Within just a few weeks in December 2021, together we raised a staggering €26,000. We were aiming for €10,000 and we have been simply blown away by God’s faithfulness and the generosity of those within the Lighthouse Community: friends and partners – individuals, businesses and churches from Relational Mission and New Ground. To date we have distributed €12,500 and below you will find pictures and reports of how this money has been spent/is being used.
With regard to the remaining €13,500, The Lighthouse Community Oversight Team (Trustees and Key Leaders) has chosen to ring-fence this money in order to fund some simple business initiatives enabling wood-fuel to be bought and then sold / distributed more efficiently. These proposals are under development and so we intend to use this extra money to be able to create more sustainable ways of responding to fuel-need next year.
Therefore all money related to our Winter Fuel Fundraiser will be used entirely for the purpose of relieving suffering created through high fuel prices – both this winter, and beyond.
Once again, thank you for your love and trust and I hope you enjoy reading about the impact of your generosity below.
Bosnia and Herzegovina – Bernard Mikulic writes…
ZENICA: Ruvejda is an old woman who escaped from the Srebrenica area during the war with her four minor children. Her husband left her before the war and went to live with another woman. As she says, it was the most difficult period in her life, especially because she was captured three times and during which she was severely abused.
She lives in alternative municipal accommodation and has no income. Children sometimes give her something and one daughter is close to her who got sick while caring for her sick mother-in-law and got cancer from which she is being treated.
When we asked her what she needed most, she said that it was wood and food. She is very grateful and says that she lives in the town of Vareš where there are nice people and she wants to help her neighbour as much as she can.
It was a special pleasure for us to go to this tormented soul, and especially because it destroys both religious and national barriers. At first when she heard my name, she was shut up, not knowing she had lived through such hell in her life. But our Lord gives them a plan for everyone’s life and gives us the opportunity to apologise to her for all the evil deeds done to her by those of “other faiths”.
JELICA is a refugee during the war and now she is back, she fled to Republic Serbia during the war and then returned. She has a pension from RS of 75 euros, she lost her son during the war and just when we visited her she started crying because her daughter who lived in Montenegro also died. It is hard for her because she could not go to the funeral and even harder when the child is lost. Neighbours told us about Jelica that she was in need, after which we responded. The first time we visited it it had only a small amount of wood by the stove and it froze most of the day. She was very happy with the wood and after that she called us to give us “at least” woollen socks for the winter as a sign of gratitude.
Desanka Benco, has an unbelievable story. A widow who was kicked out of the house by her husband’s family after her husband died. They don’t have children and she couldn’t fight for herself. Before the war she was a baby sister and she had developed good relationship with that family. They gave her an apartment where she can stay and look after there apartment. She have most basic things for living in that apartment. She is a good person; she helps her neighbour’s as much as she can, and they in turn help her with food and sometimes financially. She also got a small fireplace from a neighbour, so at first she collected wood around the building so she could light a fire and keep warm in the evening. She is grateful for the help with the wood.
Iva Zovko lives alone. She lives on the minimum pension, like most retiree people in our country. Just to compare, my mom worked all her life as a teacher until her retirement. Today her pension is 175 Euros … if our three children didn’t help her, she wouldn’t be able to survive. Iva is a Christian. Most of her pension goes to utilities and basic necessities. She is grateful for the help in the wood, always money go first for medicine, electricity etc. Our elderly people are taught to never remain indebted to anyone, and so they pay the bills first. And how much is left that they can use for other things? Not much.
Latvia – David Jones writes…
In Smiltene, Latvia the Winter Fuel support gift has enabled us to help the poor in our community. Indeed, one lady had only a week’s worth of logs left when we contacted her. In addition, we have been able to strengthen existing relationships as well as make new ones, both within and outside of our church family. Many thanks, David and ‘The Father’s House’.
Moldova – Thomas Grasslin writes…
Thank you very much for your help! Firewood in Moldova is expensive but very necessary. Your gift is a great grace to us. You have brought us much joy giving this gift and we see the God’s care through you! We will have less worries this winter. Thank you for wanting to help us even if you don’t know us! God bless and reward you abundantly.
The Sveta Family
Sveta lost her husband last year after fighting with Covid. His name is Lucian, 40 years old. After graduating from high school, they married and then planted the first Baptist church in Lucian’s native village. He pastored the church for twenty years. Practically every member is in the church because of Lucain’s passion for evangelism. He also served two terms as mayor. He set a good example to follow among his colleagues, each of whom had heard of Jesus from Lucian. Together they have three daughters: 18-year-old Mădălina, who is graduating this year from high school in the capital. Alexandra, 14, is a 7th grade. Raluca, 8 years old, is in the 3rd grade. Sveta is a teacher in a village school, where she teaches Romanian. With Lucian they had many plans for the future and projects started in the church, the village, the neighbouring village and for them as a family. Lucian was a strong support for Sveta, now she is learning to live without him, which is very difficult for her.
Sveta continues to serve in the church and is involved in several Bible studies. She loves Jesus.
Vera and Pavlik’s Family
My name is Vera and my husband is Pavlik. We are from Moldova. We have three children (two children are our biological children and one is my niece, from my little sister) She does not have possibility to raise her baby due to her health problem and our family decided to take her child and raise her as our own. Thank you for your help for us. It is a great blessing. Your help is very important for us.
Leskovac, Serbia – Vlada and Sonja Stojanovic write…
The firewood came at just the right time for many people in the Roma community in Leskovac facing hardship this winter. It didn’t just provide fuel for heating and cooking, perhaps more importantly it brought hope, and a timely reminder of how God provides for his people. A number of those who received the wood were widows, who can now enjoy a very different winter to the one they expected. The backstories of other households, now blessed by warm homes, include the tragic loss of family members, illness, or simply seasonal earnings that could not stretch over the whole year. These people have in common, that their homes and lives have been transformed by the kindness of God’s people from all over Europe.