Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Project study grant Andrii Soloviov

The Soloviov family
We are always delighted and encouraged to hear that a member of our Teen Challenge 'family' wants to pursue a study. Last year we helped Magdalena Horjak from Teen Challenge Slovenia with a study grant, this time we want to support Andrii Soloviov.

Andrii is the director of rehabilitation home Istochnick, Ukraine. Do you remember project WeissenSee? This past February Krijn Donk & Henk Swijnenburg skated 200 km on natural ice and raised 2,500 euro towards plumbing, heating, electrical installation and kitchen in the newly built Istochnick home.

The new home, which they started building back in 2010, will have the capacity to house a large group of people in need of help.

Plastering walls and ceiling
The pictures (Click to enlarge) show how the men are working in the new home. The heating system, plumbing and electrical outlets have been installed. They are currently finishing the tile work. They also ordered a new kitchen stove, but delivery has been postponed due to the circumstances in the nation.

Windows, light, heating...
At the moment three men and two women (with children) are living in the rehab home. As in many places all over the Ukraine we see that addicted women and their children are seeking help. In Berdichev for example, a home for women and children has been opened this year.

All new....
As of August 1st, Andrii will start a part-time study Human Resources & Organizational Development at the Catholic University in Kiev. He wants to get his master's degree, mainly in preparation for the rapid growth of the work among homeless and addicted people in Ukraine. We support him in his decision and think this is an honorable thing to pursue, especially because Andrii has a past of addiction and crime.

The men at Istochnick
In 1998 he went through a christian rehabilitation program and discovered and accepted the grace and love of Jesus Christ. After the program he did a DTS training with YWAM in Kiev. In 2011 he received a M.A. in Intercultural Studies (Eastern European Campus Alliance Theological Seminary).

Since 1999 he has been working at the Istochnick center. As in most christian rehabilitation centers this is a labor of love, a calling. Andrii and his family depend on donations coming in for the work they do. The study (plus travel and other expenses) costs about 3,000 euro. We really want to help him on his way and encourage him with a study grant of minimal 1,000 euro. If you want to come alongside and help, please make your gift payable to St. Traveling Light, Papendrecht IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Project fruit & vegetables for sailors

The Major and Aversa in the port of Gent
This past weekend we received a phone call from Guus Peters (yep, the one from the Christmas goodie bags!). He asked our help with a situation in the port of Gent, Belgium, where he visits sailors regularly. 

In the seaport of Gent two ships are being held in custody, which basically means they are not allowed to set sail. The Russian owner has not paid his bills for a long time. The ITF (International Transport Workers Federation) has been involved in this case for quite a while now.

Guus (right) hands out food
The Major has been there since this last January and the Aversa since March. The ships each have a crew of 12 sailors from the Ukraine on board, in total 24 men.

The crew has not received their salaries for several months now. They have a supply of dry food, but for the past few months they have not eaten any fresh vegetables or fruit. Guus Peters and his wife Annemiek have been visiting the crew regularly and a while ago they started to bring them fresh fruit and vegetables, enabling the men to eat something healthy. They buy the supplies at a local farmer who gives them a special price.

There is not much the crew can do about this situation, they have to wait for an official notification before they can leave. The current situation in their homeland Ukraine is very troubling as well, which makes it extra difficult for them to be away from home for such a long period of time. Guus and Annemiek offer a listening ear whenever they can.

Healthy food for 24 crew members
By visiting the sailors and bringing them fresh food they hope to make their life on board a little more bearable. That is practical help! That is shining your light where the need is!

Guus and Annemiek are asking the Traveling Light supporters to help them with a financial gift (they have used their own resources until now), so they can continue to buy healthy food and bring it to the crew... as long as the ships are stranded.

You can make your gifts payable to: St. Traveling Light, Papendrecht IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U.
Make sure to mention: FOOD SAILORS.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Greetings from Tbilisi, Georgia

Group lessons
A few weeks ago we announced project Teen Challenge Tbilisi, Georgia. We want to encourage and help the directors Blair & Althea Greive to continue and expand their work among the addicted and homeless. We want to do so (for now) by offering financial support.

We already received most of the 2,200 euro chunk that we promised them. For one thing, they will be able to employ an extra worker with that gift: Giorgi.

The work of Teen Challenge in Georgia has been established by Doug and Anna Boyle. They were also the ones that pioneered the work of Teen Challenge in Kazakhstan. It is wonderful to hear (and we have heard many exciting stories firsthand from Doug!) and see how they set up a center and program with such enthusiasm, energy and love. And sometimes (after several years) they hand it over to a next generation.

In the meantime in Georgia... Blair and Althea are running the home with that same enthusiasm, they have many plans for the future. One of the men that graduated the program last winter is Giorgi. He started to work at the center and helps guys that are in the same situation he was in, when he entered the program. Here is part of his testimony:

'My name is Giorgi, I am 34 years old. I was addicted to drugs and alcohol at age 14, my life had been completely destroyed and no one could help me. Then at age 32, I came into the program in despair and hopelessness. In the program I met Jesus and He helped me to be free from my addictions. With God's help, I finished the program and now I serve in this program as a worker. I have joy in my heart and hope for the best in each day.'

Well, that makes us really happy! Rescuing people out of darkness and bringing them into the light, so they can live the life that God had planned for them. There are thousands of men like Giorgi, who desperately need help and salvation. There are currently big plans to start a women's home as well. YES!

If you desire to support their work, please make your gift payable:
When in Europe: St. Traveling Light, Papendrecht IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U
When in the USA: You can send your donation for Teen Challenge Georgia directly HERE.

We are looking forward to receive your gifts. We still need 400 euro!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

My Brother's Keeper conference in Bosnia

Camping with 250 men in Bosnia
As in previous years, Jan went to the My Brother's Keeper conference a few weeks ago, on behalf of Traveling Light.  Last year it was held in Serbia, this time in Bosnia. It is an annual inter-denominational conference for men (spiritual leaders, pastors etc.) from all Balkan nations.

Traveling Light has good contacts in many of these countries and through pastor Steve Telzerow from ICF in Ljubljana we again received an invitation to come. Such a conference is a great opportunity to learn more about the (historical) problems these nations are dealing with. Emotional, spiritual and social problems, often the result of a period of bloody war.

Sharing meals
Meeting people, building relationships, listening, talking, asking questions, praying... it all helps to learn to understand each other better. And that helps us to choose projects wisely. It is also very encouraging to see that various churches in that area are working on reconciliation through forgiveness and healing.

As in previous years a Traveling Light supporter and volunteer went with Jan: Henk Swijnenburg (yes, the one from the Weissensee skating event).

Building friendships between the nations
They first drove all the way to Slovenia where they spent the night at the Teen Challenge men's center. The next day they drove on to Bosnia. About 250 men came to the conference, men from former Yugoslavian countries.

They camped out in small tents for four days and nights. The days and evenings were filled with music, prayer, Biblestudies, teachings, sport, games and of course food and drinks. After the conference Jan and Henk spent some more time with the team from Teen Challenge in Slovenia and gave several Bible studies.

Always an encouraging word...
On their way back they stopped at the Teen Challenge men's home Gutes Land in Vilsbiburg, Germany. They were just in time for a huge BBQ. Jan shared the Word in the evening and the next morning.

After driving 4,500 km and meeting many people, we can say that this was yet another typical encouragement trip that we believe Traveling Light has a calling for!

We always travel at our own expense and so do the volunteers that come along. So, all donations that come in will go towards the projects. Currently we are fundraising for Teen Challenge in Georgia. If you like what we do and you have a heart for the kind of projects we support, please make your gift payable to:

When in Europe: St. Traveling Light, Papendrecht IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U
When in the USA: You can send your donation for Teen Challenge Georgia directly HERE.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Project la Rocca Ministries, Italy

Pastor Mark & Denien King
Project Teen Challenge Tbilisi, Georgia is going full throttle, we have already received more than 1,200 euro! This gives us great joy, thank you all. Besides the current project in Georgia we want to inform you about a project that is being organized by the youth of the Hoeksteen church in Etten-Leur and for which they will be traveling to Italy later this month.

From July 22-28 a group of about twenty young people (age 12-25) will travel to Northern Italy. They will go and help to fix up and repair the building/grounds of La Rocca Ministries in Asti. La Rocca is the evangelical church that pastor Marc and Denien King have planted many years ago. The church meets in an industrial building, which they own (see picture below).

Building of La Rocca Ministries, Asti
Pastor Marc and Denien definitely have a heart for the weak, the homeless, the poor, the immigrants... well you name it. For anyone who cannot survive without an extra portion of loving care and support. They are always busy with food and clothes distribution. They organize great meals and help people find housing and work where needed.

We (Jan and Marja) have visited the King family on several occasions, while traveling through Italy. They are very hospitable and open their home for anyone passing by.

The Hoeksteen youth group wants to let its light shine in a practical way, and of course we want to encourage and support them. They're all busy collecting funds for the trip, which is their own responsibility.

The Youth group of the Hoeksteen church
La Rocca also needs an amount of money for tools, paint, building- and other materials, needed for the task. The youth group will work together with the folks from La Rocca. Together they can and will succeed in fixing up the building within several days.

The Hoeksteen youth group has taken the lead in organizing this mission trip. Traveling Light wants to help them collect donations which will be sent directly to La Rocca Ministries. All building materials and other necessities can be purchased locally which will give a boost to businesses in the area.

If you want to encourage this group youngsters and bless our fellow believers in Italy, you can send your donation to St. Traveling Light, Papendrecht IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U. make sure to mention: LA ROCCA.