TuesdayThe gulf between the haves and have-nots in Hong Kong is among the world’s widest. Expatriate business people are at the very top, while the domestic servants from Southeast Asia are at the bottom. Churches in Hong Kong became deeply divided over the recent political demonstrations. We pray for unity of believers, safeguarding of His churches, respecting and loving one another. May the Lord give us maturity, rather than resenting or hateful against each other.
Domestic servants, called helpers cannot apply for permanent residency in Hong Kong. They are subject to a special pay scale, about two-thirds less than Hong Kong’s minimum wage of $3.87 an hour. If dismissed, they have fourteen days to leave the country. We pray for some local churches and groups of believers who reach out to foreign workers in Hong Kong and Taiwan. There are churches that allow foreign workers to use their facilities and people who share the Gospel of Jesus with them, especially those from Muslim countries.
Admittedly, traditional Chinese religions have had a great deal of influence on the development of Christianity in China. Many older people regard Christianity as merely another sect. During the 1980's when the rural churches grew quickly, many were led and organized in a team fashion similar to the way Buddhist and Taoist religions were. It is always difficult for churches in China to reach older people because they follow traditional religions and are physically limited from traveling to other places. We pray that believers will intentionally reach out to the seniors around them showing them the love of God and leading them to salvation in Jesus Christ.
In both Anhui and Henan where the people are not impoverish but have lower educational standards than other places in China, rural churches organized and led in team fashion are very common. We pray that every leader in the churches in China will have a shepherd's heart along with the attitude of a servant so they will not merely desire to be respected but will have humility and the fragrance of our Lord Jesus Christ in their lives.
The educational system in China is known and criticized for its overemphasis on the mere regurgitation of facts as well as the fierce competition it causes. Families with means enroll their children in extra/cram classes to get them ahead since there is so much competition even beginning in elementary school. We pray especially for parents whose children are not academically strong that the Lord will open their eyes to see how precious their children are and then will have faith to trust God's great plan for their children.
Some of the key churches in major cities of China have run into a bottleneck in expanding their ministry. They have grown into congregations of hundreds and even thousands of people which has forced them to move from renting an apartment to renting an entire floor of an office building to accommodate the crowds at the Sunday services. We praise God for adding numbers of saved people to these congregations and enlarging their churches and ask the Lord to give them the space they need and that they will find favor in the eyes of local officials who constantly monitor large church gatherings.
Many churches in China know neither where nor how to begin a youth ministry. Some of the church leaders appreciate the need to reach out and minister to young people but the traditional form of worship they use makes it difficult to attract the youth. These churches often emphasize Bible knowledge and the teachings in it without making practical life applications. We pray that churches will truly accept youth and their culture by making changes in some of the age-old traditions and even more by being an example of faith for these young people.