Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Gift for Saraj church in Skopje, Macedonia

Sokrat & Lena Apostolovska
During our recent visit to our Teen Challenge friends Jonatan & Valentina Vlaisavljevic in Macedonia, we had the opportunity to speak in different evangelical churches. We were very thankful for that!

Some statistics reveal that in Macedonia about 65% of the population belongs to the Eastern Orthodox church, 33% to Islam and a very small percentage to the Catholic and Evangelical church. At the moment about thirty churches are members of the Evangelical Unity in Macedonia.

When we arrived at Skopje airport, Jonatan and Valentina were there to pick us up. There was no time to waste :) and they drove us straight to the city of Veles, where Jan shared the Word in the evangelical church. The next evening we shared the Word together, in the church in Shtip and on Friday night we met with pastor Sokrat and Lena Apostolovska of the Saraj church in Skopje. They received us in their living room with homemade pizza, warm hospitality and lots of humor. They told us about the work they are doing among Gypsy children in Skopje.

Christmas gifts for the children
Most of the Macedonians don't go to the Gypsy quarter (the largest Roma ghetto in the world) and most of the Gypsy's will not go outside their city quarter. However, Sokrat and his wife started a Bible club for the Roma children years ago and it kept growing and growing. They started to organize summer camps as well, as they do in most of the Eastern European countries (remember what we wrote about the summer camps in the Ukraine?) because most people never go on vacation. In due time they got to know some of the parents a little better. That is how the church started. By the way: Saraj means 'palace' in the Turkish language.

We listened to the stories of these sweet people with awe and wonder. It is really incredible how a door has been opened for them to serve among the Roma children and to share the good news about Jesus Christ with a group of people that is often looked down upon. By helping these kids to read and write, they give them a chance to have a high school and maybe even a college education. This will help to break the cycle of poverty and lower the unemployment rate. Wonderful!

Praying together
The extreme ice skating event of Krijn Donk brought in 1,450 euro. An absolute awesome job, both for Krijn and all our supporters of course. We want to donate this gift towards Sokrat and Lena, for their work among the gypsy children. We surely hope to visit them and the Saraj church again in 2013.

We are happy and thankful for the ice skating fundraiser that was organized by our board member Cora Donk. Our heartfelt thanks to everyone who gave towards this project.

Let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth
[1 John 3:18]

Saturday, January 26, 2013

200 km ice skating for Traveling Light

Krijn finishes after 200km

Hooray! Krijn did it, what an awesome accomplishment: two hundred kilometer ice skating within nine hours. Who can do such a thing?

He finished the race with a new personal record. Last year his average speed was 22,92 km/hr and now, under much more difficult circumstances because of the poor quality of the ice and smaller laps, 23,01 km/hr. Of the more than thousand people who participated in that race, he finished 23rd. Wow. Last year he came in 182.

Everyone, thank you for your pledges for this fundraiser. More than 1,000 euro has been pledged, and gifts are still coming in (see current news in the sidebar, at the top of this blog) so we will announce the exact amount next week. All proceeds will go towards work among Gypsy children in Skopje, Macedonia. We will write more about that in the next post.

All pledges can be donated here:
Rabo bank nr. 1185 82 275 St. Traveling Light, Papendrecht, The Netherlands
IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275
Please make sure to mention ICE SKATING

Monday, January 21, 2013

6,000 euro for Project Fence Onyfrievka, Ukraine

Winter woodpile at Onyfrievka house

2013 has barely started and we already have lots of fun things (read: good news) to share with you. In the first place we are very happy and thankful that we are able to donate 6,000 euro towards Teen Challenge Ukraine, for project fence men's rehab home Onyfrievka.

It is absolutely awesome how fast the gifts for that project came in. We are planning to visit Ukraine later this spring. At the rate they have been working there, we will probably see the men's home open and we hope to take some new pictures then. For now: thank you so very much for your donations. This house will be a blessing for many men and their families, as they will find deliverance from their addictions, healing of their pains and an encounter with the love of Jesus.

Marathon ice skater Krijn Donk
In our previous blog post we wrote about Krijn Donk who is going to skate 200 km on the Weissensee in Austria. Up till now 575 euro has been pledged towards this marathon skating event. We would like to donate all proceeds of this fundraiser to pastor Sokrat and Lena Apostolovska. They have started a church in the Gypsy quarter of the city of Skopje, Macedonia. This is the largest Roma ghetto in the world! Last week we were there for a visit... well, we will write about that in a next post. Pastor Sokrat & Lena are doing a marvelous work among Gypsy children. They teach them reading and writing and tell them about Jesus. Through the kids they can reach out to the parents. We would love to support them in this work.

Besides our Extreme Ice Skating fundraiser, we want to announce our next project. Do you remember we raised money for Teen Challenge Czech Republic, for project Coffeebus? Well, buying and importing a second hand city bus was more complicated than we first expected. So, we all started looking for a minivan or motor home. In the meantime they received some more gifts towards this project and last week they were able to purchase a motor home which will be used as a mobile coffeehouse for outreach purposes. Hooray! Photo's will follow soon. Right now they are still in need of 1,500 euro for winter tires, logo's and adjustments to the interior. This will be a great follow-up project for Traveling Light. We have plans to visit Czech Republic in April, so we will be able to see the bus with our own eyes :)

Well, as you can see we have many plans and projects. We just came back from a vision trip to Macedonia. We will write more soon.

All gifts are welcome, please make sure to specify whether ICE SKATING, FOLLOW-UP COFFEE BUS or GENERAL
Rabo bank nr. 1185 82 275 St. Traveling Light, Papendrecht, The Netherlands
IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275

Monday, January 14, 2013

Extreme Ice skating for Traveling Light

It's winter in Europe and many people are sharpening their ice skates. Next week will be the 25th time that AEW (Alternative Elfsteden-tour Weissensee) organizes their skating events on the WeissenSee in Austria.

Many marathon ice skaters from Holland will challenge the cold, snow and ice and enter the 200 km (!) (which is about 125 miles) long race. Our friend Krijn Donk will enter this extreme race on the WeissenSee and we think that he is very brave!

Krijn wants to use his skating skills and endurance to fund raise for Traveling Light. We are of course super happy with this idea :) It is possible to sponsor Krijn in different ways:
  • pledge a certain amount for finishing the race
  • pledge a certain amount per kilometer accomplished
  • pledge a certain amount no matter what his result will be
Krijn at the WeissenSee in 2012
You can follow the race at the AEW website and they will have a webcam operating next week. As a sponsored non-profit we will be listed on their website. Of course all proceeds will go to one of our projects. We would love for many people to encourage Krijn and sponsor him and thus helping Traveling Light. You can start by spreading the word about this extreme winter event. Copy the above logo and mention the link to this news item on your weblog, Facebook page or in an email to friends and family.

You can send in your pledges by:
Telephone: 078-6411882 (Board member Cora Donk)
E-mail (

You can donate your pledge right now, or after the race on January 25th 2013. The bank account number is 1185 82 275 St. Traveling Light
IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275
Make sure to mention Ice Skating Event

So, what do you think. Will he finish the race or not????

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Fun events

As promised a blog post about the fun events that some of our supporters organized during the last week of December. Events that brought in quite a sum of money for Project Fence Onyfrievka, Ukraine. We hope this will inspire you!

The Donk Family
On December 29th Krijn Donk celebrated his 50th birthday with a party for family and friends. He decided to place a collection bin for Traveling Light at the party. At the end of the evening they were able to donate 350 euro towards our project. Awesome, thank you very much.

Christian church De Hoeksteen in Etten-Leur (yes, yes, the church where they cut Jan's pony tail) decided to give their Christmas Eve collection to Traveling Light. They donated 850 euro towards our project for Teen Challenge Ukraine. Thank you so very much.
The Stehouwer Family

Krijn was not the only one celebrating a birthday. Arjan Stehouwer and his brother Chris Stehouwer celebrated their birthdays with an outdoor winter garden party. They also placed a collection bin for all to see, we received 488 euro towards the Onyfrievka project. Wow, what a great idea guys, thank you very much. Here's a cute picture of Arjan and his family. Chris is way too handsome to put on a blog, and besides that.. he's dating someone :)

We also received a beautiful Christmas card from our long time Californian friends, better known as the Biddle family. They emptied their pockets right before Christmas and surprised us with 300 dollars towards this project. You should have seen our faces when we opened the envelop. Thank you dear ones!

These are just some of the fun ways people have come up with in order to help us fund raise. We are happy and thankful of course with ANY gift that comes in, no matter how, whether it is 5 or 500 euro. We might as well put you all in the spot light :)

It is our goal to keep our overhead costs as low as possible, also in 2013, so your donations will actually go to the projects. In 2012 we were able to donate more than 30.000 euro and the cost for international banking was 212 euro. All other expenses and costs were paid out of private funds. 

All right, enough about numbers and money. It's all about having a generous attitude and joyful giving, which will bless everyone involved. That is our prayer for you in 2013: May the Lord bless you abundantly.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Photo's project heating system Teen Challenge Macedonia

Firewood ...

We thought it would be fun to start the new year with some pictures of our project heating system Teen Challenge Macedonia. Back in November 2012 (yeah, it is not that long ago) we asked your help for the purchase of a new wood heating system at the house/office of Teen Challenge Macedonia.

The gifts came in like a flood and quite soon after our appeal we were able to donate 2,500 euro for this cause. Within a few weeks we received some pictures from Jonatan Vlaisavljevic... and, well, they speak for themselves.

New water heater
They were able to lay their hands on a huge stack of firewood and in the meantime someone came to install the new wood heater, water heater and necessary pipelines. As in most Eastern European countries the central heating system in the house is now operating through a wood heater that warms up the water heater. This is much more economical than electric heating.

Happy or what?
Thanks to your quick response and generosity they were able to install this new system. Later this month we hope to be in Skopje for a few days, so we will be able to see it with our own eyes. Hopefully we will be able to share some more news and prayer points about the outreach work in Macedonia. Keep an eye on this blog if you don't want to miss any updates. Do you know that you can sign up for updates by email? Please, check the right side of this blog.

PS: What a glorious beginning of a new year! In one week we received more than 4,000 euro (!) towards our project fence Onyfrievka, Ukraine. WOW! There have been some fun events over Christmas that brought in a lot of money, we will share a bit about this in the next blog post.

We hope and pray you will continue to support Traveling Light in 2013!