Tiews (Germany) Update – June 2022

News from the Tiews Family

Sharing the Gospel in Germany

Latest posts from on 06/26/2022


By Rev. Tiews on 21/06/22

Last week I met with a small task force in Hamburg to see how we can continue to provide help to church members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ukraine, suffering mightily from the effects of the war. All their men between 18 and 60 have left to fight the Russian attackers (as have all men across Ukraine), while the women, children, and old folks remain back home to hold down the fort. Literally. Courageous people risking their lives to defend democracy in their homeland—not unlike what we Americans experienced in WWII. Our task force is composed of Lavra (not her real name), who is from central Ukraine and took refuge in Hamburg in March, together with her daughter. (I reported on her on March 30. She was the “most Lutheran of all Lutherans in Ukraine”). Our third member is “Mikhail” who is working through the complex process of sending supplies to Ukraine. Lavra is a punchy lady who speaks German. A nurse by profession, she got off to a running start in Hamburg: within a few days, she had contacted young fellow refugees studying to become nurses themselves. Lavra now teaches these young people German for several hours every afternoon. Lavra shared how some local people had commiserated with the “poor” young students, “victims” of the war. With a sparkle in her eye, Lavra shared her passionate response to the well-meaning folks. “No, these young people are not ‘poor’ and certainly not ‘victims.’ Too many people today hide behind this much over-used term ‘victim’… These are the children of HEROES who are risking their lives to push back the enemy. And they are themselves heroes because they will return to the homeland as nurses to help our people!” Thank you, Lavra, for your shot in the arm, as it were, encouraging us to address the issues in our lives with vigor and confidence—drawing strength from our Lord Himself, as the Psalmist reminds us: “Be strong; and let your heart take courage, all of you who wait for the LORD! (Psalm 31:24).

Reaching People whose Homeland Forbids the Gospel

By Rev. Tiews on 15/06/22

“We have some 70 Persians in our congregation,” explained the pastor, “but I don’t speak a word of Farsi. I’ve heard that many other SELK congregations are blessed with Iranian and Afghan members too. Is there any way we could coordinate Persian resources so we can share the Gospel with them in their own language more effectively?” Hearing time and time again this plea for help, Rev. Roger Zieger, director of the SELK’s mission organization, devised a plan to come to the aid of such congregations. And so, as worked out between the LCMS and SELK, I have been tasked not only to minister to Persians in Hamburg but also to begin coordinating Persian ministry in SELK churches from the North and Baltic Sea to the Alps.

Greetings from the 14th General Convention of the SELK (the LCMS sister church in Germany), an exciting triennial gathering of pastors and church workers. Yesterday I was asked to present at the plenary session and these tasks. I was amazed how many pastors came up to me afterwards, appreciating this SELK-wide effort and also sharing their various ministry situations. Some even asked whether any plans are in place to provide further theological education to Persian men wishing to become Lutheran pastors. That’s where another joint venture is neatly coming into play—with the Evangelical Church of Latvia, SELK, and the LCMS together preparing Lutheran men and women from around the world to better serve the Church through the English-language online and in-person classes offered by Luther Academy in Riga. Dear friends, we are witnessing first-hand how the Lord is connecting all of these moving parts, as He even prophesied some 2,700 years ago: “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth…so shall my Word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose…” (Isaiah 55:10-11).


By Rev. Tiews on 08/06/22

In Early Christianity, amid the rampant persecution of believers, Jesus’ followers had a secret way of identifying one another. They traced a little curve in the dirt. If the other person was a Christian, he or she would make another curve—with the two lines forming a “fish” symbol. The Greek word for “fish” is IXTHYS, which the Christians used as code to signify each first letter of the words “Jesus,” “Christ,” “Son,” “of God,” “Savior.” Thus, Christians identified and helped one another. My visa application process for Pakistan was nerve-wracking. Due to some glitch, even 4 days before my departure I didn’t know whether I would be allowed into the country. Almost at the last minute, I took a different approach (thanks to a clever idea my wife Lula had) and immediately received a “partial visa” online—albeit one which had to be completed on arrival. So, when Dr. Bombaro and I finally landed in Islamabad at 3 AM, I was slightly anxious as to whether the completion of the visa process would work—or whether they might send me back. Even at that hour, there were hundreds of people waiting in line to get through passport control. As we were taking in this scene, a man came up to us, flashed a piece of paper with our pictures on it, and said, “Is this you?” Gulp. “Yes.” “Follow me.” He led us to a lonely counter. Within one minute, an officer had checked our paperwork and stamped our passports. Done. Next, he escorted us through the crowds to the exit, where we were met by our gracious Pakistani hosts, LCMS missionary Rev. Jay Dass and friends—who presented us with huge bouquets and Hawaiian-style leis. After the greetings, our new friend led us to baggage claim. “What was that all about?” we asked. Rev. Dass explained: “In a country where only one percent of the population is Christian, we believers identify and help one another.” Even almost 2,000 years later, some things haven’t changed. Praise God.

(Photo: J. Dass).

Law and Gospel in Pakistan

By Rev. Tiews on 01/06/22

Today I returned to Hamburg from Islamabad, Pakistan, where I spent the last ten days with my friend and colleague Rev. Dr. John Bombaro. My assignment there was to preach at local churches (see picture) and to teach a ten-hour class on “Law and Gospel.” While the key to understanding Holy Scripture is Jesus Christ, one needs a special set of “glasses” to see Him clearly. Hence these twin doctrines—with the Law showing our sin and the Gospel illuminating our Savior. Our hosts were fellow LCMS missionaries Rev. Jay and Mrs. Julie Dass, who did magnificent prep work by inviting some 25 Christians to our classes—half of whom are Pentecostal pastors most eager to learn about the teachings of ancient Christianity, as taught in the New Testament and to which we Confessional Lutherans hold. Churches? Pastors? In a country that is 98% Muslim? Yes, indeed. You see, while only 1% of Pakistan is Christian, in a country of some 230 million people that translates to well over two million Christians—who can be found all over. And we indeed bumped into fellow believers everywhere, identifiable by the crosses around their necks and by their body language and demeanor. But it gets better still: these brothers and sisters in Christ can reach their Muslim neighbors with the Good News of Jesus Christ—in the local languages—in a way we Westerners could never do as well. There is a huge potential for outreach in Pakistan and I am so privileged to play a part in this great work—having personally witnessed how the Lord in this part of the world is advancing ancient Christian teaching and preaching.

(Photos: J. Bombaro).

Going to church

Recent Articles:

Law and Gospel around the World
Keeping the ‘Missionary Briquette’ Hot
Life is Change
The Lord’s Church
Lent and Easter 2022

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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