Author: Lexi Mitchell | Student, Living Education – Charlotte, 2023-24
“Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains.” (Isaiah 2:2)
Mr. Rod McNair began his forum by referencing Isaiah 2, describing the prophesied coming establishment of the Millennium. This future reality is pictured by the yearly Feast of Tabernacles. Coordinating the overall plans for the Feast each year is no small task, as Mr. McNair revealed to the students.
God’s Protection and Blessings
Mr. McNair shared some interesting statistics with the students. Last year, 2022, there was an overall attendance of 11,434 individuals attending 89 sites around the world. This figure represents encouraging growth, including in new locations.
Tororo, Uganda, received a visit from Mr. Dexter Wakefield, with 50 attendees. Lake Kalamba, the first Feast in Zambia, yielded 45 attendees, and was visited by Mr. Bower.
Excitingly, we were able to host our first Feast of Tabernacles in Batu, Indonesia since 2020, following the COVID pandemic.
Additionally, other sites around the world were blessed with overcoming numerous challenges.
Last year, In Fontana, Wisconsin, an approaching storm front with accompanying tornado warnings split when it approached the Feast site, sparing the members. The storm front then reconnected and a tornado touched down, just about ten miles beyond the Feast site.
In Stilbaai, South Africa, the brethren were faced with the concern of load-shedding, or scheduled power outages in the country. While these outages threatened to affect the Feast, God blessed His site by almost completely eliminating these disruptions for the duration of the Feast. These blessings were an obvious reminder of God’s continued protection over His people at the Feast throughout the world, and were very encouraging in the preparations for this year.
Feast of Tabernacles 2023: Growth, Preparation, and Service
Church Administration spends plenty of time in advance preparing for our Feast sites, making contracts with venues, and conducting surveys in order to better serve the members and understand their needs each year. Some of these members are first-time attendees, with many coming to the Church through Tomorrow’s World Presentations. The correlation between TWPs and festival attendance is an encouraging and positive reminder of God’s hand in the growth of the work.
Mr. McNair concluded his forum by encouraging the students to serve at the Feast. Service is an integral aspect of the Feast, and Mr. McNair reminded the students that we go to the Feast in order to know God, to worship, and to serve. Acts of service, however small, impact the recipients. One common theme found in Feast surveys is the expression of appreciation for those who put forth the effort to serve others. Whether you’re going international or staying local, serving is an important way to serve both your fellow members and God.
The time, preparation, and planning that goes into the work of the Festival Office and Feast coordinators is a major effort, and one that God has blessed. Let us remember to pray for this effort and appreciate it as we attend each year.
Lexi Mitchell is a first-year student in the Living Education-Charlotte Program. She is from Long Island, New York. At home, she worked as a lifeguard and a swim instructor. Currently, she assists in the Living Education department as a social media manager and as a producer of written content. She enjoys reading, cooking, exercising, and spending time with family.