Tiews (Germany) Update – July 2022

News from the Tiews Family

Sharing the Gospel in Germany

Latest posts from on 07/26/2022

The Valley of the Shadow of Death

By Rev. Tiews on 20/07/22

Last week I met a delightful couple from Iran who moved to Germany a few years ago. “Abbas” and “Maryam” had become Christians in their homeland but kept this secret because conversion from Islam is punished with prison or even death. I asked how they wound up in Germany. Maryam shared her story: “I used to work as a travel agent in Iran. About three years ago, I was leading a group through Turkey—in winter. My mother was in our group too. Since the trip was only for a few days, I was traveling light—with only a carry-on bag. One evening I received a message from back home that the authorities had just raided our apartment and discovered that I had become a Christian. At that moment, my life as I had known it ceased to exist. I would never again be able to return to Iran—at least not under the current regime. Everything I owned was reduced to that carry-on bag. My mother, who had also become a Christian, and I realized that our only option was to try make our way to Germany, where Abbas, an IT specialist, had gained a residency permit. By the grace of Jesus Christ, we somehow managed to sneak across the border into Greece, but since we had entered illegally, we had to hide until we could contact people who might get us further west. We hid in the woods for a whole month—just the two of us. No shelter, no food. We couldn’t even build a fire for fear of being detected. I was wet and cold the whole time. The only thing that kept me alive—food for my soul—was Psalm 23, which I kept reciting to myself: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me.” Maryam and her mother eventually made it out of Greece and reconnected with Abbas. Most of her family have since moved to Germany as well. Abbas’ goal in life? To one day become a Lutheran pastor and share the Gospel of our Lord in Word and Sacrament with fellow Iranians! *** Indeed, Holy Scripture is food for the soul. (Permission granted to share this story).

If It’s All By Faith, What About Abraham’s…

By Rev. Tiews on 12/07/22

The other day in new member class at Trinity Lutheran (SELK), Hamburg, we were reading and discussing Romans 4 in a mix of three languages—Persian (Farsi), German, and English. The Iranian catechumens were grasping that God “counted it to Abraham as righteousness” and that he believed God’s promise (Romans 4:3; Genesis 15:1-6). In other words, Abraham was saved by faith—a seminal teaching in both Old and New Testament. Then out of the blue one of the men asked: “If it’s all by faith, what about Abraham’s…uh…” and he started doing weird things with his fingers. The other men started grinning. After a second, I realized that he was asking about God’s command for Abraham and all Israelite males to be circumcised (Gen 17). “Great question,” I replied, “and believe it or not, these two topics are connected. By marking all Israelite males in this way, God was giving His people a physical and daily reminder of His many covenants with them—most importantly His promise to one day send a Savior who would descend from Abraham’s own seed. Not to mention, this mark would physically distinguish them from the surrounding nations with whom they were not to mingle. But there is one drawback to this approach…” They all answered, “Only the males received the mark.” “Exactly,” I replied, “even though the females are included in the covenant because they are, of course, children of the males. But there is a New Testament counterpart to this that is superior because it includes everyone—men, women, children, and even babies. Can you figure out what it is?” They pondered. “It is called Holy Baptism and it is for males and females of all ages.” This clicked. “But whereas circumcision only guaranteed the promise of the Savior to come and is merely a cutting of the flesh, Baptism is a “circumcision without hands” (Col 2:11), actually *giving* the Savior Jesus to you—along with the forgiveness of sins and eternal life.” Then one of the catechumens put a bow on the whole discussion: “And this is all a gift. We receive it by faith alone.” Amen, brother.

The Gospel in Persian

By Rev. Tiews on 06/07/22

“And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia…” (Acts 2:8-9). This famous passage documents Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit miraculously enabled the Jewish followers of Jesus to speak new tongues to be able to share the Gospel with hitherto unreached ethnic groups. This past Sunday marked a significant day for me as a missionary. After much hard study (unfortunately, not instantly, like at Pentecost)—and with lots of help from my Persian language instructor and my missionary colleague Rev. Marko Turunen—I held my first Divine Service in the Persian (Farsi) language at Zion, Hamburg. While I’ve learned Persian in its Arabic script, I am not yet fluent enough to conduct a worship service, so I read the liturgical text in transcription. I preached in German, with an Iranian assistant (who also did the lectionary readings and prayers) reading from a previously prepared translation. This was truly a team effort and the Lord blessed it. The congregation was very pleased to hear me preach the Good News of Jesus Christ in their native language. One Iranian lady came up to me later, wanting to connect with me on WhatsApp. This is what she wrote: سلام روز خوش ممنون میشم منم تو گروه کلیسا باشم ..مرسی از شما . As “St. Google” rendered, “Hello, have a nice day, thank you for joining the church group. Thank you.” Computer-generated translations aside, some 2,000 years after Pentecost, the Holy Spirit has built yet another bridge between individuals from two different language groups, communicating to our Persian friends the most important message on the planet: In Baptism the Holy Spirit makes you a child of God the Father, and Jesus Christ forgives you all your sins. Or, to quote my Iranian parishioner, the Holy Spirit let me “join the church group”!

Watch an excerpt of the service here

Celebration of Missions in Hamburg

By Rev. Tiews on 27/06/22

“Mission festival in Hamburg with the Zion and Trinity Churches. We are impressed by the multilingual commitment in Hamburg – today’s sermon was translated into Persian and there is also an English service tonight. May God continue to build bridges between cultures and languages!” – Lisel and Thomas Beneke

Recent Articles:

Reaching People whose Homeland Forbids the Gospel
Law and Gospel in Pakistan
Law and Gospel around the World

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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