A string of suicides of employees in a well-known mega company grabbed headlines in China. This company is no "sweat shop" operation but boasts of one of the best employee-benefit programs. However, hundreds of thousands of young workers live in an isolated urban "factory island" and work overtime, spending their few hours of free time in internet cafe, basketball courts, living a totally monotonous daily routine. We praise the Lord that people are expending much effort to reach the workers in these large urban factories. Some are from Christian families but have not attended church for a long time. We pray that more Christians and churches will reach out to this unique group of young laborers. We pray, too, that the Holy Spirit will turn the hearts of these straying sheep back to the Chief Shepherd.
There is a shortage of factory workers in China, especially in the coastal provinces. Many factories must raise their salaries in order to compete for the dwindling pool of young workers. Large factories offer bigger salaries. They also afford regular payment of the salaries, good benefits, overtime bonuses, and free housing which all provide an obviously distinct advantage in attracting workers. For the same reasons younger church workers desire to serve in urban churches where there are more people who are also better educated and more affluent. The smaller and rural churches have great difficulty attracting shepherds. We know that serving God's people is a calling rather than mere employment and we pray that the need for workers among the smaller and less affluent churches will be met.
As society has changed and the churches in China are much more diverse than in the past, many pastors fail to grasp the changes and still preach in ways that are not in sync with the real world. Many of the college-educated believers feel these sermons are not applicable or irrelevant, especially those on issues related to sex (divorce, co-habitation) morals, and work ethics. Many pastors feel inadequate when it comes to discussing issues they themselves do not understand so preaching becomes more or less the same every time and is detached from the daily lives of the people. We pray for powerful, fearless, and life-transforming preaching in every church which is not only Biblical but also applicable to the lives of the people.
Historically, the Chinese People's Liberation Army attracted many intellectuals to join its ranks back in its early days, at the beginning of the Republic, and in 1980. College graduates joining the military was, however, unheard of before. Today the minimal education for Chinese soldiers is a high school diploma. There are many faithful young people who have given their lives to God's work with a mere junior high education. Today we pray that more college graduates would answer God's call to serve as well as for wisdom for those who feel intimidated or inferior in sharing their faith because they have little education besides Bible training.
In 2009 more than 100,000 college graduates joined the Chinese army whereas back in 2001 the number of college grads who joined the army was 2000. This is a 60-fold change in the past decade and it gives the Chinese military a substantial transformation in the quality of its recruits and the command chain. We earnestly pray that the Spirit of God will move mightily in calling college graduates to be trained as preachers for the Chinese churches. Parents in China are unwilling to let their only child become "poor" church workers and "waste" their investment on the child. May the Lord change the hearts of Christian parents who have a son or daughter who wants to serve the Lord in His harvest field.
With the improving economy, 2010 college graduates in China can expect an average starting salary equal to that of 2008 (2036 yuan monthly). The beginning salary is much higher in Beijing and one with a PhD degree makes it twice as much as that of a college graduate. Let us pray especially for the young believers who are graduating from colleges this year that they will continue to walk closely with God and stay connected with local churches. Many Christian graduates are lost to follow-up and become so busy with their work, social life, and payments on an apartment that they feel they don't have time to go to church.
The term "city floaters" refers to college graduates who do not have office jobs and live in low-rent housing with no respect or possibility of advancement. They are often asked, "Why does a college grad do this kind of work?" followed by, "What a waste!" They also feel guilty that they are not able to support their parents financially after their parents spent so much on their college education. Being able to financially support parents is universally expected of Chinese children. We pray for parents who are believers and have children who have not turned out as they expected. May the Lord grant us the unconditional love of the Father and help us continue to pray for our children knowing God has a wonderful purpose for each one of them.
一家大型外資公司近日發生一連串員工墮樓悲劇，引起中國社會廣泛關注。該公司擁有七十萬員工，廠房猶如一個小巿鎮。員工在這「城市孤島」每天要工作十多小時，幾無休息時間，工餘只能到網吧、籃球場調劑一下，生活單調枯燥。感謝讚美主，有不 少信徒與教會正回應此族群的福音需要。求主感動更多信徒願意接觸這群 廣大的年輕勞工，也求神把一些原為基督教家庭的迷失小羊們，領回大牧者的羊圈。