Wild weather is the big news. Tomorrow will end a week of extreme heat and drought in many parts of the USA, and heavy rains and flooding in Asia. Considerable crop losses have occurred in the US this year from the extreme weather—too wet or too dry. Truly, proper rainfall for each season is a blessing from God—and the opposite condition is a curse.
King Solomon's dedicatory prayer upon completion of the Temple in Jerusalem, dedicated to God during the fall festival season, is very inspiring:
(2 Chronicles 6:—26, 27) When the heavens are shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against thee; if they pray toward this place, and confess thy name, and turn from their sin, when thou dost afflict them: 27 then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy servants, and of thy people Israel, when thou teachest them the good way wherein they should walk; and send rain upon thy land, which thou hast given to thy people for an inheritance.
Solomon's prayer is appropriate for all of God's people around the world!
I just spoke by telephone to Mr. Gary Ehman. As reported earlier, Mr. Gary Ehman is moving to San Diego to assume the Managing Editor position. Mr. and Mrs. Gary Ehman visited San Diego and found a house to live in. They are purchasing a place in Champagne Village, the Lawrence Welk Seniors Park (only 55 years of age to qualify and no comments are necessary about Champagne Village—my wife qualified for us to live there….) We closed escrow on a property this week, following a two and one-half month ordeal getting a loan through a local brokerage firm. We pray that Mr. and Mrs. Ehman do not have a similar experience getting their loan!
In addition, Mr. and Mrs. Randy Gregory are in the process of acquiring a home in Illinois. Randy will be following Mr. Ehman as the Pastor of the Chicago and Milwaukee Churches, beginning September 1, 1999. I am sure they will thoroughly enjoy working in that area—basing my appraisal upon my personal experience working for nine years in the Milwaukee area.
News From The International Regions
Mr. Rod McNair reports from the Philippines that the brethren there are safe from the flooding and mud slides thus far. One family suffered some effects from the flooding, but they are now safe. We now have seven ministers serving in the Philippines, and the Church is growing appreciably. "We are now playing the Tomorrow's World program on Home Cable in Manila, Biliran, and Borongan. "This weekend we are scheduled to begin airing Tomorrow's World on DXSY (1242 AM) in Ozamiz City. Mr. Tex Benitez is working on taping a Visayan program for that station, to debut this Sunday, July 18, at 8:00 a.m." [A subsequent report to the above reported that the broadcast was actually aired at 8:20 a.m. on July 18th]
There will be five (5) sites for the Feast of Tabernacles in the Philippines this year. This is very important because of the difficulty and cost to the brethren within the islands. Mr. Jeff Fall will be in the Philippines helping with the Feast as guest speaker.
Mr. Bruce Tyler reports: We received 13 calls the first week of airing on the new Perth station. "We anticipate similar responses from Brisbane, Adelaide, and Auckland, as all three cities are approximately the same size."
Mr. Kinnear Penman comments on his observations in New Zealand: Responses to the Tomorrow's World telecast continue at steady levels. So far this year we have recorded almost 700 in New Zealand. Each week perhaps three-quarters of those who respond are telephoning in for the first time. The remainder has already received at least one booklet or tape from us. These repeat contacts often express gratitude for what they have previously been sent and are hungry for our publications."
"You may be interested to know that we are expecting to have 23 'new' faces attending the Feast with us this year in Ballina," said Mr. Tyler.
Mr. Charles Bryce reports: "The Work in Canada is moving along at a very rapid clip. Several new people are now attending with us across the country and some are making plans to go to the Feast. We are steadily adding new names to our subscription list and if our present pace of growth continues our list will top 4,000 very soon. June was our best month this year for income, beating the previous record month by 21%—and the income for July has shattered the June record by 29.3%!" "God is blessing His Work and multiplying the dedication and involvement of His called and chosen people."
Mr. Richard Ames reports from the Media Department:
"Since the inception of the Church website, we have as of August 4 had 670,606 hits, 109,264 page views and 67,460 user sessions on the site."
[Bill Bowmer explains: A "hit" is the viewing of an element of the site; a "page view" is a look at one page that may contain multiple "hits" and a "user session" represents the entire visit as one user goes from page to page on our site.]
"I am happy to report that use of our site has increased in the last few weeks. Overall, we have in the last month seen use of the site increase by about 30 percent—we have had weekly averages as high as 424 user sessions per day."
Furthermore, "17 percent of our 17,822 visitors are repeat users of the site, and 3 percent have visited 10 or more times. Yet, in the last week alone, 25 percent of our visitors (286 individuals out of 1,145) were repeat users, and 9 percent of our visitors (106 individuals) came to our site at least once per day!"
"The Living Church of God's Web presence certainly has room for growth as we continue to add new content and features to the Church web site, but I believe we can be pleased overall with the state of our progress. In the next few weeks we will unveil a further redesign of the site meant to enhance its attractiveness and also to allow visitors to order literature and subscriptions online, and we will be making the online booklets more attractive with a new HTML format."
Television Response: Last week Dr. Meredith's program "The End of an Age?" was aired, offering an audio tape of the program. We expect the final response to reach 500 to the program. The first five "re-runs" this summer averaged 578 responses per program—26 percent below the average response to the first airing. We averaged 400 responses per program during the "re-run" period of 1998.
The weekly average for the entire year thus far is still above 800 responses per program.
From The Executive Office:
Dr. Meredith just called in from the Living Youth Camp in Michigan. He will remain over through the weekend, preaching and visiting with the Staff and youths. He sounded rested and energetic on the telephone. If a visit to Michigan at this time of year is so therapeutic, I wonder what would a week on the Blackfoot River in Montana do!