April 14th, 2022
Greetings from Charlotte,
Weather can be a problem at this time of year. Heavy snowfall and high wind conditions are affecting our brethren in Saskatchewan and Manitoba in Canada, and parts of the Northwestern United States, leading up to and including Passover in some locations. On the other side of the world, I received a report from Mr. Christo Botha in South Africa about massive flooding in Durban and surrounding areas. Mr. Botha sent out a prayer request for those living in KwaZulu-Natal, where they have not been able to make contact with some members and prospective members. The severe floods have washed out roads and made travel extremely dangerous. One main highway has been closed and all public transportation has been put on hold in most areas. The hall we normally use on Sabbaths is flooded and that, along with the nightmarish travel conditions, make it impossible to meet together for the Passover and the Night to be Much Observed in Durban this year. Instead of the planned in-person Passover service, the brethren will have to keep Passover at home. All members have recordings of the service that they can play, and more information will be sent out via WhatsApp messages. This is a major disappointment for all involved. Please pray for them and for their families and their safety. Here in the United States, it is tornado season, so please remember all our brethren in areas that may be affected by severe storms that could disrupt our observances. From all of us here in Charlotte, we pray that God will give you a safe and rewarding Festival season no matter where you are.—Gerald Weston
Tomorrow’s World Presentations
As we approach the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread, you may be interested to know that since January 1, 2022, the Living Church of God has sent out 93,479 invitations to 104 Tomorrow’s World Presentations. We are also excited to report that, in select places in the United States where we’ve had Spanish translation available, we’ve sent out 740 Spanish-language invitations to presentations given in English. We are grateful for God’s blessing on these events, as a total of 1,001 visitors have attended presentations in the USA and Canada so far in 2022.
Extra Tomorrow’s World Magazines
From time to time, the Church has extra magazines that are not needed for the regular shipment to subscribers, and we are always looking for ways for them to be used productively! Some brethren volunteer to take a box or two to distribute in places around town (doctors’ offices, libraries, etc.) where they have received permission to do so. We do have such extra magazines right now. If any brethren would like a box of magazines to distribute locally, it could be a great service in getting the Gospel message out! If you are interested, contact the Mail Processing Department for more details ([email protected]).
Living Education—Scholarships Available—Repeat Announcement
Living Education continues to accept applications from young men and women ages 18 to 30. One question that often comes up is “How much does Living Education–Charlotte cost?” The Church subsidizes a major part of the cost of the program, which helps to keep the program cost for our students down to a very reasonable $300 per month for the nine-month program. The work-study program generally allows students to cover their remaining living costs. This year, however, due to some generous donations, we’re able to offer incoming students the opportunity to apply for additional scholarship funds as they complete their application. The application deadline for qualifying for those funds is May 1.—Jonathan McNair
Forgiveness: The Passover is an annual reminder of the importance of forgiveness. As imperfect human beings, we all sin (Romans 3:23). Jesus Christ came to this earth to suffer and die as a sacrifice for not only our personal sins, but for the sins of all mankind and to become the Savior of the world (John 4:42). While we can be thankful for this merciful act of forgiving our sins, we are admonished that we must be willing to forgive others who may have sinned against us or hurt or offended us in various ways (Matthew 6:12–15). The Bible reveals that God is abundant in mercy and ready to forgive us (Psalm 86:5). The Apostle Paul urged Christians to “be kind to one another… forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.… [and] do not let the sun go down on your wrath” (Ephesians 4:32, 26). As you partake of the Passover, ask yourself if there is someone you need to forgive or you need to ask to forgive you. Forgiveness and mercy are marks of a true Christian.
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—April 14, 2022
Exodus from Modern Christianity: The Christian Post reported in March that an increasing number of people in successive generations are simply not interested in organized religion. Members of Generation Z (born in the late 1990s and early 2000s) are being called the “least religious generation yet.” But Generation Z are not just less religious, they are also far more likely to be agnostic or atheist.
What is behind this growing movement away from organized religion—mainstream Christianity, in particular? New research provides some important insights. According to the Christian Post, “There is a growing population of the religiously unaffiliated whose once religious parents raised them without religion.” Those who identify as non-religious are far more likely to come from a non-religious household. However, those who currently claim to be religious are far more likely to have had positive religious experiences as they grew up, while “nearly two-thirds (65%) of Americans who report having no childhood religious affiliation say they still are unaffiliated as adults, rivaling that of established religious traditions.”
The Bible offers additional insights into this trend away from religion. Proverbs 22:6 tells us, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” If we do not teach children about God and biblical principles for living, how can we expect them to choose faith and godly living for themselves? Bible prophecies also warn that at the end of the age, because parents fail to teach their children God’s ways, they will raise “pagan children” (Hosea 5:7). This movement away from faith will bring additional consequences, as the Creator warned: “Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children” (Hosea 4:6). God holds parents responsible for teaching their children the difference between right and wrong, good and evil. When this does not happen, children will make dangerous choices in their lives. To learn how to teach your children and grandchildren the ways of God, be sure to read or listen to our practical booklet Successful Parenting: God’s Way.
Locust Plague in South Africa: Right on the heels of close to a decade of drought, South Africa’s farmland is being devastated by ravenous locust swarms that have exploded due to long-awaited rains (MSN, March 15, 2022). “According to Agri SA, this is one of the biggest locust swarms in years and, with the assistance of donors and the Department of Agriculture, farmers are trying everything to save their land and food.” Some swarms are massive, with one reported to be 50 square kilometers (19 square miles).
Locusts have exceeded the capacity of ground-control teams, so the government has begun aerial spraying—which also kills other insects and plants in the area. Locusts lay eggs each year, but in periods of drought most do not hatch but lie dormant in the soil. When rains finally do come, as they have this year, the years’ worth of dormant eggs hatch together, overwhelming the landscape! South Africa exports wheat to other African nations in addition to feeding its own people. With South African crops being hit hard by locusts and with the Russia-Ukraine war cutting wheat exports (half of African wheat imports come from Russia and Ukraine), the food sources of African nations will suffer a drastic hit. The World Food Programme’s executive director warned, “If you think we’ve got hell on earth now, you just get ready.… If we neglect northern Africa, northern Africa’s coming to Europe. If we neglect the Middle East, [the] Middle East is coming to Europe” (Politico, March 22, 2022).
Bible prophecies warn of devastating plagues, pestilences, and food scarcity as we approach the end of the age (Matthew 24:3–8). To learn more about these coming events, be sure to read “The Third Horseman: Unprecedented Famine Ahead.”—Scott Winnail, Lawdi Ferreira, and Francine Prater