corner of Holland, close to Veelerveen (Teen Challenge Netherlands). We combined a visit to Teen Challenge with a speaking engagement I (Marja) had at a women's function in that town. One of the ladies, Marrie Smit, had made some very beautiful flower arrangements which were auctioned off at the end of the day. The proceeds went to... Traveling Light. Isn't that awesome?

And another surprise...
This week we received an email from friends. They had set up a soccer-pool for the big game Feijenoord-Ajax. Somehow, no one was able to predict the outcome of the game, and they decided to give all the money to Traveling Light. Isn't that cool, or what? Thank you all very much.

Coming up:
  • update on our project coffeebus TC Czech
  • planned trip to Slowakia
  • introducing TC Macedonia