Beyond Today Recording Week
The first week of the month is typically Beyond Today week. On Wednesday we recorded three new programs titled Enemies of Evolution by Steve Myers, The Three Keys to Understanding God (about the Trinity) by Darris McNeely and Is Baptism Necessary? by Gary Petty. All programs were recorded in front of a capacity live audience.
Camp Team Conference
All six teen summer camp directors and a number of wives attended the 22nd Camp Team Conference earlier this week at the home office. The main purpose of these annual conferences is to evaluate the completed camp season—what went well and what can be improved upon. The Christian Living theme was outlined into five daily themes based on the overall theme for 2020, "Be Anchored To God."
After very ably directing Camp Pinecrest since 2011, Gary and Liz Smith will be retiring from directing camp. Mr. Smith gave his personal reflection about the discussions: "It was a pleasure that I had a final opportunity to participate in the 2019 camp conference. In order to serve the youth, the camp program takes a lot of planning and coordination between parents, staff and camp directors. Our heartfelt thanks to everyone for their support of the United Youth Camps program."
Steve Nutzman announced the 2020 teen camp dates:
Camp Cotubic—June 21-June 28 (staff June 20)
Camp Pinecrest—June 28-July 5 (staff June 28)
Camp Hye Sierra—June 28-July 5 (staff June 26)
Northwest Camp—July 19-July 26 (staff July 18)
Camp Woodland—July 24-July 31 (staff July 23)
Winter Camp—late December
In addition, Boundary Waters Adventure will be held July 12-July 19 (Challenger West is scheduled for the summer of 2021).
Mark Welch announced the 2020 preteen camp dates:
Camp NaCoMe—June 7-10
Camp Colorado—June 14-17
Camp Piney Woods—June 14-17
Camp Ironwood—July 12-15
Camp Ochoco (formerly Northwest)—July 12-15
Camp Buckeye—July 26-29
Camp Seven Mountains—August 9-12
I thoroughly appreciate this team of servants who manage one of the Church's most impactful programs on our families. Since the start of the United Church of God, 17,000 youth have participated in the United Youth Camps program.
Jorge de Campos speaks to local Batavia Rotary Club
Jorge de Campos was guest speaker at my local Batavia, Ohio, Rotary Club this past Tuesday morning. He gave a slide presentation about the work of the United Church of God in Angola and gave an account of our July visit. Club members asked insightful questions during and after his presentation, posted his visit on Facebook and did a detailed write-up in our Club newsletter. One Rotarian called me afterwards and told me how impressed she was with Jorge's passion in describing the challenges faced by our brethren in Angola.
Further Update on Myanmar
Last week we reported on one of the Feast sites in Myanmar through the eyes of Austin and Aaron Jennings from Australia.
We would also like to mention that David Bensinger recently was able to help UCG and our brethren in Myanmar. David spent four weeks in this developing country, helping the church in the village of Sakhangyi in the southwestern delta region, and then with members in Jawk Tiang in the northeast. David had done Ambassador Foundation projects in Thailand in the 1980s, and has returned several times over the years as his schedule permitted to help people in Southeast Asia. He has knowledge and a love for the people in the region.
Aaron Dean and his wife, Michelle, served there during the first UCG feast in 2017 and had asked David if he wished to do some evaluation of how we can best help these people. This would include questions concerning any need for church registration, ownership of land by churches, school children not being able to be off for the Sabbath and other miscellaneous logistical information. David's skillset, history and work make it possible for him to be of service.
While ABC graduates Aaron and Austin Jennings spent the Feast in Sakhangyi, where Davidson Leh Bey was able to interpret, David spent pre-Feast time and spoke on the Feast of Trumpets in Sakhangyi before going north to Jawk Tiang for Atonement and the first half of the Feast before joining his family in Hawaii. While Sakhangyi has longtime connections with the Church of God from the 1980s, most of the people in the north have been taught God's way through Leon Sexton and the Legacy institute. Travel is difficult in Myanmar, but while he was there, David was also able to get the leadership of both the north and south together for discussions about future work in Myanmar.
Good Works and LifeNets recently purchased six acres of rice field adjacent to Sakhangyi, as members were losing jobs in agriculture when refusing to work on the Sabbath. David brought with him some hand tools necessary for work in the rice fields, which will allow the members to become mostly self-sufficient. They can keep God's Sabbath and work their own land.
David Bensinger currently lives in Boise, Idaho, with his wife and two sons. Davidson Leh Beh immigrated from refugee status in Asia to Sheffield, United Kingdom, a few years ago where he lives with his wife and two daughters. He plans to return to Myanmar to help his people and has been translating UCG sermons and hymns into his native tongue and sending them to Myanmar. Austin and Aaron Jennings live in the Brisbane area of Australia.
It is by members helping members that this all is made possible. We thank all of them for their help in Myanmar.
Preliminary Post-Feast Information
Feast reports continue to come in from around the world so we should have a summary and final attendance soon.
Here are comments from a couple of Feast Coordinators. Robin Webber described Oceanside (California) as follows: "Best festival yet at Oceanside. Spirit of love, spiritual fellowship, and day by day cooperation which portrays 'Kingdom-like' environment."
Special music impacts the atmosphere of the Feast and Jeff Richards of Bend-Redmond (Oregon) mentioned, "Our festival music coordinator and director was Katherine Rowland who did a wonderful job in both planning and delivery of an inspiring program."
From Panama City Beach (Florida), our largest site, coordinator Jerold Aust noted, "I know we've said this before, but this was the best Feast ever, especially the messages. They were thoughtfully prepared and delivered. I heard this from many brethren throughout the Feast. Some brethren said it was the most spiritual Feast they've experienced."
Dan Deininger from Glacier Country (Montana) expressed that the "intensity and passion of the messages seemed to increase as the Feast progressed, and many positive comments were heard from those attending. We had many non-UCG brethren attending and they, too, expressed how welcome they were made to feel."
Number of sites:
2018 - 66 sites were kept around the world (same as 2017).
2019 - 61
Registration All Sites (many international sites do not register in advance):
2018 - 8,547
2019 - 8,514
2018 - 13,453
2019 - to be determined
The Ten Commandments translated into Telugu
Ezekiel Polinati, from Visakhapatnam, has translated The Ten Commandments into Telugu, one of India's 22 languages. Telugu is spoken by 75 million people. Ezekiel is an ABC alumnus and we visited with him at his home one year ago.
We are thankful for all the work that is being done to fulfill the Mission of the Church, as you see. Please pray for our message to reach the hearts of those we speak to. Only God can draw people to Jesus Christ, and we pray continually that our efforts bear fruit.
Please pray for us as we pray for you.