September 22nd, 2022
Greetings from Charlotte,
The Tomorrow’s World Bible Study Course has garnered thousands of new students over the last three years, but most who begin the course do not continue all the way to the end. Most attrition occurs with students who do not progress to the second set of lessons. Our dilemma is, how do we move people along past good intentions? Recently, we began sending letters of encouragement to students at varying lengths of time after they receive their first set of lessons and found what seems to be the optimum time to touch base with them. We have since then seen a dramatic increase in those moving on to the second set of lessons and are on pace for September to set an all-time record for students requesting lessons five through eight.
Many ministers are traveling at this time. Mr. and Mrs. Dexter Wakefield left Tuesday to spend the Holy Days and Feasts in Kenya and Uganda. Dr. Winnail will be visiting Cincinnati for the Sabbath and Cambridge, Ohio, for Trumpets. Mr. Richard Ames is scheduled to be in Hendersonville, North Carolina, where four congregations will meet together for Trumpets. Be sure to keep up with, and be praying for, your Regional Directors and other ministers in your area who will also be traveling during this busy season.
Our brethren in Haiti are living in a failed state, with unchecked crime spiraling out of control. Puerto Rico was hit hard with massive rainfall from Hurricane Fiona, causing landslides, road closures, and loss of electricity. The Dominican Republic was also badly hit by the hurricane. Please pray for our brethren in Haiti, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic, that they will still be able to meet together for the Feast of Tabernacles.—Gerald Weston
Prayer Request for Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico
In Haiti, services last Sabbath had to be held online due to the passage of Hurricane Fiona. The storm only affected the north coast, but the population in this country continues to suffer from the consequences of gang violence and civil unrest, as well as water and fuel shortages. Your continued prayers for the safety and the needs of our brethren there are requested and much appreciated. Please also pray that current storms brewing in the Atlantic don’t affect any of our brethren or Feast sites in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico.
Hurricane Fiona in Puerto Rico
Hurricane Fiona devastated the island of Puerto Rico earlier this week, causing the collapse of the electricity and drinking water systems for the entire island. The rainfall significantly exceeded the weather service estimates and caused severe flood damage. So far, four deaths have been reported. Thanks to God, our brethren are well. They appreciate all the love and concern and the prayers of God’s people. Plans for the Feast of Tabernacles in Puerto Rico have not been affected.
Elimination of Pandemic Restrictions in Chile
The congregation in Chile continues with the preparations for the upcoming Festival season. Sixty people are expected to attend the Feast of Tabernacles in the city of Olmué. The COVID-19 situation continues to diminish and the end of mask and mobility pass mandates was announced this past Wednesday, September 21. The changes will take effect on October 1, facilitating travel for visitors to the country. The ending of those mandates also makes it possible for the congregation in Chile to rent a Sabbath meeting hall again, without the barrier of compulsory vaccination.
Update on the Work in the French Language
This week, we published a special production titled “Raising Kids in a Bad World, Part 2.” Our whiteboard video in French titled “Three Things Nailed to the Cross,” published on July 12 of this year, has now reached one million views on Facebook. They are organic views, with no paid advertisement. It is our first French video to obtain that many views on social media (YouTube or Facebook). We also reached the 250,000-followers benchmark on our French Facebook page.
Recent and Upcoming Tomorrow’s World Presentations
Last week, we held eight Tomorrow’s World Presentations: two initial presentations, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada; and Kansas City, Missouri; and six follow-up presentations: in Montreal, Quebec, Canada (combined English and French); Albuquerque, New Mexico; Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom; Fargo, North Dakota; Louisville, Kentucky; and Cincinnati, Ohio. These presentations had a combined total of 87 guests. This week, we have two follow-up presentations scheduled, in Kansas City, Missouri; and Halifax, Nova Scotia. Thank you all for your continued prayers for these presentations.
Last week, we announced the dates for our lineup of Men’s Training Camps for the next year. This week, the focus will be on our L4T program. We are planning for an L4T in the Ozarks of Missouri over the President’s Day weekend in February 2023. Dr. Richard Franz will be coordinating that activity. Mr. Bill Long will be coordinating a program for our young adults in the upper Midwest, and Mr. Ryan Dawson will oversee our L4T for the southeast part of the country. Details will be announced as soon as possible—stay tuned!—Jonathan McNair
Feast of Tabernacles
Appropriate Dress for Feast Services
While Scripture teaches that God looks on the heart, dress and outward decorum are also important (Matthew 22:8–14). As we prepare to be “lights to the world” at the Feast, it’s good to review some basic principles for attire at Feast services. For men, in most modern cultures, coats, collared shirts, ties, and nice slacks are considered appropriate on special occasions. This may vary somewhat in tropical climates. For ladies, 1 Timothy 2:9–10 explains that dress should be “modest apparel, with propriety and moderation.” Short, tight, form-fitting dresses, necklines flaunting cleavage, bare shoulders, backless dresses, crop tops, etc., are not appropriate for Church services. We come to services to worship God, not to display our bodies. Our challenge as Christian men and women is to come out of this world (2 Corinthians 6:17) and be lights to a world that has lost its way (Matthew 5:14–16). This is especially true as we gather to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles—picturing Christ’s glorious reign on earth!
What About at the Beach?
Appropriate beach attire for women and men at the Feast of Tabernacles is swimwear that is modest and in good taste. We should be guided by the two great commandments—to love God and love neighbor (Matthew 22:37–39; Mark 12:29–31)—so as not to offend God or neighbor in our dress at the Feast. Accordingly, following our Living Youth Programs policy, beachwear at the Feast for ladies should be a modest one-piece or a modest tankini (covering the mid-section), and for the men, no Speedo-type suits (unless pool facility rules require them, as is the case in some countries). Fathers and husbands have a responsibility to be leaders in their families to teach and guide regarding what is appropriate and what is not (Ezekiel 22:26).
Services on the Day of Atonement and the Weekly Sabbath Before the Feast—Repeat Announcement
For the benefit of those who may already be traveling to the Feast by the Day of Atonement (October 5) and/or the weekly Sabbath (October 8) immediately before the Feast, information about where services will be conducted on those days is now available. This list includes which congregations will hold services, what time services will be held, and whom to contact for more details. You can access this information at MyLCG.
Streaming/Phone Connection Information for Shut-Ins—Repeat Announcement
If you will have to stay home during the Feast for health or other important reasons, you can be connected to services at your assigned site in two ways, by telephone and/or by livestream. If your assigned Feast site uses the Church’s streaming platform, just go to webcast.lcg.org, select your Feast site, and click on the link to request a password from the Feast Coordinator. For the telephone connection information, please contact the Festival Site Coordinator for your assigned site. Festival Advisors, please assist those brethren who don’t have Internet access to contact their Feast Coordinator to obtain this needed connection information.
U.S. Deadline for Payments Before Feast—Repeat Announcement
Please note that our last scheduled day to print checks will be Tuesday, October 4. After that date, we will not be able to print any checks again until Thursday, October 20. Any invoices we receive by October 3 will be paid before the Festival break. Any invoices we receive after October 3 may not be able to be paid until October 20.
If you have any questions concerning specific invoices or payments, please contact Michelle Greene in the Accounts Payable Department at 704-708-2234 or Rylyn Baca at 704-708-2237. You can also email [email protected].
Tithe of the Festival Tithe—Repeat Announcement
For many decades, the Church of God has practiced what is called the “tithe of the Festival tithe.” What this means is that brethren who can afford it are asked to send a tenth of their Festival tithe to the Church before the Feast, to help pay for meeting halls and other Feast expenses, as well as to help brethren around the world with limited resources to attend the Feast (Deuteronomy 14:27; 16:14). If you are able and you have not already done so, please send in your tithe of the Festival tithe for this year. This contribution is greatly appreciated.
Fall Holy Days: Over the next several weeks, we will observe the fall Holy Days that picture the culminating events in God’s Great Plan of Salvation for all human beings. These days reveal that Jesus Christ is going to return and banish Satan and then set up the Kingdom of God where the saints will rule with Christ for one thousand years. After this, all who have ever lived will be resurrected and have a chance to learn God’s way of life. While Satan has blinded the world to the meaning of these Holy Days, we need to remember Jesus’s words to His disciples, “blessed are your eyes for they see… because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 13:11–17). As we observe these coming Holy Days, let’s rejoice and be deeply grateful to God for the incredible privilege we have been given to understand and prepare to participate in the ultimate fulfillment of these “great and precious promises” (2 Peter 1:2–4).
Have a profitable Sabbath and Holy Day season,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—September 22, 2022
Germany’s Increasing Reliance on an Unstable U.S.: With Russian gas constraints increasing, Germany is turning to America for its liquified natural gas (LNG) (German Foreign Policy, September 8, 2022). By 2030, European LNG imports from the U.S. are forecast to exceed all the natural gas ever imported from Russia. With the Ukraine war at their doorstep, Germany continues to rely on the U.S. and NATO for military support. The closing of the Russian market has made Germany economically dependent on the U.S. market, as well.
Yet, German political analysts note that America is becoming an unstable democracy. In recent comments to the German Council on Foreign Relations, one expert warned that growing political instability and even a potential constitutional crisis could become “realistic scenarios” in America’s future. While uncertainty clouds America’s future, Germany, of necessity, is becoming more reliant on the U.S.
Where will this growing dependency lead? How long will Germany allow itself to rely on other nations? Germany has been one of the engines of Europe in recent decades and has the ambition and capability to lead. In fact, Germany’s defense minister recently proclaimed, “Germany’s size, its geographical situation, its economic power—in short, it’s clout—makes us a leading power” (German Foreign Policy, September 13, 2022). She also mentioned Germany is a leading power in the “military sphere,” as well!
Currently, Germany appears to be in difficult straits politically, economically, and militarily. However, Bible prophecy declares that Germany will play a powerful role on the world scene in the not-too-distant future! For more on this topic, be sure to read our informative article “Resurgent Germany: A Fourth Reich?”
Red Heifers Arrive in Israel: Last week, five red heifers arrived by airplane in Israel (Israel365news, September 16, 2022). The one-year-old female calves were bred and raised on a ranch in Texas, solely for the purpose of producing red heifers that could be used in purification rituals in Jerusalem. To meet Jewish rabbinical standards, the cows must have no more than two non-red hairs, must not have been used for any work, and must have no blemishes—including no brands or ears punctured by tagging. The Temple Institute in Jerusalem recently sent a team of rabbis to Texas to inspect the calves and identify potential candidates. The heifers will now be raised in Israel and will be inspected and prepared for possible sacrifice when they are two years and one day old.
According to Scripture, recorded in Numbers 19, red heifers played a vital role in temple worship in ancient Israel. According to rabbinical tradition, once a red heifer is sacrificed and burnt to ashes, the priesthood can be cleansed, and the building of another temple can commence. Many things can happen to these five heifers over the next year. If they continue to meet the rabbinical requirements, certain preparatory actions can then be taken by rabbis in Israel in relation to ritual sacrifices and perhaps even the rebuilding of another temple. However, in order to fulfill Bible prophecies about the cessation of the daily sacrifices on or near the Temple Mount (Daniel 12:11), only an altar is needed to begin the sacrifices (e.g., Ezra 3:6).
One of these red heifers could be instrumental in the fulfillment of Bible prophecy. To learn more about the significance of future Jewish sacrifices that will be made in Jerusalem, watch “Peace in the Middle East.”—Scott Winnail, Francine Prater, Lenny Bower, and Chris Sookdeo