There are a number of positive items to report this week. Mr. Meredith has recently spent time reviewing and providing direction to two Church Administration projects. The first is a Leadership Development Course that will be used in our local congregations around the world. The second is a Pastoral Training program. This program is currently training future field pastors and is being reviewed in the hopes of making it even more effective. Mr. Ames has returned to a more normal schedule after being out with a serious head cold. The income has shown good improvement in the last week. Dr. Winnail retuned from a positive trip to Toronto for a Canadian Ministerial Conference (see report below). We would also like to mention that Mr. Glen Gilchrist, the pastor of the Albuquerque, New Mexico, congregation is feeling much better and the sores on his body have healed. Glen has made considerable progress in rebuilding his health. We are very thankful for what has occurred. He and his wife, Diane, would like to convey their appreciation for the prayers and support they have received.
Recently, Mr. Meredith reported that our income was down for the month of January rather drastically. He asked for prayers and for all of us to do what we could financially. God intervened and our members have responded splendidly. As we wrap up February and move into March, we are back on our budgetary track having made up the deficit and we are back in positive territory. Heartfelt thanks to everyone for your prayers and sacrifices and to our generous God for making this financial upturn possible. Your continued concern and support are deeply appreciated.—Davy Crockett
Mr. Pyle reports that for the second week in a row we have had a record-breaking response to the telecast. A week ago Mr. Meredith’s program #267, “Beware of the Antichrist!” drew a record 3,942 responses. This past weekend, Mr. Ames’ program #265, “Seven Satanic Deceptions,” that offered the booklet, Satan’s Counterfeit Christianity, drew another record number of responses. “We are expecting the total for the week to reach 4,790!” Mr. Pyle writes.
Church Visits: Toronto and Barrie, Ontario, Canada. The 4-day trip to Ontario for a Canadian Ministerial Conference and visits to the Barrie and Toronto congregations went very well. Inside our meeting halls the brethren were warm and focused, while outside the temperatures were cold and snow was plentiful—especially around Barrie (an hour north of Toronto). I was able to visit the office, meet the Canadian ministry and spend considerable time with Regional Director Gerald Weston and his wife, Carol, before heading back to Charlotte on Sunday on a short 90-minute direct flight.—Doug Winnail
Canadian Ministerial Conference
Twenty-one men and women attended the Canadian Ministerial Conference in Toronto from February 23–24. I began the meetings with a Bible Study giving an overview of the Old Testament. This was followed by short reports from the ministers on their areas of responsibility, a report on the state of the Canadian Work and a report by Dr. Winnail on the worldwide Work. Ross Abasolo and Roslyn Elertson concluded the morning sessions by explaining various administrative matters. A notebook was also given out containing the forms we use, statistics of the Work, sermonette outlines, a teen Spokesman Club manual, and other helpful material. Two CDs containing administrative forms, Personal Correspondence Letters and Reprint Articles were also included with the notebook.
Before the afternoon session we had a Canadian Board of Directors meeting to take care of some needed business, then in the afternoon Dr. Winnail discussed “Qualities of Leaders” and “Male/Female Roles in the Modern World;” and I gave a lecture on “Servant Leadership.” Friday morning began with a Bible Study harmonizing the post-exile books of Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi. Dr. Winnail and I devoted the remainder of the day to lectures on “Does God Have a Purpose?” “Selecting Sermon and Sermonette Topics” and “Dealing with Conflict.” We also addressed questions from the men and their wives, such as “What responsibilities does a minister’s wife have to her husband, children, and the congregation—how does she balance these?”
Dr. Winnail spoke on “The Importance of Understanding National Identities” on the Sabbath, where we had 130 in attendance. After services, finger foods were shared by the members and ministers. Dinner for the ministers and wives that evening was planned and served by young singles and teens. A delightful rendition of “Be Our Guest” was put on by Mike Heykoop, Jenesse James, and several backup singers at the beginning of the meal.
We received many encouraging comments on this conference that can be summarized in the following comment by Marguerite Wachowicz, wife of Edmonton elder Stuart Wachowicz: “We are very appreciative of a most informative and cordial ministerial conference last week in Toronto. Thanks to Dr. Winnail, yourself and Mrs. Weston as well as the Canadian office staff for taking the time to serve us in this way. And that big binder we took home will prolong the benefit! It was great to be there and learn alongside my husband so I can better assist him in his service to the brethren.”—Gerald Weston
Wisconsin Dells Family Fun Weekend
The Wisconsin Dells congregation will be hosting its second annual Family Fun Weekend on March 24-26. A Friday night Bible Study will kick off the weekend from 7:30-9:00 p.m. at the Best Western Hotel in Mauston, WI (just north of Dells). Sabbath Services have been changed to 12:30-2:30 p.m. at the American Legion Hall, also in Mauston. Regional Pastor Rand Millich will be giving the sermon. A hearty home-cooked dinner and a country and western dance, including entertainment, has been planned for Saturday evening and on Sunday there will be swimming and games activities. For more information, please call Sheldon Monson at 715-386-6898 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Church Survey 2005
This is a reminder to all USA Area Pastors that the deadline for submitting the 2005 Church Survey was February 15, 2006. While we have received most of the surveys already, there are still a few missing. If you haven’t returned the survey for your area, please do so as soon as possible.
Mr. Mario Hernandez was recently in Peru on a pastoral visit. He conducted Sabbath services on February 25 in Cerro de Pasco, one of the highest cities in the world, and also presented a live radio and television program that was broadcast in Cerro de Pasco. We look forward to hearing his report upon his return to the United States. In the meantime, elder Jorge Schaubeck and his wife Juanita, with Chilean deacon Sergio Carvajal and his wife Maria, spent this past Sabbath with the brethren in Buenos Aires, where they had morning and afternoon services with a covered-dish meal in between.
Mr. Paul Shumway, Caribbean Regional Director, sends us the following report on his recent visits to Jamaica and Barbados: “We just returned from a very inspiring and profitable trip to Jamaica. On the Sabbath there were combined services in Kingston with 84 brethren in attendance, including two brand new individuals. Afterwards, we enjoyed warm fellowship and some delicious Jamaican snacks. The Spokesman Club met on Saturday evening with 14 in attendance. I had the opportunity to counsel with quite a few members and prospective members. On Sunday, we baptized one person.
“My wife and I also had a profitable trip to Barbados. There were 63 in attendance for Sabbath services. A couple of individuals from our former association who attended the Feast with us have been attending regularly ever since. In addition, two more ladies were baptized. That makes 12 baptisms in the past six months! Our zealous members in Barbados are doing a wonderful job sponsoring the telecast, manning the phones and sending out the first-time literature requests.”
Can You Forgive? One of the most challenging things that we must do as Christians is to forgive someone who has offended us or hurt us. Jesus said we must not only love our neighbors, we must also show love to our enemies (Matthew 5:43-48). This involves being able to forgive—which means developing the mind of God and learning to use the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Bible reveals that God is abundant in mercy and is ready to forgive (Psalm 86:5). Jesus taught that if we do not forgive others—on a regular basis—then God will not forgive us (Matthew 6:14-15; 18:22). The apostle Paul said we should be “kind to one another…forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you” and “do not let the sun go down on your wrath” (Ephesians 4: 32, 26). Real Christians cannot hold grudges against anyone—they must learn to forgive. Jesus asked God to forgive those who crucified Him—Stephen made the same request (Luke 23:34; Acts 7:60). Could we do the same? As the Passover approaches, we need to carefully examine ourselves in this area of our lives (Matthew 5:21-24; I Corinthians 11:27-32). Is there someone we need to forgive? Is there someone to whom we need to apologize and from whom we need to ask forgiveness? The capacity to forgive is one of the marks of a true Christian.
Have a profitable Sabbath,
NEWS AND PROPHECY—March 2, 2006
America’s Moral Implosion. “America’s moral bank account is empty,” reads the introduction in a recent Der Spiegel article on the torture of American detainees in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. Phrases like “the shocking legacy of a superpower gone astray,” and “…for the United States, the most powerful and influential global power ever, the images of Abu Ghraib… have produced a moral catastrophe…” Iraq’s new President Jalal Talabani has referred to the US treatment of prisoners as “unworthy of a civilized society.” Article authors remorsefully observed that “…the West watches the moral decline of ‘God’s own country’ with painful astonishment… the moral masters of the universe, these self-proclaimed forces of good so intent on bringing freedom and democracy to the world, have betrayed their own ideals and lost their credibility.” (Der Spiegel, Feb. 20, 2006). The long-prophesied decline and fall of the nations of Israel is steadily progressing, as the pride of their power is crumbling (Lev 26:19). These nations, once set “above all people on the face of the earth” (Deut 7:6) are prophetically referred to as a “rebellious house,” a “rebellious nation” that has rebelled against God, at the end of the age (Ezk 2:3,7-8). Our mission is to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom and warn the Israelite nations to repent, prior to the impending punishment of these once God-fearing examples to the world.
Spreading Bird Flu Epidemic. This week Sweden became the ninth EU nation to report bird flu infections. Bird flu has now been reported throughout India, Asia, Russia, Europe and Africa (Sunday Telegraph, Feb. 19, 2006). Germany reported the first case of bird flu in a domestic cat this week. The cat likely contracted the disease by eating an infected bird. It is uncertain whether the H5N1 virus or something else killed the cat. Should the virus infect pigs, animal experts predict a devastating outcome – pigs have similar anatomy and physiology to humans. World Organization for Animal Health director, Bernard Vallat recently stated, “The risk now is high for everybody… any country that fails to take proper measures can seriously endanger the rest of the planet” (EU Observer, Mar. 1, 2006). Many health officials say that bird flu may be the worst pandemic the world has known. Although sobering, this conclusion should not surprise students of prophecy. God prophesied long ago that the spread of pestilence in the last days would be the beginning of sorrows (Mt 24:7-8), and that pestilence would strike the nations of Israel as punishment for their sins (Lev 26:25).
Dropping the Dollar. It has begun! For several years economists have warned that nations around the world could begin changing their base currencies from the US dollar to another more stable currency. A small box article in The Times of London (Feb. 15, 2006) recently reported that Syria changed its primary hard currency from the dollar to the euro in an attempt to “make it less vulnerable to Washington over differences between the two countries over Iraq and Lebanon.” This action may set a precedent for other nations, including oil-trading nations, to trade in euros instead of dollars. Should this occur, the value of the US dollar will plummet, causing massive inflation in the US. The US dollar has been the primary trading currency throughout the world for many years, along with the pound sterling. This is yet one more way the pride of Israel’s power is being broken (Lev 26:19).—Scott Winnail and Daniel Bennett
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