January 2nd, 2020
Greetings from Charlotte,
By all accounts, the Charlotte Family Weekend was a great success. We heard many comments about the change in seminars format. Messrs. Wallace Smith, Richard Ames, and Dr. Douglas Winnail each gave 45-minute presentations to all attendees. Then on Friday night, they sat as a panel for the Bible Study and answered questions that were submitted regarding their topics. We had more than 4,000 people in Sabbath Services, in person or connected electronically from around the world. The South African Living Youth Program wrapped up another successful summer camp. We also set some new and encouraging records in 2019. For the first time, we sent out more than one million items (letters, booklets, DVDs, etc.) from our Mail Processing Center here in Charlotte. This does not include magazines, and this is only from Charlotte. Offices in Australia, Canada, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere added many hundreds of thousands of items mailed. Mr. Adrian Käfer reports that while numbers trailed off at the end of the year, overall German literature distribution was up 18.1 percent year-over-year. Australia is burning. Lives have been lost and hundreds of homes have burned in what is shaping up to be one of the worst bushfire seasons in history. As far as we know, no members have suffered losses, but please remember them in your prayers, as the situation is dire “down under.”—Gerald Weston
Important Notice to All Pastors: In 2020, the Passover Service will be observed on Tuesday evening, April 7. 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 6 for international congregations and by March 5 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 6 and U.S. requests before March 5. Please direct your requests to the Church Administration Department at [email protected] as soon as possible.
Program that Provides Help with Elderly Relatives (USA only)
One of our members shared some information with us regarding long-term care for the elderly. This may prove useful for some of our brethren—see below:
“PACE” stands for the Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE). It is a Medicare and Medicaid program that is available in multiple states in limited locations, but the number is growing. The participants qualify by meeting certain requirements mentioned on the website listed below. The program provides a number of services, all at no cost to the participant. As the website mentions, “PACE programs provide services primarily in an adult day health center and are supplemented by in-home and referral services in accordance with the enrollee’s needs.” This program allows the participant to stay in his or her own home and community instead of going to a nursing home.
Here is a link to a description of the PACE program: https://www.medicaid.gov/medicaid/long-term-services-supports/program-all-inclusive-care-elderly/index.html.
PACE can benefit the whole family. Some benefits include respite care and in-home care multiple times a week for a couple of hours to help the participant with household chores. They can even provide someone who comes to the home on the Sabbath. It can be a great resource for the family. The only thing that may be a negative is when someone has a primary care physician he wants to keep, but who is not part of the PACE program.
Men’s Training Camp—Southwest USA
From February 14–16, we will have our first Men’s Training Camp for the Southwest area. The location will be the Desert Outdoor Center at Lake Pleasant, on the northern outskirts of Phoenix, Arizona. This is a beautiful facility, situated in the Arizona desert and overlooking an inviting lake. The Men’s Training Camp is open to all men, age 16 or over. The purpose of the program is to gather together as men to learn to be better husbands, fathers, and Christians. We also build bonds of fellowship and worship God, looking to Him for help in becoming the strong Christian men we need to be in this confused world. To find out more and to register, go to MyLCG for the registration link and password to login and register. If you have questions, you can contact me at [email protected], or James Populo at [email protected]. Register right away, as we’ll be finalizing details shortly.—Jonathan McNair
Living Youth Program
Living Youth Friday Evening Bible Study
The online Friday evening Teen Bible Study on January 10 will cover Luke 2 and 3, and will be given by Mr. Sheldon Monson. Join us at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The chat room will be open for a half-hour before and after the Bible Study.
To join the study, visit https://live.livingyouth.org, and sign in with either your MyLCG or LYP camp registration credentials. 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, recordings of previous Living Youth Bible Studies, including last evening’s beginning the book of Luke, can be found on the Living Youth Programs Live archive page at https://live.livingyouth.org/archive/.—Josh Penman
Texas Camp Dates 2020–2029—Repeat Announcement
Year Teen Camp Dates Texas Preteen Camp Dates
- 2020 July 12–July 26 July 26–July 31
- 2021 July 11–July 25 July 25–July 30
- 2022 July 10–July 24 July 24–July 29
- 2023 July 9–July 23 July 23–July 28
- 2024 July 7–July 21 July 21–July 26
- 2025 July 6–July 20 July 20–July 25
- 2026 July 12–July 26 July 26–July 31
- 2027 July 11–July 25 July 25–July 30
- 2028 July 9–July 23 July 23–July 28
- 2029 July 8–July 22 July 22–July 27
NOTE: Texas Teen Camp start dates represent the staff arrival dates. The arrival dates for campers and the dates camps begin are one day later.
Plan Your Future! Solomon advised in the book of Proverbs, “Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established” (Proverbs 4:25–27). Jesus urged His disciples to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,” and everything else will fall into place (Matthew 6:33). As we begin another calendar year, it would be wise to analyze how the previous year has gone and consider how the coming year could be more productive, as you prepare for the coming Kingdom of God. Set several goals for yourself: make more time to pray and study the Bible, and take time to read books on useful subjects to broaden your understanding so you can help others. Take a Living Education class, strive to build better relationships with people you come into contact with—beginning with your family, friends and neighbors, and brethren in your congregation. Look for ways to let your light shine in an increasingly dark world (Matthew 5:14–16). The Apostle Paul urged Christians to redeem the time (make the most of the opportunities you have) to grow and serve—especially as we see our world hurtling toward destruction (Ephesians 5:15–16). When Jesus Christ returns, He will need individuals to help usher in the Kingdom of God. If you plan your future and prepare, there will be exciting and rewarding opportunities in the years just ahead.
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—January 2, 2020
Will Poland Leave the EU? With Boris Johnson’s recent landslide victory, many in Britain and in the parliament of the European Union expect Brexit to happen in January 2020. Many EU supporters have also expressed concerns that if Britain leaves, other nations will follow. Now, EU leaders fear that recent Polish court actions could lead to Poland’s exit from the EU, following Britain’s example.
Since coming to power, Poland’s Law and Justice Party has made judiciary reforms, claimed by some to make the court system more efficient. However, Poland’s supreme court recently noted, “Contradictions between Polish law and EU law... will in all likelihood lead to an intervention by the EU institutions regarding an infringement of the EU treaties, and in the longer perspective (will lead to) the need to leave the European Union” (Jerusalem Post, December 17, 2019). “Moves by Hungary and Poland to bring their courts and media under tighter state control have led the European Commission… to begin rule-of-law investigations that could in theory lead to a suspension of their EU voting rights.” At this point there is no mechanism for the EU to expel a member nation. Donald Tusk, a former EU Council president and former Polish prime minister, recently observed, “We [Poland] are leaving the EU step by step. It’s not an exaggeration. This departs from all the norms on which the European Union is built” (EU Observer, December 19, 2019).
Currently the EU consists of 27 member states (minus the soon-to-depart U.K.). Bible prophecy reveals that at the end of the age, the European “beast” power will consist of ten kings who give their power over to the “beast” (Revelation 17:12–18). Students of Bible prophecy should watch for the emergence of ten kings or leaders in Europe—potentially a much smaller configuration than we see in the current EU. For more details on this subject, be sure to read “Europe—Building a Beast.”
Australia Is On Fire! Evacuations continue across large swaths of Australia as raging fires continue to scorch the nation. On Monday, over 100,000 people were evacuated from the suburbs of Melbourne (Deutsche Welle, December 31, 2019). In another area of the country, four thousand people were trapped on a beach between the burning fires and the sea, awaiting water and air rescue. Public officials are warning residents of smaller communities to take shelter in larger towns or on beaches if the path to them is clear. The fires are now so large they are creating their own weather, including fire tornados that have tossed vehicles into the air. The Australian fires are so severe that smoke and ash have reached New Zealand, and residents have commented, “These fires are nothing like anything anyone has ever seen,” and “A disaster is unfolding in Australia. Never in my lifetime have I seen such destruction!”
Since the Australian fires began in October, more than 34,000 square kilometers and more than 1,000 homes have burned. Conditions are expected to worsen, as meteorologists predict that this current stretch of hot, dry weather could last for months (Deutsche Welle, December 30, 2019)—which means even more trouble for Australia’s farmers who have been battling serious drought conditions.
From the perspective of Bible prophecy, these fires offer a glimpse into the future. The Bible has long warned nations descended from ancient Israel—which includes Australia—that if they turn away from God, He will curse them with a lack of rain, drought, and associated problems (see Leviticus 26:14–20, 31–32; Hosea 8:14). While God has blessed the Israelite nations abundantly, the continuation of those blessings comes with a responsibility to obey the laws of God. When nations fail in that responsibility, there will be consequences. For greater insight into why we are witnessing powerful natural disasters occurring around the globe today, be sure to read Acts of God: Why Natural Disasters?—Scott Winnail, Lenny Bower, and Francine Prater