It’s amazing how fast time can slip away from you. There has been so much go on since I last wrote an update, I don’t really know what to share with you. I guess I’ll just stick to the basics and not let so much time pass till I write again.
First, Tina and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. September 1st marked the milestone for us. God was so gracious to allow us to get away and spend time together in Rome. We took five days to just get away and refresh. It went by all too fast. We walked all around the city and saw as much as we could. We got to go into the Vatican museum and the Colosseum. We walk around the Roman Forum and Circus Maximus. We went into the Pantheon, saw the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain (under restoration) as well as visiting as many churches as possible. It’s really amazing to go into churches that are not well known and see the art that is in them. Best of all, we got to share Christ with a few people. It was an amazing time that we will never forget.
Calvary Chapel Ansbach is experiencing God’s blessing. We have had a mini explosion in newcomers lately, who have decided to make CCA their home. It’s neat to see people from different walks of life come together to learn about Jesus and His heart for them, and the world
After five years, we are about to finish our Sunday morning series “The Life and Ministry of Jesus Christ in Chronological order.” It has been a tremendous blessing for everyone to see how all the gospel accounts fit together to portray Jesus Christ as the Savior of the World.
We continue to meet on Wednesday nights for prayer and Bible study through the Old Testament. We’re currently midway through the Book of Exodus.
Even though we have been experiencing many blessings, we still encountering many trials. Just because you’re not right here with us, it doesn’t mean you can’t play a big part in the work. We need your prayers, for so many things, as a couple, as a family and as a fellowship.
1. Tina and I could use your prayers. Marriages are always a target for attack. Pray that God would keep us in love and sensitive to each others needs. Please pray that I could love Tina with the same sacrificial love that Christ has for the church.
2. Pray for Bryan and Austin. Both of them would like to get back to the states and pursue their education. They also have a desire to hear the Lord’s heart for the next step in their lives, and to see Him open doors so they could take those steps. They both have sacrificed so much for the cause of Christ over the last 13 years.
-We have been looking for a place to meet in the city of Ansbach that would accommodate our growth and be more convenient for people to get to, both Germans and Americans.
– Pray for a worship leader for us.
– Pray that God would show us how He wants us to reach out to the community around us
– Pray that God would continue to add to our numbers.
– Pray that God would bless my study times and let me deliver His mail to His people.
– Pray for God’s anointing, to hear His heart, to serve and love His people.
– Pray that He would pour out His Spirit, that He would fill us and overwhelm us.
And as usual, if there is a prayer need you have and want to share, we’re happy to pray for you.
Thank you for your love and support.
Posted in Update by Mike Thiemann with .
It’s been some time since our last update and many have asked us where we are in the process of moving to England. It was January 2013 when it all started. That is when the subject came up that we should pray about being part of the work there. Tina and I spent a lot of time in prayer about it, and we visited with the pastor in Exeter in May 2013. He extended an invitation to us to come and we felt that the Lord was really knitting our hearts together in a sweet way. Tina and I felt very strongly that the Lord was in it and would be moving us to England. We were very excited. Last November we took a step of faith and went to the states to share the direction we felt the Lord was leading us in. There is a saying that you hear often around Calvary Chapel. It’s “Where God guides, God provides.” We believe it’s true. Since we shared what we thought God was doing, we asked people to pray and ask the Lord to provide the support necessary to live in England. Even though we had friends and family join us in supporting us in the work of the ministry, we did not see our monthly support increase.
I don’t presume to know the mind of God, but I like to think that He has been guiding through the circumstances. Our heart is still to be part of the work in England, however since the Lord has not provided, we have decided, at the very least, it’s not the right timing. We trust the Lord will open that door when His timing is right, but if He does not see fit to do it, our hearts are to serve Him and share the gospel wherever we may find ourselves.
William Carey, the great missionary to India, said, “Attempt great things for God, expect great things from God.” Charles Spurgeon said believers should attempt such great endeavors that if God isn’t in it, it’s doomed to failure. We believe that is what we have done. We’re very encouraged, we took a step of faith, it didn’t work out the way we thought it would, but God’s hand is in it.
It’s like what Paul experienced in Acts 16. Paul and Silas began Paul’s second missionary journey. It says they went through the region of Galatia and they were “forbidden by the Holy Spirit” to go into Asia. So they tried to go into Bithynia but “the Spirit did not permit them.” Then Paul had a vision of the Macedonian Man who asked him to “Come over and help us.” That’s when Paul set off towards Philippi.
Paul had an idea what he thought the Lord was doing, where He was leading when they set out, but he allowed the Lord to direct through the circumstances, not insisting on going where he wanted to go. As a result Lidia was saved along with the Philippian jailer and the church at Philippi was planted. He attempted to go one way and was stopped. He attempted another direction and was blocked. So he went the only way that was left for him to go, and great things came out of it in time.
It’s amazing how the Lord moves and guides us as His followers, as we seek His heart. I often think of Acts 16, as I seek to discern the Lord’s leading for us. All that to say this, we are putting England on the back burner. When and if the Lord open’s that door, we’re going to jump through it, but we will not force our will in the issue. I hope you rejoice with us in knowing the Lord is guiding, even if it’s through closed doors instead of open ones.
Sundays are growing with new people and couples making CC Ansbach their home church. I’ve been really excited about the believers that God has been bringing our way. God has been bringing people who have a hunger and a heart to go deeper in their relationship with Jesus, and many of them have a heart to join in the work.
The Wednesday Night Discipleship study has been deep and rich. It has really become the meat and potatoes of CC Ansbach. God is blessing both studies and anointing the simple teaching of his Word.
We are looking into and praying that God will supply a place for us to meet in the Ansbach city center. We have contacted the YMCA in Ansbach and have formally requested they consider allowing us to use a couple rooms on Sunday mornings. They said they would make a decision around the end of the month.
On the personal front, Ashley and Elijah have been here for a month and plan on staying another month with us. They had to leave Jordan to get another visa. They also brought their puppy, Hugo. He’s a bundle of non-stop energy. This week Elijah is in Ireland speaking at Calvary Chapels in Cork, Waterford and Dublin hoping to raise support for their work.
Austin is returning from England July 30th. He has finished two semesters and a summer of service at Calvary Chapel Bible College York and is praying about going to the new Calvary Chapel Bible College in Nepal. It will be a great joy to have the entire family in one place again.
Bryan is doing well and praying the Lord will open doors for him to return to the states to start his college education.
My new job is a blessing and I really enjoy going to work, however I am busier now than ever before. There is another mile stone in our lives coming up too. Tina and I will be celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary this September. I’m looking forward to seeing the Lord allow us a few days to get away. Tina and I need a time of rest and to just spend quality time together. I’ll let you know what the Lord does for us to get us some time away.
Please continue to pray for us, our family and Calvary Chapel Ansbach. Pray that our marriage and family would bring glory to our Savior; that our lives would be consumed by the Lord; that God would overwhelm us with His presence; that our walks would be worthy of His calling; that we would be a light and a witness for Christ and that Jesus would be able to freely express His life through ours. Please pray that the Lord would give Calvary Chapel Ansbach a place to meet in the city center; that He would give us gifted worship leader; that He would raise up a children’s ministry team, and that He would give us His heart for outreach to Ansbach and the American Military community in the area.
Posted in Update by Mike Thiemann with .
I thought I’d take a brief minute to share a little about what’s been going on here.
A son of a friend on ours in California sent us “Flat Stanley.” He wrote and told us that he was going to do a presentation in his second grade class and wanted to share about what missionaries around the world were doing for the gospels sake. He asked us to cut “Flat Stanley” out and show him around our area. We invited Flat Stanley to our home fellowship and took a picture of him before the Bible Study. That’s him between Tina and I. We have been studying through the Life and Ministry of Jesus Christ in Chronological order on Sunday Mornings. We’re about 4 years into that study now. On Wednesday nights we have our prayer meeting and then follow that with our Wednesday night Bible study in Exodus.
This is a picture of Flat Stanley outside of our Village. We live in a little village called Jochsberg. Our village is very small, and I mean very small. There are no stores or bakeries in our village at all. There is, however, a brewery. I guess that shows you the German priorities.
While taking Flat Stanley around we stopped in the next village over and took a picture of Bryan, Tina, and I, with Flat Stanley, with a typical Bavarian timber framed house in the background.
Bavaria is beautiful, especially this time of year. The weather is great, T-shirt weather currently. It allows us to have church pot-lucks and bar-b-ques outside. This is one of the sunsets taken from our back door. It’s so wonderful to see what an amazing artist our Lord is.
“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard.” Ps 19:1-3
I started a new job this last Monday. I’m now working in the health clinic on post as a physical therapy technician treating injured soldiers and family members. I’m looking forward to being able to meet more people and invite them to church.
Bryan just left for Jordan April 1st to visit Ashley and Elijah. It’s a chance for him to get away, to be a refreshment to them and to be refreshed by them. He’ll be gone for just over a month. He said before his Egyptian Air flight took off from Frankfurt Germany, they read the Koran for 5 minutes. Imagine if we could read the Bible before our flights took off. How cool would that be?
Gunter really misses Ashley. I took this picture of him while Tina was talking with her on Skype. He loves her so much. How ridiculously cute is that?
Austin continues to study in England. He is in his second semester at Calvary Chapel Bible college York. He is doing well. He’s hoping that the Lord will reveal His heart and show him the direction he should take in life. Austin has a sharp mind and loves the Lord, and he desires more then the “normal” Christian life.
Ashley and Elijah are doing great. Elijah continues to learn Arabic. Ashley has been reaching out to a number of arab girls and women. She has been doing a few side photography jobs for extra money. We’re praying that we can visit them later in the year. We’d like to scout out opportunities for us as a church to reach out to the Syrian refugees in the northern part of the country. We also want to drive into Jerusalem. We’re hoping that we can familiarize ourselves with the area and then lead a group from our church in 2015. We’ll see what the Lord has for us.
May 2nd, Tina and I are leading a small group from our fellowship on a “Rest and Relaxation” weekend in Prague. We did it once before a few years ago and it was great. Prague is about 3 hours away by car from where we live. It is such a beautiful city that during the second world war both the Axis and the Allied powers agreed not to bomb it. We’ll go there and show our group around on Saturday, have a Bible study on the street Sunday morning and return home Sunday evening. It will be fast, while at the same time fun.
Please continue to keep us in your prayers. We need your prayers more then you know. Please pray that God will bless me in my new Job, that I would be a witness to my new co-workers. Our hearts are to be a bold witness for the Lord where ever He has us. Pray He would open doors for us to share Christ with more and more people. Pray that God would pour out His Spirit on us, revive us, refresh us, renew us and strengthen us in the work He has for us.
Pray for Calvary Chapel Ansbach too. Pray that the Lord would take us deeper with Him then any of us have ever gone before. Pray that He would breathe life into each Bible study and that He would speak to our hearts. We also have need of a worship leader. Please pray that the Lord would give us a worship leader after His own heart who would lead us into His presence.
We continue to pray for everyone who has shared requests with us. We’re thankful to have the privilege to stand with them. We’re thankful that you are willing to stand with us too.
We’re always happy to hear from you. Let us know what’s new with you, what you’re looking to see God do for you this year. We’d be happy to pray for you in all those areas.
Until next time.
Gary and Tina
Posted in Update by Mike Thiemann with .