High school graduates in China will participate in the National College Entrance Examinations June 7-8 this year. Only about one-fourth of them will go on to college and the rest will have to find a job. To these young people, this is the single most critical event in their lives and the hopes of their parents literally hang on it. It is hard for anyone to experience the pressure and stress high school seniors and their parents are now facing. Let us pray especially for believers whose children are preparing for this examination. May the Lord give them wisdom, strength, and His peace knowing that God has a great purpose for each of us.
Chinese tourists like to go to Hainan because it has world-class beaches, forests, and fresh air. However, much like one's daughter who is well-loved at home but unable to attract foreigners, Hainan does not stand out with any unique culture and few people speak English well there. Although there are about 400,000 believers and many house churches, Hainan is also famous for moral and financial corruption. Let us pray for the problem of division among church leaders and believers who must struggle to stay pure.
In the past decade Chinese tourists have undergone a big change from being discriminated to becoming valued customers. They are spending more money than other tourists but a Chinese expert said, "The general quality of Chinese tourists has improved much but some bad habits like talking loudly in restaurants, and not observing dress codes remain." The image of Chinese believers has also changed greatly from that of poor peasants to that of younger and better educated people. Let us pray for these two very different segments of believers. They do not mix well and find it difficult to communicate. May the Lord give us humility so we can accept and value each other.
In China a wedding gift is expected to be in cash and from ten percent to half of a month's salary. In smaller cities anything less than 500 RMB would be considered "cheap". If one is invited by a relative, 2000 RMB is the minimum gift one should give. For young people with many friends and a small salary, attending weddings can be very costly. We pray for all the believing families who are having weddings this year. May the Lord bless them with joy, love, and patience toward each other. We pray especially for those whose are marrying unbelieving spouses that the Lord will give the believer persistence in attending church, staying in fellowship with the Lord, and continuing to be a godly influence in the home.
The government estimates that there are 600,000 residents of Beijing over the age of eighteen who battle depression. Due to a lack of information, it is difficult to get medical treatment or receive counseling for this problem and every year 287,000 people in China die of suicide and two million more attempt to kill themselves. Let us pray for believers who suffer from depression or have a family member with this illness. We beseech the Lord to comfort and deliver those who are disappointed, desperate or even seeking to end their misery.
Taiwan is expecting that there will be only 160,000 births there this year. Doctors think that couples will avoid having a child in the Year of the Tiger. They say that the mentality of young people has changed dramatically and they would rather own a house than have a child. In Taipei enrollment in elementary schools is seeing a steady decline. We take this time to pray for all the Sunday school children in all Chinese churches. Many churches do not have enough children to have an effective or meaningful program and those churches have difficulty attracting young families. We pray that church leaders will realize the need to emphasize and give resources to children's ministry.
Obstetricians in Taiwan say that some pregnant women choose to have an ultrasound early in pregnancy and will then opt for an abortion if they find a small but correctable heart defect. It is common for couples to have an abortion for even such a common problem as a cleft lip and palate. We pray for peace and joy for all believing couples who are planning to have a child, that they will know that God will give them the very best, whether it is a boy or a girl. We remember, too all the families with a handicapped (whether physical or mental or behavioral) child and ask the Lord to give them an extra measure of patience and tenderness with the child.