God is on the Move in the Jungle​s of Brazil

Our time in Brazil has come to an end. In just a few hours we will head out to the airport to begin our long journey home. We are all very eager to get back and see our families after this 18-day trip. Brazil is an amazing and multifaceted country with enormous diversity and a range of hurdles when it comes to Church planting. In the midst of this monumental task, the Miller’s have been called to a church planting ministry amongst the Apurinã people who reside deep in the interior of the Amazon Jungle.

We arrived in Manaus on Tuesday, February 5th. After spending a day in the city getting organized and prepared for our week in the jungle, we headed out on a two-hour bus ride followed by a 10-11 hour speed boat ride up the river and into the heart of the Amazon jungle. This is my second time in the Amazon. Twenty years ago, on a senior mission trip, I was in the jungles of Equador. It was there that God confirmed my calling to full-time ministry and missions. Over the past twenty years, I have never looked back nor have I regretted stepping out in faith and obedience to God’s call on my life. Being back in the jungle twenty years later was a thrill. Words cannot describe, nor do pictures tell the full story of how breathtaking and incredibly beautiful it is. Also, as I sat on the end of our boat in the middle of a seven-mile-wide river, with impenetrable jungle on either side, I was taken back by the immensity of this land. People say that when you see the Grand Canyon, it doesn’t disappoint. I imagine that is the same when you see the vastness of this place.

After we arrived in the Apurinã village and unpacked, we headed house to house to great each of the 50 (ish) families in the village. They are such a beautiful and precious people. However, they live in the middle of an extremely difficult and hostile place. The jungle is oppressive on many levels. The heat and humidity alone are enough to drive anyone to their breaking point. Pile on the millions of bugs that want a drink of your blood, the poisonous snakes and spiders, and the cultural and language gulf that lies between the American missionary and the Apurinã people, the task becomes unmanageable. However, the Miller’s have counted the cost, learned the language, and have made the village their home away from home. It was a privilege seeing their family adapt right into the village life and to see their deep love for the people and the people’s love for them. God is truly using them to further the Gospel amongst these people.

In the main Apurinã village, there is a church plant already established and a solid leadership getting raised up. God has even raised up a few Apurinã missionaries that they will be sending out to establish Bible teaching churches in other Apurinã villages. During our time in the village, we were able to hose nightly Bible studies where most of the village showed up hungry for the Word of God. It is clear that God is doing some radical things amongst these people and has a vast ministry call on their lives to reach farther into the jungle.

I could go on and on with all kinds of incredible stories, but I will end it here. I want to thank you all for your prayers and faithful support over the years which has set me free in my calling to minister to missionaries, to help lead the charge, and to facilitate church planting all over the world. As I head home from this trip, I am overwhelmed at all that the Lord has allowed me to be involved in and I am looking forward to heading to the Middle East in two months on a church planting vision tour amongst the Muslim world. Stay tuned!

If you are a current financial partner, I would like to say thank you! If you would like to get behind the ministry that God has called me to, please click the link below.

God Bless,
Pastor Mike

Peru or Bust! The First Leg of Our Journey

Greetings,

Our time in Peru has come to an end. We get on a plane tomorrow and head for the jungles of Brazil. The past six days in Peru have been a total blessing and filled with God-ordained ministry. The first leg of our journey in Peru was in Cajamarca where John Bonner planted a church and a Bible College. Our primary purpose during our stay in Cajamarca was to host a prayer retreat with our four Peru missionary families. This was a simple two-day retreat where we taught through the armor of God and had a time where every family shared what was going on in their lives and ministries and then we spent time praying over each family. It was an incredibly fruitful time and we were able to interact and fellowship with each of our missionaries.

Saving Grace World Missions – Peru Missionaries
A time of praise and worship with our missionaries

From Cajamarca, we flew back down to Lima and then took a two and a half hour bus ride to Huacho where the Tippie family has planted a Calvary Chapel. The primary purpose of this portion of the trip was to plan out the youth summer missions trip coming up in June, but it turned into so much more than that. The Tippie’s have a thriving and youthful church filled with passion for Jesus Christ. We were able to attend both a youth night and a Sunday morning service. God is truly moving here in Huacho and I am more excited than ever to lead our summer youth team down here in June. It’s going to be EPIC!

Please continue to pray for the rest of the team and me as we head out on a long journey to Manous. Once we arrive, we will spend a day with the Millers in the city and then we will be heading up the Amazon into the jungle for a seven day trip into the interior. Pray that God keeps us all safe, healthy, and united.

Our Team – Trent, Tim, Joel, Mike

Lastly, thank you so much for your faithful prayers and support over the years. God is truly doing some phenomenal things through SGWM and I am privileged to be leading the charge. Please remember that as our overseas missionaries, I too live off of monthly support. If you are interested in becoming a ministry partner in the furtherance of the Gospel, please click the link below.

God Bless,
Pastor Mike

Help Send Pastor Mike to Uganda

God has been doing some amazing work in Uganda through our SGWM missionaries there. It’s been seven years since I last stepped foot in Uganda, so it is time for me to get on the ground and see the work first-hand and encourage our missionaries. We currently have six missionary families there that I am planning to spend time with and see their ministries. 

I wrote a letter titled, “Three Reasons Why Sending Churches Should Visit Their Missionaries” that you might be interested in reading. 

I am planning on flying over at the end of May (the date might shift to October), but I need to raise funding for my trip. I am reaching out to you to ask for your prayerful consideration in helping me raise these funds. You can CLICK HERE to donate a one-time gift, but if you allowed me to be honest for one moment, it would be massively helpful if you also would consider becoming a monthly supporter.  For example, if I got ten people to support me $20 per month, that would provide more then enough finances to do this trip once a year. 
 
I am excited to see what the Lord is going to do on this trip and I am overjoyed by the opportunity to go and minister to our missionaries. 

If you are interested in donating a one-time gift for this trip OR signing up as an ongoing supporter, please CLICK HERE.  If you would like to do both, you will need to do this twice, the first time you can post a one-time gift and the second time you can sign up as a monthly contributor. 

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and for your consideration in helping me get to Uganda. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.
 
God Bless,
Pastor Mike

A New Vision to Start Bible Colleges All Over the World

Serving the Lord is always a thrill, but the past six months have been especially exciting. No doubt you have read in my previous updates that we have been blessed with the addition of a few new SGWM staff members and some fantastic, committed volunteers. It is an answer to twelve years of prayer. I can finally breathe a little, focus on pastoral ministry with our missionaries, and lead SGWM into the future. The additional staff and help couldn’t have come at a better time either as SGWM has been exploding with new missionary applicants and ministry opportunities from all over the world. It is such an honor leading this phenomenal team of world changers.

 

 

In the context of God adding more individuals to the SGWM home office, I wanted to share some exciting news and a potential opportunity. My friend Gary Barrow, who served with SGWM for many years in Germany and was a missionary in Europe for fifteen years has started the process of transitioning his family and support raising effort to join our home office staff. He will (Lord willing) be coming alongside of me to help manage and develop our video-based Bible colleges. I shared last month how the Lord gave me a vision when I was in South Asia last year to try to teach live through a video conferencing software. When I got home, I tested it and through Skype was able to teach live from my office in California into a very closed area in South Asia. Since then, I have organized ten different pastors and Bible teachers and created a teaching schedule where we can through live video teach Monday through Friday in South Asia. So far, we have taught (or are currently teaching) John, Acts, Romans, Ephesians, 1st Timothy, 2nd Timothy, Titus, 1st Peter, 2nd Peter and Old Testament History. I sense that the Lord wants to grow this vision into something substantially larger than this one location. I would like to see this extend to our bases in Pakistan, Nepal, Africa, two more location in South Asia, and a few undisclosed locations in the heart of the Middle East. Also, I would like to see our teacher base grow and add dozens of pastors to the lineup. Growing this vision will be a huge task and Gary will be a monumentally important addition to seeing this vision come to fruition. I implore you to join with me in prayer that the Lord would bring all the needed pieces into place.

 

 

I know that I shared last month about my weekly missions Bible study that I have been leading with my good friend Pastor Nadeem from Pakistan. Last week (January 25th) two of Nadeems leaders were able to join our meeting, and I felt lead to change up the teaching and was able to teach about the need for unity and love within a mission team. It was amazing listening to Nadeem translate my English into Urdu and to dialogue with these amazing men of God. Then yesterday (February 1st), Nadeem and I, along with our SGWM staff, were able to dialog how worship is the ultimate goal of missions. We are going through John Piper’s book ‘Let The Nations Be Glad’ and are having a phenomenal time. Yesterday before we closed, Nadeem had shared how this study has rocked his paradigm and has deepened his theological view of missions.

 

 

Lastly, Nadeem also sent me a very humbling video that really blessed me. I’d like to share it with you also.

 

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this update and for your faithful prayers and support. If you would like to become a financial supporter and partner with me in this ministry please visit my Support Page.

God Bless,
Pastor Mike

Exciting New Vision And Direction

 

This is my friend Gary Barrow with Pastor Trent (left) and myself. We were able to meet last week and discuss some exciting new vision and direction for his life and ministry. He’s praying about coming on staff with SGWM and is currently seeking to move to OC and increase his support. Gary and his family served as missionaries in Europe for 15 years and would be a tremendous addition to our team. Please keep them in your prayers. Please check out his most recent update;  http://sgwm.com/barrow/

God Bless,
Pastor Mike Thiemann

 

 

The Books I Read in 2017

Last year at this time, I read a blog post from my friend Joel Garcia about his goal to read 50 books in one year. I am an avid reader, and naturally, this post caught my eye. Joel and I then set out to read one book a week in 2017. Throughout the year we kept each other accountable, and both of us made it. You can visit Joel’s blog to check out his 2017 list.

To be honest, this was a challenge. As a High School Pastor, I study and have read bits-and-pieces of dozens upon dozens of commentaries (which are not included in the list below) as I put together at least two sermons per-week. Also, as you might know, I am taking anywhere from twelve to eighteen credits per-semester, with three semesters in a year, through Liberty University. Most of my course textbooks are listed below (LU) and most of these I read two to three times each as I needed to know the content to pass the class. Lastly, I did not include my Bible readings from this year in the list below.

I thoroughly enjoyed this challenge and will be continuing it into 2018 with a slightly different goal. My son Malachi and I have challenged each other to read the Bible as many times as we can in one-year. The winner gets a $50 Amazon gift card (of course, he is going to get a gift card no matter what). He just finished listening to the whole Bible (minus the Song of Solomon) last week. I’ve also given him a headstart for 2018, and he has already made it halfway through Exodus. Along with this, my focus in 2018 will be towards Biblical and Systematic Theology books. There is a series of 39 books I would like to purchase called New Studies in Biblical Theology which Logos Bible Software lists at $370. Also, MacArthur recently released a Systematic Theology book called Biblical Doctrine that I would like to go through along with Grudem and Geisler’s Systematic Theology books. So 2018 might look a little different than this year as my goal of reading one book a week might not be practical as most of these books (not including the NSBT books) are five to eight hundred pages each.

Lastly, before I list the books that I read this year, please note that just because I read these book does not mean I agree with them or would recommend them. As a pastor and a full-time Bible student, I read books from many points of view and I never shy from reading books from a point of view that I disagree with or would consider heretical. If would like to know my thoughts on any of the books listed, please contact me, and I’ll be happy to give you my opinion.

2017 Books

  • A Theology for the Church – Daniel Akin (LU)
  • According to Plan – Graeme Goldsworthy (LU)
  • Biblical Theology in the Life of the Church – Michael Lawrence, Thomas R. Schreiner (LU)
  • Biblical Preaching – Haddon Robinson
  • Can I Be Sure I’m Saved? – R. C. Sproul
  • Can I Trust the Bible – R. C. Sproul
  • Convert: From Adam to Christ – Emilio Ramos
  • Daniel and Esther: Israel in Exile – John MacArthur
  • Developing the leader within you – John Maxwell
  • Everyday Evangelism – Ben Gutierrez (LU)
  • Everyday Theology – Etzel and Small (LU)
  • Every Young Man’s Battle – Arterburn and Stoeker
  • Every Young Woman’s Battle – Ethridge and Arterburn
  • Faith Alone – Schreiner
  • Faith Alone – Sproul
  • Finding Ourselves in World Literature – Mark Schmidt
  • Follow Me – David Platt
  • Freedom of the Will – Jonathan Edwards
  • Friend Raising – Barnett
  • From Topic to Thesis – Michael Kibbe (LU)
  • God is the Gospel – John Piper
  • God’s Word Alone- Matthew Barrett
  • Gospel Centered Youth Ministry – TGC
  • How to study the Bible – D. L. Moody
  • Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret – Taylor
  • Introducing Christian Doctrine – Millard J. Erickson (LU)
  • Institutes of the Christian Religion (mostly read) – Calvin
  • Leading with Cultural Intelligence – David Livermore (LU)
  • Let the Nations be Glad – Piper
  • Life By Design – Detwiler, Mitchell & Reichenbach (LU)
  • Men of the Bible – D. L. Moody
  • Ministering Cross-Culturally – Lingenfelter and Mayers (LU)
  • New Covenant Theology – Wells and Zaspel
  • None Other – John MacArthur
  • On Being a Missionary – Hale and Daniels
  • Perspectives on the World Christian Movement (LU)
  • Reading the Bible supernaturally – John Piper
  • Spiritual Leadership – J. Oswald Sanders
  • Student Ministry Essentials – Vandegriff and Brown
  • Taking God at His Word – Keven DeYoung (LU)
  • The Attributes of God – Pink
  • The Christ of the Covenants – Robertson
  • The Gospel According to Jesus – MacArthur
  • The Gospel According to Paul – John MacArthur
  • The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
  • The King Jesus Gospel – Scot McKnight (LU)
  • The Mingling of Souls – Matt Chandler
  • The Pursuit of God – A. W. Tozer
  • The Seven Signs: Seeing the Glory of Christ in the Gospel of John – Anthony T. Selvaggio (LU)
  • The Truth About Forgiveness – John MacArthur
  • The Total Money Makeover – Ramsey
  • The 40 Most Influential Christians – Darryl Aaron
  • Unlocking the Scriptures – Hanz Finzel (LU)
  • Unraveling the Origins Controversy – David DeWitt (LU)
  • What is Biblical Theology – James Hamilton (LU)
  • What is the Gospel? Bryan Chapell
  • What is the Gospel? – Greg Gilbert
  • Who is the Holy Spirit? – R. C. Sproul
  • You Can Understand the Book of Revelation – Skip Heitzig
  • Your Guide to Writing Quality Research Papers (mostly read) – Vyhmeister (LU)
  • 20 Basics Every Christian Should Know – Wayne Grudem
  • 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership – John Maxwell

The discipline of reading has vastly disappeared from our culture. We do, however, waste our nights numbing our minds in front of a TV. I know the excuses people have for why they can not read – “I’m to busy.” I’ll go you schedule to schedule and prove to you that you are not to busy to invest in furthering your knowledge and deepening your character by picking up and reading a book. You do not need to read as much as I did, but I would encourage you to start developing a habit of reading in your day-to-day life, especially a habit of reading the Bible. Make a goal for 2018 to read through the Bible from cover to cover at least once and pick one book per-month to tackle. That is a very obtainable goal. You might need to wake up a half an hour earlier, but you can do it.

May God rightly bless you this year as you seek to know and understand Him more.

God Bless,
Pastor Mike


Pastor Mike and his wife Erin serve state-side as full-time missionaries through Saving Grace World Missions and raise their own missionary support. If you would like to partner with Pastor Mike and Erin to help them further the ministry of Missions Training, please click the “ways to give” image below.

 

Missions Opportunity in Cuba

 

The SGWM staff and I had the privilege of meeting with Fernando today. He is a Calvary Chapel Pastor from Cuba and has an incredible testimony of how God changed his life and the lives of his family living under communist rule and persecution. He has established a Calvary Chapel church plant in the central part of the island and is passionate about teaching Inductive Bible Study (IBS). IBS is a Bible study method that helps new and old believers approach and interpret the text of the Bible accurately. It focuses on three points – observation, interpretation, and application. Through these training seminars, Fernando has been able to equip countless Cubans in effective and accurate Bible study.

One of our faithful volunteers, Rebekah, connected Fernando with SGWM, and he came in to meet with us today to get our discipleship on how to equip his congregation in missions. He desires to see God raise up and send out missionaries from his fellowship and has a heart for Africa and Asia. We were able to brief him on our various ministries in both of these locations and extended the invite to him and his fellowship to come and visit SGWM’s works there.

It is amazing to see the influence God has blessed SGWM within the Calvary Chapel missions network. Just think, God could raise up a missions sending base in Cuba to help fulfill the Great Commission in Africa and Asia! How amazing is our God?

Lastly, as Fernando was leaving, he approached me about missionary training and invited me to come down to Cuba and host a conference and a missions training class with the Calvary Chapels down there. I would be so blessed an honored to be able to do this if the Lord provides the needed finances. Also, I would love for my friend Joel Garcia, who is a new addition to the SGWM staff, to be able to travel with me. It is my calling as a missionary to equip and send missionaries for the furtherance of the Gospel and for the Glory of God. When you partner with me financially, you are not merely providing an income to support my family; you are helping me, through the grace of God, equip and facilitate missions ventures to the nations.

If you would like to help further the reach of the Gospel through my ministry in Saving Grace World Missions, please prayerfully consider becoming a financial partner by clicking on the link below.

May God richly bless you!

Pastor Mike


Pastor Mike and his wife Erin serve State-side as full-time missionaries through Saving Grace World Missions and raise their own missionary support. If you would like to partner with Pastor Mike and Erin to help them further the ministry of Missions Training, please click the “ways to give” image below.

 




What’s My Role at SGWM?

Recently, I was asked to describe what I do as the Director of Saving Grace World Missions. Well, to answer that question, I would need to catalog a book-load of information. None of us have that kind of time, but I would like to share with you three important things that paint the picture of how I support missionaries, promote ministries, and help fulfill the Great Commission from my office here in So Cal. The following examples provide a snapshot of what God is currently doing as I serve at SGWM.

Cows for Uganda

My good friend and long-time SGWM missionary Pastor Brian Kanyike was in the US on a brief furlough. Taking the time to meet with missionaries is a priority in my ministry at SGWM. So, this meeting provided the opportunity for Pastor Brian to share how blessed a remote village has been with the funds that we raised to construct two wells that provide, for the first time, fresh drinkable water. He further expressed the desire to purchase two “milk cows” as he continues to reach out to the people in this village. His commitment to God’s people doesn’t stop there, the next level of need is a source of protein as most of the children are malnourished. My task was to organize the SGWM team, make the request known, and within one week we raised over $1,800.

Mission Class in Pakistan

As I am connected with missionaries around the world through SGWM, I was approached by Pastor Nadeem Messey about doing a missions class. While connecting with him online, he shared a need to get more Biblically grounded concerning missions. The purpose he shared was to be trained concerning the Biblical basis of missions so that he, in turn, could provide training and be equipped to send the Pakistan youth on short-term missions trips. The goal and hope is that the Lord would raise up, from this group, full-time church planters in Pakistan. I am amazed that from my desk, God is using me to stir up a passion for missions in places like Pakistan.

Church Planting in Mexico

People don’t often contemplate the magnitude of uprooting a family, moving to a cross-cultural situation, and starting a ministry. The level of specialized coaching that is needed is immense. As the director, this is my primary role at SGWM and requires much time and attention. The Brechtel’s recently returned from a one-year language school in Mexico and are starting the transition to become church planters through SGWM. This week, I started their missionary training in our home office. The purpose is to equip and coach them through this transition with the ultimate goal to send them fully trained and ready to establish a church in Oaxaca Mexico.

“On Tuesday we discussed with Pastor Mike the importance of developing a vision for communication as missionaries. The training was immensely profitable in giving us an understanding of the importance of maintaining relationships with those we partner with back home. We focused on the importance of the missionary taking the responsibility to share all that God is doing in their lives and ministries in the hope that those back home might be encouraged to take steps of faith with us for the furtherance of the Gospel.”

– Jon & Alison Brechtel SGWM Missionaries to Oaxaca Mexico.

Until Next Time

This update is merely a small snapshot of all that the Lord is doing in and through my ministry here at SGWM. I hope that this helped develop a clearer understanding of my day-to-day ministry life. Thank you for taking the time to read through this short update and thank you to everyone who has faithfully prayed and supported my family and me for the past twelve years.

If you are not a part of my support team and would like to partner with me as I advance, promote, and help fulfill the Great Commission, please CLICK HERE.

God Bless,

Pastor Mike


A few weeks ago Pastor Mike shared his desire to post weekly missions articles. Train4Missions.com is is the site that he is currently building. You can check it out, but remember that it is still in the “under development” stage.

Pastor Mike and his wife Erin serve State-side as full-time missionaries through Saving Grace World Missions and raise their own missionary support. If you would like to partner with Pastor Mike and Erin to help them further the ministry of Missions Training, please click the “ways to give” image below.

 

Christmas Fundraiser

In Pakistan, my good friend Nadeem has begun ministering to a group of people known as the Brick Makers. These individuals are living in extreme poverty and are trapped in slavery as brick makers. As a platform to minister the Gospel, Nadeem would like to host a Christmas party outreach in this community. To raise the needed funds, SGWM will be hosting a Christmas photo shoot courtesy of Captured Grace Photography. On November 16th, 17th, and 18th Captured Grace Photography will have a Christmas-themed studio set up for you and your families to get their Christmas photos taken for a minimum donation of $40. As a thank you, every donation will receive a custom metal Christmas ornament of their picture. All donations will go to SGWM Most Needed to fund this outreach. Additional prints, digital copies, and Christmas cards of your pictures can be purchased through Captured Grace Photography.

Nov. 17th 6:00 – 8:30 p.m.
Nov. 18th 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Nov. 19th 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

You need to reserve your spot by clicking the link below. Also, please help us make this fundraiser a success by sharing it to your social media and by inviting your family and friends.

 

A New Direction

Greetings,

It has been over twelve years since I came on staff as a missionary with Saving Grace World Missions. I have seen God do so many radical things that I could never have imagined. Recently, God has brought in a fantastic addition to the SGWM home office, my good friend Tim Pappas. Tim will be taking a lot of the day-to-day administrative tasks from my plate which will significantly free me up to lead SGWM into the future. God has blessed me with incredible opportunities and experiences that have provided significant hands-on mission training. After gaining this level of preparation, I am now transitioning my focus and taking what I have learned and put it together in three formats – books, a weekly missions article, and an online missions school.

Two Books
The first task that I will be focusing on is writing two books. The first book will be directed to the missionary and will answer the questions of how to transition from living in the States to becoming a full-time cross-cultural missionary living overseas. The second book will be directed towards pastors. My goal would be to provide them with the wisdom and encouragement needed to become a thoroughly equipped sending church.

Weekly Missions Articles
There will be three target audiences for these articles – the missionary, the sender, and the sending church. Each of these audiences fills a unique role in the context of missions, and I look forward to sparking up conversations and providing insight to equip everyone to become better missionaries and senders. CLICK HERE to view an article.

Online Missions School
This, of course, is an enormous undertaking. I will start by creating online classes that will focus on training SGWM missionaries all the way from pre-field departure to developing a re-entry plan and everything in between. Once I get the classes in place, and it has been thoroughly vetted our vision will be to open this training up to the public.

I am excited to start chipping away at these new projects, and I believe that the Lord will significantly use them to help equip others in the task of fulfilling the Great Commission.

Lastly, I want to say thank you for all the years of faithful prayer and support. Erin and I are exceedingly blessed. If anyone would like to join our financial team, you can do so by clicking the link to the below.

God Bless,
Pastor Mike