Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Prayer Request 5/11 - 5/17

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.

近年中國婚禮賀金越漲越高,往往花掉普通人月薪的一成甚至五成。在一、二線城巿,人民幣五百元是起價,若是親屬,基本數目是兩千元;賀金多少已變成感情的量化標準。年輕人積蓄少、社交圈子大、又愛面子,使得這「份子錢」由心意的表達,變成了沉重的負擔。我們為今年家中有嫁娶的信徒禱告,願神賜福給新人,在基督裡建立和諧、包容、恩愛的家庭。我們也記念配偶仍未信主的肢體,求主堅定他們虔誠的心志,對配偶有正面的影 響力。
台灣出生率持續下降,婦產科醫師擔心因傳統上對虎寶寶的忌諱,今年虎年的出生數預估將跌至十六萬。年輕人「寧要房子不要孩子」,受少子化影響,台北市國小新生入學人數,亦逐年下降。我們為華人教會的兒童事工禱告,因無足夠孩童來組織建全、有效的兒童主日學,教會在兒童事工上出現缺口,也較難牧養年輕家庭。我們禱告教會領袖能體貼主的心意,注重兒童事工並投入更多資 源。

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