The cost of living in China jumped nearly six and a half percent in October and the price of pork increased by fifty percent so the impression that everything is more expensive in everywhere. One thing is for sure and that is that salaries have not kept up with the cost of living and as a result many believers feel less generous in their giving. Let us pray for all who are living on a fixed income, especially the families of church workers, as we look to the Lord for peace in these economically troubled times.
Most house churches are small and in some regions several congregations fellowship together under a "small", "medium" or "large" umbrella. Then, at each level leaders are elected to be in charge of administration, teaching, fellowship, finances, or youth ministry. Let us pray for the leadership at each of these levels that they will be faithful stewards of their spiritual gifts, will have humble hearts and be protected from temptation to greed or sexual sin.
According to media reporters, it is very difficult to tell whether the beggars in Chinese cities are "professionals" or truly needy. There are many stories of gangs of beggars from the villages and of their abusing handicapped people. Even Christians can become numb to the presence of the poor and needy so there are few churches reaching out to the homeless and poor with food and clothing. We thank the Lord for those who live out the compassion of Christ and mobilize their churches to reach out to the poverty-stricken.
Lei Fong is a legendary hero every school student is taught to imitate. “To learn from comrade Lei Fong” has been the most popular slogan for 44 years. Yet, in a survey, 30% of school kids failed to identify who Lei Fong was. Unfortunately, much of the children's ministry in Chinese churches is still in the stage of telling Bible stories. Teachers often fail to make a connection with Jesus and practical living. Let us pray that more children will come to know and accept Jesus in a very real way.
There are about 40 million Muslims in China and the work of evangelism is very difficult. Workers must first build friendships and show love and care. Converts always face great pressure from their families and communities.The government strongly discourages any evangelistic work among Muslims. This ministry needs more workers as well as our fervent prayer support, especially for the converts.
Churches in China's Northeast region have become a new force in the missionary effort. They have sent teams of workers to China's "Great Northwest" where few have heard of the gospel. These workers must make huge cultural adjustments and overcome difficulties. We uplift this missionary effort by the Chinese churches who are reaching out to ethnic minorities and to the far corners of China. They need our prayers to overcome hardship and loneliness in serving in these remote regions.
China is fast becoming a nation of cities. Within ten years population in cities will surpass that in the rural regions. The consequences of this urbanization are pollution, skyrocketing real estate prices, and a rise in the cost of education and living. Rural churches face a severe drop in membership and urban churches encounter huge hurdles in building up their congregations. Let us pray especially for churches in the so-called small and medium-sized cities where churches are few and weak.