May 7th, 2020
Greetings from Charlotte,
Mr. Mike DeSimone reports that “We just hit 300,000 subscribers on our Spanish YouTube channel! Also, in April we had the largest growth of our Social Media platforms on record for one month that I am able to identify. That is, over 37,000 added subscribers and followers to our Social Media platforms (all languages).”
Last week’s Canadian update reported that the recently aired, Canadian-produced telecast “Is Jesus Real?” received 153 responses. This is the second-highest response ever received as a result of a Canadian telecast, following the initial broadcast of Mr. Wachowicz’s program on marijuana in April of 2018. (The Canadian-produced program airs on a limited number of stations each week.) The stations added this year, CTV2 in Alberta and the Miracle channel, have both seen an increase in responses over the past month.
Our new station in the Philippines had an encouraging first week response. Mr. Richard Ames’s program “What Is Biblical Christianity,” offering the booklet John 3:16—Hidden Truths of the Golden Verse, showed 93 percent of phone responses were new subscribers and 100 percent of the website responses were new subscribers.—Gerald Weston
We have now completed our second year of Living Education-Charlotte, with seven students set to graduate on Friday, May 15. This has been a memorable year, with our normal daily classroom learning replaced by live-streaming classes to our students in their dorms for the past few weeks. Congratulations are in order for Arrianna Anderson, Sarah Dean, Kyle Wolford, Luigi Rodino, Jerod Loy, Thibaud Duval, and Dalton Mooney. With our focus on laying a foundation for a godly life, they’ve gotten to know the Bible in an up-close-and-personal way, while learning more about our most important doctrines and principles for living. They’ve also made friendships for life as they have worked side by side with their brethren in the various departments in the Headquarters facility. And, they have also had a lot of fun, from whitewater rafting to visiting the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Good job, students!—Jonathan McNair
Feast of Tabernacles
The Festival Office has been very busy this week communicating with coordinators from the United States as well as around the world. At the direction of Mr. Weston, we are in consultation with Festival Site Coordinators (and international Regional Directors) on planning for this year’s Feast. Mr. Weston has written a letter that will provide more details about the Feast, and it will be sent to the general membership soon. Thank you for your prayers, as we make plans for keeping God’s Feast in the midst of a highly changeable environment!—Festival Office
Living Youth Program
Deadline Next Week for 2020 Summer Camps in the U.S. and Europe: MUST READ!
Next Tuesday, May 12, is the new deadline for registration for all summer camps in the U.S. and Europe! Camp Directors continue to prepare for and plan for these camps, pending the final decision whether or not to go ahead with them. Mr. Weston will make that determination and it will be announced in the first week of June. In the meantime, if you have already applied and been accepted, but no longer plan to attend, please notify Jenny Penman at [email protected] of your cancellation right away. We would like to get a good idea of how many would come if camps are approved—and this information is needed now. Anyone registering after May 12 may not be accepted.—Sheldon Monson
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 problem, 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 again 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 again in Proverbs 15:22, “Without counsel, plans go awry, but in the multitude of counselors they are established.” We can obtain wise and valuable advice from prayerfully studying the book of Proverbs and from seeking counsel from parents, the ministry, and from more experienced friends and associates who can be objective and help us see a bigger picture than we perceive on our own.
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—May 7, 2020
Pope Offers Glimpse of the Future: The EU has been struggling, and Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic have added insult to injury. European nations are acting independently in their battle against the virus, and some commentators have declared that this could be the end of the EU as we know it.
However, following in his predecessors’ footsteps, Pope Francis has lent his support to the drive toward a united Europe. In fact, during a recent daily mass, the pope prayed, “In these times in which we need so much unity among us, among nations, let us pray today for Europe, so that Europe manages to have this unity, this fraternal unity of which the founding fathers of the European Union dreamed” (CRUX, April 23, 2020). Francis recognizes that events in Europe can have an impact on the whole world. “It’s not at all clear whether the pope actually can save the EU from itself,” notes Vatican expert John L. Allen, but, regardless, this non-European pope is “reminding his adopted continent of its ideals at a time when disenchantment with them seems to be on the verge of going mainstream.”
The current pope sees the need for a stronger, unified Europe, and he is working toward that end—as have popes before him. Bible prophecies speak of an end-time leader of the Roman church who will strongly support a European superpower known as “the beast.” In fact, this coming religious leader will use powerful miracles to motivate the nations of the earth to view the coming European beast power as a savior (Revelation 13:11–17)! Events now unfolding on the continent could be setting the stage for the fulfillment of ancient prophecies that will involve the Roman Catholic Church and a centralized European superpower. To learn more about the role this end-time religious leader will play, be sure to watch our telecast “Seven Signs of the Antichrist.”
Global Economic Downturn Ahead? The COVID-19 pandemic is wreaking havoc on national economies around the world. In contrast to its January 2020 forecast of sizeable global economic growth, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) now predicts a 3 percent reduction in global economic output (New York Times, April 14, 2020). In fact, the IMF recently warned that “the world is facing its worst downturn since the Great Depression as shuttered factories, quarantines and national lockdowns cause economic output to collapse.” Economists had predicted a “V-shaped” economic recovery once quarantines are lifted—basically a quick bounce back. But now, most economists agree that the economic recovery will be long and slow (“U-shaped”)—possibly taking years, and perhaps more than a decade in some cases.
In the United States, a senior economic advisor to the White House predicts that GDP “could fall at an annualized rate of 30% in the next quarter. Goldman Sachs expects a 15% unemployment rate in the US by mid-year, up from 4.4% at present” (The Guardian, April 29, 2020). In Europe, numerous experts expect an economic contraction of 7.5 to 8 percent this year (MSN, April 30, 2020). Germany expects this recession to be the worst since World War II!
Recessions come periodically, as do events or actions that help pull nations out of a recession. Ultimately, Bible prophecies reveal that a political and economic superpower will arise in Europe at the end of the age, bringing great wealth and trade to the world—so much so, that when this economic superpower crumbles after a few short years, the whole world will mourn its destruction (Revelation 18:1–13). Students of Bible prophecy should watch for an economic revival led by certain nations in Europe. To learn more about coming events in Europe, read or listen to our booklet The Beast of Revelation: Myth, Metaphor or Soon-Coming Reality?—Scott Winnail and Francine Prater