Greetings from Charlotte,
This is a big week for campers and staff at our Living Youth Program teen camp! For the teenagers who arrived in Athens, Texas, anticipation has been building. Plans and preparations by department heads and other staff members have been going on for months as well, with an eye to creating an atmosphere for our young people to thrive and grow. Mr. Weston has been working with the camp leadership and laying the groundwork for a successful program and is currently in Texas to oversee the camp personally.
While camp is certainly a time for fun, you might be interested to know that there is more to LYP than just fun. A set of principles or “traditions” frames all the activities. This includes not only the sports activities, but also the classes that help campers to learn to communicate better, the fellowship time, and even the time spent in their dorms. Each and every staff member strives to reinforce these traditions.
What are these traditions? They are simple guidelines for putting God’s way into action. Common-sense principles like “nobody gets left out,” “don’t hurt things, people, or yourself,” and “time on the ball” may sound simple, but these axioms define standards of behavior for staff as well as campers. They create an environment where cliques of “popular kids” are replaced by the encouragement to meet and talk with everyone. And practical jokes or pranks that are often part of the typical summer camp experience have no place in LYP. The reality is that pranks can easily escalate beyond fun and become destructive—if not to property, to the camp experience of the camper on the receiving end of the joke. “Time on the ball” means giving every camper every possible moment in every class to learn and develop the skills that are taught at camp—whether on the basketball court, the archery range, or in the Life Roles class. Developing excellence happens through hands-on personal attention, which is what camp is all about. There is a lot more to the thinking that undergirds the success of camp, like “first things first,” and “courtesy comes first at the table,” but you’ll have to ask your campers to give you the scoop on more of the traditions!
Here in Charlotte, Mr. Ames taped a telecast this week, preparing for the upcoming telecast season. Our Mail Processing Department sent out a remarkable 99,397 bulk mail items in June. And preparations for the Feast of Tabernacles are in full swing. Summer may be here, but the pace doesn’t slow down. Have a pleasant Sabbath!—Jonathan McNair
Past and Upcoming Tomorrow’s World Presentations
Last weekend we held three successful Tomorrow’s World Presentations: two initial presentations in Waterville, Maine; and Tilton, New Hampshire; and one follow-up in Plymouth, England, UK. These presentations drew a total of 60 guests. The presentation in Plymouth, England, was particularly notable, with seven repeat guests and ten new guests. This is more than double the number of guests that attended the initial presentation! This weekend there will be two follow-up presentations, in Waterville, Maine, and Tilton, New Hampshire. Thank you all for your continued prayers and support for these presentations.
Death of Mr. Henry Cooper
Mr. Henry Cooper of Cork, Ireland, a longtime elder in God’s Church, died suddenly last Sabbath from pancreatic cancer. He was 79 years old. Although his family and his doctors anticipated his death, it came more quickly than expected. Mr. Cooper faithfully served congregations in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and Northern England over the last 40 years. Regional Director Peter Nathan performed the funeral on Wednesday in Cork with about 150 people in attendance, a witness to the respect that Mr. Cooper held in his community. Your prayers will be appreciated for the family.
As we close the books on Living Education–Charlotte 2022–23, we are in full swing preparing for our upcoming students. We will be welcoming 22 students to the program, with students arriving on August 11 and orientation beginning on August 13. This is the largest group so far, and we’re modifying and updating our classrooms, facilities, and schedules to accommodate our new group. We will be off and running shortly!—Jonathan McNair
Feast of Tabernacles
Feast Site Closed to Further Transfers
The Feast site in Harrogate, Yorkshire, United Kingdom, has reached capacity and is closed to further transfers. If you have any questions, please contact the Festival Coordinator, Mr. Simon Roberts at [email protected].
The Feast of Tabernacles Speaking Schedules are being sent out from headquarters by email as they are completed. Feast coordinators should follow-up with the speakers at their site to ensure that they have received it. Speakers, please take note that message titles are due to the coordinators by September 8.
Activity registration is tentatively scheduled to open mid-August. If you would like to see what activities are going to be available at your site, please check the Festival Microsite at fot2023.lcg.org.
Are You Teachable? The Scriptures reveal that one of the important qualities that God is looking for in Christians and future leaders in His Kingdom is teachability, the desire and willingness to listen and learn. Abraham was teachable and responsive to God’s instructions (Genesis 12:1–4). Moses was a very capable leader, yet he was also humble and teachable (Numbers 12:3). David’s attitude comes through in Psalm 119:33 when he wrote, “Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes.” Solomon recognized his human inadequacies when he asked God for wisdom and an “understanding heart” so he could learn to rule God’s people wisely (1 Kings 3:9). When Jesus said the meek and the poor in spirit will be blessed, He was emphasizing their teachability and willingness to learn and grow (Matthew 5:3–5). The Scriptures make it plain that when we harden our hearts to God’s instruction, we will reap serious consequences (Proverbs 28:14). We have been called to reign with Jesus Christ in the Kingdom of God and being teachable is one of the keys to attaining that reward. Let’s continue to strive to develop that most important quality.
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—July 13, 2023
Riots in France: France is once again struggling with civil unrest, spurred this time by the killing of a 17-year-old young man of Algerian descent by police at a traffic stop. During a week of violent rioting, nearly a thousand shops and bank branches were looted or attacked, vehicles and buildings were burned, thousands of protesters were arrested, and hundreds of officers injured. The estimated cost of the rampage could reach $1.1 billion (CNN Business, July 5, 2023).
Numerous factors have contributed to the outburst of riots across France: poverty, perceptions of police brutality, political tensions, and thousands of non-integrated immigrants in ghetto-like conditions in areas of larger cities where even the police fear to enter. As police presence has dwindled or disappeared in major cities, highly armed gangs have arisen. All this has left many feeling unsafe where they live. Some growing up in the roughest parts of some cities have spoken up about the lack of police presence and decried the resulting breakdown in social order.
France’s social struggles are not unique, and they tell a story that is playing out around the globe. People are growing unhappy and unsettled, and politicians and leaders are ignorant of the fundamental reasons why. Some blame it on guns and access to weapons, others blame it on immigration, while still others even blame it on climate change. But the truth of the matter is deeper. Human beings need a purpose in life and clear guidelines for directing their lives. However, the biblical moral values that have long been part of the foundation of Israelite-descended societies, such as France, are being rejected and discarded. Mankind needs a Savior who can bring a spiritual transformation and a righteous set of laws to guide society. The time is coming when that righteous set of laws will “go forth” from Jerusalem and humanity will begin that transformation (Isaiah 2:2–4). To learn more about the simple and profound laws that will one day bring peace to the world, read or listen to our booklet The Ten Commandments.
Children Are Their Oppressors: “Baseball bat-wielding gangs of children are mugging mothers and nannies on the school run in the latest crime wave to hit San Francisco” (The Telegraph, July 4, 2023). The city experienced 11 robberies amongst moms and nannies in just one week. Police believe it is the same gang of young boys who are “targeting women picking up children from school.” One mom was thrown to the ground by a boy who took her cell phone. Another was punched in the face.
One San Francisco Board of Supervisors member observed that more and more children are “doing these really awful things.” He speculated the crimes are happening because children are skipping school, a trend of truancy he blames on the COVID lockdowns. Crime is escalating all over San Francisco and that seems to coincide with a lack of police involvement or interest.
The prophet Isaiah warned of specific events that would occur in Israelite-descended nations at the end of the age. Around 2,700 years ago, he wrote, “As for My people, children are their oppressors” (Isaiah 3:12), and “the child will be insolent toward the elder” (v. 5). Solomon wrote in Proverbs 29:15 that “a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.” Children need present and engaged parents to teach them right and wrong—they will not develop a right sense of what is moral and good on their own. Today, for a variety of reasons, parents are often insufficiently involved in their children’s lives, and sometimes simply do not care. Isaiah notes that these things will happen “because their tongue and their doings are against the Lord” (3:8). Every human being needs right teaching and loving guidance from the earliest moments of life. At His return, Jesus Christ will bring an approach to family life and child-rearing that will make that teaching and guidance a reality. To learn more about how to raise loving and respectful children, read or listen to Successful Parenting: God’s Way.—Scott Winnail and Francine Prater