Greetings from Charlotte,
As the United States celebrated the July 4th long weekend, mass shootings across the country left 20 dead and 126 injured. One elected official said in response, “This is insanity.… This cannot be the society that we are expected to live in.” In France, a police shooting more than a week ago led to six nights of riots and unrest, with more than 3,400 arrests. Our society wants peace and harmony, but most people don’t want to live God’s way, which would produce it.
Mr. and Mrs. Weston and a number of other staff members are heading to Texas for the Teen Camp that begins early next week. Three Tomorrow’s World Presentations are going on this weekend (see below), with almost 2,000 subscribers invited. Dr. and Mrs. Scott Winnail head for the United Kingdom early next week, as he takes on new responsibilities as Assistant Regional Director for Europe, Africa, and the United Kingdom. Your prayers for their move and for all of these activities are much appreciated.—Rod McNair
Tomorrow’s World Presentations
This weekend we will host three Tomorrow’s World Presentations. Two initial presentations will be given by Mr. Adam West in Waterville, Maine, and Tilton, New Hampshire; one follow-up presentation will be given by Mr. Simon Roberts in Plymouth, England, United Kingdom. Thank you all for your continued support and prayers for these presentations.
Living Youth Program
Camp Director Jonathan Bueno reported on the Adventure Camp in the Olympic National Park in Washington state the last week of June. Fifteen campers and seven staff members hiked the North Coast Trail for four days and three nights, enjoying spectacular views of sea stacks and rockfaces while navigating the challenging beaches, which are not sandy but covered with boulders, rocks, pebbles, and driftwood. The tides themselves were an educational experience. Though never a danger, they affected the times the hikes had to begin each morning. At high tide, the intrepid hikers had to use overland trails, via rope climbs, to round headlands. Completing that hike, they visited the Hoh Rainforest, a lush mountain forest which once stretched along the coast from southeastern Alaska to the central coast of California. In the rainforest, they hiked the “Hall of Mosses” trail. The last day of the Adventure Camp was at a cabin where they enjoyed a bonfire and cookout. At the beginning of camp, the leaders stressed the importance of keeping God in the endeavor, and the young people applied that lesson and the lessons of the daily Bible Studies in the excellent example they set throughout the camp. The camp leaders commented on what a good group they were, and the contrast between the Adventure Campers and other young people in the park was noticed by others as well, as another trail hiker noted.
Trials Test our Faith: The Apostle Paul warned, “in the last days perilous times will come” (2 Timothy 3:1). Jesus wondered aloud, “when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). When the challenges of life begin to mount, we need to remember that faith is one of the fruits of God’s Spirit (Galatians 5:22) and that God gives His Spirit to those who trust Him and obey His instructions (Acts 5:32). While we must do our part to stir up God’s Spirit to overcome our trials and fears (2 Timothy 1:6–7), we can ask God for more faith (Matthew 7:7–8). We need to remember that faith comes from hearing and studying God’s word (Romans 10:17), that God is faithful (Deuteronomy 7:9), and that He protects and preserves His faithful people (Psalm 31:1–4, 23–24). James wrote, “the testing of your faith produces patience” (James 1:2–6). When trials come, let’s remember to do our part by studying the examples of faith recorded in Hebrews 11, as we strive to please God and stay focused on His plan.
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—July 6, 2023
Where Children Are Unsafe: In Taiwan, there has been a recent outbreak of adults drugging children (BBC, June 20, 2023). One incident took place in a preschool where the staff are accused of sedating children by giving them phenobarbital and benzodiazepines via addictive cough syrups. Parents noticed their children going through withdrawal and reported the incident. The school has since been closed, and school directors fined. The principal and five teachers were arrested and are now free on bail.
In an apparently unrelated incident in a different part of the island, the local health department found four doctors at a local medical practice guilty of “misconduct and improper use of phenobarbital on about 20 children.” As a result, the practice was ordered to close for six months and the doctors were fined. In an attempt to identify any additional misuse of sedatives, one hospital in Taipei has begun offering free drug screenings for children.
Schools and doctors’ offices are supposed to be places where children are safe, and teachers and doctors are supposed to be trusted. Yet, as is too common in our broken world, locations that should be the safest for children are not safe at all. However, Jesus Christ will soon return and set up His perfect kingdom on the earth, creating a world so safe for children that parents will allow their sons and daughters to play in the streets (Zechariah 8:5) and even a child among wild animals will have no need to fear hurt or harm (Isaiah 11:1–9). To learn more about this wonderful future time, read or listen to The World Ahead: What Will It Be Like?
Is Europe Moving to the Right? Many European politicians have long prided themselves on being “centrists”—neither too far to the right nor too far to the left. Those toward the ends of the spectrum have often been viewed as extremists. But this appears to be changing. According to Politico, in a recent vote on migration, “Europe’s traditional center-right conservatives were now willing to caucus with [right-wing Italian Prime Minister Giorgia] Meloni, who leads a post-fascist party in Italy, ditching the doubts that had long kept the far-right isolated. Meanwhile, centrist and left-leaning countries like the Netherlands and Denmark had come around to Italy’s thinking—and Germany was too splintered internally to do anything about it” (June 21, 2023).
However, this shift to the right is not limited to the issue of migration. The change in sentiment is being felt in other initiatives, as well, such as European plans for climate regulations. While traditionally left-leaning Germany, which usually gets its way in parliamentary issues, is in political turmoil, much of Europe appears to be moving to the right. “The trend will inevitably have implications for the EU,” Politico reports, “which will elect a new European Parliament in 2024 and then reshuffle its Brussels leadership. Already, progressives are expressing anxiety about the reshaped right, while the powerful center-right European People’s Party (EPP) is eyeing team-up possibilities with the far-right to push its agenda.”
Students of Bible prophecy should keep an eye on these political shifts in Europe. Scripture indicates that a powerful individual—referred to as a “beast”—will emerge in Europe. This person will lead Germany and other European leaders for a short period of time just before Jesus Christ returns to this earth (see Revelation 13 and 17). These national leaders will “give their power and authority” to this person for a time (Revelation 17:12–13), profoundly impacting the rest of the world—especially the United States, the British-descended nations, and the modern nation of Israel. To learn more about the coming power shifts in Europe, be sure to read or listen to our insightful booklet The Beast of Revelation: Myth, Metaphor, or Soon-Coming Reality?—Scott Winnail and Francine Prater