Tiews (Germany) Update – March 2022

News from the Tiews Family

Sharing the Gospel in Germany

Latest posts from on 03/26/2022

Ukrainian Refugees Arriving in Germany

By Rev. Tiews on 24/03/22


The war in Ukraine has catapulted many of us into untrodden territory, forcing millions of people to flee westward to escape the bombs and missiles being launched on them. Last Thursday the LCMS requested me to provide pastoral care to three Ukrainian refugee families heading toward Germany and provided me with their contact info. The next day one of the families texted me, indicating that they would arrive at Hamburg’s main station in about 40 minutes’ time: a mom and her teenage daughter (whom I will call Nataliya and Mikayla). The husband was not with them because Ukrainian men must stay and defend the homeland (!). I called their host here in Hamburg and we met at the platform only minutes before their train pulled in. It had at least twenty cars and we had no idea in which one our guests were traveling. We split up, not having a clue whom to look for. Slowly making my way through the crowds, I held up my home-made blue and yellow sign with their name on it. As the Lord would have it, Nataliya and daughter disembarked right in front of me, with Mikayla spotting my sign. With tears of relief running down their faces after five days on the road, I welcomed them. We found the host, whose husband Hans had been waiting with the family van in the parking lot. When we got there, I asked the little group whether they would mind if we had a prayer of thanks for their safe arrival. The Ukrainian ladies nodded in agreement, whereas the host looked skeptical: “Praying is not really my thing, but Hans is Catholic, so… well… alright.” We prayed and I noticed the Ukrainians make the sign of the cross as we concluded. The next day, the host called me with the happy news that her guests were doing well. Before hanging up, she added, “Oh, by the way, thank you for praying last night. I’m not really into all of that religion stuff, but somehow praying to God felt good. It gave me peace.”


The Lord’s Work

By Rev. Tiews on 24/03/22


Every Saturday I teach at a local Lutheran (SELK) church in Hamburg: first, a new member class for a German baptismal candidate and then three hours of German for Persian migrants. And every Saturday I find the fellowship hall spotlessly clean, with the table set with various kinds of sparkling water and snacks. During each class an elderly Lutheran lady putters in, asking whether we would like coffee or other refreshments. What would our classes be like without Frau Schmidt [not her real name]!? I recently asked her how long she had been a member of that church. “My whole life,” she replied. “I was born in 1941. One of my earliest memories was of our pastor at the end of the war. He was so wonderful with us children,” she recalled wistfully. “I see you here every week. Are you a pastor?” “Yes,” I replied. “And a missionary.” “A missionary—here in Germany? “Yes. I tell everyone I can about Jesus—mainly migrants from Iran and Afghanistan but also regular Germans.” “Tell people about Jesus…” she repeated softly. “I could never do that… I wouldn’t know what to say. I’m 82 and I don’t think I have ever told anyone about our Lord…” “And yet, you are doing His work,” I replied. “How so? All I do is clean up here and make coffee and provide snacks for the people.” “St. Paul in the New Testament compares the Christian Church to a human body,” I suggested. “Some people are the hands, some people the feet. Some the eyes, some the ears, some the mouth [1 Cor 12:4-21]. God has blessed all of us with certain gifts and He wants us all to use them to serve others. Your gift, Frau Schmidt, is hospitality. And it is a huge gift. You make everyone who comes here feel welcome—no matter who they are. You are doing the Lord’s work, using the gift He gave you: hospitality.” “Really…” I noticed that her eyes had welled up a bit. “I never knew that. I am doing the Lord’s work. Who would have thought…” she muttered as she shuffled back to the kitchen to get more cookies.


Evening Prayer at Zion, SELK Hamburg

By Lula Tiews on 18/03/22


On Sunday, March 20th, 2020, at 6pm Pastor Tiews will conduct the first service in English at Zionsgemeinde in Hamburg and continue to do so once a month. You are invited!


The Persian Copy Shop

By Rev. Tiews on 09/03/22


There are more Iranians and Afghans living here in Hamburg than in any other city in Germany–and many of them are converting to Christianity. I live in a part of town that is predominantly Persian. In fact, walk down one street and you will not hear any German whatsoever. Practically every shop there sells Iranian or Afghan products—Persian groceries, chadors, or snacks. A few weeks ago, I noticed a picture of the Shah Reza Pahlavi in the store window of my local copy shop (see picture). You may recall that the Shah was ousted in 1979, after which the Revolutionary Guard took over, with the Ayatollah Khomeini as the new head of the government. That picture told me that the shop owner is—at the very least—not a huge fan of today’s Iranian government. A few weeks ago, I shared with you that my language teacher and I have been going over the Nicene Creed in Persian. To prepare for my class I recently emailed part of the Creed in Persian to my Iranian copy shop and walked over one after afternoon to pick up my copies. The owner printed out my order as I waited, glancing at the sheet as it came out of the printer and quietly voicing the words in Persian: “I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth and of all things invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God…” He raised his eyebrows: “This is very ancient Persian language,” he noted. “What is this?” he asked. “It is an ancient Christian creed, translated into Farsi. We use it in church services for Iranians and Afghans here in Hamburg,” I explained. “Really,” he answered. Pause. “These copies are on the house.” “Well, thank you,” I replied. “That is very kind of you. I’ll be back soon with more things like these. Khoda hafez!” (“Goodbye”—which also means “May God be your guardian” in Persian). “Khoda hafez,” he answered with a smile. To be continued!


The Word Never Returns Void

By Rev. Tiews on 28/02/22


You may recall how I recently shared about my Iranian language teacher with whom I have been going over the Lord’s Prayer and various Biblical texts in our Zoom classes—in Farsi. Would the Holy Spirit, I wondered, who inspired the prophets and writers of Holy Scripture, also knock on the door of her heart? Last week we went over the Persian translation of the Nicene Creed, that beautiful confession of the ancient Church that describes the mystery of the Trinity: “…one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God….” My teacher remarked how much she enjoys reading and reflecting on these texts. “They give me a sense of peace,” she admitted. After discussing the grammar of each passage and having me read the Nicene Creed in Farsi, she suddenly changed the topic. “Can we talk about something different for a moment?” she asked. “Of course,” I replied. “If I wanted to start reading the Bible, where would I begin? Also, ideally, I would like to read something a bit philosophical…” “Well,” I replied, “A very good place to start would be the Gospel of John. Of the four Gospel texts, it is perhaps the most philosophical and it is also full of beautiful images: light and darkness [John 1:5]; Jesus Christ is the Word become flesh [John 1:14]; if one wishes to see the Kingdom of God, one must be born again [John 3:3]. “How much should I read every day?” she wondered. “As much as you like. But there’s no need to rush. Savor the text—like a fine wine or perhaps like caviar [for which Iran is famous]. Remember, the Bible is not like any other book. Each word in it is inspired by God Himself.” “Really!? I can’t wait to get started with the Gospel of John,” she exclaimed excitedly. Praise God! And I look forward to hearing how the Holy Spirit—”who proceeds from the Father and the Son…[and] who spoke by the prophets,” as the Nicene Creed explains, will continue to work in my teacher.


Recent Articles:

No Match for Nature
Missions Unpacked: Germany
Lutherische Kirchenmission Blesses Ministry to Persian Speakers
Happy New Year!

Thank you to all who have already supported the wonderful mission work that is being done by our many LCMS missionaries in Eurasia and around the world. Thank you also for partnering directly with us—the Tiews family. If you are not yet partnering with us, below are various ways in which you can do so.

Praise the LORD that
Jesus took a sinful agnostic guy, forgave him, and is now using him to bring the Gospel to a land in which so many people do not know Jesus Christ.

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Giving by Check: You can also make a donation towards the Tiews’ ministry by check. Mail your check, made payable to The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod and designated with their last name, to:

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
P.O. Box 66861
St. Louis, MO 63166-6861

(Or call 888-930-4438 to speak with someone.)


Of course you can also lend your support by sending your gift to:

Mission Central
40718 Highway E16
Mapleton, IA  51034-7105
Include “Tiews-Germany Support” in the memo line or give online at Mission Central.

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