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 … Continue reading Merry Christmas!
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 … Continue reading Babylonian Captivity
“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 … Continue reading The Good News in Persian
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 … Continue reading The Mullah Question
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. … Continue reading The Perfect Father
Advent – 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 … Continue reading How Many Candles on the Advent Wreath?
Thanksgiving Day, a quintessential American holiday, is not celebrated in Germany—and certainly not in Iran (although one of my Iranian parishioners texted me “Happy Thanksgiving” this morning!). Even though this man lives in a crowded room with several other Iranian migrants, he is still grateful for how richly the Lord has blessed him. For starters, … Continue reading Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow!
One of the highlights of my week is our baptismal prep class. Even though it was cold, wet, and dark, my Iranians showed up for class last Thursday evening. I began the lesson: “If your doctor told you that you had to die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day on earth?” After some … Continue reading Your Last Night
Last week I was preparing “Omar” for his asylum hearing: “Why did you leave Iran?” Omar explained that he had always had reservations about Islam because of its severe legalism. But then in 2013, even that tenuous connection to the Muslim religion dissolved when his 17-year-old nephew was abducted by three Muslim men and brutalized … Continue reading Why Did You Leave Iran?
One of my tasks is to prepare Iranians who have converted to Christianity for their asylum court hearing. In that interview, the judge will try to assess whether Jesus Christ is at the center of the applicant’s life. If he or she is not able to demonstrate an authentic Christian faith, extradition to Iran is … Continue reading For My Father and Mother Have Forsaken Me