March 9th, 2023
Greetings from Charlotte,
We held an online Council of Elders meeting on Wednesday. It was very encouraging to hear from the Regional Directors and Regional Pastors that they are receiving a steady stream of GOTOs (people inquiring about the Church, baptism, or counseling). We are also hearing of good growth overall, even if it is not evenly distributed across the board. Last year we had a 4.1 percent increase in attendance in the U.S. and 4.9 percent internationally. Our former Worldwide association has apparently mandated for all regions to only meet on Sunday—Sabbath is no longer an option for their congregations—and this has caused some of their members to finally say enough is enough. Mr. Ames’ telecast “Will You Inherit Heaven or the Earth?,” advertising the booklet What Happens When You Die?, garnered over 6,000 responses. As I mentioned in the video update for this week, “People must be concerned about death,” and I would also add—they ought to be! Already in 2023 three other telecasts have topped 5,500. Passover is now less than four weeks away. Let us prepare for the most spiritually prosperous Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread of our lives.—Gerald Weston
Tomorrow’s World Presentation Attendance Numbers and Impact
March 4–5 was an exciting weekend for Tomorrow’s World Presentations for a number of reasons: some big numbers, and some lower numbers but high impact. The twelve events generated a total of 180 guests. One notable TWP was held on the island of Jersey in the English Channel. While planning a Church visit to the two lone members on the island, Mr. Simon Roberts decided also to schedule a TWP for the eight subscribers there. We were blessed to have two guests (TW subscribers) attend the presentation, which was a 25 percent response rate! Elsewhere, 151 guests attended the initial presentations in St. Petersburg, Florida; Asheville, North Carolina; and Anderson, South Carolina. In Anderson, 15 guests stayed afterwards to also attend Sabbath services. (Note: Last week’s report of eleven events scheduled for this past weekend missed counting one follow-up event.)
The success of these presentations is dependent on the support and prayers of the membership, and we thank everyone for your continued support.
The Work in French: Update
This week we published a new telecast titled (in English) “Would Jesus Choose Your Church?” presented by Mr. Gerald Weston and offering the booklet: Do You Believe the True Gospel? It is available on our Le Monde de Demain YouTube channel and on our Facebook page.
Two Cyclones Hit Vanuatu—Report from Regional Director Rob Tyler
Last week, two tropical cyclones, named Judy and Kevin, hit several islands in Vanuatu, including Efate and Tanna, where we have brethren. Last Friday, Vanuatu’s government declared a national state of emergency, even before the second cyclone hit. The cyclone made landfall on Efate last Sabbath morning. Local pastor, Mr. Jerry Sam, reports on the devastation: “The second cyclone was a category five that hit the southern part of the country on Friday night. It was more powerful than the previous one. No casualties have been reported so far, yet, the devastation it left behind was huge. There are some parts in Port Vila that are still without electricity. The brethren are all keeping well but were not able to meet together for Sabbath services. I’m still in Port Vila and looking forward to meeting with all of them this coming Sabbath.”
Passover 2023—Repeat Announcement
Important Notice to All Pastors: In 2023, the Passover Service will be observed on Tuesday evening, April 4. Please let us know if any of the congregations you serve will need additional Passover Service supplies (bread trays and/or wine trays or glasses) or a physical copy of the Passover Service recording and letter instructions (available in English, French, and Spanish). We need this information before March 17 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 a physical copy of the Passover Service recording and letter instructions for observing it at home. U.S. requests should be received before March 17. Please direct your requests to the Church Administration Department at [email protected].
Note: As in the last couple of years, the digital Passover Service recording will be available to pastors and video recipients via the FTP site, and a private YouTube link will also be provided.
Online Passover Study Unit
As we approach the Passover, you might want to take advantage of the Passover Study Unit in the Living Education Online classes. All you need to do is go to online.lcgeducation.org and sign in to the library of classes. You’ll see the Passover course in the menu. The course segments are titled the “Old Testament Passover,” “The New Testament Passover,” “The Rise of the Counterfeits,” and “The Passover Today.” Additional resources are made available at the end of the course, so don’t neglect this learning tool as you prepare for the upcoming Festival season.
Men’s Training Camp—Texas
This is one last reminder about the upcoming Men’s Training Camp near Houston, Texas. The site for MTC-Texas is Camp Cho-Ye, in Livingston, Texas, just north of Houston. The event will begin on Friday evening, March 17, and conclude on Sunday, March 19, and we still have room for more participants. To learn more about the event go to https://www.lcgeducation.org/mens-training-camp-texas-2023/ or contact Mr. Dan Dever at [email protected].
Feast of Tabernacles
2023: International Feast Sites—List Posted on MyLCG—Repeat Announcement (Speaker: No need to read entire list.)
We are pleased to announce the international Feast sites that have been confirmed for 2023 and that will be open to international transfers. Some venues have not been finalized yet, so the country is listed but not the town.
Argentina: TBD (Armando Orrego, [email protected])
Australia: Busselton, Western Australia (David Edwards, [email protected])
Australia: Hervey Bay, Queensland (Anthony Mew, [email protected])
Australia: Warrnambool, Victoria (Adam Jennings, [email protected])
Barbados: Pebbles Beach (Alvin Cumberbatch, [email protected])
Canada: Drummondville, Quebec (Marc Arseneault, [email protected])
Canada: Kimberley, British Columbia (Barry Walker, [email protected])
Canada: Liverpool, Nova Scotia (Shane Kruse, [email protected])
Canada: Russell, Manitoba (Michael Brown, [email protected])
Canada: Leamington, Ontario (Michael Heykoop, [email protected])
Ghana: Buia (Rees Ellis, [email protected])
Guyana: Parika (Moses Harris, [email protected])
Jamaica: Montego Bay (Lascelles Fraser, [email protected])
Kenya: Nairobi (Simon Muthama, [email protected])
Malawi: Lake Malawi (Lawdi Ferreira, [email protected])
Malaysia: Penang (Rajan Moses, [email protected])
Martinique: Ste Luce (Etienne Duval, [email protected])
Mexico: TBD (Cristian Orrego, [email protected])
New Zealand: Taupo (Tony Leman, [email protected])
Philippines: Baguio City (Joseph Gonzales, [email protected])
South Africa: Bela-Bela, Limpopo (Roger Herbert, [email protected])
South Africa: Kingsburgh, KwaZulu-Natal (Ryan van der Watt, [email protected])
South Africa: Stilbaai, Western Cape (Lawdi Ferreira, [email protected])
Tanzania: Ukerewe (Simon Muthama, [email protected])
Trinidad and Tobago: Bon Accord (Damian Weekes, [email protected])
Uganda: Tororo (Simon Muthama, [email protected])
United Kingdom: Harrogate, Yorkshire (Simon Roberts, [email protected])
Vanuatu: Orap Village (Paul Kearns, [email protected])
Zambia: Lake Kariba (Lawdi Ferreira, [email protected])
Other international sites will be announced later as they are confirmed. Stay tuned to The World Ahead for more information about the Feast of Tabernacles 2023!
Living Youth Program
LYC Registrations Open, but Northwest Adventure Camp Registration Closing Sunday
Registration for all summer camps is currently open at https://camp.livingyouth.org. Please note that staff positions for our Teen Camp are filling up quickly and acceptance notices will be going out soon. If you are at all considering serving at Teen Camp this summer, we encourage you to apply right away! Being a Teen Camp staff member is a rewarding experience and a great way to serve the youth of the Church while having fun. The Northwest Adventure Camp in Olympic National Park is reaching capacity and registration will close this coming Sunday, March 12. If you’re interested in attending, please register before it closes! To register for any of the summer camps in the United States, visit https://camp.livingyouth.org.
Pride vs. Humility: Bible prophecies reveal that in the last days, people will be proud, boastful, haughty, and headstrong (2 Timothy 3:1–5). Yet, today, even many “Christians” are unaware of what God says about pride and humility in His word. The Bible states “pride goes before… a fall” (Proverbs 16:18) and that humility is a prerequisite for honor in God’s sight (Proverbs 15:33; 29:23). Jesus said the humble will be blessed (Matthew 5:5), and Peter urged Christians to “be clothed with humility” (1 Peter 5:5). The Scriptures reveal that God used Moses because he was humble (Numbers 12:3) and that Jesus was exalted because He humbled Himself by dying for our sins (Philippians 2:8–9). As we examine ourselves during the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread, let’s ask God to show us how we can overcome aspects of pride and develop more genuine humility so God can use us as instruments in His hands.
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—March 9, 2023
Will War in Ukraine Grow Larger? In a recent speech to the United Nations General Assembly, Secretary-General António Guterres gave the following somber warning: “We have started 2023 staring down the barrel of a confluence of challenges unlike any in our lifetimes” (The Guardian, February 6, 2023). He warned that the conflict between Russia and Ukraine could lead to more bloodshed and greater escalation, and he made a chilling prediction: “I fear the world is not sleepwalking into a wider war. I fear it is doing so with its eyes wide open.” Mr. Guterres also claimed that the world needs a new approach to peace that involves a return to the UN’s charter—putting human rights and dignity first and foremost.
Although human rights and dignity are very important, a return to any humanly devised set of rules—no matter how noble or well-intentioned—will not result in world peace. Humanity has sought peace for millennia, only to fall woefully short, time after time. The Bible teaches, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12) and proclaims that human beings simply do not know the way to peace (Isaiah 59:8). Try as we may, humanity left to itself will not find lasting peace, because that attempt will be predicated on flawed laws and statutes that are unable to fundamentally transform human nature. The real key to lasting peace will be the return of the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6–7), who will restore God’s law and statutes—the “perfect law of liberty” (James 1:25). True peace will only come after society surrenders to God and begins to operate according to His law. To learn more about this vital subject, be sure to read or listen to “Can There Be Peace on Earth?”
China’s Technology Is Leaving the World Behind! The Guardian reports, “The United States and other western countries are losing the race with China to develop advanced technologies and retain talent” (March 2, 2023). The Australian Strategic Policy Institute reported that out of 44 technologies tracked, China leads the world in 37, such as “electric batteries, hypersonics and advanced radio-frequency communications such as 5G and 6G.” According to the report, the U.S. leads in just seven of the remaining technologies, including quantum computing, space launch systems, and vaccines. “The critical technology tracker shows that, for some technologies, all of the world’s top 10 leading research institutions are based in China and are collectively generating nine times more high-impact research papers than the second-ranked country (most often the US).” The report went on to warn that China has the potential of developing a monopoly in eight of the technology areas.
Scientific research and development has long been a domain where the United States has been the global leader. But in recent decades, the nation has lost much of that advantage as China steadily and intentionally focuses its efforts in this area. While science and research has truly been an area of pride for the United States, Bible prophecy has long foretold that due to their arrogance and rejection of His laws, God will “break” the pride of the power of the Israelite-descended nations, including the U.S. (Leviticus 26:19). He also warned that as Israelite nations see their power wane, other nations will “rise higher and higher” (Deuteronomy 28:43). The rise of China in this area and the decline of America should be no surprise to students of Bible prophecy. To learn more about China’s future, be sure to read or listen to “Is This China’s Century?”—Scott Winnail and Francine Prater