Weekly Update

February 8th, 2024

Greetings from Charlotte,

I have observed that there are more deaths and funerals in the winter than at other times of the year, but my observations are anecdotal, so I decided to check to see if the facts agree. According to the American Council on Science and Health, my observations are accurate. More people die in the months of December, January, and February than at any other time of the year. This is what we have seen recently here in Charlotte and elsewhere, with another funeral this past Sunday. It is never easy to lose a loved one, but God has given us a living hope—resurrection to eternal life in His family, with no pain, no suffering, no sorrow. However, death is important in God’s plan as it reminds us that we are not yet immortal and that the decisions we make are important. Death is a governor on human behavior, at least for many people. Can we imagine what life would be like if people were already immortal and there was no check on behavior? Paul wrote to the Thessalonians to remember the big picture (1 Thessalonians 4:13–18). Because of age and other factors, we have many members suffering from serious ailments, but let us not lose sight of why God allows suffering and death. And let us not forget Paul’s words to the Romans, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (8:18).—Gerald Weston

Church Administration

Tomorrow’s World Presentations

Last week we held seven follow-up presentations that drew a total of 30 guests. This week Mr. Rod McNair will give initial presentations in Summerville, South Carolina, and Augusta, Georgia. Mr. Michael Heykoop will give another online-only presentation to the entire Canadian subscriber base, titled “The King of the North and the King of the South.” We will also hold two follow-up presentations in Louisiana and one in Nevada. Thank you for your continued prayers and support for the Tomorrow’s World Presentations.

Passover: Deadline for Requesting Supplies and Materials—Repeat Announcement

Important Notice to All Pastors: In 2024, the Passover Service will be observed on Sunday evening, April 21. February 16 is the international deadline for requesting Passover Service supplies (bread trays and/or wine trays or glasses) or a physical copy of the Passover Service recording and letter instructions (available in English, French, and Spanish) for congregations, and March 17 is the deadline for U.S. requests. (This year we have a new Passover Service recording presented by Mr. Wallace Smith.) Any requests for Passover Service recordings and letter instructions for home observance, needed by members who are unable to keep the Passover with a congregation, should also be received by the above deadlines. Please direct your requests to the Church Administration Department at [email protected]. Note: As in the last couple of years, the digital Passover Service recording is available to pastors and video recipients via the FTP site, and a private YouTube link will also be provided.

Feast of Tabernacles

International Feast Sites 2024—Posted on MyLCG (Speaker: No need to read entire list.)

We are pleased to announce the international Feast sites that have been confirmed for 2024 and that will be open to international transfers. Some venues have not been finalized yet; in those cases, the country is listed but not the town.

Other international sites will be announced later as they are confirmed. Stay tuned to The World Ahead for more information about the Feast of Tabernacles 2024!

Living Youth Program

Camp Registration Opens: Adventure Camp and West Virginia Preteen Camp

This Sunday, February 11, registration for this year’s Adventure Camp and the West Virginia Preteen Camp opens. For information on these camps, or any of our other camps, please visit https://camp.livingyouth.org. For any assistance in registering, please contact Jenny Penman at [email protected].

We are happy to announce the 2024 Living Youth Adventure Camp in the Pacific Northwest: a hike in the Eagle Cap wilderness of Northeastern Oregon. Considered the “Swiss Alps of Oregon,” this area features breathtaking granite peaks, numerous alpine lakes, glacier-carved valley floors, and mountain passes with amazing views of the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. The camp will run June 23 through June 28 (includes arrival and departure days). For more information and to register, please visit the Living Youth website. If you have any questions, please contact Mr. Jonathan Bueno ([email protected]). Registration will open Sunday, February 11, for campers (ages 14–20) and staff (21+).

Once again, beautiful West Virginia will serve as home for a Living Youth Preteen Camp this year. Camp dates are Sunday, July 28, through Friday, August 2. If you are considering joining us, we encourage you to register as early as possible, as it is very helpful for the planning process. If you have any questions about the camp, please contact Mr. Michael Heykoop ([email protected]). Registration is open for campers (ages 8–12) and staff members (15+). If the adults of a family are attending the camp, we can also accept mini-campers (up to age 7) and sibling campers (ages 13–14).


Are You a Pillar? The Apostle Paul records that James, Peter, and John were pillars in the church in Jerusalem (Galatians 2:9), and the Apostle John notes that overcomers will be pillars in God’s temple in the Kingdom of God (Revelation 3:12). The Greek word for pillar is stylos, which means a strong leader or strong supporter of the Church. So, how do you become a pillar? In the Middle Ages, individuals who demonstrated their faith by spending days, weeks, months, and years living on top of a pillar where they prayed, fasted, and preached were called “pillar saints” (stylites). However, this is not the way to please God, nor become a godly pillar. The Bible reveals that we can become pillars by studying and being able to correctly explain the Scriptures (2 Timothy 2:15), by proving what we believe from the word of God (1 Thessalonians 5:21), and getting rid of doubts (James 1:6). God has called us to become leaders who will teach others His ways, both now and in the coming Kingdom of God (Isaiah 2:2–4; 30:20–21). Let’s set a goal to become pillars that God can use.

Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail

News and Prophecy—February 8, 2024

European Farmers Protest: As reported by Reuters and multiple news outlets, angry farmers are staging massive protests all across Europe over rising costs of fuel and fertilizer, the removal of government subsidies, increased environmental regulation related to climate change, and low-cost imported foods that are undercutting locally produced goods. Germany, Belgium, Greece, Portugal, Italy, France, and Spain have all seen protests. In France, tractors encircled Paris and were used to create blockades “in what farmers are describing as a siege of the French capital” according to the Wall Street Journal (January 30, 2024). Deutsche Welle reported that, in Belgium, “Around 1,000 tractors have descended on Brussels and police have deployed water cannons as farmers threw eggs and set off fireworks around the European Parliament” (February 1, 2024). Farmers have blocked roads throughout Europe, including every road to and from at least one major shipping port.

Many of the frustrations stem from government regulations related to the European Green Deal that wants to phase out the use of fossil fuels and reduce the size of meat and dairy herds to cut carbon emissions from cows. Countries that do not have these burdensome regulations produce much cheaper farm products. As a result of governmental regulations, “the EU is now seen as the enemy” (AP, February 1, 2024). However, some European MPs appear to be listening. The provocative Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who touched a nerve with comments sympathetic to the farmers’ plight, met with farmers, telling them, “We need to find new leaders who truly represent the interests of the people.” He said this referring to the European parliamentary elections coming this summer. Some farmers have been quoted as saying that these issues may push them to vote for candidates on the far-right.

The coming elections could be significant as Europeans frustrated with current governments may see hope in more extreme candidates. Europe could look and act very differently in the days ahead.

Haitians Living in Fear: Why do gangs and dictators want to control entire regions and countries? Their self-centered actions and often lawless ways indicate that the people of those countries do not matter to them. Nowhere is this more evident, perhaps, than in the Caribbean nation of Haiti, where current conditions certainly reflect the biblical warning that “when a wicked man rules, the people groan” (Proverbs 29:2).

Haiti’s government and police powers continue to be ineffective at controlling the powerful gangs operating in the country and vying for power. Recently, a four-day siege by gangs overwhelmed a suburb of Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince (AP, January 18, 2024). The suburb is home to many police officers, and gangs appeared to have a plan. Residents were caught in the crossfire and homes were torched. As the fighting continued, residents in nearby neighborhoods erected barricades using anything available, to keep the gangs out. As a UN representative recently observed, “I cannot overstress the severity of the situation in Haiti, where multiple protracted crises have reached a critical point.” Gangs are using sexual violence as a population control tool, putting women and girls at great risk. Haiti’s prime minister has pleaded for international assistance and intervention. While Kenya offered to lead a UN force to stabilize the nation, a Kenyan judge recently decreed that deploying the nation’s police forces in Haiti would be unconstitutional. Sadly, the deteriorating situation in Haiti is likely to continue for some time as the world focuses on other issues. Ecuador and Mexico are also embroiled in major gang wars that are dragging their citizens into the fray.

The people in Haiti, Ecuador, Mexico, and other gang-infested and war-torn regions of the world are in desperate need of a Savior! And Jesus Christ will return and be that Savior (Isaiah 9:6–7). To learn how this will happen, watch “Why Will Christ Return?—Scott Winnail, Matthew Ellison, and Francine Prater