Greetings from Charlotte,

Severe weather is again in the news! This week a “deadly snowstorm” and fierce winds hit the Great Plains of the USA, and a typhoon with heavy rains and sudden floods killed hundreds, damaged property and displaced many people in the southern Philippines (see report below). Here in Charlotte, Mr. Meredith has been writing and conducting meetings. Mr. Pyle reports that last week’s Tomorrow’s World telecast, entitled “Is the Rapture Coming Soon?,” presented by Mr. Rod King is expected to draw more than 4,300 responses. This coming weekend is the Charlotte Family Weekend, and we are expecting more than 350 people, including more than 120 who will participate in the Marriage Seminar on Friday. Mr. Mario Hernandez and I will be in Mexico City for the Sabbath and then travel to Guatemala to visit a Youth Camp and conduct a short conference for Spanish-speaking ministers from Central and South America. We have also heard from a number of brethren with serious health problems who want to express their thanks for cards they have received and for prayers offered on their behalf.—DSW

Church Administration
Australasian Update
Typhoon Sendong: Last Friday evening, Typhoon Sendong (also known as Tropical Storm Washi) battered the coastal cities of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro in the southern island of Mindanao in the Philippines. The storm released a month’s worth of rain within a few hours, unleashing raging rivers that washed through towns, destroying everything in their paths. The death toll now stands at more than 1,000, with hundreds more still missing. This has become the worst natural calamity in the Philippines in the last ten years, and has been described as similar to a tsunami disaster zone. Even though four families from our congregations in Iligan City and Cagayan de Oro suffered significant material losses, we are grateful that God protected His people there and none of our members were hurt. Mr. Bruce Tyler reported that the members affected by this disaster are being assisted by the Church now to help them get back on their feet.

Papua New Guinea: Our elder in Papua New Guinea reports that his country is facing political confusion unprecedented to this young country. Two competing Prime Ministers, Michael Thomas Somare and Peter O’Neil, are governing the country simultaneously, each claiming to be the legitimate ruler. This power struggle has produced a divided government, with each side garnering support from the police or defense force. Tension is building up and creating consternation among the population. Please pray for a peaceful resolution to this political standoff so that our brethren in this nation can continue to live, work and meet in relative peace and safety, even during these troublesome end-times.

Prayer Request Bartnicke Family

Your fervent prayers are requested for the Bartnicke family of the Cape Town, South Africa, congregation. The Bartnickes have been members of God’s Church for more than 36 years. Mr. Patrick Bartnicke has Huntingdon’s disease, “a degenerative hereditary condition. He was born with a faulty gene, which causes the brain cells to slowly die. He was diagnosed 13 years ago and has slowly deteriorated. He needs help and is 70% dependent on his wife, Bernie.” In addition, their son Ashley “suffers uncontrolled epilepsy. He is now retarded and completely bed bound because of the many seizures he has been having over the last 33 years.” Please remember the Bartnickes in your prayers for God to miraculously heal Patrick and Ashley from these terrible health trials, and bring relief to the entire family.

Spanish Update
Live Sermon Transmission: This Sabbath, December 25, services will be transmitted live via Skype from Mexico City to our Spanish-speaking congregations in 10 countries across Latin America and Spain. Dr. Douglas Winnail will deliver the main message and Mr. Mario Hernandez will translate simultaneously into Spanish.

Volunteer Graphic Artist Needed: The Spanish Department is looking for a volunteer graphic artist/designer(s) to help illustrate the Children’s Spanish Bible Lessons. This is a wonderful creative opportunity to help children learn God’s way of life. If you are able and interested in participating in this project, please contact Madeleine Lincoln-Strange at mlincoln@lcg.org or call 704-708-2217. You do not need to know Spanish.

Living Youth Programs

Don’t miss our next Live Online Teen Bible Study on Sunday evening, December 25, at 7:30 p.m. (EST). While many teens will be thinking about Christmas, our thoughts will be on God’s miraculous work with Israel, freeing them from slavery in Egypt. To catch up on previous studies, and to login to this week’s study, just go to www.livingyouth.org.—Jonathan McNair

Living University

Currently, about 115 students have registered for January 2012 classes, and registration is continuing. Because classes begin January 11, it is important that new students enroll in the University as soon as possible and register for classes, so text books can be ordered and received by the semester start date. Returning students also need to register soon and order textbooks as soon as possible. A complete listing of “Spring Semester” courses (Spring in the northern hemisphere) can also be viewed on the Living University website under the link “2012 Spring Schedule.” To make application to Living University, to register for courses, and to find out more, please visit the www.livinguniv.com website. For additional information or questions, please contact Ms. Michelle Bottella at michelle.bottella@livinguniv.com or, by phone, at 704-708-2294.


Are You a Peacemaker? As the world approaches the end of December, we will hear about “peace on earth” and the need for “peaceful relations” among the peoples of the world. Yet, the Bible reveals that human beings do not know “the way of peace” (Isaiah 59:8). In light of this crying need, it is not surprising that a fundamental aspect of Christianity involves learning how to be a peacemaker. Jesus taught, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). The Apostle Paul advised Christians to “live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:17-21). Paul explained that we can become peacemakers by not seeking revenge, by not mistreating others when we are mistreated and by overcoming evil with good. Solomon wisely observed, “A soft answerer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). Solomon also stated, “He who covers [overlooks and forgives] a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats [talks about and won’t let go of] a matter separates friends” (Proverbs 17:9). Peter mentions that getting rid of pride and learning to work together with humility leads to peaceful relations with others. Real peacemakers will go to their brother or sister when problems arise and talk things over in a spirit of meekness (Matthew 18:15; James 3:17-18). The Bible reveals that the key to peace and peaceful relations with others is to love and follow the laws of God (Psalm 119:165).

Have a profitable Sabbath,

Douglas S. Winnail

News and Prophecy—December 22, 2011
The Vatican Wants Jerusalem Sites. For 450 years, the Vatican has fought to regain control over holy sites in Jerusalem—ever since they were taken from Franciscan monks by the Ottomans about 1551 AD. The Vatican is now negotiating to gain control of several Jerusalem sites, including the garden of Gethsemane, the Western Wall, and the Temple Mount. A news article has reported, “The Roman Catholic Church’s authorities increased their political initiatives for Catholic control over some sites in Jerusalem.” A Vatican high court official commented during a visit to Washington, the issue is not “whether it [Jerusalem] is the capital of Israel, it is a question of whether it is a part of a national territory.” For years, world leaders have called for Jerusalem to be designated as an “international zone,” and the Vatican aims to control this zone (IsraelNationalNews.com , December 15, 2011; telegraph.co.uk, May 4, 2009). Bible prophecy reveals that Jerusalem will be a “cup of trembling” to the surrounding nations, and nations will attempt to “lay siege” to it at some future time (Zechariah 12:2, KJV). Jesus said that Jerusalem will be “surrounded by armies” in the future, and will be “trampled by Gentiles” 3.5 years (Luke 21:20-24; Revelation 11:2). At the start of this period, a great “False Prophet” will desecrate the Holy Place where offerings will have started (Daniel 11:29-31; Matthew 24:15-16). Exciting events are occurring that will set in motion powerful prophecies that God revealed to His prophets long ago! For more information, see our informative booklet Revelation: The Mystery Unveiled!
North Korea and New Leadership. Last week, North Korea’s 19-year supreme leader, Kim Jong Il, died of an apparent heart attack. This militarized nation, unable to sufficiently feed its people, will now be ruled by Kim Jong Il’s appointed successor, his third son Kim Jong Un (age 27). North Korea is known for its extended mourning rituals, so it is not yet known when Kim Jong Un will officially take power. Many expect Kim Jung Un’s uncle and aunt to act as regents for a couple of years as he prepares to take the throne (Associated Press, December 21, 2011; Reuters, December 21, 2011). North Korea’s leadership is known to place the well-being of its people far behind its focus on its military. What the next couple years hold for North Korea remains to be seen. Although Bible prophecy does not specifically mention North Korea, it does indicate that near the end of the 3.5-year great tribulation, a massive army “from the east and the north” will come in and devastate the European Beast power—the King of the North (Daniel 11:44-45; Revelation 9:16-18). This 200 million-man army from the east may be a conglomerate of nations that includes Asiatic peoples like the North Koreans. This army will need the hardware and military industrial force to support such a massive group of people, and North Korea’s military experience could assist in the future development of this prophesied force.
Why Is Love Diminishing? The Dover Air Force Base mortuary near Dover, Delaware, handles military personnel killed in overseas operations. A recent investigation revealed that the Air Force dumped partially cremated remains of 274 personnel into a near-by landfill. This apparently happened after families asked the Air Force to respectfully handle their dead loved ones. “The Air Force had maintained that it could not estimate how many troops might have had their remains sent to a landfill. The practice was revealed last month by The Washington Post, which was able to document a single case of a soldier whose partial remains were sent to the King George County landfill in Virginia. The new data, for the first time, show the scope of what has become an embarrassing episode for vaunted Dover Air Base, the main port of entry for America’s war dead” (Washington Post, December 7, 2011). Jesus Christ prophesied about the end of the age, “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12). God made humans in His image after His likeness (Genesis 1:26). He also made it clear that because He loves us, we should love one another (1 John 4:11). The recent actions by the Air Force show a lack of love for those killed in combat and their families. In the soon-coming Kingdom of God, the pain and suffering of this present age will be replaced by genuine love and peace for all generations (Revelation 21:1-4). For more information on this wonderful plan of God, read our booklet The World Ahead: What Will It Be Like?—Scott Winnail, V.G. Lardé, Justin Ridgeway