Working in the TV Studio and the Library

Author: Kaleb Johnson | Student, Living Education – Charlotte, 2022-23

Estimated reading time: 5 min.

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Here’s a look at two students in the work/study program with unique positions. 

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to work in a Library? Or what it’s like to help produce a regularly aired TV program? If yes, then you’re in luck! The Living Education work/study program has students working as a Technical Assistant in the TV studio and a Librarian for the RCM memorial Library. This post gives an inside look at two students—Madeline McNair and Rachel White—and their positions.

Madeline McNair works as Technical/Administrative Assistant for the Television Department. 

Madeline McNair at her desk in the TV Studio

Madeline is a first-year student, but she worked in the Television Studio prior to enrollment. She primarily cleans the audio of the telecast recordings using Adobe Audition, removing intrusive background sounds picked up by the high-quality microphones. This requires a very attuned ear to pick up even the smallest clicks and rustles in an audio track! She also has begun making the closed captioning for telecasts as well as finding wartime videos and pictures for the telecasts.

Madeline’s Duties in the Television Studio:

  • Performing audio correction. This is her primary responsibility and uses Adobe Audition. 
  • Making closed captioning. This is a new responsibility she has acquired and reduces the workload of other employees in the studios.
  • Clearing old videos from hard drives. She backs up video files and removes extraneous copies to save storage on devices.
  • Finding background videos. She helps get high-quality background videos (like military footage) for the telecasts. 

Here’s what Madeline told us about: 

The most fun part of the job? “I would say being a part of that part of the Work [making telecasts], because the TV studio is a separate building than the office so it is a different experience. You really see a lot of the actual telecast production; I’ve seen them film a couple of them, which is interesting. It is interesting to see how much work goes into the production process.” 

The most challenging part of the job? “It is kind of hard doing repetitive work like that [Audio Correction]. It takes a while to go through. It’s a thirty minute program, and it takes longer than that going through each one.”

Do you have a fun story from your job? “One time we were waiting for a telecast to start because there was some delay, and Mr. Ames was going to be filming. And he was just sitting, just waiting, and he started singing a hymn, just to himself. But he was mic’d, so everyone was hearing him just sing a hymn to himself.”

Rachel White works as a Librarian for the Living Education Department and as a Transcriber for the Editorial Department. 

Rachel White at the RCM memorial library counter

Rachel White is a first-year student who works in the RCM Library at the Headquarters office. She works as the Librarian but also helps with Living Education projects, such as the Germany in Prophecy course. With any spare time she may (or may not) have, she transcribes for the Editorial Department as well. 

Rachel’s main duties:

  • Being a Librarian. This includes checking books in and out, keeping the library in order, and finding books and music for people. 
  • Archiving items. This is an ongoing project of archiving artifacts of recent Church history. 
  • Updating Living Ed bulletin boards/schedules. 
  • Assisting with Living Ed projects. This involves transcribing videos and finding resources like quotes and pictures for additional material on the course. 
  • Transcribing. This involves transcribing different sermons and sermonettes that are going to be distributed. 

Here’s what Rachel told us about: 

The most fun part of the job? “I like setting up displays [book displays in the Library], especially when there is nothing specifically that needs to go up there because I get to decide what category I want. I did displays on the Psalms and Acts. We have a bunch of different books on the brain and how being religious affects your brain, and I’d like to do a display for that too.” 

The most challenging part of the job? “One of things I’ve had the most trouble with is the transcribing and trying to get what the speakers say to make sense in writing. Everything they say makes sense but it doesn’t translate to paper. Trying to get what they say to work on paper is much more challenging than you would think.” 

Do you have a fun story from your job? “I found a folder [In Archives] that said, ‘Heresy Version.’ I was like, ‘What is this?’ And so I opened it up and it had letters between Tkach and other ministers and different stuff Worldwide was putting out at that time [during the apostasy]. It was really interesting. The way it was worded was very confusing and very slightly changing doctrines and changing mindset. So yeah, I found the ‘Heresy Version’ folder.” 

Read the previous work/study highlights we’ve put out if you’re interested!

Accounting Department

Mail-Processing Department 

Maintenance Department 

Living Education Department 

Kaleb Johnson is a student in the Living Education-Charlotte Program. He graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in the spring of 2022. In addition, Kaleb enjoys writing, video-making, trying new activities (anything and everything), playing chess, and debating (it’s not arguing!) with people. He currently works in the Living Education department producing written content, videos, and helping with a variety of other projects. 

Our Need for Tenacity

Author: Nathan Kroon | Student Leader, Living Education – Charlotte, 2022-23

Estimated Reading Time: 5 min.

Mr. Julian Braddock began his forum with a question: “What is unique about the quality of tenacity?”

Tenacity is something that we see less and less of today. Our society focuses on the mindset of taking what they want, rather than thinking about what is best for themselves. In truth, working towards the things that we want should always come at the cost of some sort of convenience, but people fail to see it that way. For example, calling and texting may now come instantly to us, but the courtesy that used to come with messaging others is long gone. “Having conveniences doesn’t teach us how to have tenacity,” said Mr. Braddock. Why is tenacity an important trait to have in our lives?

The Problem of Laziness

When he used to work at a manufacturing plant, Mr. Braddock would notice that the people around him were given all the resources they needed to succeed in their work, but they did not want to do their job. Instead, they wanted to stand around for eight hours and get a check. If they did any work, they would always ask their superiors unnecessary questions, making them think for the workers instead of having them think for themselves. We see this mentality all over: “You help me so I don’t have to help myself.”

Tenacity is the quality of working hard, staying determined and persistent to do what you have set out to do. God asks us to do what the world sees as “hard” but is actually very simple. This is why He needs tenacious followers.

The Benefits of Dedication

Mr. Braddock said that, in grade school, he would usually do his schoolwork without asking himself why it was important to learn what he was being taught, leading to much of his early knowledge being pure memorization. In his junior year of high school, he took a class at his community college on electrical systems, and it changed his perception on schoolwork. He wanted to be the best in his class, and he worked hard for it—not because he had to, but because he wanted to. He explained that the best way to conjure tenacity is to be willing to be tenacious in the things that we want to do. Your goal can’t be something you are forced to do, but something you desire to do. If we don’t truly want to do something, then why waste time on it? When he finally found the field he wanted to work in, the work was all effort for him—not just memorization. His hard work paid off, and made for a satisfying work experience. If people don’t have tenacity, then they won’t really work for something they want. Frustration and anger will then build, and they’ll become lazy. 

God desires His people to never give up living His way of life. The world will try to discourage and uproot us; will we keep going, no matter how tired and anxious we may become? Do we have the true desire to serve God?

Persisting in Righteousness

Mr. Braddock explained that though we need tenacity, it can lead to certain pitfalls if used incorrectly. We find an example of a tenacious Old Testament figure in Job. Though Job was being brought down by his friends, we can clearly see his deep, godly persistence in Job 27:2-6:

As God lives, who has taken away my justice, and the Almighty, who has made my soul bitter, as long as my breath is in me, and the breath of God in my nostrils, my lips will not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit. Far be it from me that I should say you are right; till I die I will not put away my integrity from me. My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go; my heart shall not reproach me as long as I live.

Job 27:2-6, New King James Version

Job was persistent in righteousness, but for a while he was also persistent in self-righteousness, which Elihu would eventually condemn. We must be willing to be corrected, so that we are not persisting in unrighteous habits. Paul was willing to be corrected by Christ, and strove daily to make up for his persecution of the Church. We also should be searching the Scriptures daily, and figuring out where we can better apply God’s word. 

God provides wonderful blessings for our faith. The way of the world does not lead to happiness or fulfillment. If we have friends in the world, how do they see us? Do they see us as different, or in line with them? We should want to be different. God wants people who show tenacity in His way. It’s easy to be lazy, but He wants us to work hard. Many proverbs show us the benefits of hard work. Looking to them, we can exercise tenacity within ourselves!

Nathan Kroon is a Student Leader at Living Education. He originally hails from Washington State, and is a 4th generation Christian. Currently, he works at Headquarters as a Media Associate. His hobbies include playing guitar, listening to music, drawing, and watching movies.

You Shall Be Perfect

Author: Kaleb Johnson | Student, Living Education – Charlotte, 2022-23

Estimated reading time: 5 min.

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Mr. Long talked to the Living Education students about the command in Matthew 5:48: “You shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” 

Mr. Long began with a quote by the legendary football coach Vince Lombardi. “Gentlemen, we will chase perfection, and we will chase it relentlessly, knowing all the while we can never attain it. But along the way, we shall catch excellence.” There is such a thing as a “perfect game” in sports, like in bowling or baseball. These are amazing feats and often take a lifetime to accomplish, but humans know that these are not true perfection. After all, it is impossible for a person to be perfect. What do we make of the command in Matthew 5:48 then? “People have used this scripture,” Mr. Long explained, “to say that the Christian religion is impossible; that God expects humans to be perfect, which is impossible.” This is not what God is saying. Mr. Long explained the true meaning of this passage with three points from the book of Philippians. 

Perfection Is Impossible for Humans

Mr. Long read this scripture: “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me” (Philippians 3:12). He explained we cannot think we have attained perfection already. We may not ever think of the literal words, “I am perfect,” but if our actions, words, and thoughts say that we think we are good enough, this is pride. 

The first point to understanding “you shall be perfect” is recognizing that we are not perfect and being “clothed with humility” (1 Peter 5:5). We must seek to grow and strive to become perfect.

“Forgetting Those Things Which Are Behind” 

Mr. Long returned to Philippians 3 and read verse 13. “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind.” He emphasized that Paul says to forget our past sins and mistakes and accept that God has cleared them completely. But this is not easy. David acknowledged this struggle when he said “My sin is ever before me” (Psalm 51:3). Even Paul himself is upset with his sin and faults when he says, “Oh wretched man that I am!” (Romans 7:24), yet in the years between these letters, Paul grows and develops his ability to forget his past sins and recognize that God has cleansed our sin through Christ’s sacrifice. We can now come before God with a clean conscience. “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water” (Hebrews 10:22). A second part of understanding “you shall be perfect” is accepting that our sins are truly removed. 

Press Toward Perfection

Mr. Long finished the passage in Philippians 3:13: “and reaching forward to those things which are ahead.” He continued with verse 14: “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” He explained that we are called to grow and become perfect. This is what Christ is admonishing us to do in Matthew 5:48. Mr. Long also explained the importance of being motivated to continue on this path of growth. A motivated person does two things: they run away from something they don’t want to be a part of and they run towards something they do want to be a part of. If we only run away, we are unstable and “tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 4:14). If we only run toward God and don’t forsake the world, we are double minded (James 1:8). He emphasized that we must understand clearly what we are running away from and where we are running to. We must be able to visualize the Kingdom of God. We can meditate on what the Kingdom will be like; what it will look like, smell like, feel like, and sound like. This is a key to staying motivated and being able to  “run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1).

Conclusion: God Will Perfect Us

Mr. Long concluded by reading verses 15 and 16 in Philippians: “Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind” (Philippians 3:16). Perfection is not possible while we are carnal, but we can strive towards it. We can attain excellence by pursuing perfection. We should recognize our progress and continue to walk on that same path with the same mind. Mr. Long told us to always remember that our perfection is being achieved not by us, but by God and Jesus. He turned to 1 Peter 5:10 to illustrate this: “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.” God will bring us to perfection, and then we will be perfect as God is perfect! 

Mr. Weston gave a forum on reading good books, which can be helpful to growth and development as a Christian. Read about that forum here: Read Good Books

Kaleb Johnson is a student in the Living Education-Charlotte Program. He graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in the spring of 2022. In addition, Kaleb enjoys writing, video-making, trying new activities (anything and everything), playing chess, and debating (it’s not arguing!) with people. He currently works in the Living Education department producing written content, videos, and helping with a variety of other projects. 

For Such a Time as This…

Author: Nathan Kroon | Student Leader, Living Education – Charlotte, 2022-23

Estimated Reading Time: 7 min.

Mr. Phil Sena began this forum by reminding us all about the purpose of the Living Education-Charlotte Program: to help young people build godly foundations and to prepare the next generation of leaders in the Church.

He then asked an important question: “Do you see yourselves as leaders?”

No matter what, life will present us with opportunities to step up and act as leaders—things that we will not expect, or even be prepared for! Mr. Sena pointed to the story of Esther to derive lessons in leadership that we can all put into practice. Esther was an orphan, adopted by her older cousin and made queen to the most powerful man on earth at the time. Despite her unusual circumstances, she was able to become an effective leader for God’s people. How can we succeed as a leader, like she did?

Accept the Challenge

As was said before, we will all face critical junctures in our lives where it will be entirely up to us to make difficult choices. It can be easy to try to reason our way out of doing something important. In Esther 4:11, Esther explained to Mordecai the risk of going into the king’s inner court uninvited, trying to tell him why she thought she was not able to make any sort of request to the king. Mordecai, however, understood that God would find another way to save the Jews if not for Esther. In verse 14, he said, “For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

Understanding the potential consequences of inaction motivated Esther to face the challenge and do something completely foreign to her, breaking out of how she saw herself to step up to the plate. Mr. Sena recalled that in his first semester of Ambassador College, he was confronted by his “old nemesis: math.” At first, it didn’t feel like a pressing matter to him, because he was greatly enjoying the experience of being there and surrounding himself with his friends. But when he was close to flunking out, he knew that he had to overcome himself, and his own attitude, in order to pass. He had to step back to look at the situation realistically in order to change his actions. He knew he wasn’t “too dumb” to learn it—he just wasn’t going about it the right way. He soon made math his personal obsession, studying hard, and he even began to enjoy it! On his next two exams, he scored a 92% and a 100%, which allowed him to pass his classes. When we are faced with our own challenges, what will we do? The choices that we make define who we will become, so we have to be prepared to accept the challenges thrown at us and make the right decisions.

Become a Leader

Back in Esther 4:15-16, Esther asked Mordecai to inquire of the Jews of Shushan to fast for her, as she would also do. She didn’t feel strong enough to take her challenge alone, and that’s OK! She did what she felt was necessary to accomplish her goal. In the book of Esther, the only description we get of her is that she was a lovely and beautiful orphan. There is never a mention of her wisdom or courage, but God saw something in her that He could use to help save the Jews, so He gave her the opportunity and the help to do so. She was able to turn a corner and become a leader—but she could’ve chosen differently.

“I implore you to see yourself as a leader,” said Mr. Sena. Some define a leader as “someone who influences others.” We all have a certain influence on others, but what kind of influence should a leader have? Mr. Sena stated plainly, “A leader is someone who positively influences others.” He then explained that a positive influence on others results from a strong godly foundation, which is what we are building at Living Education. Is our core unshakable enough to resist making the wrong choices? It has to be, because when we are faced with an uncertain situation, we need to know what we are going to do about it in our hearts. That’s how leadership is performed.

Do The Work God Has For You

God can use anyone to be a great leader. We can accomplish a certain aspect of the Work through our everyday example. We are a light to the world, and we will always be watched for our example. We represent Christ in all we do.

Are we good at accomplishing our portion of the great Work? One of the primary ways to do the work God has for each of us is in setting an example that reflects God. It may seem small, but how we live could have significant ramifications. In 1 Peter 2:11-12, we read:

Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.

1 Peter 2:11-12

Eventually, the people of the world will be able to make the connection as to why we acted the way we did in our physical lives. Mr. Sena shared that, for a time, he worked as a criminal counselor after graduating from Ambassador College. In that seedy, smoke-filled work environment, he stood out to his coworkers, simply because he was the only one who didn’t curse. It came to the point that if others around him did, they would apologize to him for doing so. The extent of what God has for us to do may be big, like it was for Esther, or comparatively small, but we must always stay a good example for all.

At a certain point in our lives, we will all be thrust into the position of a leader. As I write this, the Judaic holiday of Purim—a good time to review the book of Esther—has only recently come and gone. Next time you read through it, a good thing to watch for would be the example of Esther. Her heart was put in the right place to become the kind of leader that her people needed. Are we willing to rise to the challenge, become a leader, and accomplish the work that God has set in place for us?

Nathan Kroon is a Student Leader at Living Education. He originally hails from Washington State, and is a 4th generation Christian. Currently, he works at Headquarters as a Video Editor, and is the Lead Landscaper at the LivingEd dorms. His hobbies include playing guitar, listening to music, drawing, and watching movies.

How the Ultimate Driving Machine Is Made! (BMW Tour)

Author: Kaleb Johnson | Student, Living Education – Charlotte, 2022-23

Estimated reading time: 4 min.

The Living Education students toured the BMW plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, glimpsing a high-quality modern industrial process. 

The BMW plant is a marvel of modern manufacturing. The plant produces around 1,500 cars per day—models X3, X4, X5, X6, and X7—making it the highest production BMW plant in the world. The Living Education students had the privilege to tour this plant, and its attached Museum, and see how the “ultimate driving machine” is made. 

The Zentrum Museum 

The BMW campus has a modern-looking building called the Zentrum Museum that houses several BMW cars that are important to both the brand and this particular plant. For instance, the first ever BMW produced in this plant—also the first ever produced in America—is on display, covered in the signatures of all the employees that worked for BMW at the time!

This museum is also the starting point for the plant tours, so the Living Education students thoroughly explored the cars on display while waiting for the tour to begin. The two most popular cars among the students were two BMWs on display that starred in James Bond films, the z8 and the z3. 

Making the Ultimate Driving Machine

After perusing the Museum, the Living Education students set off on a tour of the plant. On this tour, no phones or cameras were allowed to be used, and the students, with their tour guide, walked right through the actual manufacturing lines. 

The first stop on the tour was the body shop. This massive building—over a million square-feet—welded together the body of the BMWs. The students walked around the shop, watching massive robot arms lift whole undersides of cars weighing thousands of pounds, and seeing precise and methodical welding all along the assembly line. In went metal parts, seemingly insignificant, and out came the body of a precisely engineered vehicle, all from an unceasing assembly line of robotics and personnel. 

The second area of the tour was the assembly hall. Here, the body of the car, after it had gone to the paint shop, entered and had its inner components added, and its doors, windshield, and sunroof put in. By the time it left, the car was fully functional. This assembly line relied on people more than robotics, but it still used robotics widely to assist the assemblers with moving heavy objects or improving the ergonomics of their working condition. For instance, part of the assembly line had all the cars rotated on their side so that people could more comfortably add parts to the bottom of the vehicle. 

The final stage for these BMWs consisted of a step called “spanking the baby.” Once the car has passed all inspections and tests, the iconic BMW logo is placed on the nose of the car and tapped in with a rubber mallet. At this point, the car is complete and ready to be delivered to its owner.

Overall, the BMW plant produces 1500 cars per day—all of which are already purchased orders and built to a specification with intense quality checks. The Living Education students got a glimpse into how excellence is achieved in the automotive industry. They also saw how a premiere company manages employees, ensures quality, and encourages continuous improvement. The Living Education students saw how the “Ultimate Driving Machine” really is made. 

Everyone’s Favorite Car

When the students returned to the museum, they were impressed, and a little bit tired (the tour involves around 2 miles of walking over about 2 hours). But they decided to do one last thing. They all picked a favorite BMW in the museum, and also bought some stuff at the gift shop (why not, right?). Here are all the students with their favorite BMW.

The previous activity the Living Educations students had was a fun adventure to the JAARS facility in Waxhaw. Read all about that here: Come Fly with Me (JAARS Trip).

Kaleb Johnson is a student in the Living Education-Charlotte Program. He graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in the spring of 2022. In addition, Kaleb enjoys writing, video-making, trying new activities (anything and everything), playing chess, and debating (it’s not arguing!) with people. He currently works in the Living Education department producing written content, videos, and helping with a variety of other projects. 

Church Administration—the Story in Stats!

Author: Kaleb Johnson | Student, Living Education – Charlotte, 2022-23

Estimated reading time: 4 min.

In a recent forum, the students learned about the impact of the Church Administration Department from a Tomorrow’s World presenter, Mr. Rod McNair. 

Mr. McNair laid out the purpose of the Church Administration Department: serve, edify, and support the worldwide ministry. This responsibility is outlined in many scriptures, and Mr. McNair pointed to John 21:15-17. Here, Christ tells Peter three times to care for the flock. There are two words used; one translated “feed” and one meaning “tend,” which involves leading, ruling, and governing the flock. The Church Administration Department fulfils both responsibilities, and Mr. McNair told us how with a compelling story—a story based on statistics. 

The Work and Tomorrow’s World Presentations

0 – the number of “coworkers” Noah had after a 100 years of warning. “Now that,” Mr. McNair said, “would be discouraging.” We are getting responses, and the world is not quite as evil as it was then.

33,880 attendees of Tomorrow’s World Presentations from 2006 – 2023. This is not a small number—especially compared to the responses Noah’s ministry received.

1.8 – percentage of people who respond to TWP invitations. This is an average from 2006 to 2023. 

3.9 – percentage of people who respond to TWP invitations in countries outside of the US. The work is growing in other countries; people there are more interested than those in the US.

1535 – Tomorrow’s World Presentations since 2006. Mr. McNair explained that they studied the results of these presentations and found that, regardless of how many guests attended, about the same number of guests began attending Services per presentation. It makes sense to have more presentations in more areas with a smaller guest size. 

The Ministry 

415 – congregations in 60 different countries. 

2,600 – youth in the church (0 – 17 years old). That’s a lot. “We,” Mr. McNair explained, “are not just an older church!”

6,527 – baptisms since January 1999 (LCG foundation). The work is not done yet. It did not end with Mr. Armstrong, nor is it up to us to decide when it is over. 

5,740 & 6,530 – members/prospective members in the United States versus outside the United States. The international work is outgrowing the work in America. Nonetheless, Mr. McNair explained that America has been a considerable part of the overall Work.

99 – brethren with no congregation near them. These brethren live in 34 different countries, and in some cases, are the only Church members in their nations. 

60,000 – Personal Correspondence Department responses from 2004 to 2022. The PCD has helped feed the flock by giving answers and guidance to countless people through the years. 

500 – sermons transcribed for deaf members and translators. Mr. McNair explained the Church’s transcribing team, many members of which are volunteers, that works to create written copies of sermons for those who cannot hear or need to translate sermons into a different language for brethren.

15 – number of languages in which our material is available. Brethren around the world are able to receive spiritual nourishment from the Church due to the efforts and zeal of members who help with translation. 

Giving Meat in Due Season

Mr. McNair concluded the story of stats by referring to a passage in the gospel of Matthew:

“Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing.”

Matthew 24:45-46

These scriptures reveal a blessing, as well as a warning, for God’s Church in the end times. The Church must give food in due time to God’s elect. It must fulfil Christ’s admonition to feed and tend the flock. If that servant does not, God will reject him from the Kingdom of God and the family of God, and “there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 24:51). Mr. McNair concluded by affirming that the Church Administration Department will continue to give food in due season to God’s elect, as it has for years.  

Kaleb Johnson is a student in the Living Education-Charlotte Program. He graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in the spring of 2022. In addition, Kaleb enjoys writing, video-making, trying new activities (anything and everything), playing chess, and debating (it’s not arguing!) with people. He currently works in the Living Education department producing written content, videos, and helping with a variety of other projects. 

Ark Builders

Author: Nathan Kroon | Student Leader, Living Education – Charlotte, 2022-23

Estimated Reading Time: 5 min.

Noah lived in interesting times. Dr. Douglas Winnail explained that many parallels can be found between Noah’s era and the modern era.

He spoke about the use of a common expression: “May you live in very interesting times.” At first glance, this may seem like a kind remark, but if we look at what constitutes “interesting” in our current age, it may seem like a curse instead. Our world is becoming increasingly secular, as it was in Noah’s lifetime. Public school students are being expelled for believing in only two genders and standing up for their biblical beliefs. How can the story of Noah help us to understand the course our world is going towards now?

Not a Myth

Across the world, the story of Noah is widely regarded as merely a “Jewish legend,” and is simplified to just being about some people and animals being saved from a flood using a boat. Many other stories, like the Epic of Gilgamesh, have been clearly inspired from the flood story, but they often leave out the most important details. For example, the gods in the Epic of Gilgamesh are angered because of all the noise the humans are making on earth, not because of their sinful living. They are also mischievous and deceptive, unlike the true God, who is wholly righteous. Though Gilgamesh is directly taken from Noah’s story, it also directly takes out the important lesson of God punishing those who persist in sin by painting Gilgamesh and the other humans as the ones who are in the right. Even in ancient times, many people lacked perspective on the importance of the Great Flood, and tried to deemphasize God’s role in their own lives.

Lessons for Today

Job 12:23 tells us that God “makes nations great, and destroys them.” The flood was the first instance of God destroying civilizations, and it will not be the last! The people of Noah’s day were hopelessly sinful. They were corrupt and violent. Do we see much difference between that time and the modern era? One of the worst sins that Sodom and Gomorrah had committed was homosexuality, but today that is purposefully made to look tame! God guides the course of history, and He also worsens the living conditions for nations that do not commit to His commandments. Mankind, for the most part, has forgotten its Creator, going so far as to create “Freedom From Religion” movements. Modern, self-proclaimed “Christian” authors write about the consequences that will befall our nation because of its perversions. When Nations Die, by Jim Nelson Black, lists several warning signs to watch out for, all of which occurred before the death of major civilizations, like ancient Rome. Dr. Winnail simplified them into eight points, which are:

  1. Lawlessness
  2. Debt
  3. Materialism
  4. Decline of Education
  5. Decline of Traditions
  6. Decline of Morals
  7. Decline of Religious Beliefs
  8. Devaluing of Human Life

Dr. Winnail stated that America is going down the same road that leads to the collapse of society, but it is not paying attention. Luke 17:26-30 states that during the return of Christ, the nations of man will be like Sodom was before its destruction. Many religious authors and philosophers have tried offering solutions to man’s wickedness, even saying that Christians must completely separate themselves entirely from other people in order to build a new society, away from the mainstream—in other words, build a cultural ark! They fail to realize that Noah was saved from the flood because he preached righteousness to a world that would not listen to him. He provided a witness and a warning to other people, but the only ones who followed him on the ark were his family and the animals. Herbert W. Armstrong knew that, when he preached, not many people would stay with the truth. The Laodicean era had to start at some point, yet his mission was to preach the Gospel as witnesses to as many people as he could reach, and to warn them of the end-times. He started this nearly 100 years ago, and the work continues through the ministry of the Living Church of God, the members of which have come out of the world to recapture true values. 

Noah’s persistence in righteousness was ultimately what God blessed him and his family for. In order to better move forward to our roles in the coming Kingdom of God, we must put on the attitude that Noah had, as well as diligently watch for the signs of the end-times.

Nathan Kroon is a Student Leader at Living Education. He originally hails from Washington State, and is a 4th generation Christian. Currently, he works at Headquarters as a Video Editor, and is the Lead Landscaper at the LivingEd dorms. His hobbies include playing guitar, listening to music, drawing, and watching movies.

Delve Into History

Author: Nathan Kroon | Student Leader, Living Education – Charlotte, 2022-23

Estimated Reading Time: 9 min.

How seriously do we take the topic of history? Mr. Bob Rodzaj discussed this with the students of Living Education in this forum.

He recalled a trip that he took to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in his youth. He said that, like most children on trips to historical places, he only remembered monuments and grass, neglecting to appreciate why the town is famous in the first place: the Battle of Gettysburg. After revisiting it 30 years later and learning about what happened there, his eyes were opened. It expanded his worldview exponentially, and he then realized what he was missing, how much he was missing, and the difference it could make. History can enrich our lives and increase our potential in so many ways. Mr. Rodzaj encouraged us to delve into history—whatever strikes our fancy or satisfies our curiosity—to do just that.

A Modern Disinterest in History

Many people today have no interest in history. True history is not really being taught in our schools. Some young people do not even know who won the American Civil War, let alone that there even was one! Historical movies can seem long and boring when we don’t appreciate the background and context—and the life lessons that can be learned. But everyone loves a good story, and history is all about stories—stories that can benefit us in so many ways.

History is Everywhere!

The Bible is full of doctrine, prophecy, and examples of Christian living—AND history, from beginning to end. Many of the books found in the Bible are full of history. The book of Revelation itself is history written in advance! Many geographic locations can also be a great source of history. Mr. Rodzaj attended Virginia Tech for five years, but failed to appreciate at the time that the state of Virginia is saturated with early American and Civil War history. As a result, he missed out on a lot of potential learning! Modern Church history is also wholly interesting and beneficial. Many helpful lessons can be learned from the history of the Worldwide Church of God: stories of zeal, healings, massive growth, getting off track, getting back on track, the times surrounding the death of Herbert W. Armstrong, apostasies, and splits. Mr. Rodzaj recalled that he came into the Church in 1979, later attended Ambassador College, and eventually had to make difficult decisions when the great split came about. He was grateful to be surrounded by dedicated individuals who had experienced those earlier days—individuals who provided good examples to follow—which helped him to navigate the challenges, and to end up in the Living Church of God.

What History Teaches Us

Mr. Rodzaj gave examples of lessons history can teach us:

  1. A Lesson in Remaining Strong in the Faith

Revelation 2 and 3 tell us all about the eras of God’s Church. The Sardis era is known as the “dead church”, yet not all people’s faith were completely dead during this time. In Revelation 3:4, Christ said “You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy.” Mr. Rodzaj also read from The Incredible History of God’s True Church, by Ivor C. Fletcher, which listed a few inspiring figures that persevered in their faith during the Sardis era, despite the Church of that era being religiously dead for the most part. Accounts like these can help encourage us to stay faithful in the hardest times, as well as to understand what we may face today or in the future.

  1. A Lesson in Leadership

During the American Civil War, Union General George B. McClellan and Confederate General Robert E. Lee provided a contrast in leadership styles. In the deadliest day-long battle in America’s military history, the battle of Antietam, McClellan led his army from a mile away, receiving reports and giving orders, distant and detached from what was really going on in the heat of battle. Meanwhile, Lee, engaged and involved, rode on horseback up and down his lines for hours to command his men. Though the Union had nearly twice as many soldiers than the Confederates, the battle ultimately ended in a draw because of the leadership of Lee. Lee’s example emphasizes how important it is to be engaged and involved as leaders.

  1. A Lesson in Communication

Abraham Lincoln was an amazing communicator whose use of figurative speech and metaphor—clear, forceful, and logical—helped America through the greatest test of its history. Lincoln’s famous “house divided” speech on the issue of slavery in America convinced many that slavery tolerated and expanded would indeed cause the nation to collapse. In the famous Gettysburg Address, likely the most well-known speech in history, Lincoln framed in two minutes the great significance of the struggle to preserve the nation. Edward Everett, who spoke for two hours prior to Lincoln’s short address, wrote, “I should be glad, if I could flatter myself that I came as near to the central idea of the occasion, in two hours, as you did in two minutes.” Lincoln was a gifted communicator; studying his example can help us to grow as communicators as well.

  1. A Lesson in Virtues to Emulate

History provides examples of great and unselfish leaders that can help us to emulate them. The book Team of Rivals, by Doris Kearns Goodwin, describes the political genius and magnanimity of Abraham Lincoln, who placed in his own Cabinet political rivals he had run against in his presidential campaign. He had to continually deal with men who believed he was moronic, men who criticized his decisions and actions were utterly foolish. Yet he dealt with these men respectfully, recognizing their value and counsel. Because of Lincoln’s gracious and respectful treatment, these men became his greatest admirers and devotees.

  1. Lessons in What to Do and What Not to Do

History can teach us what to do and what not to do. In the Civil War, Ulysses S. Grant was highly regarded as a general, but his early overconfidence almost cost him dearly in some of his initial battles. General McClellan, who struggled with fear and insecurity, squandered many opportunities to end the Civil War early on as a result. History also shows us how temperament and personality can affect people’s choices and decisions. Studying historical figures’ great successes and failures, and why they occurred, can help us to analyze our own behaviors, and steer us away from making similar mistakes.

  1. A Lesson in the Complexities of Human Nature

Learning about the backgrounds of historical figures can show us how human nature develops and operates within people, and how they affect a person’s motives and behavior. The book Crucible of Command analyzes how the upbringings of Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee affected their leadership later in life. Grant, in his early life, was not the brightest boy, but he had grown up in a family with a father present to mentor him. He became very patient, understanding, and successful in leading and dealing with people because of this. Confederate General Robert E. Lee, on the other hand, grew up with an absentee father, leaving him a product of paternal neglect. He grew up having to take care of a mother who struggled with depression and needed constant care. As a result, Lee struggled with melancholy, and did not deal with those he commanded head-on, but indirectly, which at times was problematic. We all have different backgrounds, so understanding what factors into our mindsets early on can help us to better analyze our own behavior and be better prepared to deal with people in this life and in the next age.

Caution: There’s Always A Narrative!

In studying history, be aware that there’s always a narrative that can impact our point of view and what we can learn from historical accounts. Bible translations and commentaries provide examples for us. Mr. Rodzaj explained that Bible translations often depend on the agenda of the translators. That’s why it’s important for us to become familiar with the authors of the translation, their reasons for creating the translation, and how they interpreted the original texts. Likewise, Bible commentaries tend to reflect the belief system of their authors and their own understanding of the Bible. History too has its narratives, and we need to understand the point of view of the historians who relate it, to gain a proper perspective on what really happened and those who were involved.

Much to Gain

There are important lessons to be learned in both worldly and biblical history. History can:

  • Help you have an outward mindset and outlook on life.
  • Help you make better choices and decisions.
  • Help you better understand and deal with other people.
  • Help you develop traits and habits that will enhance your personality and character.
  • Help you become better qualified to assist Christ in the next age.

So delve into history, and let history enrich your life and increase your potential!

Nathan Kroon is a Student Leader at Living Education. He originally hails from Washington State, and is a 4th generation Christian. Currently, he works at Headquarters as a Video Editor, and is the Lead Landscaper at the LivingEd dorms. His hobbies include playing guitar, listening to music, drawing, and watching movies.

Paths of Success

Author: Kaleb Johnson | Student, Living Education – Charlotte, 2022-23

Estimated reading time: 5 min.

The Living Educations students received a forum presentation from Dr. John Cole discussing the paths of success. 

To begin, Dr. Cole admonished the students to consider the path they take, researching jobs and opportunities qualitatively and quantitatively. We must avoid applying for a position in just any company or embarking on the first endeavor that crosses our path. Instead, we should take the time to investigate. If we are considering applying to a company, Dr. Cole admonished the students to spend some time on its website, learn its mission statement, observe the competition, and find the causes it supports, like its diversity and sustainability policies. He introduced an effective qualitative method for evaluating jobs, opportunities, or even yourself!

SWOT Analysis

Dr. Cole elaborated on a method of analysis that involves listing strengths and weaknesses, followed by opportunities and threats. The strengths and weaknesses are internal attributes. Dr. Cole gave the example of analyzing a company. First, we consider what the company does well: Does it have a strong brand name or proprietary technology that gives it an advantage over its competitors? Then, we investigate weaknesses, finding out what causes problems and bottlenecks or ways the competitors are stronger than the company in question. After this, Dr. Cole explained the external considerations; we look for opportunities that may benefit the company. Are trade tariffs going to be lowered, improving profits? We also pinpoint threats. What are major events that could occur that would damage the company’s sales or assets? Dr. Cole explained that this method is widely used, even at the highest level of management. This research is invaluable for a job interview. Having a detailed understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of a company will absolutely impress its hiring manager. 

Tips for Success 

Dr. Cole encouraged the students to market their skills well. We can change our mindset from “I get to meet this person” to “This person gets to meet me.” It is important to remember our value! We can present our life and experience as a narrative, engaging the listener and compelling them. 

Another path for success, as Dr. Cole explained, is to build your network. It is immensely valuable to create a list of professional contacts that we accumulate over the years. This will make it easy to stay in steady communication over time. For expanding your network, he recommended getting introductions from existing contacts. It is also helpful to use sites like LinkedIn, join forums, and even make a website showcasing samples of our work. 

Be prepared for ethical challenges. Dr. Cole reminded the students that most people do not prioritize morality; out in the workforce we will see unethical decisions, and we may even be pressured to perform some ourselves. We must be prepared to counter such influences.

He also said to consider the details of a company or agency if we are considering working for them. Fortune 500 companies will open doors for the future. A publicly traded company is going to be different from a private company. Working for a state agency will differ from having a federal position. Also, a prospective company may be owned by a parent corporation, which means it could be sold. These are areas he gave to consider when looking at a job, but this analysis can be useful when considering starting a business or when planning a different endeavor. 

Dr. Cole told us that there are three topics to avoid in a professional environment: sex, religion, and politics. People may try to pull us into a conversation on one of these, but it is a bad idea. He also said that people will even try to start arguments with us; it is prudentto keep our guard up on these topics. 

He addressed choosing the trade or academic path. Either is fine, but Dr. Cole said to always treat everyone with respect. We cannot assume people from either path are stupid. How they make the world a better place is the only thing that matters.

Dress for success. Dr. Cole told the students that this principle is as true now as it has ever been. If we interview for a more casual type of job, we can still dress up—just make it clear that we are doing it out of respect for the interviewer and company, and not only to make ourselves look good. 

Dr. Cole gave another key piece of advice: always send thank-you notes after interviews or other meetings. This is a crucial step many people miss.

For his last tip, Dr. Cole mentioned the value of apprenticeships and internships. These are great opportunities to test a field and learn from experienced professionals. Even outside of formal positions, the attitude of looking to test out a field and get experience from professionals can help many types of endeavors to succeed. 

Envision Your Success

Dr. Cole told the students to envision their success. This involves developing a clear goal, identifying all the prerequisites needed, and making a plan to develop them. It is critical to train in the skills we need. Our ultimate goal is the Kingdom of God, and we must apply even more energy and strategy into pursuing this goal. Concluding, Dr. Cole admonished the students to learn these strategies and apply these tips on their path to success. 

Mr. Tyler Wayne gave a forum recently on analyzing risks and planning small business projects. This forum is available here: Take a Risk and Do Something.

Kaleb Johnson is a student in the Living Education-Charlotte Program. He graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in the spring of 2022. In addition, Kaleb enjoys writing, video-making, trying new activities (anything and everything), playing chess, and debating (it’s not arguing!) with people. He currently works in the Living Education department producing written content, videos, and helping with a variety of other projects. 

Working in the Accounting Department

Author: Kaleb Johnson | Student, Living Education – Charlotte, 2022-23

Estimated reading time: 4 min.

Accounting is a complex sector of business operations. Here is a look at the students who work there for their work/study position.

The Living Education program aims to provide students with valuable work experience and also assist the Church in doing God’s Work. Part of doing God’s Work involves accounting, which is very complex in modern times. Thus, having students work part-time is a great benefit to the Accounting Department, and it also gives students valuable experience that is in high-demand in the working world. This year, Kezia Ciesielka and Rachel Price are working in the Accounting Department!

Kezia Ciesielka is an Accounting Clerk and processes invoices and reimbursements.

Kezia is a Student Leader in her second year at Living Education. She works both as an Accounting Clerk and as a Resident Assistant, but this article focuses on her work in the Accounting Department. Due to her class schedule, she works 30 hours a week—the typical first year student only works 20 hours a week. She is considering studying accounting and is using this opportunity to experience the field, learning the ins and outs of businesses and accounting systems and using software like Great Plains and Kwiktag. 

Kezia’s Main Roles in the Accounting Department

  • Processing invoices 
  • Ensuring expenditures come from correct accounts
  • Reviewing reimbursement requests
  • Classifying expenses

Most fun part of the job? “Getting to sit down, with a good bit of things to go through, when you’re not super-stressed out because it needs to be done super-quick, with your cup of tea, and make sure everything is in the right spot. It is very satisfying because everything goes where it belongs.” 

Most challenging part of the job? “When we are coming up on a deadline and you think, There is no way I can do this all, and it all has to be done exactly correctly, because if I mess up, this is money we’re talking about; I can’t mess up. But then I just tell myself, I can only do what I can do.

Rachel Price works as an Archivist, primarily creating digital copies of legal documents. 

Rachel Price is a first year student who works almost entirely in the Accounting Department, though she does assist in the Mail Processing Department when they are busy. In Accounting, she is currently  working on a multi-year project that involves taking old paper documents and scanning them and organizing them so they can be readily accessed. She works primarily in her office with Scanly—that’s what she named the scanner—and Patrick, who once was a possum but now is only a possum hide (she got him for the Renaissance fair; it’s a whole thing). 

Rachel Price’s Main Roles in the Accounting Department

  • Scanning documents 
  • Sorting paper documents
  • Organizing digital copies
  • Cleaning the count room 

Most fun part of the job? “Cleaning the count room! It’s nice because you get up and move around, polish that table, and make it shiny.”

Most challenging part of the job? “Not shutting your brain off, because you are scanning and that’s a very mundane activity, but you really can’t just shut off your brain while you’re doing it, because you are naming these files, and if you name it wrong, it’ll be really hard to find; that’ll just bring issues in the future if it’s ever needed.”

Final Details Before We Wrap Up

In going through all these departments, I find it remarkable how the Church integrates a fluctuating number of students every year so fluidly. No one is sitting around; no one is unused. Every department has basic work that able-bodied and minded students are able to accomplish, freeing up the more experienced employees to work on longer-term improvement projects. The Accounting Department typifies this exquisitely. Here there are two students, collectively working 50 man-hours a week, who enable the Accounting Department to improve its archival system and handle invoices quicker, and the students get valuable work-experience at the same time. The work/study system is quite remarkable! 

We posted a similar article highlighting the students who work in the following departments: Mail Processing, Maintenance, and Living Education. Check those out if you are interested in learning more!

Kaleb Johnson is a student in the Living Education-Charlotte Program. He graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in the spring of 2022. In addition, Kaleb enjoys writing, video-making, trying new activities (anything and everything), playing chess, and debating (it’s not arguing!) with people. He currently works in the Living Education department producing written content, videos, and helping with a variety of other projects.