January 31st, 2019
Greetings from Charlotte,
Today was a special day for one of our employees: Deborah Lincoln-Strange became a citizen of the United States. Deborah has been a longtime and valuable employee serving in Church Administration as Dr. Winnail’s secretary, and she also assists Mr. Mario Hernandez. Deborah is a native of Mexico and speaks fluent Spanish, English, and French. It was also a special day several months ago for Joshua Penman, who also received his U.S. citizenship. Joshua is originally from New Zealand and has been doing a truly herculean job for the Church’s Information Technologies Department. Joshua and his Montana wife Jenny are also “growing the Church” with four children. It is gratifying to have these extremely valuable employees on our team and we congratulate both Joshua and Deborah in becoming U.S. citizens! Mr. Hernandez returned from a successful trip to Cuba, where he and Mr. Schaubeck baptized two individuals. We are glad to hear that our brethren in Venezuela are doing well despite the troubles in that country. You can read Mr. Cristian Orrego’s report below. Mr. Dan Hall and I conducted a Ministerial Conference in South Florida last week. This Sunday we begin airing the Tomorrow’s World telecast on WGN at 6:00 a.m. (EST) and on WAUB in Cleveland at 8:30 a.m. We are pleased to announce that Mr. Michael Brown and his wife Melinda will be coming to Charlotte July 1, where Michael will become a ministerial trainee. The plan is for them to return to Canada following training, to be assigned there.—Gerald Weston
Report on Our Brethren in Venezuela
Our video group coordinator in Barquisimeto informs us that thanks to God the brethren in Venezuela are doing well. Obviously, they have suffered with the shortage of food and medicine, but in one way or another, God has provided what is necessary for their sustenance. Sometimes, due to public protests, they must stay at home and cannot go to work. One of the biggest difficulties is obtaining medicine. The economic blockades imposed on the country have led to a shortage of food and medicine and have generated an inflation rate above 5,000 percent. Internet service is interrupted several times a day and its use is increasingly restricted; consequently, not all the people are informed about new decisions of the United States and the international community.
We have two members who need medicine in Venezuela, an elderly woman and longtime member of the Church who has Parkinson’s disease, and a pregnant woman who requires both medicine and nutritional supplements. Our ministers from Colombia and Trinidad and Tobago have been able to provide medicine and supplements for both of them.
In the eyes of some, the scenario of a foreign military intervention led by the United States is looking increasingly likely.—Cristian Orrego
Passover 2019—Repeat Announcement
Important Notice to All Pastors: In 2019, the Passover Service will be observed on Thursday evening, April 18. Please let us know as soon as possible if any of the congregations you serve will need additional Passover Service supplies (bread trays and/or wine trays or glasses) or a copy of the Passover Service recording and letter instructions (available in English, French, and Spanish). To ensure timely delivery and to save on shipping costs, we need this information before February 19 for international congregations and by March 19 for U.S. congregations.
Also, please let us know of any scattered members who are unable to keep the Passover with a congregation and who need to receive the Passover Service recording and letter instructions for observing it at home. International requests should be received before February 19 and U.S. requests before March 19. Please direct your requests to the Church Administration Department at [email protected] as soon as possible.
Spring Holy Day Weekend
Registration is now open for the Living Education Spring Holy Day Weekend activity at Blowing Rock, North Carolina. It will remain open until we are at capacity. For more information and to register, go to livingeducationfamily.weebly.com (not an official Living Church of God website).—Jonathan McNair
Children’s Bible Lessons
We are now up to lesson twelve with our new Children’s Bible Lessons, for levels 1, 2 and 3. As we’ve progressed through the lessons, many parents have made helpful suggestions. One of the modifications that you’ll notice is that the vocabulary used in the lessons is a bit more in line with the ages of the children in each level. If you are a parent and have a suggestion for our lessons, please contact us at [email protected].
Feast of Tabernacles
Greece Feast of Tabernacles
Good news! Due to a number of cancellations, we still have room for more people to attend the Feast site in Greece this year. If seeing the places where the Apostle Paul and others walked and taught God’s word, and going to Greece, have been on your “bucket list,” now is your opportunity.
The main venue for the Feast is the lovely Divani Appolon Palace Hotel in Vouliagmeni, situated right on the Aegean Sea near Athens. The main package will include touring in Athens, Corinth, and Delphi, as well as an optional cruise to the island of Aegina. There is also to be an optional pre-Feast tour of Thessaloniki, Philippi, and Kavala, as well as a post-Feast opportunity to go to the islands of Santorini and Crete.
If you would like to join us for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend the Feast in Greece, please e-mail Mr. Jim Meredith right away at [email protected]. Final deadlines for registering are approaching quickly, so make sure to register soon.
Living Youth Program
Living Youth Friday Evening Bible Study
The online Friday evening Teen Bible Study on February 8 will cover Matthew 26:17–75, and will be given by Mr. Sheldon Monson. Join us at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The chatroom will be open 30 minutes prior to the beginning of the study.
To join, just visit livingyouth.org, and follow the links to “Friday Evening Bible Study.” If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected]. For those who are unable to make it to the study, archives of previous Living Youth Bible Studies, including last evening’s covering Matthew 25:1–26:16, can be found on the Living Youth website.—Josh Penman
2019 Registration for All United States Camps Coming Up Soon
Registration for the 2019 Teen Camp, and the North Carolina, Missouri, and Texas Preteen Camps will begin on Sunday, February 10. Information about the camps, and registration details, will be available by next week. If you are interested in attending any of these camps, be sure you sign up early, as space is limited!
Adventure Camp 2019—Boundary Waters and Quetico Region, Ontario, Canada
This year’s Adventure Camp is an exciting excursion in the region of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) and Quetico Provincial Park, an all-park region of lakes and islands situated along the International Border between Minnesota and Ontario. The planned route is approximately 50 miles of canoeing in beautiful, pristine waters through breath-taking vistas, portaging around falls and rapids, navigating and exploring various lakes on the Canadian side of the border, and also into Quetico. Quetico, which is paddle only, is a million-acre park with 600 lakes. Quetico has the best pictographs in North America. Three pictograph sites (labeled as Indian Paintings on area maps) are along the planned route, with one site in Quetico. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Quetico are the most extensive canoe regions remaining in the world.
Camp Director: Mr. Mike Kreyer
Dates: Campers and Staff—Arrival on Friday, July 26. Departure on Monday, August 5.
Cost: Campers—$350.00; Staff—$250.00. All participants also need to have a Passport and to obtain a Remote Area Border Crossing Permit (see below).
Applicant Information: To be considered for staff positions, applicants must be 21 years of age or older. Campers ages 13–20 may apply. Preferential acceptance will be given to those ages 15 and up. If there is room available, we will consider younger applicants.
Required Documents and Permits: Passport (or Passport Card) and Remote Area Border Crossing Permit (RABC). Note: This special permit is required to access the remote International Boundary region. To obtain a RABC Permit, available to U.S. or Canadian citizens, you need to submit a short application form six to eight weeks prior to travel to the region. The fee is $30.00 (CAD). One permit per person or family. There is no fee for the permit for individuals ages 17 and younger. Once a RABC permit is obtained, participants are able to cross the border via water on an honor system.
The Value of Counsel: One of the common pitfalls of life is trusting in our own judgment when we only see part of a picture. When we make decisions or take actions based on how we see a situation, the results can be costly to ourselves and to others. This is why Solomon wrote in Proverbs 3:5, “lean not on your own understanding” and in Proverbs 3:7, “Do not be wise in your own eyes” and in Proverbs 28:26, “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool.” Solomon also warned in Proverbs 14:12, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” To help us avoid making serious mistakes in life, God inspired Solomon to write in Proverbs 11:14, “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety” and in Proverbs 15:22, “Without counsel, plans go awry, but in the multitude of counselors they are established.” We can obtain wise and valuable counsel from prayerfully studying the book of Proverbs, and from seeking advice from parents, the ministry, from more experienced friends and associates, and experts in various fields who can be objective and help us see a bigger picture than we perceive on our own. Let’s take advantage of this practical, valuable, and timeless advice.
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—January 31, 2019
“The Year of Populism”: Right-wing candidates have been growing in favor and popularity throughout Europe due to the European immigration and budget crises. According to one source, “Right-wing populist parties in Europe have been gaining strength for years. Now, they hope to use European Parliament elections in May as a springboard for gaining greater influence in the EU… [and they] could end up becoming stronger than ever before” (Der Spiegel, January 4, 2019). In fact, populists could collect 20 percent of the EU-wide vote in May! Some fear populism could be a tool to “put the brakes on European integration” and that it could “send the Continent in a new political direction.”
Recently, French populist Marine Le Pen noted that unfettered globalization is coming to an end and that “it is time for the peoples of Europe to take center stage.” Populist leaders position themselves as advocating for the European citizen and opposing what they call “elite globalists” who are not really interested in the people they govern. The populist message resonates with an increasing number of Europeans. Populists also want to see a “Europe of Nations” where individual nations work together, but also work independently, on behalf of their citizens. The challenge for European populists is that they do not all see eye-to-eye, and they lack a truly united front.
The European elections in May will be very telling and could significantly impact the direction of Europe’s politics and future. Few realize that the Bible provides insight into the future of Europe. Numerous Bible prophecies indicate that a powerful movement will spread in Europe and result in a powerful, church-backed, charismatic leader coming to the fore (Daniel 2:40–44; Revelation 13). This leader will be given a great deal of power to wield in unprecedented ways (Revelation 17:12–13). For more details about future events in Europe, read or listen to The Beast of Revelation: Myth, Metaphor or Soon-Coming Reality?
Severe Drought Hits Australia: In the South Australian summer, extreme heat is normal. But The Guardian reports that the heat this summer has been far more severe than usual—recently reaching a record-breaking 49.5° Celsius (120° F) just north of Adelaide (AFP, January 24, 2019). Rivers that historically continue to flow even in dry, hot summers are drying up, killing thousands of animals and millions of fish—and even causing bats to fall from the trees (January 21 and January 23, 2019). Sadly, officials have been forced to cull herds of starving horses, camels, and other animals in order to end their misery. Aborigines, who have long lived in these lands, cannot recall a time when drought has been so extreme.
The town of Walgett, in northwest New South Wales has about six months of water remaining. According to The Guardian, many are using bore wells, but these wells are dangerous. Not only is bore well water high in minerals that kill garden plants and is unfit for drinking, this water also contains microbes that can cause fatal meningitis infections in humans if it enters their noses during bathing or swimming.
Bible prophecies indicate that famines and pestilences will occur at the end of the age. The extreme heat and severe droughts that are currently plaguing southern Australia provide a foretaste of the severity that is prophesied to come on much of the world prior to Christ’s return (Luke 21:11). For anyone with a biblical background, these severe conditions illustrate why Jesus instructed His disciples to pray, “Thy kingdom come” (Matthew 6:10, KJV). Bible prophecies reveal that when Jesus returns to establish the Kingdom of God on this earth, it will be a time of well-watered abundance (Daniel 7:27; Isaiah 35:1–2, 5–7). To learn more about the remarkable future blessings that God’s Kingdom will bring to the earth, be sure to read or listen to The World Ahead: What Will It Be Like?—Scott Winnail, Francine Prater, and Chris Sookdeo