Tiews (*Germany) – December 2022 Update

News from the Tiews Family

Sharing the Gospel in Germany

Latest posts from on 12/26/2022

Merry Christmas!

By Lula Tiews on 24/12/22

Dear Friends,

As we come upon one of the holiest days of the year, Lula and I would like to take this opportunity to once again thank you for all your love, prayers, and support over these past twelve months. We are especially grateful for “Old Missionary” Gary Thies in Iowa and his fantastic team who keep us so well connected with many of you wonderful folks far and wide. It is our great privilege to be the hands and feet of all of you, sharing the love of Jesus on your behalf with people from so many different cultures and backgrounds. We love our vocation and are full of gratitude that you all are helping us stay on the mission field to do the Lord’s work.

Love in Christ, Merry Christmas, and a blessed New Year!

+ Pastor Chris and Lula Tiews

Traditional Nativity Scene in Westphalia

Babylonian Captivity

By Rev. Tiews on 20/12/22

Last week in Bible class for our Persian friends at Zion Lutheran in Hamburg: While enjoying German stollen cake, lebkuchen, chocolate Santa Clauses and Iranian chai, we discussed the Old Testament lesson of that morning—Isaiah 40:1-11, which opens with those beautiful words of “‘Comfort, comfort my people,’ says your God.” Here the Lord promises consolation to His people being held captive in Babylon. As usual, I had to try to keep the group from becoming too immersed in the latest events in the Iranian revolution. At the same time, I am grateful for the regular opportunities they have to decompress in a safe, Christian environment in our two churches here. They could easily meet elsewhere, where the discussion could deteriorate into secular (and violent) means of dealing with the evil regime in Teheran. Remarkably, their natural gravitation toward this topic fit well with the theme of our Bible class because Christians in Iran (perhaps one-third of the population, as many estimate) are currently experiencing their own captivity—not from foreign armies like Babylon but, ironically, from their own leaders. *** With only a few days to go until Christmas, are any of you being held captive as well—not externally and by force like the Iranian people but perhaps by old destructive habits or negative memories? Are you perhaps still not willing to let go of the guilt over ancient sins that you once committed (or which were committed against you), but for which Jesus Christ has forgiven you many times over? Our Lord’s Nativity is right around the corner. He came not to remain in the manger but to usher in the Kingdom of God. There is no need to hang on to that old captivity in your life. It has been lifted off you and now hangs on the cross. You have been set free. And that gives *you* everlasting comfort.

The Good News in Persian

By Rev. Tiews on 14/12/22

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities…over this present darkness…” (Eph 6:12). This past year, Reverend Doctors J. Bombaro, A. Just, G. Martens, and I—along with some very talented people in the LCMS International Center—have been working on a stunning project, to produce three ten-minute videos on the basics of Christianity. These videos have been dubbed into various Middle Eastern and South Asian languages and will be distributed to those regions via YouTube, TikTok, etc. I was responsible for the Farsi translation—tasked to find native speakers to do the translation work. But where to find them? Over this past year, I talked to five potential translators, with Rev. Marko Turunen and his wife Siiri, Finnish missionaries who speak excellent Farsi, finally getting the job done. But we still needed proofreading by native speakers. We finally found some, all connected to Trinity Lutheran, Berlin, with 1,400 Persian members probably the largest Iranian Lutheran church in the world. Dr. Bombaro and I planned to travel to Berlin this past weekend to record the dubbing with a Trinity member. About to catch my train to Berlin, I got a message from Dr. Martens, their pastor, that our reader was sick and would not be able to make it. I messaged Dr. Bombaro, and we prayed that they would be able to find another reader. An hour later we got a thumbs up: the reader was going to come in after all. Once we got to Trinity, we had to deal with some layout issues but four hours later we wrapped up our work (see image, with Dr. Bombaro)—one year of labor condensed on a tiny blue SD card. Satan may have tried hard to prevent this work from succeeding. But what he meant for evil, God has meant for good (Gen 50:20) because considering the revolution in Iran, the delay in our Farsi video project is making the joyful news of the Gospel even more glorious for those being persecuted by the mullahs.

(Our reader’s face is hidden to protect his privacy)

The Mullah Question

By Rev. Tiews on 06/12/22

In Bible class we recently discussed how amidst the tumult of Jesus’ arrest our Lord rebuked Peter for cutting off the ear of the high priest’s servant (Jn 18:10). Applying this to the ongoing revolution in Iran, I showed that we need to remain peaceful and pray not only for the protesters but also for the Iranian leaders—the mullahs, secret service (IRGC) and the government itself—that they would repent of their evil ways and come to Christ. Everyone agreed, save one young man wearing a ball cap. He shared how his sister had been arrested by the IRGC who physically violated her. “Death to the mullahs!” he kept muttering. He stormed out after class, and I was frustrated that I had not been able to speak to him privately. This past Sunday, he attended the Divine Service and Bible class. Over coffee the people were discussing the fact that the Iranian government is now using live bullets to subdue the protesters. The young man sat there, still very agitated, his eyes barely visible under the brim of his cap. I asked someone to read Matthew 5:44b: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” “What does this mean in the context of the Iranian revolution?” I asked. “We have to love the Iranian authorities and the mullahs,” they said. I glanced over at the young man who sat there, frozen. “Loving people who are evil and hateful is extremely difficult,” I maintained, “especially if they have sinned against you in a most grievous way. But remember that we all have the Holy Spirit in us, whom we received in our Baptism. He works inside of us, allowing us to do things of which we would not be capable on our own. *He* loves our enemies through us, even when *we* have difficulty doing so.” As I was putting my things away after class, someone touched my shoulder. The young man stood behind me, holding his cap. He shook my hand vigorously. “I finally get it…” Thank you, dear Lord Jesus, for softening this young man’s heart.

The Perfect Father

By Rev. Tiews on 29/11/22

Yesterday one of my Iranian parishioners asked me: “The Prodigal Son…who is Jesus talking about?” “ I replied: “The Prodigal Son in Luke 15 is you, me, and every Christian who recognizes his or her sins and repents. But the main character here is the father who had been waiting for his son to return. As soon as he sees the boy in the distance, he throws dignity to the wind, and runs to forgive him. The father in this parable here is our perfect Father in heaven—manifested in Jesus Christ—who is always ready to forgive you when you repent.” “Hmmm…And the older brother? Who is he?” I replied, “The older brother is like the Pharisees. He lives by the law and has a hard heart toward his forgiven brother.” My friend scratched his chin and after a moment said: “So, the younger brother is forgiven by فیض (feyz; grace), while the older brother operates only by شریعت (šari’at; law), which keeps you estranged from God.” I thought for a moment: “Yes, that’s an excellent way to put it. The two brothers are like Law and Gospel.” He turned away and murmured: “But what if you don’t have a father like that? My grandfather was a mullah—an Islamic religious leader. He used to hit me if I didn’t pronounce my Qur’an properly, and my father approved. And now my family has rejected me because I—the grandson of a mullah—am a Christian.” I squeezed his arm. “Did you know that among Jesus’ own direct ancestors there was a prostitute (Rahab) and murderers (Moses, David)?” I reached for my phone. “Look: this is *my* grandfather—in Germany in the 1930s (see image). He was a Nazi—in a way, a lot like a mullah…That makes you and me brothers twice over: we are both grandsons of men who, tragically, were misled. Yet even though our family members might have been far from perfect, we are also brothers redeemed by Christ and His grace. You, and I, and all Christians are prodigals—and we have a perfect Father in heaven who has forgiven us by *His* Son.”

How Many Candles on the Advent Wreath?

By Lula Tiews on 27/11/22


– fearing, waiting, expecting, repenting, resting, anticipating

– a sacred time

– heaven touches earth

– eternity breaks through

How many candles are supposed to be on the Advent wreath?

24 – 27 to help children count down the days to Christmas.

The inventor of the original Advent wreath was the founder and operator of the Rough House, Johann Hinrich Wichern. Wichern was a Hamburg-born theologian who devoted his life to helping, caring for, and nurturing the sick, the weak, and the needy. He established an institution to house, educate, train, and support needed children and youths.

It was in 1839 when the lights of the Advent wreath were lit for the first time. Unlike today’s Advent wreaths, it was decorated with red and white candles. The red ones represented the “normal” days, while the white ones represented the Sundays of Advent. Each day another candle was lit until finally on Christmas Eve all the lights were lit. (Read more)

Advent wreath in St. Michaelis, Hamburg

Recent Articles:

Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow!
Your Last Night
Why Did You Leave Iran?
For My Father and Mother Have Forsaken Me

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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Tiews Family · Osakaallee 2 · Hamburg 20457 · Germany