May 23rd, 2019
Greetings from Charlotte,
Last Sabbath I spoke to and fellowshipped with an enthusiastic and friendly Dallas, Texas congregation. Violent storms passed through the area that day, with lots of lightning, flooding downpours, high winds, and tornado watches and warnings, and the pattern of violent and wet weather that has marked much of the last few months continued into this week. Mr. Millich reports that the brethren in Missouri are safe and sustained no damage to property from the tornadoes and severe weather in that state yesterday. Dozens of tornados and torrential downpours have soaked the South and Midwestern United States, and corn crops nationwide will be down significantly, with farmers unable to plant due to exceptionally wet conditions. The effect will no doubt be seen in grocery stores later this year. It is a total loss for many farmers.
Regional Director Dan Hall and I held a conference in Big Sandy on Sunday. (See report below.) Mr. Mark Sandor and his family are being transferred to the Minneapolis area and plan to move there this summer to pastor congregations in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Mr. Lenny Bower is finishing his training here in Charlotte and will be relocating in West Virginia.
Brethren, we are living in sobering times, as seen from the moral decay in our Western world. The speed with which the rot is spreading is truly mind-bending. Now is not the time to spiritually fall asleep or get caught up in silly disputes or personal doctrinal “idea-babies.”—Gerald Weston
Regional Conference—Big Sandy, Texas
Last weekend, Mr. Gerald Weston spoke at a combined Sabbath service for the Dallas and Big Sandy congregations, with brethren from Houston and other areas as well, making a total of 201 in attendance and another 38 online. On Sunday, Mr. Weston and Regional Pastor Dan Hall conducted a conference in Big Sandy for 61 leaders from Texas and northern Louisiana. Mr. Weston gave an overview of the Work and discussed challenges we face in preaching the Gospel in today’s environment, the importance of servant leadership and humility in serving God’s people, and the importance of visiting and nurturing new people. He also gave helpful instructions relevant to developing local leadership, among other topics. Mr. Hall talked about the importance of widows and women’s roles in the congregations, and stressed the importance of developing meaningful relationships and encouraging the brethren. It was a very profitable weekend.—Gary Stein
Living Youth Program
Texas Teen Camp Staff Assignments and Certification Requirements
The Staff Assignments for the Teen Camp in Athens, Texas are now posted on the Youth Website. Check to see where you are assigned.
If you are working in the Kitchen or on the Special Events Staff, you will need to obtain a Food Handlers Certificate for the State of Texas. All staff members are also required to have a current TrainRight Abuse Awareness and Prevention Training (two-year certification). Both certifications can be done online.—Sheldon Monson, Living Youth Program Director
Missouri Preteen Camp—June 1 Application Deadline Approaching Fast!
Registration for both campers and staff will close on June 1. After that date, applications will be accepted only on a case-by-case basis.
- There is still a need for staff (particularly men) to serve our youth in important areas.
- We are also in need of a licensed RN, LPN or EMT to serve in First Aid.
- We are very close to capacity for boy campers, but have plenty of room for girls who want to experience all that camp has to offer.
Whether as staff or as a camper, come join us in Missouri for a week of fun, new friends, and new experiences. Register soon!—Yancy Taber
Texas Preteen Camp Update—Repeat Announcement
Summer camp season will be upon us soon, and we’re ramping up for a great Preteen Camp in Texas! There are still openings for both campers and staff. If you would like to join us, please send in your application soon.
- We need more Adult Staff and/or Teen Staff! If you are interested in contributing to the success of an important Church activity—Preteen Camp—now is the time to fill out an application! There are still several areas where we could use volunteers to serve.
- We have a greater number of girl campers this year, and there is still room for a few more girls, but we would love to have some more boys to help balance things out.
- We need more who are able to serve as lifeguards at Preteen Camp. If you are already certified, that’s great, but if you have allowed your certification to lapse, we can help there. Apply for camp and let us know you are interested in being involved in the re-certification class.
We’re working hard to make this a memorable and rewarding camp for all—campers and staff alike! Sign up soon!—Phil West
West Virginia Preteen Camp—June 1 Applications Deadline!—Repeat Announcement
Registration for the West Virginia camp will close on June 1 for both campers and staff. There is still room for more campers and staff at this time, but after June 1, applications will only be accepted if there is room and/or need. Join us in West Virginia for a week of serving the youth in God’s Church by signing up soon!—Mark Sandor
June 1 Deadline for Camper Applications for Teen Camp in Texas—Repeat Announcement
The deadline for camper applications for the Teen camp in Athens, Texas, is June 1. Anyone applying after the deadlines will be accepted only if space allows. Staff applications should already have been submitted.
Adventure Camp Acceptances Sent Out—Must Read in Congregations Where Anyone Is Going to Adventure Camp—Repeat Announcement
This is an important announcement for all 2019 Adventure Camp staff and campers. Congratulations to all those who have been accepted to this year’s Adventure Camp! Please follow the e-mailed instructions to sign in to access your acceptance packet. The top priority is to apply for your Canadian RABC (Remote Area Border Crossing) permit as soon as possible, as this permit is required to enter this remote region of Canada, and the permit may take four to six weeks to process. Log in at https://camp.livingyouth.org/ to access your packet with included RABC form.—Mike Kreyer
Staff Certifications—Repeat Announcement
First Aid/Lifeguard Certificate and Archery Certificate
If you have a current Certificate in First Aid/Lifeguarding and/or Archery, and you will be serving in this capacity at any of the U.S. camps in 2019, then please send a copy of your certification to Miss Jill Ewers ([email protected]). The certificate must be current and valid through the entirety of the camp(s) where it will be used.
Food Handler Training Program
If you have received certification for the state of Texas through an ANSI-accredited food safety program as a Food Handler or Food Manager, and you will be attending Texas Teen Camp or Texas Preteen Camp in 2019, please send your certificate to Miss Jill Ewers ([email protected]) and copy Mr. Sheldon Monson ([email protected]).
TrainRight Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Training
Beginning last year, all camp staff 18 years of age or older are required to participate in an online training program for awareness and prevention of child abuse. The program is approximately one hour in length. Once you have been accepted as a staff member at one of the camps, you will receive an e-mail from [email protected] titled “Invite – Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Training Program” with a link to register for and complete the training online.
Note: The certification for this TrainRight course is good for two years, the year you complete it plus the next year. For example, if you took the course in 2017, the certification was valid in 2017 and 2018. Therefore, you would have to retake the course in 2019 to receive certification for 2019/2020.
Sobering Signs of the Times: Jesus said we are to watch world events as we get closer to the end of the age (Matthew 24:42–44). It is sobering to see the parallels between significant events mentioned in the Scriptures and the times in which we are living. In Genesis 6 we see that God sent a flood to end a civilization that was permeated with violence and wickedness. In Genesis 18 and 19, God destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah for their sinful depravity—pride, arrogance, open homosexuality, high living, and unconcern for the poor (Genesis 19:1–11; Ezekiel 16:49–50). The citizens of these cities, including Lot and his family, had forgotten why God had destroyed almost the entire human race only 400 years before. Yet, in spite of being surrounded by moral depravity, Lot and his family were reluctant to leave their city. As we see the same moral depravity and horrendous violence spreading throughout the world, we need to remember these Old Testament examples were recorded for our admonition as we approach the end of the age (1 Corinthians 10:1–13). We also need to remember the Apostle Paul’s admonition to “come out” of this world and its perverted ways (2 Corinthians 6:17–18), because God’s judgment on our modern Satan-influenced world is coming—just as it did on the ancient world. We all need to wake up and recognize the real significance of what is happening around us and earnestly pray, “Thy Kingdom come.”
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—May 23, 2019
“The Future of War”: So read the title of a recent article by Newsmax (April 2019). Several other articles have been published by various publications with similar titles. With Russia’s troop advances in Europe, China’s new hypersonic missile and stealth fighters, India’s recent destruction of a satellite with a ground-based interceptor system, and the United States’ new F-35 fighter, war is changing. Artificial intelligence, cyber warfare, autonomous weaponry, and growing successes in quantum computing continue to push the limits of mankind’s destructive capabilities at an unbelievable pace.
Many defense experts believe a future World War III will be fought with robotic soldiers. Retired marine officer, researcher, and strategist Dr. Frank Hoffman observed, “There are a lot of reasons why the next 20 years are going to be a lot more unstable than the last 20 years were… [and] the likelihood [of war] is far higher than it has been in the past” (Financial Times, November 16, 2018). The sobering reality is that as nations advance their weapons technologies, they push other nations and potential enemies to advance their own weaponry. There is now a resurgent global arms race playing out around the world, and war technologies seem to be approaching realms previously seen only in science fiction!
Jesus Christ warned that apart from His return and intervention in world events at the end of the age, “no flesh would be saved” (Matthew 24:22). He went on to note that “for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.” We are approaching a time in world history that is unparalleled in terms of global military power and destructive capabilities. However, the Bible provides a more hopeful picture of the future, and foretells a coming time of peace when there will be no more war (Isaiah 2:2–4). To learn more about the real future of mankind, read or listen to “What Comes After World War III?”
War with Iran Inevitable? Tensions have been steadily rising between the United States and Iran, especially with the recent U.S. decision to try, through sanctions, to reduce Iranian oil exports to zero (Reuters, May 14, 2019). In recent weeks, four oil tankers—including two from Saudi Arabia—were attacked near the United Arab Emirates, and two Saudi oil pumping stations were attacked with armed drones. These attacks have come from what are assumed to be Yemeni proxies of Iran. Israel has warned the U.S. that Iran is planning to attack either American targets or targets belonging to U.S. allies, including Saudi Arabia’s oil production facilities (Times of Israel, May 11, 2019).
The U.S. also recently moved a new aircraft carrier strike group into the region, prompting a threat from the Iranian Supreme Leader’s representative: “Their billion [-dollar] fleet can be destroyed with one missile…. If they attempt any move, they will… [face] dozens of missiles because at that time [government] officials won’t be in charge to act cautiously, but instead things will be in the hands of our beloved leader” (Times of Israel, May 10, 2019). Both President Trump and Iran’s Supreme Leader have stated that there are no plans for war between the two nations (Reuters, May 14, 2019). However, the U.S. has ordered its non-essential government employees out of neighboring Iraq (Al Jazeera, May 15, 2019).
While global threats abound, rising tensions in the region of the Persian Gulf are particularly alarming given traditionally “hot” tempers and highly armed actors—some of whom also possess nuclear weaponry. It is also worth noting that 20 percent of global oil production flows through this volatile region. For millennia, Bible prophecy has focused on the Middle East as a flash point for end-time events, when a “king of the South” (Arab-Muslim power) as well as nations to the north and east of Jerusalem will emerge and stir up trouble (Daniel 11:40–44). For more information on this critical area of the world, be sure to read “War in the Middle East and the Coming King of the South.”—Scott Winnail, Donald Davis, and Francine Prater