May 7, 2009

Greetings from Charlotte,
The United Kingdom regional ministerial and leadership conference, held in Wales, ended on Monday, May 4. Reports indicate that all went very well. Dr. Douglas Winnail, who was in the U.K. for this conference, is currently in Ireland. He will return to Charlotte on May 13. Mr. Rod King and Mr. Wallace Smith will also be in Charlotte next week to record new television programs. Preparations for the upcoming Council of Elders meetings, May 19-21, are underway.
This week we started recording interviews for the 2009 “Behind the Work” film to be shown at this year’s Feast of Tabernacles. Mr. Dylan King, who is working on the project, wrote “This year’s Behind the Work film is going to focus on our media department, and the importance of getting the Gospel message and the Ezekiel warning to the entire world. The main section of the film will be a series of behind-the-scenes interviews (on the new TW set), with those involved in media operations for the Church. The interviews will be edited together with footage of each person doing specific duties that relate to the telecast.”
Living University
Living University is now receiving applications for its first on-site freshmen class at Charlotte.  If you are a young adult of college and university age you may find this program the right choice for your higher education. You may access the application and other related materials on the Living University website, On the home page simply click on Making Application for instructions and further information.
Registration is currently underway for the 2009 Summer Session course: THL 476 Archaeology of Jerusalem. The course, approved for the Open Learning Program, will begin June 2 and end July 28. This course deals with the development of Jerusalem from prehistoric through the Byzantine Period in light of archaeological discoveries and extant historical details. Emphasis upon key stages of the city’s past as Canaanite Jebus, City of David and Zion, Nehemiah’s Jerusalem, Herodian Jerusalem, Roman Colonia Aelia Capitolina, and Byzantine Jerusalem.
Church Administration
Florida Update
Mr. Dexter Wakefield writes: The Tampa and Ft. Lauderdale congregations enjoyed a fine combined service in Kissimmee, Florida on the Sabbath of April 25 with 107 in attendance. There were also brethren from north Florida and south Georgia. Dr. Douglas Winnail gave the sermon on prophecy and the roles of the U.S. and Britain. The Florida regional ministerial and leadership conference at the Radisson Worldgate had a very informative agenda and was headed up by Dr. Winnail. I opened with a greeting and welcome, and then Dr. Winnail updated everyone on LCG statistics and a video was shown about the remarkable Work that is being done.
We then had a session on giving Public Bible Lectures. I gave a presentation on the Public Bible Lecture that I did in St. Lucia in March. Dr. Winnail gave a lecture on “Biblical Perspectives on Church Government.” Next came a discussion of “Biblical Perspectives on Church Leadership.” After lunch, there was a video by Mr. Ames on “Fundamentals of Preaching.” Also in the afternoon session, Dr. Scott Winnail and I gave a discussion of visiting and counseling tips. Dr. Winnail also discussed “Building a Congregation.” It was a full day!
Jamaica Update
Mr. Lascelles Fraser reports: Thirty-five members of the congregation in Kingston and eleven in Mandeville took the Passover on Tuesday evening, April 7. The attendance was very good both in Kingston and in Mandeville for the First Day of Unleavened Bread. Offerings on the Holy Days were 6% above last year. Our Annual General Meeting and a General Board Meeting were held on April 19 via a telephone “hook-up” with the Chairman for the meeting, Dr. Scott Winnail. Despite the economic situation, the brethren continue to be faithful. Income for the first four months is up 15.8% above the corresponding period last year.
Australasian Update
Ordination in Australia
Mr. Michael Gill writes: This past Sabbath, May 2nd, saw Mr. Graeme Hemphill ordained as an Elder by Evangelist Mr. Bruce Tyler and Melbourne Pastor, Mr. Michael Gill. Mr. and Mrs. Hemphill will transfer to Sydney in the next month or so to serve the brethren in the Sydney and Canberra regions. This will be the first time that the Sydney brethren will have a resident minister to serve them. Mr. and Mrs. Hemphill are well known to most of our Australian brethren, from their dedicated service at the Feast of Tabernacles sites, and to the Melbourne brethren as pillars in the congregation.
News from Sri Lanka
Mr. Zig Svalbe writes: God has called a small flock of 37 brethren centered about the capital city of Colombo. Many of the members find it very hard to find suitable employment because of difficult economic conditions and almost all employers demand work on the Sabbath. Mr. and Mrs. Zig Svalbe flew to Sri Lanka to keep the Passover and most of the Days of Unleavened Bread with the brethren in Colombo.
There has been little opportunity until recently to preach the Gospel in Sri Lanka and the small growth in numbers has mainly been as a result of family members talking to family members. So, over the last year we have advertised the Bible Study Course in the Sunday Times newspaper. This has drawn 90 requests and many of the respondents have returned test cards with good scores. With time, we expect that there will be some visit requests and, God willing, new members added to the congregation. Another challenge that we face is that a number of the respondents have asked if we could also provide Bibles, since they are generally not available in this Buddhist country. 
News from Malaysia
Mr. Rajan Moses writes: At present, we are sending 400 copies of the Tomorrow’s World magazine per issue to South East Asia. Two hundred copies are sent to Malaysia, 100 copies are sent to the ASEAN region and another 100 to India. These magazines are sent to people who respond to the semi-annual letters and who frequently request the booklets and are doing the Bible Study Course.
Since July 2008, with our new email,, we are now sending electronic copies of the Tomorrow’s World magazine and booklets to those who have Internet access. As a result, we now have more than 1,400 Internet subscribers. Malaysia, being an Islamic country, discourages any propagation of other religions through TV or radio. The Internet has now become the most useful tool to preach the Gospel.
Since July 2008 we have received 97 GOTOs. One person from Taiwan has read all the Church materials and now wants to be baptized. Another subscriber in Sri Lanka is in contact with us. A number of subscribers in Malaysia have also made contact for visits or questions.
The Church in Malaysia has an attendance of 78 members. There are two congregations, one in Kuala Lumpur and one in Bahau, 134 km apart. There are also two video groups: Kulim, Kedah and Johor Baru, Johor. Most of our members speak the Tamil and English languages.
Ten to 12 members attend the Wednesday evening Bible studies in Kuala Lumpur. In his Bible Studies, Mr. Moses has been covering material from one of the Living University courses—Principles of Christian Living. Most of our brethren cannot afford to take the Theology course and are happy they can learn from the weekly Bible study. On the first week of every month Mr. Moses also conducts the Living Leadership Course for the congregation in Kuala Lumpur.
More than 200 The Power of Prophecy DVDs have been sent to subscribers. We are already receiving good comments from those who have seen the DVDs. Five people are counseling for baptism in Kuala Lumpur and Johor Baru, plus one in Taiwan.
News from Indonesia
Mr. Arius Nusantara writes: The Indonesian Work has experienced significant growth. This is because we have developed a communication system through emails that enables our subscribers to have a closer contact with our office on a weekly basis. This is especially helpful, as browsing the Internet is very costly in Indonesia, and most cannot afford to stay online and read our material. We send three different e-mails each week. One commentary, one advertisement e-mail, and one short Bible lesson. Overall, we send out more than 3,000 e-mails each month. This communication has given us a dramatic increase in subscriber responses and requests.
Our subscriber list is steadily increasing, with a 50% increase in this past year. We are receiving monthly about 2,500 hits on our website. The translation into Indonesian has covered both audio and literature. We now have around 350 articles in the Indonesian language which we can send to subscribers. God has blessed the Work in this part of the world in so many ways. Our focus is to give better service for the subscribers through our website. Also, we plan to broadcast our online LCG Indonesia radio programs. Although we understand that very few people can access the programs now (due to the limited speed of Internet connection), we know this can be a good start for the following years!
News from New Zealand
Mr. Kinnear Penman writes: Just over 80% of the attendees in New Zealand are relatively new to God’s Truth and Church. It shows the effectiveness of the Tomorrow’s World broadcast as a tool through which God initially calls people. It also follows that congregational leaders still need quite a bit of development. The Tomorrow’s World presenters are providing programs which continue to draw excellent results. Each week we receive many favorable comments from people whose lives are positively enhanced by the teaching they are receiving.
We appreciate Headquarters support in providing the booklets and discs which are requested in great numbers. During April, we mailed out a total of 3,092 individual items of literature. This brings the year-to-date total to 11,108—an increase of 38% over the same four months of last year. God has been good to us and has provided us with a good income increase so far this year.
Feast of Tabernacles 2009
Registration Underway!
After five days of registration, we currently have 2,533 brethren—around 60% of our total membership in the United States and Canada—successfully registered for the Feast sites in the United States and Canada.  Thank you to everyone who used the Festival Registration system.  If you haven’t yet registered, there is plenty of room at most of our sites around the continent (and in most other International sites, including France).  Note:  Barbados and Llangollen, UK have now hit their maximum and are unable to take any more transfers.
Final arrangements are being made for the Feast sites in Colombia and Sri Lanka. Both sites will be open to international transfers and we hope to have descriptions of theses two sites soon on MyLCG ( and published in The World Ahead.
Our commentary this week will be very short. In fact, it will be stressing one point: thankfulness. Every day the news is disheartening. People are losing their lives. Families are losing their savings. Yet, all of us should be thankful to God for what we have. We deserve nothing, but we are given the promise of eternal life! Of all nations, we, descendants of ancient Israelites, are the most blessed. Of all “believers,” we in God’s Church are the most blessed because we understand the true purpose of life. Not because of our doing, but because of God’s mercy. God has truly been with us, is with us now, and will be with us until we finish the mission He has entrusted us. So, let us really and immensely be thankful to Him. God is good. Let us think that way, act that way, live that way.
Have a bright Sabbath!
Dibar Apartian
News and Prophecy—May 7, 2009
Homosexual Marriages Are “Right Way” for Christians? New York’s governor wants to legalize homosexual marriage. Gov. Paterson compares it to a “civil rights struggle” and, by extension, likens those who oppose it to racial bigots. Ultimately, he notes that it is the “solemn duty” of society to recognize such “marriages.” Paterson, once baptized a Catholic, has turned from his religious roots, stating that homosexual “marriage is the ‘right way’ from a spiritual standpoint” (Reuters, April 16, 2009). The Holy Scriptures plainly denounce homosexuality as a sin (Romans 1:24-32) and clearly articulate that marriage is God-ordained to be between one man and one woman (Genesis 2:22-25, 1 Timothy 3:2). Christians are not to condemn anyone (Matthew 7:1), nor are they to be violent against those who sin (Matthew 5:21-22). But God did warn of a time, at the end of the age, when society would call things that are evil and wrong “good,” and condemn as “evil” things that are right (Isaiah 5:20). This is exactly what we are witnessing today. This should motivate us even more to pray, as Christ directed, “Thy kingdom come”!
Turkey Gaining Power Over Middle East Water. “During a recent visit to Baghdad, Turkish President Abdullah Gul reportedly promised to double the amount of water allotted to Iraq from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.” Most of the “fertile crescent,” in central and southern Iraq is watered from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Because of this and the tremendous dams in Turkey, Ankara (Turkey’s capital) is growing in power over Middle-Eastern nations that rely on its water—primarily Iraq (, March 31, 2009). Turkey is gaining power over Iraq, which bears watching, as this could also give it more power in the Middle East in general. From one prophetic perspective, Turkey’s power over the Tigris and Euphrates rivers is also significant. At the end of the age, a tremendous army of 200 million will advance on Jerusalem from the East. To get there from the East, they must cross the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Revelation 16:12 states that the waters of the great Euphrates river will dry up, allowing the kings from the East to cross. This prophecy takes on even more significance in light of the power over the waters that Turkey already has. How might Turkey then feature in end-time events? Time will tell.
Swine Flu: A Global Warning? As of Monday, the World Health Organization reported 898 cases in 18 countries worldwide. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention simultaneously reported 286 cases in 36 states, with one death. Put in context with annual seasonal influenza statistics, the U.S. sees more than 30 million cases each flu season, with more than 36,000 deaths. So far, the severity of swine flu appears to be similar to that of the seasonal flu. In this context, the swine flu has not turned out to be the global pandemic that some public health professional feared it could be—so far. As flu season begins with the onset of winter in the southern hemisphere, public health officials will be watching this new virus closely. At this point, the virus has not mutated and is relatively easy to track. But this could change (CDC Press Briefing, May 4, 2009). There are two aspects of this new flu virus that are important to consider as Christians. First, this virus spread extremely quickly around the globe, illustrating how speedily an “end-time plague” could move. Christ did prophecy that “pestilences” would be one sign of the end of the age (Matthew 24:7). Secondly, the spread of this virus is easily contained by following God’s simple guidelines for quarantine (Leviticus 12-13)—guidelines that public health has understood for decades. While many today would “nail” these basic “Old Testament” principles to the cross, they are in fact a manifestation of the second great commandment (Matthew 19:19). When people stay home and rest when sick, instead of working, traveling, and congregating as society pushes them to do, disease outbreaks like the swine flu can become a thing of the past. This is part of God’s promise to putting “none of these diseases on you,” as He told Israel, IF they would obey His laws (Exodus 15:26).—Scott Winnail and Gloria Finney

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COGwriter 2009