January 3rd, 2019
Greetings from Charlotte,
Mr. Peter Nathan wrote: "The brethren in Burundi face great challenges in walking God's Way. In the 1980s, a member was imprisoned for keeping the Sabbath. Little has changed to this day. The government seems motivated, perhaps by the established churches, to move against smaller groups such as ourselves. Your prayers for the safety of the brethren and wisdom to handle the situation in that country would be appreciated."
Mr. Paul Shumway held combined services with Chaguanas and San Fernando, attended by 180 Trinidad brethren. Ninety-one stayed for enjoyable family activities.
Mr. Mario Bais reports that we had more than 8.5 million views on our Spanish YouTube channel, and we added 71,000 subscribers, in 2018. We now have more than 106,000 subscribers. The most watched programs in 2018 were “Ezekiel’s Message Unlocked,” exceeding 1.2 million views; and “What’s Ahead for 2018 and Beyond?,” with 1.1 million views. We now have nearly 16 million lifetime views on the Spanish YouTube site.
I am scheduled to hold Tomorrow’s World Presentations in Memphis and Little Rock this weekend.—Gerald Weston
Passover 2019—Repeat Announcement
Important Notice to All Pastors: In 2019, the Passover Service will be observed on Thursday evening, April 18. Please let us know as soon as possible if any of the congregations you serve will need additional Passover Service supplies (bread trays and/or wine trays or glasses) or a copy of the Passover Service recording and letter instructions (available in English, French, and Spanish). To ensure timely delivery and to save on shipping costs, we need this information before February 19 for international congregations and by March 19 for U.S. congregations.
Also, please let us know of any scattered members who are unable to keep the Passover with a congregation and who need to receive the Passover Service recording and letter instructions for observing it at home. International requests should be received before February 19 and U.S. requests before March 19. Please direct your requests to the Church Administration Department at [email protected] as soon as possible.
Living Youth Program
Living Youth Friday Evening Bible Study
The online Friday evening Teen Bible Study on January 11 will cover Matthew 22:15 through chapter 23, and will be given by Mr. Sheldon Monson. Join us at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The chatroom will be open 30 minutes prior to the beginning of the study.
To join, just visit livingyouth.org, and follow the links to “Friday Evening Bible Study.” If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected]. For those who are unable to make it to the study, archives of previous Living Youth Bible Studies, including last evening’s covering Matthew 21:1–22:14, can be found on the Living Youth website.—Josh Penman
Living Youth Camp in South Africa
After a full schedule over an exciting ten days, with only the Sabbaths to rest, the LYP SA Teen Camp at the Jubaweni Game Reserve came to a close after breakfast on Tuesday. The theme of this year’s camp was the Ten Commandments. The camp ran like a well-oiled machine and followed a well-balanced schedule of various sports, instruction, and activities. One of the highlights was a sleep-out under the stars on a hill. The campers stepped up to the challenges presented to them throughout camp and made us all proud. On Monday evening, at the Gala Dinner and Dance, awards were given to campers for their achievements and the leadership they showed during camp. We are thankful to God for providing remarkably good weather and His protection during the camp. All are looking forward to next year!—Lawdi Ferreira
The Importance of Kindness: Jesus told His disciples that we glorify God when we “bear much fruit” (John 15:8). One of the fruits of the Holy Spirit that God is looking for in the lives of Christians is kindness (Galatians 5:22). The Scriptures tell us that Christians are “children of God” who are to grow to become “like Him” (1 John 3:1–3). The Scriptures also tell us that God is “gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abundant in kindness” (Nehemiah 9:17). David wrote that God “has shown me His marvelous kindness” (Psalm 31:21). Solomon describes the virtuous woman: “on her tongue is the law of kindness” (Proverbs 31:26). Jesus said that God is even “kind to the unthankful” (Luke 6:35). In 1 Corinthians 13:4, we learn that “love suffers long and is kind,” and that anyone who ministers to others should be recognized “by longsuffering, by kindness” (2 Corinthians 6:6). This is why the Apostle Peter urged believers to “add to your faith… brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love” (2 Peter 1:5–7). If we hope to become like God and be in the Kingdom of God, we need to develop and exercise this important quality of kindness.
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—January 3, 2019
Venezuela’s Troubles Impact Neighbors: As Venezuela’s financial crisis continues, its starving refugees continue to migrate to surrounding nations. In five years, more than two million Venezuelans have left their homes in search of food, hope, and jobs (The Guardian, December 24, 2018). Nearly 100,000 of these refugees have gone to Brazil and more are expected, prompting the Brazilian government to threaten pulling out of the UN migration pact that is forcing the nation to accept refugees from Venezuela.
Crime and violence levels within Venezuela have reached epic levels, and the large influx of migrants into neighboring countries is bringing the same troubles to those nations. Venezuela, once the wealthiest nation in South America, now has a currency that is virtually worthless. In the border towns of neighboring nations, men and women are selling their bodies, and women are selling their hair and breast milk in order to finance their exodus from Venezuela (Fox News, December 22, 2018). A recent survey of Venezuelan hospitals reported that “more than 95 percent of CAT and MRI machines [are] inoperative… 43 percent of laboratories are out of order, 33 percent of beds are broken, and 51 percent of hospitals are gravely short of emergency supplies.” There is also a resurgence of diseases eradicated decades ago and an explosion of infections that are untreatable due to shortages of medicines, pressing desperate Venezuelans to go searching for work and charity in neighboring countries.
The Bible reveals, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12). Sadly, the leaders of Venezuela do not seem to be turning to God and His word for answers to its crisis. As the Bible declares, “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when a wicked man rules, the people groan” (Proverbs 29:2). Venezuela is just one more example of mankind’s broader need for righteous and caring leadership—something that Jesus Christ will establish when He returns to the earth. In the meantime, people moved by the suffering in that nation will earnestly pray, “Thy kingdom come” (Matthew 6:10 KJV). To learn more about the peaceful world that is coming, read or listen to “Global Utopia: An Impossible Dream?”
Students Drive Teachers Out of Schools: In Britain, many teachers are leaving the profession due to increasingly “unruly” students, according to the UK’s Telegraph (December 17, 2018). A recent study reports, “Almost two thirds of teachers are currently, or have previously, considered quitting because of poor pupil behavior.” The report also warned that “bad behaviour was eroding teacher authority while troublesome children risked spiralling into ‘more serious, potentially criminal, bad behaviour’ later in life.”
Recommendations in the report included intervening in low-level behavioral problems quickly and banning cell phones, at least in the classroom environment. Disciplinary inconsistency and setting low expectations for student behavior were both cited as major reasons for student unruliness.
The prophet Isaiah foresaw what happens when people and nations turn away from godly ways: “As for My people, children are their oppressors” (Isaiah 3:12). Today, a lack of discipline in the home is impacting schools and society in general. Bible prophecies tell us that this and other related problems will get worse as the end of the age approaches (2 Timothy 3:1, 4). Yet, those prophecies also reveal this situation will change when Jesus Christ returns and establishes the Kingdom of God on earth. At that time, “your teachers will not be moved into a corner anymore, but your eyes shall see your teachers” (Isaiah 30:20) and children will be taught to respect parents and teachers and others in authority (Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 6:1–2). Our modern society has forgotten that parents hold the key to raising respectful children with good character (Proverbs 22:6) by a process that involves dedication and active participation by parents and grandparents. To learn more about the way to raise respectful and successful children, be sure to read or listen to Successful Parenting: God’s Way.—Scott Winnail and Francine Prater