March 7th, 2019
Greetings from Charlotte,
Mr. Anthony Stroud reports that Alabama members experienced strong winds and heavy rain, but all were spared from the recent EF 4 Tornado that devastated 24 square miles of the state and killed 23 people. Dr. Douglas Winnail gave a Tomorrow’s World Presentation in Cape Town, South Africa last Sabbath for 68 guests and 84 members. We also had three other TWPs last weekend, in Richmond, Virginia; Braselton, Georgia; and Wellington, New Zealand; and the total number of guests was 162. Mr. Cristian Orrego reports that we currently have five congregations in Mexico, the largest one in Mexico City, which has grown from 50 attendees in 2016 to 104 in 2018, and that he baptized five people on his recent trip. “God is blessing our efforts of preaching the Gospel through our website, the YouTube channel and El Mundo de Mañana radio program. People from all states of the country are asking to attend services. We pray that God will open the doors to create a few more congregations in the near future.” Mr. Rob Tyler returned to Australia this past week from a Leadership and Pastors Conference in Thailand for 23 men from seven countries. Although language barriers pose some difficulties, Mr. Htoowah Lay Beh translated English into Karen and then another gentleman quietly translated from Karen to Burmese. It’s quite a process but we are getting more skilled in the technique. The highlights of the conference were the ordination of Mr. Htoowah Lay Beh as an Elder and the baptism of a local lady. Htoowah Lay Beh is the grandson of Mr. Saw Lay Beh, the first minister to be ordained in Burma during the WCG days. Currently, Htoowah is serving in the Work in the U.K., but he will be transferring to Thailand in May to assist Mr. Moses and Mr. Thomas Tial Hoe to serve the Thai and Burmese brethren.—Gerald Weston
Passover 2019—Repeat Announcement
Important Notice to All Pastors: 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 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. U.S. requests should be received before March 19. Please direct your requests to the Church Administration Department at [email protected] as soon as possible.
Babysitting for Passover
Each year, the question comes up for many baptized parents, “What if I need babysitting service during the Passover service?” The simplest solution we suggest is that parents make arrangements personally with a babysitter, rather than relying on the Church to provide babysitting service. Otherwise, the Church takes “care, custody, and control” of your children, which is a real legal responsibility and sets in motion a number of processes we are required to take (vetting volunteers, background checks, etc.). If, however, you have no option of working out babysitting personally, contact your pastor and discuss the situation with him.
Pastors: An e-mail is being sent to all pastors about the steps to take if you decide you will be providing babysitting service for your congregation(s).
Charlotte BRiC Weekend (Memorial Day Weekend)—Repeat Announcement
Plans are underway for the Charlotte BRiC (Building Relationships in Christ) Weekend! Singles of all ages can begin making plans to join us in Charlotte, North Carolina during the Memorial Day Weekend, May 24–27. This will be a great opportunity for singles to connect, build friendships, and learn more of God’s way of life. There will be Bible Studies, BRiC Talks, team activities, and a dinner and dance. Registration for the weekend will open soon. Upcoming announcements will provide more details. If you have any questions regarding the weekend, please contact Mr. Jacob Hall ([email protected]) for more information.
Saratoga Family Weekend—June 21–23
Mark June 21–23 down on your calendar for the annual “Saratoga, Wyoming Family Weekend.” While we’re still surrounded with snow it’s good to be thinking about warmer weather just ahead in a few months! We’re excited to have Mr. Gerald Weston as our special guest speaker this year. You certainly don’t want to miss out. Further details on housing will be forthcoming.—Ben Whitfield
Feast of Tabernacles
The Festival Office is Humming!
Good news! We are tentatively planning to open Festival Registration on Sunday, March 31 at 12:00 noon (Eastern Daylight Time, USA). Please do not make housing or travel reservations until you have successfully registered and been approved for your site. In preparation for Festival Registration, Festival Site Coordinators are making their final touches to the write-ups and descriptions on the Festival website. (The Festival website should be open and available to all brethren by the end of next week.) This week, pastors are also sending in their recommendations for service roles at this year’s Feast (sermonettes, song leading, special music, etc.). The Festival Office is also making Feast ministerial assignments, and ministers will be notified soon of their assignments. Stay tuned!
Living Youth Program
Living Youth Friday Evening Bible Study
The online Friday evening Teen Bible Study on March 15 will cover Mark 5 and 6. It 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 Mark 3 and 4, can be found on the Living Youth website.
This will be the last Friday evening Bible Study before the summer break. The online Bible Studies are scheduled to resume again on November 8, 2019.—Josh Penman
LYC 2019 Europe—International Applications Invited
The European LYC takes place in Chevetogne, Belgium from August 2–11, with staff and campers coming to this ideal location mainly from the UK and Europe. The camp is English-speaking with French translation provided, so don’t let language concerns prevent you from coming. We invite and encourage teens and staff from around the world to come and experience a smaller camp with a close, family atmosphere. You will meet and get to know our European teens during ten days of biblical instruction, and many and varied activities. Campers ages 12–19 and staff 20+ will have a chance to get a flavor of Europe and most importantly, build godly friendships to last a lifetime. Remember that the Morgan Montgomery Fund was established to help teens around the world realize their dream of participating in our Youth Camps, if there is a need, and we will do our best to help you come to LYC Europe. Camper and Staff applications are available from the UK Office ([email protected]). If you have questions, please contact Rees Ellis ([email protected]) for more details.—Simon Roberts
Adventure Camp 2019—Camper Registration Extended Until March 15
Registration has closed for staff positions for this year’s Adventure Camp. However, we have extended registration for campers until March 15, as we still have some openings available! If you’re between the ages of 13 and 20, and would be interested in joining us for this trip, please see camp.livingyouth.org/Camps/Adventure for information or to begin the registration process. This extended registration period will close next week, so don’t miss out!
Registration for all other North American camps continues! See camp.livingyouth.org for information on this year’s camps.—Joshua Penman
Quartodecimans and You: Did you know there is proof outside of the Bible that some Christians kept Passover on Nisan 14 for centuries after Christ? They were called “Quartodecimans” (in Latin, “fourteeners”). John’s disciple Polycarp was among them, as well as Polycarp’s disciple Polycrates. Even the Encyclopedia Britannica explains some Christians kept the 14th: “The question arose of how the evening of the 14th day should be calculated… the Quartodecimans—claimed that it meant the evening before, since sunset heralded a new day… The Eastern churches decided to retain the Quartodeciman position, and the church in Britain, which had few links with European churches at this time, retained the Quartodeciman position until Roman missionaries arrived in the 6th century…” (“Calendar: The Western Calendar and Calendar Reforms,” britannica.com). According to Mr. Ivor Fletcher, some of the Scots were still keeping the 14th all the way until the 7th century (The Incredible History of God’s True Church, p. 140). For more information, see also Mr. Dexter Wakefield’s article, “Are You a Quartodeciman? Should You Be?” (tomorrowsworld.org, March–April, 2013).
When we partake of the Passover on April 18 at sunset, we will be following the example of Jesus, His disciples, those taught by them, and many other faithful brethren who held on to this truth for centuries! That’s good company!
Have a fulfilling Sabbath,
News and Prophecy—March 7, 2019
Nuclear-Armed India and Pakistan Clash: Last week Pakistan claimed to have shot down two of India’s military jets and captured one pilot, increasing the friction between these two nuclear powers. In turn, India demanded the return of its pilot, confirming the loss of its MiG-21 fighter jet. The confrontation is over the disputed territory of Kashmir. Since their independence from Britain in 1947, the two nations have fought three wars, two of which were over this single piece of land. Tensions have risen over the past few years.
As the BBC reported, “The aerial attacks across the Line of Control (LoC) dividing Indian and Pakistani territory are the first since a war in 1971. They follow a militant attack in Kashmir which killed at least 40 Indian troops—the deadliest to take place during a three-decade insurgency against Indian rule in Kashmir” (February 27, 2019). Given that both nations possess nuclear weapons, their leaders are worried and are attempting to prevent the situation from escalating. This feud involves not only disputed land, but also a clash of cultures, with India being mostly Hindu and Pakistan mostly Muslim.
During His earthly ministry, Jesus Christ warned of “wars and rumors of wars” between different nations (ethnic groups) and different kingdoms that would precede the time of the end (Matthew 24:4–7). Such conflicts are not new. But the presence of nuclear factors changes the equation and reminds us that we are entering a time when such conflicts have the potential to cause more destruction than ever before—a time when all flesh is in danger of extinction (v. 22). For insight about what to watch for at the end of the age, be sure to read or listen to Fourteen Signs Announcing Christ’s Return.
Insects Are Disappearing! God created insects as powerful and integral elements of the earth’s ecosystems. Insects pollinate plants, act as food for other creatures, help dead matter decompose, and help keep certain animal populations in check. A new study suggests that within the next few decades we could see the extinction of over 40 percent of insect species around the globe (Deutsche Welle, February 11, 2019). Some of the known causes of the destruction of insect populations include pesticides, habitat loss, pollution, and disease. Many of these factors directly relate to human habits and societal “advancements.”
Scientists understand the value of many insect species, including those involved in pollination (bees, butterflies, wasps, beetles, and others). Pollination is key, not only for perpetuating pretty flowers, but also for perpetuating plants that provide us with food, including fruits and vegetables, coffee, and even chocolate (Deutsche Welle, June 22, 2018). And the pretty flowers are important too, because many different animal species feed on different plants. In China, some farms are now hiring people to pollinate fruit trees by hand, due to the loss of pollinating insects. This process works, but it is very inefficient, time consuming, and expensive. Ultimately, if pollinating insects decline enough, scientists and farmers fear we could lose many of our crops, impacting global food supplies. Additionally, the destruction of insect species would directly impact populations of the animals that feed on them—lizards, snakes, birds, bats, fish, and more (Guardian, February 10, 2019).
A lack of balance in nature is sadly a characteristic of this age. The Apostle Paul wrote that “the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now” (Romans 8:22) and that it “eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God” (v. 19). When Christ returns to the Earth and establishes His perfect, world-ruling government, mankind will be taught how to properly tend and keep the earth in such a way that the ecosystems work as God intends. This will include the insects functioning in the creation according to God’s purposes. For more insights into the changes coming to the earth with Christ’s return, listen to or read our commentary “A Time of Restoring.”—Scott Winnail, Chris Sookdeo, Francine Prater, and James Bennett