Announcements for October 23, 2015
Summary of PCD Activity July to September 2015
From Cecil Maranville: Beginning with this quarter, we are switching to a quarterly report. PCD sent out just two messages short of 800 in the third quarter of 2015, averaging 15 to 16 per workday.
The 10 Commandments continue to be the major topic that draws people to Life, Hope & Truth, and this subject drew approximately 5 percent of the total questions answered. One person wanted a number of copies of an article for classroom teaching purposes. One wanted the Catholic version of the list, while another asked if the Catholic pope had revised them. But the majority of the questioners asked how a particular commandment applied in today’s world and/or in their life.
The most commonly asked about commandment was the Sabbath law. People wanted to know which day it is. Some, including one who identified himself as a Methodist, asked why Christians keep Sunday when the Sabbath is so plain. As the implications of the law for their lives percolated into their consciousness, several asked about how to keep it, whether keeping it is a requirement for salvation and whether they could do any of their job on part of the Sabbath.
Leading up to the Feast, we answered five people/families wanting to attend. (One was from Ghana; four were from the U.S.) One of these came to our mailbox after the Allen office had closed for the Feast. But we were monitoring the email for urgent questions and caught this request from a family that wanted to know if they would be welcome to join the COGWA site in Alabama. Of course, we told them they would be!
In addition to the person using one of our 10 Commandments articles in the classroom, another teacher requested material for teaching the book of Daniel to preschoolers. And a person asked how to teach the meaning of the Holy Spirit to children.
A large number of contacts were from people dealing with sins or difficult life experiences that God could be using to motivate these people to seek a relationship with Him. One is struggling with addiction to suboxone, which, ironically, is a medication used to treat people who are addicted to opiates. Pornography and subsequent sins have trapped another person who wants help. And a man who is addicted to some substance (he gave us few details) has apparently been shunned by his church. He wanted to know how a church should treat a person overcoming an addiction. A different person sought help in overcoming a mental disorder; another, in overcoming “evil” without specifying what it was. Similarly, without providing details, another contact wanted help in overcoming “a sinful habit.” A person wanted our help in overcoming “the lust of the world”; another literally had a list of issues to overcome. All of these open the door for us to build a relationship with these people, as well as to begin directing them to the articles most helpful to their situation. We are alert to the best starting point, from which they can go deeper. The ultimate objective is to direct them to complete conversion if God is calling them. Depending on where they are in their interest in spiritual matters, as well as their understanding, we also offer Change Your Life, The Mystery of the Kingdom and other material from our Learning Center web page within Life, Hope & Truth.
Other counseling questions also opened the door for us to encourage people toward God’s way of life. Several asked about baptism, including whether they might need to be rebaptized. Four are at least beginning to repent and wanted to know if God would forgive them, how to obtain His forgiveness and whether they had committed the unpardonable sin. One contact described himself as utterly without hope and at his wits’ end, wanting our help. Another man in a similar low frame of mind was filled with hopelessness and worry.
Another category of emails came from people who didn’t mention sins, but who asked for spiritual direction. One man wrote that he believes he has been called of God, but was uncertain how to proceed. Others asked how to change their life, how to live as a Christian, how to improve their spiritual life, how to be a better Christian and how to discover and live by God’s will. These people are, of course, ready for our booklets, as well as the “Change” section of our online library and articles such as “God Calling!” Answers are tailored according to what seems to be the most effective way to introduce the questioner to God’s way of life—depending upon what the contact says about himself and reveals about his understanding.
The predominant relationship questions this quarter had to do with marriage. Several asked about divorce and remarriage, including four who feared that they might be living in sin due to remarriage after a divorce. People told us of sad situations in very dysfunctional families. We can’t publish details about these, but they remind us of how messed up this world is. One person living with a married man and another who is involved in an online affair wrote for counsel about how to straighten out their lives spiritually.
We received requests for help from women who are potentially in abusive situations (we have to say “potentially,” because we are only hearing one side of the story) and from a parent whose children are being abused by the other parent. A mother who is being abused by a grown son asked for advice. Three different women whose husbands are having affairs wanted advice on what to do about it. A father asked our help in getting his children to speak to him. A parent whose daughter is in crisis sought counsel on how to help her.
There is always the “No, really?” category of questions. This quarter, they included several about Cain’s wife, topped by two: Did Cain marry an ape? and What was the name of Cain’s father-in-law? One visitor wanted to know if President Obama is mentioned in Daniel 11. And another person had ordered up some “spells” from a person selling them. Now, the buyer told us, he has second thoughts and wonders if he did the wrong thing.