Monday, December 28, 2015

People, projects, programs...

Go into the world...
On this blog we often write about projects and programs, but ultimately it is always about people. The people behind the projects. The people in the programs. The people of the initiatives and ideas. The people we want to encourage.

We try as much as possible to build good relationships with them ... As a matter of fact, every project is essentially the beginning or the continuation of a friendship!

With Miki & Suzana Kamberovic
Sometimes we do not have to travel far to maintain those relationships, sometimes we just meet each other on Dutch soil :) This happened several times in recent months ...

In October we had an inspiring meeting with Miki & Suzana Kamberovic from Serbia. They are the leaders of a Roma church and school. We talked, shared ideas, prayed together and agreed to help them with a winter project. We donated a portion of the proceeds of the winter fair for the purchase of a good heater in their new kids' club.

With Boris & Jelena Strbac
A few weeks later we had a pleasant meeting with Boris and Jelena Strbac, also from Serbia. They are the founders of Restart, a non-profit organization dedicated to reach addicts and the homeless. They were in the Netherlands to attend a church conference and drove all the way in the beautiful Citroën they purchased with the help of Traveling Light.

We asked them about their greatest joy, their biggest frustration and their most difficult challenge. That lead to a very interesting conversation. At the end of the evening we prayed together in the Citroën!

With Janet van Boxtel
Janet van Boxtel (Embrace) from Hungary was also in the Netherlands for a few days. We went to her ministry presentation in Wemeldinge. She told about the work among the homeless and poor in Hungary and also about the difficult, but beautiful contacts with the many refugees.

We prayed together, we laughed and talked. We could tell that spending some time with her Dutch friends and supporters encouraged her. On December 23rd they organized a meal for 300 homeless people in Hungary. A very special event!

With Maria Meier
Last week we drove to Aachen (well, that is Germany, but close to the Netherlands alright) for a meeting with Maria Meier from Comunita Brezzano in Italy. We have known Maria for some years now. She leads a therapeutic residential community in Tuscany. In 2013 and 2014 we organized a work week in Tuscany with a group of youngsters from our church.

At the beginning of 2016 you will see Maria again on this blog. We will help her to fundraise for roof repairs on one of the old Tuscan houses.

Meeting up with people, inspiring and encouraging them ... perhaps the most important aspects of the work of Traveling Light, even more so than the money we obtain through fundraising.

There are many small-scale initiatives (read: charities) all over Europe. From time to time the people running those programs and non-profits feel somewhat alone in their struggles. That is exactly why, in addition to offering financial support, we invest in friendships.

[Click on the photos to enlarge.]

Monday, December 21, 2015

Follow-up project Teen Challenge, Georgia

Visiting beautiful places in Georgia
Back in June 2014 we presented project Teen Challenge Tbilisi, Georgia on this blog. We then raised 2,200 euros which was needed to employ graduate Giorgi as a worker in the Teen Challenge rehabilitation center.

Giorgi went through the Teen Challenge program (after having spent many years in addiction) and during that time he made the decision to give his life to Jesus.

Our donation was enough for Teen Challenge to employ him for eighteen months. Let's take a look and see how Giorgi is doing....

Giorgi & Olya
Last July we visited Georgia. Our visit included also a day out with Giorgi and his fiancée Olya. He showed us beautiful places in the country. We also saw how he helped and guided the men in the center and we were surprised by his musical talents ... he turns out to be a talented worship leader as well.

In September he married Olya. He no longer lives in the center, but in a house close by. Together with Teen Challenge staff member Madina his wife runs a local grocery shop that Teen Challenge has opened recently. It is a wonderful place for meetings and conversations with local residents.

The local grocery shop
It is so nice to see someone grow and prosper and develop the ability to help and inspire other men who come into the program, such as Asen and Edik ... (see picture below).

Traveling Light wants to help Teen Challenge Georgia in keeping workers such as Giorgi. The program depends on donations which is a challenge from day to day, but always exciting. We are delighted to see and hear how people's lives change ... because every life counts!

Asen, Giorgi and Edik with their certificates
If you enjoy hearing personal and positive news from a far away country, make sure you become a contributor. When you do so, your heart will follow your investment and you will become more involved. We welcome your gifts!

St. Traveling Light, Papendrecht IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U

THANKS in advance for your support.

We wish you all a blessed Christmas season.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Successful winter fair 2015

The final countdown :)
We can look back at a very successful winter fair. A tremendous amount of work was done by our team of faithful volunteers ... everything looked really beautiful and so welcoming.

The Christmas market with good second hand stuff was well visited and the Christmas wreath workshops hosted by Chantal de Jong were very well attended.

We furthermore had a table full of homemade pies and cakes. Many dear friends and family members donated these goodies for our bake sale.

Miki and Suzana Kamberovic
There was hot chocolate, pea soup, glühwein, tea and coffee, a stall with beautiful cards and much more. The Wii snowboarding game caused a lot of excitement and hilarity in our makeshift ski hut and at the end of the afternoon we were able to count a little over 1,400 euros! What a fantastic outcome.

1.000 euros of this will go to the work of Miki & Suzana Kamberovic in Serbia. We met them last summer during the Roma conference in Skopje and in October they were in the Netherlands. We came together for an inspiring evening and talked at length about their work and vision for the Roma people in Serbia.

Miki and Suzana live with their children in the Roma center OAZA in Jagodina. They are leading a Roma Church and a kindergarten. They recently started a new children's club in another building, but there is no heater there ....

New children's club
Thanks to your donations Traveling Light is able to encourage and help them so they can buy (among other things) a good heater. Once the heater is in place, we'll show pictures!

Well, we have many reasons to be happy and thankful. We had a really nice winter fair, collected a good amount of money for our projects, talked with many people and we will make a group of kids really really happy!

We furthermore:

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Photo's and project news

December is always a pleasant and busy month for Traveling Light. It is a time for thanksgiving, we look back on past projects and we plan for 2016. Next Saturday we are holding our first winter fair. A fundraiser for all our wonderful projects!

Project Christmas gifts for sailors is in full swing and for project lawn mower tractor for Teen Challenge in Serbia we have already received a considerable amount. We are almost there, but not quite yet :)

official opening girl's home, Moldova
Thank you for your donations which enable us to support the many small and large projects in a very practical and direct way! We currently have more than 10 projects waiting in queue ... but let's not forget to look back.

Saturday November 14th the girls' home in Moldova was officially opened. What a beautiful place it has become. A safe place for girls and women who are being rescued from human trafficking.

New, clean rooms in crisis shelter Baranovichi
Partly because of your donations this place is now a true home. Recently we received a number of specified gifts for the girls'home, so this week we were able to donate another 1,000 euros for the further furnishing of the house.

Also, we received photo's and a happy and thankful e-mail from Baranovichi, Belarus. The women's shelter is nearly finished. The rooms are furnished, there is a nice shower room and a communal living room.
Professional equipment for the Baranovichi shelter

The kitchen, which will also be used for the adjacent men's rehabilitation center and the homeless shelter, is also starting to look like something. They were able to acquire quite a few professional kitchen appliances, thanks to a donation we were able to send them in September.

Andrii Soloviov (the director of rehabilitation center Istochnick, near Sevastopol) is still working hard on his studies at the Moscow State University, writing his thesis. We are very proud of him!

Andrii at work
We ask your prayers for Andrii and his family, mainly because he needs to undergo an operation on a tumor in his head. He needs to go to Novosibirsk, Siberia for this. Of course this will effect his study plans... at least for the time being. We feel we must share this with you all. Please pray for a good outcome!

Yes, we do receive serious e-mails like this one, and many happy messages, photos and newsletters as well. All showing that donations go much further than we dare to hope or expect ....

We are investing in people's lives, an investment that has eternal value!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Christmas gifts for sailors

Lots of joy last year!
Seafarer's evangelist Guus Peters e-mailed us at the beginning of October. 'We'll be handing out Christmas gifts to the sailors again. Do you want to support us?'

Of course we will help again! Each year Guus and Annemiek Peters head down to the cold and windy ports of Antwerp, Gent and Terneuzen on December 25th and 26th to hand out Christmas gifts to the sailors.

And each time they see the smiles on the faces of these sailors, who often miss their families during their long voyages around the world. 

For many years Guus has been working among sailors, building relationships, listening to their stories, praying with them and sharing the good news about Jesus Christ.

Each year this project is made possible because of gifts from people like you! For 8,00 euro you can sponsor a Christmas gift. This year the men will receive a warm sweater, some sweets and a dvd.

If you would like to bless the sailors this Christmas, send your donation of 8,00 euro (or a multiple) to St. Traveling Light, Papendrecht, IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275, BIC: RABONL2U.

Make sure to mention SAILORS as we have several projects coming up in December.

Let your light shine in a dark world!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Project lawn mower tractor Teen Challenge, Serbia

Fields around the men's rehab center
This project request has been on our growing stack (read: waiting list) of emails since this summer.

Our friends at Teen Challenge Serbia need a new lawn mower (tractor). Currently they have a tractor and two hand mowers that all have seen quite some hours and need to be replaced.

Always lot's of work to do!
We have posted pictures of the two rehabilitation homes in Novi Sad on this blog before (check it out). Both houses are situated on big pieces of land.

We have a warm heart for the work of Teen Challenge in Serbia and we have been able to help them several times over the past few years with the realization of different projects.

We would like to do so again by making a contribution to the beautiful work that God is doing in Serbia: changing lives forever, one person at the time!

They need about 2,500 euro to buy a tractor mower in Serbia. If you have a heart for the work of Teen Challenge or for technical projects :) .... please make your donation to St. Traveling Light, Papendrecht IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U.

At the women's center
When in the USA, send your tax-deductible gift to Eastern Europe Outreach, make sure to mention TC Serbia

We will make sure that all gifts will be sent to their destination as quickly as possible and, of course, you will get to see a picture of the new mower once they have purchased one!

Thank you in advance for your help!


- Christmas goodie bags for sailors
- Teen Challenge, Slovakia
- Comunita Brezzano, Italy
- Teen Challenge, Georgia

And much more!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

School children in action

Sometimes there are initiatives that leave us speechless! Just after the summer holidays we received an email from the teacher of group 8 at the Queen Beatrix School in Papendrecht (right, that is where we are located) ... whether we could use a gift for one of our projects.

Official opening Bertine House
We then sent her information about Bertine House in Ukraine. Do you remember? The women and children from the rehab home in Donetsk had to flee for the war and they were without a permanent address for a while.

Earlier this year, a big house could be purchased in the city of Poltava and last September the new Bertine House was officially opened. The house is open for mothers with their children that come out of sometimes horrible situations: addiction, prostitution, abuse and poverty. They can safely live  there and they get the chance to experience the love of Jesus.

The children of the Queen Beatrix school collected 350 euro for Bertine House. A gift that can be used for buying food, paying the heating bills and the purchase of necessary household items

On behalf of the mothers & children: thank you!
We are very happy with this gift! Before we transfer the money, we want to ask whether there are churches, home groups, organizations, companies or families who want to follow the heartwarming and inspiring example of the children at the Queen Beatrix elementary school?

Within Europe additional gifts can be made payable to: St. Traveling Light, Papendrecht IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U. Make sure to mention: Bertine.

When in the USA, send your tax-deductible gift to Eastern Europe Outreach, make sure to mention TC UKRAINE BERTINE.

Together with the students of the Queen Beatrix school we can help to provide a warm and safe home for the mothers and children at Bertine House this winter!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Why we're special

Charlotte Petersen and her girls in Moldova
Traveling Light is not your every day non-profit, we're special in many ways. It won't hurt to say that once again :)

We are special because, unlike most other organizations, we support small-scale projects and we personally know the initiators behind the projects.

Summer activities Roma childeren, Macedonia
The trips we make, the cards we send, the events we organize .... it's all volunteer work from a growing team of sweet and active people.

The gifts that come in are used for NOTHING else but the projects.

We are special because we also try, as much and often as possible, to share what happens with the donations we send out.

In order to keep building on the relationships with our contacts in over 20 countries (!) we regularly present new or follow-up projects for so-called 'old' friends. This allows our sponsors to see the developments in a particular country, which makes praying and thanksgiving very practical.

Animal barn Berdichyv, Ukraine
As a result of this personal approach we receive a constant stream of photos, news-letters, mails, cards, messages and invitations from all corners of Europe. Too much to share on this blog really, but feel free to send us an email if you want to know something about a particular project.

A selection of recent project reports:

November 14, 2015 Pilgrim House, the girls home in Moldova will be opened!

The cross and the switchblade in Georgia
The past summer activities for the Roma children in Skopje, Macedonia, were a huge success. The group of teenagers was bigger than ever.

The animal barn in Berdychiv, Ukraine, is almost ready! A beautiful roof, windows, doors, even a wood stove inside, everything is there. What a great job these men have done.

In Georgia everyone can now read The cross and the switchblade, a book that sold more than 16 million copies, in their own language .... thanks to your donations!

Kitchen appliances shelter Belarus
In Belarus they started the modelling and furnishing of the kitchen in the shelter and rehabilitation home in Baranovichi. The building materials and kitchen appliances are all purchased domestically. This is good for the economy!

We not only look back at great projects, we also have a very long waiting list of projects we really need your help with. We can only continue to do our work if donations keep coming in.

Would you be so kind as to tell someone about the work of Traveling Light? Maybe you know a colleague, family member, friend, home group, business or church that is looking for a practical project to sponsor ....


Within Europe donations can be send to: St. Traveling Light, Papendrecht IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U.

PS: Can you tell we just LOVE the work of TEEN CHALLENGE ?

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Project renovation rooms Winiarczykowka, Poland

A few years back, with the Biddles in Ventura
A few weeks ago our American friend Rick Biddle passed away at the blessed age of 88 years. We met Rick back in 1989, during our first trip to Baja California in Mexico. Rick and his wife Helen were our American parents.

In the USA it is customary to make donations in memory of the deceased. Sometimes this money is used to pay for the funeral, sometimes it's for the family left behind and sometimes it is for a good cause. Family and friends of Rick donated over $500 for the benefit of Traveling Light.

Time for prayer and conversation
We want to use this gift as a start-up for a new project in Winiarczykowka, Poland. Yes, again that difficult name :) Early September we were visiting the crisis and rehabilitation home there. A very special home, because they also offer a warm and safe place for elderly people who are left alone in the world.

The residents work in the vegetable garden, are engaged in constructing a chicken coop, cook meals and do the cleaning. Recently the new sewage treatment plant was installed. We were able to help them with a substantial gift for this.

At work in the vegetable garden
Janusz & Bogusia Górnicki, who run this house, have a long list of projects and prospects, including the renovation of a number of bedrooms and expansion with a number of beds (for the cold winter is coming up again). Wouldn't  it be nice if we could double the memorial gift in honor of Rick Biddle?

If you have a heart for the elderly, please send your donation to St. Traveling Light, Papendrecht IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275, BIC: RABONL2U. Make sure to mention ROOMS WINIARCZYKOWKA.

Simple bed rooms
The money will be used to refurbish a number of rooms, to expand the bedroom capacity (more beds) and to buy some furniture. Most rooms have only beds and a cupboard, not much luxury ....

Thank you in advance for your help. We will send all donations straight to this project. No gimmicks, no games, no waste.

What you do for others, you do for God! It's that simple :)

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Visit to Moldova

The Petersen's home
Last January we introduced Johannes & Charlotte Petersen for the first time on this blog. This Danish couple has been living and working among the poorest people in Moldova for over twenty years.

Last week Jan visited them on behalf of Traveling Light. It was our first trip to the poorest country of Europe.

Community living
Over the years Johannes & Charlotte lived in several different places in Moldova. Their home is a colorful trailer which has kept them mobile... fitting the name of their ministry: Pilgrims International!

They have planted several churches, a Teen Challenge rehabilitation home for men and a women's home which will be opened soon. They provide humanitarian aid and organize children's summer camps. On their website you can find more information.

Almost done, girl's room
For the first time in all these years they now, more or less, have a permanent lot where they have put down their mobile home; it is the piece of land where the Shelter is located... a home for girls and young women who haven been rescued from human trafficking.

the Shelter
Johannes & Charlotte truly share the pure Father heart of God with the people they help: the addicts, the poor, the lonely, the young girls (sometimes only twelve years old) that are offered up for sale by their parents, ending up in prostitution and human trafficking.

It is heartbreaking to see how much suffering there is. But it is also great to see that there are people who are not hesitant to obey the call of God's heart and humble themselves to help others.

Teen Challenge men's rehab
The gift we gave last August was used to buy a Frysian milk cow and two calves! That's a good deal :) At the Teen Challenge men's rehabilitation home they are now (if funding comes in) going to build a dairy kitchen which will enable them to process and sell the milk.

We are grateful for the gifts we received from you all for the beautiful but difficult work of Johannes and Charlotte in Moldova.
The new calves

They are letting their light shine in the darkest corner of Europe, and we certainly want to encourage them! It is great to see that much can be done with little money and that our gifts are being used wisely and practically.

Please, let us not forsake to do the will of God ... on earth as it is in heaven ....

Youth room in the church
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear. (Isaiah 58: 6-8).

[PS: Click on the pictures to enlarge!]

Gifts are ALWAYS welcome at IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U St. Traveling Light in Papendrecht.

Monday, October 12, 2015

News and activities

hard working crew in Berdychiv
Recently we were able to donate a good amount for the construction of a barn on the grounds of the Teen Challenge rehabilitation houses in Berdychiv, Ukraine.

Well, they didn't wait a single day to start their building project. Immediately materials were purchased and the men got to work. 

happy pastor Sergey Rmanenko
As in many Eastern European countries, the new barn is being built around the old barn. When all is finished, the old building will be demolished. During this construction time the existing space can still be used.

At Teen Challenge Winiarczykowka, Poland they are working hard as well. After many months of paperwork and bureaucracy finally a beginning has been made with the installation of the new water treatment system.

Arrival of the new tank
In early September we were visiting Janusz & Bogusia Górnicki in Poland and they showed us the piles of paperwork they had to go through before they received the license for the new plant.

The new system is very modern and will save them money on a monthly basis. Money that is now being spent on draining the old system.

residents and staff at Winiarczykowka
This Friday October 16 we will come together again for our monthly Prayer for the Nations. During these evenings we proclaim God's word on the countries of Europe and the Mediterranean. Especially now with the refugee situation is good to come together, listen to God's voice and pray!

Maybe you cannot be with us in person, but we are calling for churches, ministries, organizations and families to do the same. Join us in prayer for the nations as the Spirit leads you!

[Click on the photo's to enlarge!]

Mara Kreukniet from Sliedrecht was one of our first donors. Back in 2011 she came up with a cup cake fundraiser for the benefit of Traveling Light.

Mara in her museum
Recently she opened a small museum in the pantry of her parents' home with the theme "then and now." The entry fee for all friends, family members and neighbors was 50 cents and she decided to give all proceeds to Traveling Light. Well, such lovely people and creative ideas make us very happy! Thanks Mara!

For your agenda: our first winter fair 2015 which we want to organize on Saturday, December 12th. It will be an afternoon for donors and other interested parties with campfire, hot apple pie, coffee, Christmas market with fun stuff, workshops, pea soup ... too much to mention. Keep an eye on this blog and our FB page for more information.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Runners in action for Sela Home, Belgium

On October 25th the marathon of Etten-Leur will take place. Like last year a number of runners and faithful supporters have indicated that they want to run for a good cause! This time is will be the women's home Sela in Charleroi, Belgium.

Frédérique & Natascha Hensgens
The opening of a shelter for women is an initiative of Frédéric & Natascha Hensgens. They have been facilitating a coffee house for several years in one of the poorer areas in Charlerois. Every Saturday they drive to the streets behind the station to pick up the homeless and drug addicts and bring them to the coffeehouse.

Every week a loyal group of volunteers prepares a good meal in the coffee house for these people. There is also a clothing distribution point and of course there is always time for fellowship, prayer and counseling.

Last year we visited the coffee house and were very impressed by the love this team of volunteers has for people that are in desperate need for help, including (pregnant) girls who are addicted and homeless.

The desire (and need) to open a safe house for women became stronger and stronger. From September 1 this year Frédéric & Natascha Hensgens have the opportunity to use the house that you see in the picture on the left.

There are in urgent need of helping hands and finances to get things off the ground. The house will be opened soon. Traveling Light wants to help. Thomas van Dartel, Erik Slobben, Jan Visser and Jan Verschoor will run to support this work. There are distances of 5, 10, 21 and 42 km.

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: SELA.
The entire proceeds of this action will go to woma'ns home Sela.