NBA star Shaquille O'Neal gave 4 signed basketballs to Sichuan earthquake survivor students, but the balls were immediately confiscated by school staff. An online survey by the government news agency show that 90% of netizens feel the school has no right to take away the gifts and even suspect this was a case for private gain. Chinese are naturally suspicious of how the relief money is used, given many reports of embezzlement and corruption. Unfortunately, the same suspicion has spread to churches as well, because of the lack of financial transparency. We pray specially for believers who handles funds for churches, may the Lord give us all, integrity and fear of God.
The general impression of Han Chinese toward minorities from Xinjiang is usually negative. Unfortunately, the Uighur people have one of the highest incidences of HIV because of intravenous drug use. In cities, Uighur children and teens have difficulty being admitted to schools because of discrimination. The recent ethnic violence revealed a deeper problem of ethnic "harmony," especially for those of the Islam faith. Again, we lift up all the ethnic minorities in China. We, too, pray for the deep-rooted prejudice and bias we all have toward those who we consider inferior, poor and "lazy."
Since the Economic Reform, Wenzhou has been praised as a business model for the rest of the China. Yet, it is hard for non-Wenzhou businessmen to gain foothold in Wenzhou, and there are plenty of discrimination toward non-Wenzhou staffs in the Wenzhou firms. Wenzhou Christians tend to be cliquish and enjoy speaking their dialect among themselves. In fact, all Chinese value their provincial roots a lot. May we all learn to be more accepting, more humble and considerate as one body in Christ.
Although China as a whole is moving forward rapidly but countryside is still vastly poor. Much of the China churches is rural based and mostly poor. Rural believers often feel they are poor and reflect in their little giving to churches. Lack of faith in giving seriously affects the growth of rural church. Believers constantly think only outside help can solve their problems. Let us pray for the stop of this self-pitying and willingness to step up boldly in serving God with what they have.
It is not uncommon to hear some pastors in the cities are unable to pay for living expenses and children education. Some church workers have to borrow to live and some simply give up because of lacking financial support. Frankly, many urban churches are not able to do the necessary ministry because members are not giving. We pray for heart of thanksgiving of all believers, cheerful givers and churches badly needs the teaching of giving and caring for their shepherd.
The salaries of many pastors in the cities are often barely enough to cover basic living, with little else after food expenses. More Chinese churches need to learn to support their worker fully and generously in financial compensation. Chinese believers falsely think “talking about money in church is unspiritual” and “pastors must be poor in order to be spiritual.” We pray especially for those who are thinking about quitting ministry because of difficult finances, may the Lord encourage in their moment of disappointment and meet their needs.
The mentality of “guest speakers are always better speaker” plagues many churches. Churches are often in two extremes; accepting everything new from the outside, or rejecting everything foreign and unfamiliar because of the nationalistic pride. Both extreme attitudes are not healthy. We pray for the work of Holy Spirit, humility of all leaders and above all, the true revival of China churches based solidly on the Word of God.