Thursday, December 28, 2017

Project news

Just before the end of the year, we would like to share several project updates with you. In recent weeks, donations have come in from here and there and everywhere, it seems. THANK YOU!

Let's take you on a quick tour of Europe  :)

We have been able to donate 2,000 euro to project Teen Challenge women's home in Romania. The proceeds in our 2nd hand shop Twinkeltje over November, combined with your donations added up nicely. We know for sure that this gift will be used for a good cause.

Safe place for girls
We can also donate 2,000 euro to project Pilgrim House in Moldova. The proceeds of Twinkeltje over December combined with your donations... again! Pilgrim House is the shelter for young girls who were trapped in human trafficking and/or other horrible conditions.

We do not have to emphasize what a blessing that amount will be for the work there!

And then project youth coffee house in Ukraine, some 1,000 euro came in already! Natalya will surely be happy to hear about your generosity. As far as we are concerned ... investing in youth work throughout Europe is a huge encouragement for the young people, the teachers and ourselves, of course!

Natalya (right) at the summer camp 
What a nice ending of a great year. Without your help, it would not have been possible. We really hope that you will continue to follow us in 2018 through this blog.

The Weissensee event 2018 is also coming up! More about that soon. What we can tell you now is that the Traveling Light ice skating team will skate the 200 km for ..... tatarata: project Bertine House in Poltava, Ukraine.

Donations are ALWAYS welcome at bank account St. Traveling Light, Papendrecht, IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275, BIC: RABONL2U. 

We are looking forward to a new year full of great projects

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Project youth coffeehouse, Ukraine

Natalya Havrilyuk
Donations for the women's house in Romania and the girls' house in Moldova are pouring in, thank you. Always nice to get positive response to our blog posts :)

A project we also want to encourage by sponsoring, is the youth coffeehouse in Raygorodok, Ukraine.

Natalya Havrilyuk (наталия гаврилюк) is no stranger to Traveling Light. She is involved in the work of Teen Challenge, namely in the women's home in Berdychiv and we have seen her at work during the summer camp last July, where she was in charge of the children's work.

Natalya has had the idea to start a coffeehouse for young people for a while. Usually, the idea of ​​a Teen Challenge coffee house is to reach homeless people, addicts and unbelievers with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Great turn-out
But why wait until people are deeply in trouble? Prevention work is certainly important as well... reaching children and teenagers before they get in trouble.

And so she started youth work in her village Raygorodok. Through her work with Teen Challenge she has good contacts with the parents of the children, with the schools and the municipal administration. They are all happy with her initiative which brings in many children and teenagers.

And thus, funds are needed to rent the space, to share food and drinks, to buy craft supplies and reading materials etc. etc. And ... as you can see in the picture, it would be nice if there was a heater  in the room!

The nice thing about this kind of project is that we know Natalya personally and for years we have cherished good contacts with Sergey & Ira Romanenko who oversee the work of Teen Challenge around Berdychiv. We can assure you that the money will be spent well!

Gifts for the youth coffeehouse in Raygorodok, Ukraine are most welcome to IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 and BIC: RABONL2U St. Traveling Light in Papendrecht. Make sure to mention YOUTH UKRAINE.


PS: In the picture on the left you see Natalya during the Hanukkah celebration that was recently organized for everyone from the men's and women's rehab centers and was held in the new addition of the men's home, also sponsored by Traveling Light. Cool!

More pictures to follow ...

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Project Pilgrim House, Moldova

Safe place to grow up...
The year is coming to an end and December is always a month in which we have various projects highlighted. The proceeds of our 2nd hand shop Twinkeltje this month will go towards the girls home in Moldova.

If you have it on your heart to add to that by giving a donation, please, feel free! We'll tell you a bit more about it ....

Charlotte & Johannes
In October 2015, Pilgrim House, as the girls' house is officially called, was opened. The name is derived from Pilgrim International, a non-profit organization founded by Johannes & Charlotte Petersen. They have been living and working as missionaries in Moldova for more than twenty years and they are originally from Denmark.

They have hope for the poorest country in Europe and, besides providing humanitarian aid (food packages and care for the poorest), they provide shelter for young women and girls who have been endangered by human trafficking.

Pilgrim House
They furthermore have planted churches, established children's clubs, a youth coffee house and a Teen Challenge rehabilitation center.

Our Weissensee 2015 event brought in a nice amount for Pilgrim House in Riscani. It is great to see and hear that girls and young women can live there in safety. Some were left at the side of the road by their parents (who are often addicted to alcohol) and others were victims of trafficking, rape or kidnapping. Charlotte writes:

HOME sweet home
'Our aim is always to reach out to the whole family and we have seen several mums come through our rehabilitation program. Some of our young girls have gone back home and are now reunited with their parents.'

For their work, Johannes and Charlotte are dependent on donations and we would like to encourage them to never give up!  Sometimes they may feel like their work is just a drop in the ocean... but what they do for the least, they do for God.

Girl's birthday party at Pilgrim House
Every life counts and Traveling Light loves to help those who make God's love visible and tangible... in this case in Moldova. Year-end gifts are most welcome at St. Traveling Light, Papendrecht IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U. make sure to mention MOLDOVA.

At the end of this month we will add the proceeds from Twinkeltje to donations that have come in for this purpose. We expect to transfer a good amount to them; a blessing to start a new year!


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Project Teen Challenge women's home, Romania

Recent graduation at the women's home
The month of November brought in  more than 900 euro in our second-hand shop Twinkeltje. Thank you for your visits and purchases! That amount will go to the Teen Challenge women's rehab home, House of Joy, in Romania.

Click on the pictures for an enlargement!

Last September we visited the facility. The ladies had just moved from a temporary location to this beautiful house, assisted by the men of the rehab center in Grădiştea, about twenty minutes away. Women who are bound by prostitution, homelessness, drug and alcohol addiction or emotional and psychological problems are welcome here.

House of Joy
The Teen Challenge program uses a plan in which the ladies go through five phases on their way to recovery. An authentic belief in God and a life based on Biblical truths and principles are essential for success.

For many years now, we have been involved in the work of Teen Challenge worldwide and it is still awesome to see how broken and hopeless lives are being completely restored through the power of God's love. Often we see that not only the student involved recovers, but also whole families are changing for the better.

This is clearly visible in the church that Teen Challenge has planted in Bucharest, Biserica 43. Not only the students who are in the program are attending, but also their families, friends and acquaintances. Such is the impact of a changed life on other people.

House of Joy is operated by graduates of the program. They know the ins and outs and can relate to the problems the ladies are going through. The house depends on gifts and donations. There are plans for next year to build a greenhouse and studio in the backyard where the ladies can work therapeutically.

Traveling Light wants to raise the amount of Twinkeltje to at least 2,000 euro. A nice blessing for the program at the end of the year.

The garage has been transformed in a chapel/class room
If you want to help, make a donation to St. Traveling Light, Papendrecht IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U and make sure to mention: TC Romania, womens home.

When in the USA you can make your tax-deductible gift payable to EEO Inc. Make sure to mention: TC Romania, women's home.

Update current projects:
Thank you for your generosity!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Visit to Teen Challenge, Sweden

Gotabro Bible school Sweden
The purpose of non-profit organization Traveling Light is threefold, we offer practical help, financial support and spiritual encouragement to Christian organizations and communities in Europe and the Mediterranean.

Earlier this month we were invited to come to Sweden and so we went. We were staying at the Götabro Bible School where Teen Challenge also has their office.

The Alderblad family
We were invited to 1) encourage the young team of Teen Challenge, 2) teach several classes at the Bible School and 3) speak at the annual Teen Challenge conference.

Director of Teen Challenge Sweden is Christian Alderblad. He leads a team of volunteers who do street work in the nearby city of Örebro (reaching out with coffee and sandwiches to the homeless, refugees and addicts and establishing conversations en relations) and are active in schools.

Teaching at the Bible school
The Bible school is a community school subsidized by the government. Every year, about fifty young people register for a year of evangelical education. After completing the course, a number of them volunteer at Teen Challenge for a year.

Two years ago (during the refugee crisis in Europe) the school opened its doors for asylum seekers. The great thing about that is that a number of refugees are now students at the Bible school!

TC office Swedish style!
It was great to spend six days with all these young people who have a heart for God and desire to bring positive change to their country. We have had great conversations, we shared our experiences and took extensive time to pray with and for each other. It is so beautiful to see that God speaks through the Holy Spirit personally to everyone ... words of knowledge and wisdom and prophecy.

When we evaluated the week on Sunday afternoon it appeared that almost everyone had experienced the time of personal prayer as very special and encouraging. For us this was confirmation (again) that it remains necessary to go out and equip and encourage believers and thus respond to the great commission ....
Praying with and for each other

Make disciples of all nations!

During the conference an offering was taken up for Traveling Light. We received a nice donation that will fully go towards the follow-up project shelter/rehab Teen Challenge Belarus.

During the conference
We are very grateful for all our international contacts and it sure is a blessing to be a blessing to Sweden! 

(End-of-year) gifts are most welcome at St. Traveling Light, Papendrecht IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U. 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Follow-up project shelter/rehab, Belarus

The proceeds of our 2nd-hand shop Twinkeltje over the month of October (700 euro) will go towards the crisis shelter for women in Baranovichi, Belarus. We would like to raise that amount to about 2,000 euro. Last summer we donated the first part of a nice sum for the renovation and expansion of the shelter that is located in an old school.

Various building materials have already been purchased from that gift and soon some specialists are going to come and help with the  construction of necessary walls. Also they were able to place and connect pipes in preparation for the  heating system to be connected to the 2nd flour. The work sometimes slows a bit, because there is not always enough manpower available. Keep in mind that construction work is mostly carried out by men who are in the rehab center. Working is of course part of their therapy.

New Overnight Home
In the past two months more than just preparatory work has been done for the renovation of the 2nd floor. They have been working in different sections of the building and finished the new overnight home for men. At the location where they sheltered the homeless until recently, new classes for the rehabilitation center have been built.

The overnight home is a shelter for homeless people. The shelter is separate from the rehabilitation program where men and women sometimes stay for a year. The homeless are often elderly people who cannot or will not go through an extensive rehabilitation program. But that does not mean that they should be left alone. Mission Return wants to share the love of God with them as well... in a practical way: shelter, food, clothing.

New class room for rehab students
The old school is slowly but securely becoming a multi functional building and a blessing for the city. Many men and women find peace and security here. As soon as we receive more photos of the construction work, we will show them on this blog.

If you want to support this beautiful work and help to give women and men a warm and safe place, then send your gift to St. Traveling Light, Papendrecht IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U. Make sure to mention: BELARUS.

PS: Most of you will receive these blog posts by email, but if you have time and are behind your lap or desktop, then check out our BLOG for a complete overview of projects and reports!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Project dinner show Victory Outreach, Amsterdam

Diner show last year
It has been a while since we sponsored a project in the Netherlands, while there are plenty of good  and beautiful initiatives.

Recently we received an  email from Elaine Mackay from Victory Outreach in Amsterdam. We have helped her in the past with various projects and in December they are cooking up something special again.

Victory Outreach is an international church with the mission to reach out to vulnerable people in society. On Saturday December 23 Victory Outreach will organize a dinner show in cooperation with the Game of Life foundation. Their aim is to bring together broken families as well as families from lower social classes during the Christmas period. Last year it was a great success.

they expect 50 people this year
During the dinner show guests can watch a Christmas play while enjoying a fine three-course menu. During the show presents will be given away and at the end of the evening everyone will go home with an extra surprise. The organization expects about 500 guests this year ....

Elaine, on behalf of the Game of Life foundation, is looking for volunteers, donations and financial support for this big event. We at Traveling Light  always welcome initiatives that bring people together and where the love of Christ is distributed in a practical way.

Do you have a heart for Amsterdam and the people who do not know Jesus? Then send your gift to St. Traveling Light, Papendrecht IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U and make sure to mention AMSTERDAM. We will make sure it gets there.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Visit to Teen Challenge, Poland

Broczyna rehab center
Last month we visited several locations of Teen Challenge in Poland at the invitation of director Zbyszek Urbaniak. We spent quite some quality time together and he has shown us a lot about the work of Teen Challenge in Poland.

We visited the rehabilitation center in Broczyna where we spoke during the chapel service and were able to pray with the students. A year ago we raised funds so they could install washbasins in all the rooms, nice to see that they did a great job.

We then visited the men's center in Lekini where Waldemar is director. He is a graduate of the program. Yes, think about it... once an addict and now the director of a very big center. He also showed us around  in the administrative building of Teen Challenge, an old dairy factory with beautiful office spaces, a coffeehouse, church and social reintegration program; a small factory where women were sowing rain coats. There are also plans to open up a youth center.

It warms our heart to see and hear that Teen Challenge has good contacts with the (local) government and is also a well-known organization in the area because they help so many people to rebuild their lives and find work.

Reintegration work program
Teen Challenge has 44 coffee houses spread out all over Poland. These are locations that are open once or twice a week and are run by volunteers, usually in collaboration with a local church. It is often the first place where addicts hear the gospel.

Each year TC organizes a national coffee house conference where volunteers meet to be equipped, encouraged and  to have fellowship with each other. We were asked to speak about the theme 'Giving' as described in Marja's book 'Grace of Giving', which was also published in Polish by Compassion.

At the National Coffee House Conference
Jan Jędrzejczak, the coordinator of all coffee houses, is also a Teen Challenge graduate. In fact, his life story is worth to be told in a separate blog post, an incredible testimony. It was a great encouragement for us to hear all kinds of stories from all over Poland ... how  lives have been changed through faith, hope and love!

Also to see and experience that the Christians in Poland believe that their country can change for the better. It came to our mind over and over again, Go, and make disciples of  all nations...

Warm welcome at The Gate
After the conference we visited the beautiful student city of Wroclaw. Last year the first youth center The Gate was opened, inspired by a Dutch concept. The Gate is located in an old building in the city and is run by a group of young volunteers. Weekly, dozens of students meet to talk, make music and meet each other.

The gospel is central in their activities. In a city of 120,000 students the Christians are an "alternative group" ... We spent hours together, listening to each other, praying and encouraging them to be light in a dark world.

It was absolutely delightful to spend time with young people who have a heart for the future of their country.

We very much enjoyed this visit and we want to thank Zbyszek Urbaniak for all the time and attention he gave us. Very nice to get such an inspiring tour and to talk about our vision for Europe.

Visiting the old city center of Wroclaw
We see a lot of fruit from the work of Teen Challenge. We are more than ever convinced that one way of obeying the great commission to make disciples is to support programs like Teen Challenge throughout Europe!

Gifts for this kind of projects are always welcome to  St. Traveling Light, Papendrecht, IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275, BIC: RABONL2U. Please note that there will be a lot of projects coming up in November and December!

As a side note once again ... the trips we make are part of the "spiritual encouragement" we offer and are privately funded. We do not use your gifts for our travels.  All donations are going towards the projects!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Photo's Teen Challenge center Batumi, Georgia

Busy construction site in Batumi
Donations for follow-up project expansion men's rehab Berdychiv, Ukraine are coming in. We are quickly approaching the 2,000 euro mark. Super!

We have also been able to donate 5,000 euro towards the work of Teen Challenge in Armenia and 2,000 euro for the work of Brian Slater among the elderly and poor in Israel.

It is time for a quick update on the work at the Teen Challenge women's center in Batumi, Georgia.

Our Weissensee 2017 event was for the benefit of this project. During the summer months they have been working hard on the construction of this already beautiful home.

Kuanysh (left) moving the cement
Remember that almost everything is being done by staff and students of the Teen Challenge men's home in Tbilisi and that they depend on donations in order to continue the work. When the money runs low, the work stops ...

Kuanysh & Madina Akkuzov, directors of Teen Challenge in Georgia write:

"We have had a busy summer  together with Doug Boyle in Batumi. We did big progress on the building, we finished the inside of the 1st floor completely. Our missionary family with Lena are living there... learning Georgian. As we agreed we used your donation for doors and windows. This money was enough to put beautiful wooden doors with windows on 1st, 2nd and partially 3rd floor."

camping out on the porch
As you can see in the pictures, the men "camped out" on the porch during the work. The home will serve as a center for women who come out of human trafficking as well as a leadership training center to send out missionaries in that part of the world.

Beautiful doors
On behalf of all those involved in Batumi, thank you very much for your gifts. We do not know when the official opening of the center will be set, but we will keep you updated.

We (Jan and Marja) are planning to visit Georgia again (for the third time) at the end of December and will bring back the latest news.

It is so good to see that we can bridge the distance and support the work that is being done in Georgia. For the Teen Challenge men it must also be therapeutic to work on such a grand construction project. We are proud of them and grateful for their commitment.

Windows, doors, walls, paint...
Are you glad to read good news from far away lands and do you think it is important that your gifts are being spent well? Then please show us your support by making a donation today to IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U St. Traveling Light in Papendrecht.

With your help and prayers we are able to continue the support of such awesome projects, which often involves the work of Teen Challenge throughout Europe!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Follow-up project expansion men's rehab Berdychiv, Ukraine

Already twice as big and a new roof!
At the end of last year we raised funds for the expansion of the men's rehab house in Berdychiv which operates under the flag of Teen Challenge Ukraine. Our friend Sergey Romanenko is in charge of the home. The original plan was to build a 2nd floor on the existing house to provide more shelter.

Last July we were in Ukraine during the summer camp for people from rehab centers that Teen Challenge and the Messianic Community in Berdichev organize annually.

Current kitchen in the men's house
We had time to visit the rehabilitation homes for men and women in that area. As you can see in the picture a whole new section has been added to the existing house and the roof has been renewed as well.

For many people it is unthinkable that so many people live in one house. The bunk beds are crammed into a room and the kitchen is really too small to cook for such a group (usually about 10 men).

The plan is now to extend the kitchen by moving the shower room (which is now adjacent to the kitchen) to the new part of the house. They are making a wide door to connect the old and new section of the house.

New section under construction
All in all, there is still a lot of work to be done before everything is ready and habitable. Sergey Romanenko estimates that around 2,000 euro is needed to complete the construction work. Whether we want to help again?

Of course, we like to help again, especially since we have seen with our own eyes how much work already has been done and how much still needs to be done. It will all be beautiful in the end, we're sure about that. What's even more beautiful than the house itself, are the men who live there. Their stories are worth writing a book about...

Visiting the men's home!
Every human life counts and we are always happy to see how boys and men step out of the deep darkness of addiction, crime and hopelessness and receive a new beginning (didn't we all at some point?). This often results in a new beginning for their families as well.

Think about it,  the men are working on  the home they live in while being build up themselves. Are you ready to step alongside and  help again with a financial gift and/or prayer?

If so, send your gift to IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U St. Traveling Light in Papendrecht.

When in the USA you can make your tax-deductible gift payable to EEO Inc. Make sure to mention: TC Ukraine, Berdychiv.

We will make sure that everything arrives at the destination and will indeed be used for the expansion of the rehab center.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Visit to Teen Challenge, Romania

Catalin & Oltita Baciu
Early September we visited the beautiful country of Romania at the invitation of Catalin & Oltita Baciu. They are the directors of Teen Challenge in that country and the pastors of Biserica 43, a young, fast-growing church in Bucharest.

Our contact with them was established many years ago when we were still living in Southern California. We met them there at a conference and heard about the work they started among the addicts and homeless. Up till this year we did not succeed in planning a visit ... but finally the time was right :)

Men's rehab center in Grădiştea
We stayed in the rehabilitation center for men in Grădiştea, a village outside Bucharest. This center has been established with support from Southern California. The men who live there all have a different background and all have their own story ... sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes difficult to imagine or comprehend, but through it all there is always God's love and grace.

With Stefan and Joseph

We had all the time to listen to the guys in the program and pray with them. We were very grateful for the help from young men such as Joseph (translation, percussion) and Stefan (guitar). We felt so in tune with them and they had the gift to (literally) touch the right tone which made prayer very effective. So precious.

A few years ago teen Challenge opened a women's home as well. During our visit they just moved to a new location, assisted by the men from Grădiştea. Behind some of these beautiful faces are stories of pain and suffering, but victory is often within reach.

Women's House of Joy
What a wonderful work to welcome ladies from all walks of life in this beautiful and warm home where they can slowly and safely recover and heal. The women who work in the house are often graduates themselves and they know the ins and outs of rehabilitation.

Street outreach is still the basis for any Teen Challenge program: seeking addicts and homeless people in their living environment, telling them that there is hope, that there is always hope! With Robert and Cristiana we hit the city back roads, talking to people in the parks, on the streets, in crack houses and alleys. Such a misery, but also ... such an encouragement to know that there are people going out to look for that one lost sheep, that one addicted prostitute and tell her about God's love
With street workers Robert and Cristina (right)

The street work bears fruit. From time to time someone makes a decision to go into rehabilitation. Every woman and man must get that chance!

In the church founded by Teen Challenge, Biserica 43, we were given time and opportunity to listen to people's stories and pray with them (until late in the night). It was a huge encouragement for us to see so many young people ... with passion and great enthusiasm!

Bible study with the men
It was no coincidence that in that same weekend a team from Southern California came for a visit. They were making a documentary about the work of Teen Challenge in Romania. We had such a great time together and really enjoyed tourist trips, tasty food and beautiful nature.

The work of Traveling Light is so much more than fundraising for certain projects. We get to be an encouragement and share God's love, grace and words with people. Also, by visiting different countries and programs we get a clear picture of the miracles God is doing throughout Europe, and we're happy to share that good news!

Check out this special video and see how the work in Romania started!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Work week 2017 Italy

A few weeks ago we headed down to Italy for another great work week. We promised you some pictures and a short report. By the way, it was the fourth time we organized a work week in beautiful Tuscany

With much enthusiasm and zeal we chopped, saw, split and piled up a huge amount of wood. Twice as much as  last year, Henk Swijnenburg claimed ... :)

In doing this, we are helping Maria Meier who runs the therapeutic community Comunita Brezzano.

This year we came with eight people, six from the Netherlands and two from Slovenia: Ervin and Andreas. These two men have a lot of experience in cutting trees through their work for Teen Challenge in Slovenia, so we were very happy with such extra manpower.

The temperature was around 35°C, so the Italians thought we were crazy for working that hard in the summer heat ... but we had planned to fill the basements with firewood for the winter!

The best thing is to see how quick we learn to work as a team and how a relationship develops between people who do not even know each other. The theme for the week was 'living victoriously'. We talked about it every night, read the Bible and shared experiences.

Of course we also went to the beach for a relaxing day. Wow, such temperatures :)

We can look back at a beautiful week in which we learned a lot from each other and certainly from God Himself, who gave us the words to pray for one another through the Holy Spirit.

Thank you very much to Adrie, Andreas, Anja, Ervin, Henk, Jan, Marc and Marja, for your hard work and servanthood. It was really nice to spend this week together. Who knows, there will be another chance next year!

We enjoy hard work as well as fundraising for the various projects. By the way, it was good to see the professional job they did on the repairs of Casa Nuova, we donated for that project last year.

Thanks also to Adrie Swijnenburg for the pictures (click to enlarge).

Gifts for our current projects are always welcome at IBAN: NL91RABO0118582275 BIC: RABONL2U St. Traveling Light in Papendrecht. 

Project Teen Challenge, Armenia
Project Brian Slater, Israel

PS: Last week we were in Romania, a very special visit! More about that soon.