Greetings from Charlotte,
Dr. Douglas Winnail returned safely from a very profitable trip around the world, conducting ministerial conferences and/or Tomorrow’s World Presentations in Australia, Asia, Africa, Europe and the U.K. Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Stewart from Atlanta visited the Charlotte office this week and met with many of our Headquarters personnel. Mr. and Mrs. Stewart are looking forward to their transfer to the United Kingdom sometime around June. As many of you know, Mr. Sheldon Monson experienced a freak accident that injured his left eye. The lens was torn and, while it is still too early to know the full extent of the damage, early indications are that the lens can be replaced and he will regain sight in the eye. Please remember him in your prayers. We held a teleconference with our Council of Elders this past Wednesday and I wrote a co-worker letter, which was sent out this week.—Gerald Weston
Congregational (blue) Hymnals
From time to time, the HQ office in Charlotte is asked to supply additional congregational (blue) hymnals for a particular congregation. While we are glad to do so, we want to make sure that the ones already distributed are being put to use. In other words, we want to make sure no blue hymnals have found their way into brethren’s homes, like sheep that have lost their way! So, we’d like to ask everyone to check to see if they have any blue congregational hymnals in their own collection of books at their homes. And if any blue congregational hymnals are found—please bring these lost sheep back to services!—Church Administration
Living Education Website—Must Read—Repeat Announcement
Our Living Education website is now up and running. Just go to lcgeducation.org to check it out. You’ll find a description of our new program, including our new on-site program in Charlotte. This one-year training course is designed to strengthen our young adults, providing a solid foundation for life. If you know of a young person who is facing the difficult decision of what to do after high school, encourage them to consider coming to Charlotte for the program. One year can make a difference for the rest of his or her life. For more information and to apply to the Charlotte program, go to lcgeducation.org. If you would like to get a glimpse of what we’ll be doing for all the membership of the Church through our online program, this will be the place to get the latest! We are building up to our first class, that will begin this summer.—Jonathan McNair
Charlotte BRiC Weekend—Registration Open—Repeat Announcement
Registration for the BRiC (Building Relationships in Christ) Weekend (May 25–28) is now open! This will be a wonderful opportunity for singles in God’s Church! Come to Charlotte and be a part of this year’s BRiC Weekend. There will be Bible studies, food, dancing, activities and, of course, BRiC Talks! You can register online by visiting charlottelcg.org/bric—password bric. Please register for the weekend and the activities you plan to attend. If you have any questions regarding accommodations, housing with local brethren, or details concerning the weekend, please contact Mr. Jacob Hall (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
Feast of Tabernacles
The United States and Canada ministerial Feast site assignments have been sent out. We are finalizing the other site assignments and will send them out as soon as possible.
La Alberca, Salamanca, Spain—Pre-registration Deadline Approaching
This year, the Feast of Tabernacles in Spain will be kept in the same location it was held last year, in the Abadia de los Templarios (abadiadelostemplarios.com) in the beautiful town of La Alberca, Salamanca (www.laalberca.com). The pre-registration deadline is March 29. This is an excellent Feast site with good weather, good accommodations and a perfect size to share the FOT with 80–100 Feast-goers. We will have services in Spanish and English (alternating daily) with simultaneous translation for those who are not bilingual. Experiencing Spain in a Feast setting is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, available to you this year at this site. La Alberca has been designated as a National Historical Landmark, and is an appropriate place to reflect on human history and the coming Kingdom of God.
Abadia de los Templarios is approximately three hours away from the Barajas International Airport in Madrid. Bus transportation from the airport to the hotel and back will be available.
Following are the costs in euros:
• Price per person per night (double occupancy) including breakfast, lunch and dinner: € 97
• Single supplement (charge to those staying in single occupancy): € 30 per night
• Children staying with two adults: free of charge up to 3 years old
• Children staying with two adults: 50% discount up to 12 years old
• Price per person per bus transfer from airport to hotel and back: € 70 round trip
• Price per person per excursion to Salamanca and Ciudad Rodrigo: € 55 each excursion
Note: Pre-register before March 29 to confirm your spot. A 30 percent deposit of the total household amount also needs to be paid before March 29. If your form and a 30 percent non-refundable deposit are not received by this date, your attendance at the Feast in Spain will become subject to space availability. Important: The 30 percent deposit is non-refundable.
For further information on pre-registration, please contact Mr. Raul Colon by e-mail at email@example.com.
Living Youth Program
Friday Evening Online Teen Bible Studies on Summer Break
The online Teen Bible Study on Friday evening, March 23, was the last one until November 9. For those who were unable to make it to the study, archives of previous Living Youth Bible Studies, including last evening’s finishing Matthew 12, can also be found on the Living Youth website.
The Bible Studies are suspended as we prepare for, and during, the camp season. Some LYP Christian Living classes will be posted online during the summer. Friday evening online Bible Studies will resume on November 9, when we will continue going through the Gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.—Sheldon Monson
Teen Camp Applications and Pastoral Evaluations
This Teen Camp is filling fast, so we encourage campers and staff to sign up soon.
Note to Pastors: We kindly remind you to complete the “pastoral evaluations” for this and other camps as soon as possible. We are now accepting campers and staff, and the pastoral evaluations are needed as these decisions are made.—Sheldon Monson
Themes for Teen Camp—Lone Star Camp, Athens, Texas
Christian Living Classes—The Golden Rule, Matthew 7:12: “… whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them….”
Topics & Dance—Slaying Giants: facing life’s big problems and overcoming great obstacles. Dressy Casual: slacks and short sleeve shirts for boys; skirts and dressy shirts, or dresses for girls; Dockers or sandals.
First Dance (Outdoor Pavilion)—Tropical Islands. Tropical island wear for boys and girls: shorts, short sleeves, dressy sandals.
Final Formal Dance (Gymnasium)—“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Luke 12:34). Formal attire.
Preparing for Passover: This coming week we will observe the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread. These annual Festivals are a memorial of the great sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for our sins, and a reminder that we need to recognize and eliminate sin and inappropriate aspects from our lives. For the Passover period to be meaningful and profitable—and not just routine—we must do our part to prepare for this important phase of God’s plan of salvation. To put the Passover in proper perspective, it will be helpful to review the instructions in Exodus 12, the gospel accounts of the events that led up to the Passover, the crucifixion and the resurrection, and Paul’s instructions in 1 Corinthians 11:23-34. Placing our own period of self-examination within this biblical context will help us appreciate the tremendous significance of Jesus’ sacrifice and our own role in this process. The Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread provide us with an annual opportunity to examine every aspect of our lives in the light of God’s instructions in the Scriptures. As we go through this Holy Day period, spending some time every day in prayerful study and reflection will help us grow to become more like our Savior Jesus Christ.
Have a profitable Sabbath and Holy Day period,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—March 22, 2018
Will Humanity Self-Destruct? As regional and global tensions increase, there is growing concern humanity could annihilate itself by nuclear war. In a recent interview, SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk commented, “Humans must prioritise the colonisation of Mars so the species can be conserved in the event of a third world war…. It’s important to get a self-sustaining base on Mars because it’s far enough away from Earth that [in the event of a war] it’s more likely to survive than a moon base” (The Guardian, March 11, 2018). Musk also discussed how artificial intelligence is an even greater threat of World War III than nuclear weapons.
Should humanity worry about self-destruction and establishing a Mars base to repopulate Earth one day? Will robots become all-powerful and replace human beings? Is this just scientific speculation, or is there a basis for these worst-case scenarios?
Bible prophecies indicate that terrible times will come in the last days (2 Timothy 3:1–4). Jesus Christ also foretold that although the future of human civilization would hang in the balance, humanity will not perish. He stated, “And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened” (Matthew 24:22). The Bible reveals that the coming terrible times will be cut short and that humanity will not utterly destroy itself. In fact, significant numbers of human beings will live through the coming tribulation and repopulate the earth! To learn more about the frightening and exciting future that is in store for mankind, read or listen to Armageddon and Beyond.
Living in Fear: School shootings remain a terrifying staple of news in the U.S. The most recent shooting occurred in a Maryland high school on Tuesday, March 20. Two students were critically injured before the shooter himself was killed (Chicago Tribune, March 20, 2018).
Over the last three weeks in Austin, Texas, five bombs detonated, killing two people and injuring four others (Fox News, March 20, 2018). The packages appear to have been delivered to random victims, including an elderly woman, and were rigged with different technologies. On Wednesday, police stopped a suspect, who detonated a device in his vehicle and killed himself before police could apprehend him (U.S. News, March 21, 2018). Authorities were concerned that there may be additional bombs.
Fear is rising among parents and children over the safety of public schools and universities. As a result, different measures—some as drastic as arming classroom teachers—are being considered as a means of preventing killings in what were once some of America’s safest locations: its schools. Austin residents are also fearful, not knowing where a bomb may detonate next (Associated Press, March 20, 2018).
The sobering truth is that societal fear is something the Bible predicted would grip the Israelite-descended nations if they turned away from God and rejected His laws: “[If] you despise My statutes, or if your soul abhors My judgments, so that you do not perform all My commandments, but break My covenant, I also will do this to you: I will even appoint terror over you” (Leviticus 26:15–16). As society drifts further away from the moral foundation of the Ten Commandments, we will see more acts of terror in our midst. However, God is not a vindictive God. He takes “no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live” (Ezekiel 33:11). To learn about solutions for growing societal fears, be sure to read “Will the Terrorists Win?”—Scott Winnail and Francine Prater