In China, for the generation born in the late 1980's, the imbalance between sexes was 108 boys to 100 girls. For the generation born in the early 2000's, the proportion of boys to girls was 124 to 100 and in some provinces there is an unprecedented ration of 130 to 100. By 2020 China stands to have as many as twenty-four million unmarried young men or "bare branches" as they are known. This huge disparity will affect the churches in China because female believers are in the majority and it would also imply that young female believers would have difficulties finding mates within the church as well. We pray for this unnatural shift in population and specifically those believers who are single either by will or unable to find a mate with the same faith.
Chinese universities are beginning to provide students with a "Safety Handbook" which addresses prevention of sexual assault, AIDS, on-line chat hazards, precautions about off-campus housing, and other ideas about practical safety for college girls. We praise God that many young Chinese come to know Jesus Christ and receive discipleship during their four years in college but many are also attracted to the highly aggressive cults on the campuses as well. We pray for the spiritual safety of these young sheep. May the Lord protect them and send forth more workers in the colleges of China.
Rural laborers are village people who have moved to cities to work and according to scholars they number 245 million. Most of them are low in skills and a large percentage are married males whose living quarters with bunk beds are not suitable for conjugal visits. The government, knowing the social and family consequences of their unmet sexual needs, has paid special attention to them. We remember all the believers who are away from their families because of work and pray not only for those who are away from home but their families who stay behind in the villages. We know it is not good for couples to be separated for a long time so may the Spirit comfort them and guard their hearts.
"School District Houses" is a Chinese real estate term which means an area with homes located in a district with good elementary and high schools so their only children will have a convenient place to get a head start and a competitive advantage in education. A house with such a designation can command a hefty twenty percent premium. Good education is the universally highest concern for all Chinese parents. We pray that Christian parents will trust God to meet the educational needs of their child and also strive to teach them God's word and take them to church from birth.
It is interesting to note why the only child who is most likely spoiled by the parents would run away from home in China. The child is usually the center of the home, and is self-centered so when things do no go according to the child's wish, he/she leaves home. Some children also use running away as a way to manipulate the adults in the home. Most Christian parents can do very little when their child refuses to go to church with them and such a heartbreaking experience is shared by both pastor and laymen. Let us remember in prayer all the families whose children no longer attend church. We pray that a good parent-child relationship will continue to remind the child that God loves him/her.
Scholars suggest that China's economic development models lack the process of reflection. They are all pragmatic, with the end justifying the means. Government slogans typify such a lack of reflection: "Black or white, as long as a cat catches mice, it is a good cat"; "Do not argue"; "Stability trumps everything."Chinese churches often "blindly" imitate church growth methods without reflection and adaption. We pray for all churches who are trying to grow but are not. May the Lord give comfort and assurance to them, as they strive to serve faithfully.
The reasons for young people running away from home are complex and varied. In general an unhealthy home environment and the poor disciplinary methods the parents use are the main reasons. There are also parents who are literally brutal in a lifestyle that is monotonous and repetitive as well as the usual lack of communication between parents and their children. We take this time to pray for Christian families experiencing problem in their parent-child relationship. May the Lord give parents wisdom and patience. We also pray the Holy Spirit work in the heart of their child, convicting them that Jesus is their personal savior and friend. It is our prayer that the church body can also pray for one another and encouraging the frustrated parents.