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!