Tiews (Germany) Update – September 2022

News from the Tiews Family

Sharing the Gospel in Germany

Latest posts from on 09/26/2022

The Good Samaritan in Hamburg

By Rev. Tiews on 11/09/22

Today’s Gospel lesson is the parable of “The Good Samaritan” in Luke 10. Yesterday I sat down with an Iranian liturgical assistant to go over the service with him. “What is a ‘Samaritan’?” he asked. I replied that Samaritans were unfairly considered among the lowest people in Jewish society because they were descendants of Israelites who had intermarried with unbelieving Gentiles centuries earlier. There was a blank expression on his face. “What Jesus means in this parable,” I concluded, “is that while the people who should have helped the wounded traveler looked away, it was the most unlikely person—an outsider who was looked down upon—who stooped down and rescued the traveler.” “Hmm,” he murmured. Having finished our work, I asked him how he got to Germany. He replied that he had walked most of the way—a journey of over 3,000 miles that took him 1 1/2 years. He became a Christian on the way, having heard the Gospel in a Turkish refugee camp, of all places. But one of his lowest points since leaving Iran was being homeless right here in Germany several winters ago. It was freezing cold, and he was crouched down on the sidewalk—shivering. Many people walked by, ignoring him. After a long while, one man stopped and asked him whether he had any place to stay. My friend replied that he did not. The man said, “Come with me. I’ll take you in until this cold snap is over.” The stranger made room for my friend on his couch, gave him hot tea, and wrapped him in blankets. My friend became emotional as he recalled the kindness of this stranger—a fellow Iranian and Muslim. “That man was your Good Samaritan,” I offered. “Here we are, in a Christian country. Many people walked by. But it was the most unlikely person—a migrant himself—who rescued you.” With tears running down his face, he nodded: “Now I understand what the parable is saying. And Jesus is *our* Good Samaritan because we are all travelers—wounded by our sins. Yet He rescued us—on the cross.”

What does Jesus Christ *mean*?

By Rev. Tiews on 06/09/22

On the hotel shuttle to Thessaloniki airport ten days ago, I struck up a conversation with our driver: “Lula and I are missionaries. We’re returning to Germany after meeting with our colleagues from all around Eurasia.” No reaction. “Missionaries tell people about Jesus Christ…” After a while, he asked: “What does Jesus Christ *mean*?” Whoa… “Well, the Bible tells us that we’re separated from God because of our sins. But Jesus died on the cross to *pay* for all our sins, and He rose again from the grave to give us eternal life.” He glanced over at me: “I believe all of that. But I don’t go to church.” “Why not?” I asked. “Because all our priests are crooks.” He then cited many examples of local priests who, in his opinion, were mainly after money and not interested in their flock. “That’s very sad,” I replied. “Because only in the church do we receive Christ’s true body and blood. Also, if we stay away, we deprive our fellow Christians of ourselves. You might be the very person with whom someone can share their burdens.” “Hmm…” he grunted. “You know,” I continued, “When we focus on Christians instead of on Christ—we will almost always be disappointed. There are very few believers who are true role models. One could be Mother Teresa, ministering to the outcasts in India.” “Indeed.” Cruising down the highway, over to the right we caught glimpses of the Aegean Sea. “But even though you might be turned off by the leaders in the Church, you can still stay connected to Christ.” “You mean by reading the Bible?” “Exactly.” “I do that sometimes,” he shared. I tried to encourage him: “Keep it up. A few chapters a day, maybe focusing on the New Testament or the Psalms. Because in the Bible, God the Holy Spirit is speaking directly to you. “I’ll keep that in mind,” he said with a big smile, as the airport terminal came into view. I stuck out my hand: “God bless you, brother.” “God bless you,” he replied with a sparkle in his eye.

Finally! Congregations Get Together Again

By Lula Tiews on 04/09/22

Preaching and presenting at beautiful Bethlehemgemeinde in Hannover. What a wonderful celebration of missions!

Luncheon and fellowship at Dreieinigkeitskirche, Hamburg.

Lutherans in Dispersion

By Rev. Tiews on 30/08/22

1 Peter 1:1 speaks of the “dispersion” of Jewish and Gentile Christians scattered around “Asia”—east of the Aegean Sea. We LCMS missionaries serving here in Eurasia recently met for several days west of the Aegean Sea. And Lula and I got to meet real-life Lutherans in today’s “dispersion.” One afternoon over lunch I got to sit next to Iro Damianaki-Tsakmali (see picture). She told me how happy she was to participate in our retreat, to hear proper Law and Gospel preaching, and to receive the Lord’s true body and blood with a large group of fellow Lutherans. “How did you hear about Lutheran Christianity?” I asked. “Mainly from the wonderful teaching of Reverend Rev. Bryan Wolfmueller on the Internet.” I replied, “But you are the only Lutherans in Greece. Do you ever receive Holy Communion?” “Yes, she replied: “About once a month, either Rev. Sorin Trifa or Rev. Andrew Fedder drives down from Romania and we have a church service in our home—with my husband Jordan and our two children.” I told her I was so happy that, even though her family is, in fact, in the dispersion, they can remain connected to the larger Lutheran family. “What attracted you to Lutheran Christianity in the first place?” I wondered. Iro leaned back and thought a moment. “I think it was the clear proclamation Lutheran Christianity has regarding Law and Gospel. Although this teaching is prevalent throughout Scripture, we seem to be uniquely focused on using it as the correct lens to read Scripture. The Law shows our sin, but the Gospel shows our Savior. Even though I was a Christian before, I always felt condemned because I thought I had to be a perfect Christian to be saved. Lutheran Christianity has taught me that my salvation does not depend on how well I lead my Christian life—even though I try hard—but that it is solely dependent on Jesus Christ who took all my sins upon Himself.” And so, the Lord comes to us with Word and Sacrament—even in the dispersion.

For those who love God

By Rev. Tiews on 29/08/22

There is an invisible undercurrent to living in Germany in late summer 2022. It is still sunny and warm. People are relaxing in outdoor cafés and bars; dog walkers are out in droves; the kids are back in school. But at the same time, only some 1,200 miles southeast of us, the “biggest war between European countries since World War II” (WSJ, Aug. 23, 2022) is being waged. And because Germany’s energy supplies have been completely upended by this war, the German government is preparing for potential energy rationing in the months ahead. No wonder consumers all across the country are snatching up space heaters to be able to keep their apartments and homes warm this coming winter. In addition, the many refugees from Ukraine have depleted available living space, and apartments are hard to find—all around Germany. And yet, there is a bright side to all of this: Thanks to the many generous people in the U.S. who have been moved to alleviate the plight of Ukrainian refugees, the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod has been able to call a Ukrainian Lutheran pastor and his family (who are themselves refugees!) to serve their fellow Ukrainian refugees now living in the region around Wittenberg. This meaningful work is being coordinated by Rev. James Krikava (Director of OIM Eurasia of the LCMS), Rev. Roger Zieger (director of the SELK’s Office of Mission), and Mr. Viktor Bender, a brilliant project leader based in Hamburg who is managing the disbursement of LCMS funds to the SELK (see my FB post from June 21). The result: last Sunday the regular Divine Service held in the Old Latin School—the LCMS’ headquarters in Wittenberg—was packed, with almost 50 people worshipping. The words of Scripture best explain the “bright side” of the historic upheaval we are experiencing: “For those who love God ALL things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28)! (Photo courtesy of Viktor Bender).

Recent Articles:

The Valley of the Shadow of Death
If It’s All By Faith, What About Abraham’s…
The Gospel in Persian
Celebration of Missions in Hamburg

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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