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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!


Aritha said...

I love to read about it! Thank you so much for sharing the projects.
Let us seek for ways to reflect the light of Christ with who we are, what we are doing with our life and money.

I like the project The Gate. I will follow the link to be read more about that. (zijn het twintigers die het bezoeken?)


Traveling Light said...

Ha Aritha, in Polen zijn het meer twintigers die the Gate bezoeken, in NL zijn het jongere kinderen (12-16)...