Tiews (Germany) Update – May 2022

News from the Tiews Family

Sharing the Gospel in Germany

Latest posts from on 05/26/2022

Law and Gospel around the World

By Rev. Tiews on 24/05/22


I am currently in a Central Asian country, teaching local seminarians one of the fundamental tenets of Christianity: the proper distinction of Law and Gospel. Things have come full circle because twelve years ago Concordia Publishing House asked me to translate from German into English C.F.W. Walther’s seminal work, “Law & Gospel—How to Read and Apply the Bible.” And now here I am, a dozen years later—instructing future Lutheran pastors on this very same topic, using that very book as my textbook—in a Muslim country, no less! So grateful for our church body, the LCMS—spreading true Christianity around the globe—not only through faithful pastors all over the U.S. but also through hundreds of missionaries and our plethora of world-class resources!

Worship in the chapel of The International Lutheran Center at the Old Latin School during the Luther Academy intensive on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021, in Wittenberg, Germany. LCMS Communications/Erik M. Lunsford


Keeping the ‘Missionary Briquette’ Hot

By Rev. Tiews on 21/05/22


A project to reach Farsi speakers energizes experts from both sides of the Atlantic.

Have you ever noticed how a red-hot charcoal briquette will lose its heat quickly if separated from the other coals? But if it’s surrounded by a pile of other briquettes, it will stay hot for a long time.

After serving as a pastor in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) in Oklahoma for over 12 years, I received a call to be a missionary in Hamburg, Germany, in early 2021. I was born in the Land of Luther and spent half of my life there, plus my dear wife, Lula, was born and raised there. So, this call made perfect sense. However, the LCMS Office of International Mission (OIM) did not task me to work with “regular” Germans. Rather, I was to learn a new language — Farsi — and share the Gospel with some of the 400,000 immigrants from Iran and Afghanistan now living in Germany.

“No problem,” I thought. Languages have always been my strength. I immediately started studying, expecting to be fluent in Persian by the fall. But by October, I was not nearly as good at Farsi as I had hoped to be.

While in Berlin last October, Lula and I decided to visit our friend Rev. Dr. Gottfried Martens, pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Berlin-Steglitz, a Lutheran congregation of some 1,500 members — 1,400 of whom hail from Iran or Afghanistan. I shared with him my frustration at not being able to learn Farsi as easily as I had thought.

The Rev. Dr. Gottfried Martens leads Bible study at Trinity Lutheran Church in Berlin-Steglitz, Germany.

He commiserated and said, “Don’t worry, you’ll be able to preach and teach in Farsi soon enough. But we have bigger fish to fry. For years I’ve wanted to reach the millions of Farsi speakers outside of Germany — the expatriates and even the people in Iran and Afghanistan. Especially in Iran, many people are starving for the Gospel. But most of them speak only Farsi. We need instructional videos in their own language to explain the basics of historic Christianity. There are well over 120 million Farsi speakers that we could potentially reach if we only had such videos.”

What a vision! I presented his idea to my colleagues at the OIM. As the Lord would have it, only a few weeks later several of them were planning to teach at the Old Latin School in Wittenberg, only 40 minutes away from Berlin. So in mid-November, the Rev. Dr. John Bombaro, associate director of the LCMS Eurasia region; the Rev. Dr. Arthur Just Jr., a renowned professor of liturgics and New Testament at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne; and I sat down with Martens in Berlin to discuss how we might produce such videos.

The Rev. Dr. Charles Cortright, LCMS missionary and professor at Luther Academy (standing, left), and fellow professor, the Rev. Dr. John Bombaro, associate regional director of the LCMS Eurasia region, talk with LCMS missionaries Gudula (Lula) and the Rev. Christian Tiews following exams for students of Luther Academy on Sunday, Oct. 31, 2021, in The International Lutheran Center at the Old Latin School in Wittenberg, Germany. LCMS Communications/Erik M. Lunsford

Within an hour and a half, we hashed out a plan to create three 10-minute videos on Christ’s atonement, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper — key components of Christianity that resonate strongly with Persians. Our idea was to record the videos in English, overdub them in Farsi, and distribute them around the globe via the internet. OIM leadership enthusiastically embraced this plan, and our goal is to go online by late spring. We now plan to add Arabic and Urdu versions as well.

The Lord has augmented my ministry and encouraged me greatly by giving me an additional project to draw together experts from both sides of the Atlantic to bring this plan to fruition. In the meantime, back in Hamburg, I am now teaching Iranian church members German, while they are teaching me Farsi. Our Lord is using the Holy Spirit to let us “encourage one another and build one another up” (1 Thess. 5:11) using His people from back home, from Germany, and from Iran to keep this “missionary briquette” nice and hot. Thank You, Lord!

Photography by Erik M. Lunsford 

The article by Rev. Tiews was first published in Lutherans Engage May 2022


Life is Change

By Rev. Tiews on 17/05/22


I had a small procedure done today, which took all of five minutes. They sent me back to the waiting room and said they would call me up again in ten minutes to check for any bleeding. Sure enough, they soon led me to a small room, where two med techs assisted me. As I lay on the cot, one of the techs asked, “Where are you from?” “I’m German-American, a pastor. I work for an American church body that sent me here as a missionary,” I replied.” “A missionary?! Hmm…You sound like you’re from Hamburg,” she remarked. “That’s why they sent me here,” I chuckled. “Yet my assignment is not primarily to work with Germans but with Iranian immigrants. That’s why I’m learning Persian.” “Really! How is that coming along?” “Hard work, but I’m making progress…””What religion are you?” she asked. “I’m Christian—Lutheran to be more precise.” “Oh, of course, sorry. That was a silly question. I’m not quite awake yet,” she replied. I turned my head and smiled at her. “Did you know that the most common religion of the Iranian migrants here is Christian? Islam is in second place.” “Wow, I would never have guessed that,” she said. “I used to have a Muslim boyfriend. I had a tough time trying to learn the Arabic alphabet…Wait a minute… this is going to hurt…” Ouch. I continued, “The Iranians most eager to turn to Christianity are the women. Perhaps you know why…” She shot me a look. “Yes.” “What religion are *you*?” I asked. “Catholic. We come from Poland. But our family is totally multicultural.” “Ah, you stayed Christian. That is good… I see you’ve got a tattoo in Arabic on your arm,” I noted. “Yes, can you read it?” She held her arm in front of me. I slowly mouthed the words. “Very good! It means ‘Life is change’…It stopped bleeding. You’re good to go!” “Thank you so much,” I replied. And thanks for sharing your story.” Indeed, life is change. But only “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).


The Lord’s Church

By Rev. Tiews on 27/04/22


Today is exactly one year since I touched down at Frankfurt/Main, Germany, kicking off my five years (God willing) of missionary service for the Lutheran—Church Missouri Synod. This is my boarding pass from back then, along with a beautiful reminder of God’s protection, given to me by a dear church member in my last stateside church, Trinity Lutheran in Okmulgee, Oklahoma. What is my assessment one year into this deployment? Sadly, serving God in this way has been tougher for some members of my family than I had expected, namely those with roots in America (while also more joyful for other members of our family living in Germany). On the other hand, my mission work goes much further beyond Germany than I would have thought since I daily interact with Iranians, Afghans, Latvians, and now also Ukrainians. Next month I will fly to a Central Asian country for ten days. Perhaps the Bible verse that defines the past twelve months best is, once again, 1 Corinthians 12:12: “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.” This past year has shown me more than ever how the Lord’s Church is truly a body of people with myriad gifts, interconnected and collaborating toward a common goal—whether it is the dear people of Oklahoma who tearfully released us as we received our call to serve the Lord in a different part of the world, or the many supporters we are blessed with all over the United States, or God’s people in the Kaiserslautern Military Community or in Frankfurt/Main; or in Hamburg, Finland, Latvia, across Central Europe, or Central Asia. Truly, we seem to be most useful to the Kingdom when we stay interconnected with one another—different members of the body, all being used by the Holy Spirit to work toward the same goal: to feed the sheep and reach the lost. Thank you all for helping make this first year even more powerful than we could have hoped for.


Recent Articles:

Lent and Easter 2022
Just Tell the Good News
The Average Lutheran
Welcoming Strangers as Family
Ukrainian Refugees Arriving in Germany

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.)

Another option is giving through:

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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