Saturday, October 18, 2014

Project Bertine House

Magne & Olga Gulbrandsen and their kids
We announced it a few weeks ago: runners in action for Bertine House in Poltava, Ukraine. We are currently raising funds to help women and children who had to flee Donetsk.

Bertine House was founded in 2008 by Magne and Olga Gulbrandsen. A beautiful home in Donetsk where women and children can live in safety. The women often have a background of addiction, prostitution and/or abuse and at Bertine House they finally get a chance to start a new life.

Magne was born in Norway. When he was 9 he began stealing and at 14 he started smoking hashish, using amphetamines, ecstasy and later heroin. As a result of this life he spent seven years in prison. Finally he went to a christian rehabilitation center, the beginning of a totally new life! Later he graduated from Bible school.

Women and children of Bertine House
He married Olga and together they now have four children. One day they were visiting a women's prison in the Ukraine when God spoke to Magne: "help these women so they can be reconciled with their children..."And that's how the idea for Bertine House started.

Recently the women and children who used to live in the home in Donetsk had to flee the area because of the war going on there (see previous blog post). They had to leave everything behind and found temporary shelter in a house in Poltava (halfway between Donetsk and Kiev), with poor sanitary conditions (toilet outside). With the winter right around the corner, they had to look for a better place to live.

Let the children come to me... 
So, now they are renting a flat where they have at least a shower and bathroom inside! But in the meantime they keep looking for a large house (to buy or rent) that can be transformed into a women's and children home again. They have their eyes on one... which costs 120.000 dollar... (with the possibility that the owner wants to go down in price).

On October 26 the marathon of Etten-Leur will be held. Four runners have offered to run their miles for Bertine House. Thomas van Dartel (5 km), Erik Slobben (21 km), André van Slooten (21 km) en Jan Verschoor (21 km) will run to help these women and children find a good and safe home!

You can sponsor them by giving a donation per kilometer and/or per person or by donating a certain amount for finishing the race or by giving a general amount. Everything helps!

ALL donations are welcome. Send your gifts to St. Traveling Light, Papendrecht, IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U. Make sure to mention: BERTINE.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Anniversary adventure

Happy with a sandwich
Two weeks ago Jim and Lynda Hayes left by train for Amsterdam. They 'celebrated' their 30th marriage anniversary by spending a whole weekend homeless on the streets. With project homeless honeymoon they wanted to raise awareness about the work of Teen Challenge in Slovenia.

It didn't take long for them to discover that finding food was not the problem. There are many churches and charities in Amsterdam doing fabulous work. Jim & Lynda were also surprised to find out how easy it was to collect some money for survival!

Lynda trying to sleep
The biggest problem was to find a place to sleep. Under bridges, in front of the train station, in shop doorways, behind large flower pots... they were moved on several times.

After three restless and emotional challenging days and nights they were so worn out and tired that they fell asleep on the train back home, and nearly missed their station :) Jim & Lynda were shocked to see the street life after two o'clock at night among the addicts, homeless and illegals. 'It is not too difficult to gather food and money', said Jim, 'but what people really need is a new life through Jesus Christ.'

And that is exactly what Teen Challenge wants to offer: practical help (shelter, care, detox etc.) and spiritual help (a possibility to experience the love and grace of Jesus). Getting 'clean' can happen in any regular clinic, but staying 'clean' is only possible with the help of God.

Visiting Dennis Griffith house in Slovenia
Jim & Lynda raised 3,328 euro (so far) with their homeless honeymoon and funds are still coming in. We expect to be able to give a donation of 3,500 euro to the Dennis Griffith rehabilitation home (watch the video!) in Nova Vas, Slovenia. Part of the money will be used for the purchase of safety gear (do you remember project chain saw back in 2011?) because the men are getting more and more jobs cutting trees.

Our heartfelt thanks goes out to Jim & Lynda who went on this adventure and of course to everyone who sponsored them by giving a donation. The team in Nova Vas will be very, very happy!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Project winter fuel Winiarczykowka, Poland

Winiarczykowka gang :)
This past summer we gave a donation for a new sewage treatment plant to the rehabilitation and crisis home of Teen Challenge in Winiarczykowka, Poland.

In the meantime all necessary documents and permissions have been obtained and some inspections have taken place (read: lots of paper work and official dealings). Now they're waiting for the go-ahead sign, so the contractor can begin the digging.

Work shop in the basement
During our visit in June we were shown around the whole house. Yes, we even got to look in the basement, where there is a small workshop with tools and also the heating system. Contrary to most houses in eastern Europe, Winiarczykowka is not being heated with wood, but with oil.

Each winter the enormous tank needs to be filled again, which costs several thousand euro's. Money that comes in through donations and fundraising. Traveling Light has a warm heart for the work of Teen Challenge in Poland, so we would like to encourage them with a gift towards the purchase of this fuel.

oil heater
Janusz en Bogusia Gornicki (the directors of the center) have opened their doors for elderly people as well, mostly the lonely and weak. It is important to offer them, not just a safe place, but also a warm place to live! The winters in Poland are very cold and on the streets or in a poorly heated house they would not survive.

It would be great if we could bless them with a heart warming gift of 1,000 euro.

When in EUROPE, you can send your gift to: St. Traveling Light, Papendrecht IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275, BIC: RABONL2U
When in USA, you can send your gift to: Eastern Europe Outreach, make sure to mention: TC Poland Winiarczykowka

Thank you very much!