Dear Brethren and co-workers in Christ:
As the Apostle John wrote:
2 Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. 3 For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth. 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. (3 John 2-4)
We had some encouraging news again from Kenya this past week as more there seem to wish to support the Continuing Church of God. Also, the Bibles we paid for were purchased there, so now more people will have their own Bibles so that they can better study the word of God, and hopefully like all of us, “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).
We also heard from a couple of others in other areas interested in the Continuing Church of God.
Over here in the Five Cities region of California, we have been working on many matters, including the Feast of Tabernacles. While we plan to post more information in the future, this letter contains some information that we believe will help you with your plans for the Feast coming this September.
Feast of Tabernacles
Three sites are currently planned for the Feast of Tabernacles and more may be possible (we would love to have additional sites in North America, South America, Asia, and Europe). The current three are in the nations of Kenya, New Zealand, and the United States.
Services will begin the evening of September 18th and continue until the Last Great Day which is September 26, 2013.
Some website links to outside sources are in this post, but this does not mean that they are endorsed by the Continuing Church of God. They are provided as one source of information–and hopefully some of that information may be helpful to you and your family as you begin to make plans for the 2013 Feast of Tabernacles.
In Kenya, it appears that the site will be in Ndhiwa. This is an area in eastern Kenya and takes about four hours to drive from Nairobi. If you are not from Africa and decide to attend here, please realize that this is not a wealthy area and is not a site for those who expect various Western comforts. However, this is likely to be the largest CCOG-affiliated site, and will be a unique experience for any who do decide to attend here.
Here is what one website says about it:
Western Kenya is a beautiful region of great geographical, agricultural, cultural and natural diversity, with many tourist activities to be explored.
The people of Ndhiwa belong to the Luo tribe, a warm welcoming community with a strong spirit despite the challenges they face. Many lack things that we take for granted such as electricity, running water, sanitation, labour-saving devices, easy transport, medical care and educational opportunities. http://www.karibunicottages.com/
Our Deacon George Otieno sent the following today:
The hotel management are expecting us to book the rooms next month, to enable them do the necessary arrangement on time. This year the Feast of Tabernacle will be held at the Prudence Hotel in Homa Bay on the shore of Lake Victoria in Western Kenya. Single rooms will be $ 6 and double rooms will be $ 12 per day. Children 18 and under stay free. The meeting hall and hotel are on the same complex.
Some call Ndhiwa the “real Africa.” There are also safaris and other activities in the general region. Ndhiwa is also close to the famous Lake Victoria as the above shows.
Whangarei, New Zealand
In New Zealand, the city of Whangarei has been chosen. Whangarei is the northernmost city in New Zealand (though there are towns north of it. Whangarei is the regional capital of Northland Region of New Zealand. It is surrounded by some of the region’s most spectacular beaches and scenery, and is a relatively short drive from Auckland.
Here is some of what one website says about Whangarei:
From sand dunes to volcanic cones, from rolling pasture to craggy headlands fringed by picturesque Pacific beaches, our environment supports people producing fine foods and wide ranging art works, busy professionals and talented youth, all in a classic kiwi lifestyle. http://www.whangareinz.com/about
For outsiders, you will want to fly into the airport in Auckland.
Santa Maria, California
As mentioned last week, my wife Joyce and I visited five potential locations in Santa Maria, California. This week we spoke again to two hotels and are getting closer on deciding which one.
As far as information about Santa Maria, its Chamber of Commerce & Visitor and Convention Bureau states:
The Santa Maria Valley is nestled in the foothills of Santa Barbara County wine country. Located in the heart of California’s Central Coast, here you will discover beautiful scenery, championship golf courses, nationally recognized live theater productions, bird watching, pristine beaches, performing arts, world famous barbecue, our succulent strawberries, nearby missions, hiking, festivals, special events, and award winning wineries. http://santamariavisitor.com/cm/Home.html
I would add that Santa Maria is not too far from the ocean or Pismo Beach (which has other activities) or the ‘Danish” town of Solvang. Although Santa Maria does have its own (small) airport, many will probably find that it is easier and/or more cost effective to drive to Santa Maria, either from their homes or from the Los Angeles or Santa Barbara, California airports.
Reaching the World through Radio and the Internet
Because of an upcoming trip, I decided it was necessary to make three Bible News Prophecy videos this week, instead of the usual one, as travel plans for the next couple of weeks would tend to make that very difficult. This also means that some videos are being released sooner to the world via the internet than usual.
In terms of direct gospel proclamation this week, in addition to our websites and YouTube channels, I was able to be a guest on a syndicated radio program. On it, I was able to discuss the Bible and weather, the moral decline of the USA, how certain events in the Middle East will turn out, and some of what has been going on with the new Pope Francis.
Regarding the internet, a couple of new articles were added in the English language.
Additionally, quite a few more articles were translated and posted to the main website in the Spanish language. Also, more steps were taken to develop a separate website mainly in Spanish. Because of the dedicated work of our translator, I believe that the Continuing Church of God has the potential to have the most widely read COG internet presence in the Spanish language, God willing.
Some progress was also made with the Tagalog and Mandarin languages since my last report.
World News Trends
Turkey was in the headlines a lot this week (Turkish protests: What’s ahead for Turkey?), and will be the topic of the recommended sermonette for this week.
In the USA, its Supreme Court decided that taking DNA evidence from people does not violate its Constitution (Supreme Court further gets rid of another right), while the Obama Administration defended its current review of the telephone records of millions (and more on the internet), and Scotland has its own database plans (Obama Administration admits to spying on residents telephone records; and then there is Scotland). In my view, the USA in particular (with some assistance from its Anglo-allies) is helping set the stage for the European Beast power to rise up and control buying and selling (Revelation 13:17), and more (cf. Revelation 13:15-17).
Suggested Sabbath Service for June 8, 2013
Here is our suggested format for Sabbath services on June 8 2013:
- 2-3 hymns (we are using the 1974 Bible Hymnal from the old WCG, and in most areas, the Choral Accompaniment).
- Opening prayer.
- Sermonette. Here is a link to one: What Should You Know About Turkey in Prophecy. There is also some information related to this in the article titled: The Arab and Islamic World In the Bible, History, and Prophecy.
- Announcements (if any; though for many it will be this letter) and one hymn.
- Sermon which for most will be a recorded one titled: Polycarp of Smyrna: Why Christians should know more about him. For those of you with internet connection issues or who want more information, this sermon is based on a lot of information in the article titled: Polycarp of Smyrna: The Heretic Fighter. Other sermons are also available at the ContinuingCOG channel.
- Final hymn.
- Closing prayer.
I am striving to provide a balance of sermonettes and sermons on matters of doctrine, prophecy, and church history, Christian living, both to help better prepare our people to be able to support the final phase of the work as well as to help us all build the type of character that God wants us to have.
Bob Thiel, Pastor and Overseer
Continuing Church of God