TuesdayDespite apparent prosperity in China, there is a huge chasm between the rich and the poor and several hundred million people still live in poverty. These people live mainly in rural areas and especially in the arid regions of northwest China. Christians have benefitted from the economic boom as well as their frugal lifestyle and industriousness. We pray that the Lord will remind us that it is through His grace we enjoy the good lives we have and teach us that we should be His channel of blessing to others.
Unseen poverty is found alongside great wealth in cities of China--poor pensioners, the disabled, drug addicts, street children, and hordes of migrant workers live in slum areas in the suburbs of the big cities alongside the rich.Many churches in the cities of the East and in coastal provinces are very affluent. We pray these churches will be moved to support poor churches in the villages and become involved in reaching out to the poor in and near their cities.
Mission planners face the huge challenge in how to evangelize the over one hundred million ethnic minorities who live in the western half of China. Han Chinese are now allowed to travel to previously inaccessible exotic regions such as Tibet and Xinjiang. Many churches have little interest in reaching out to the minorities. We pray that God will remove the apathy, prejudices, and feeling of superiority which still exist among so many Han Chinese believers and help them to be grieved over the untold millions of lost souls.
Due to the poor and inadequate living conditions found in those areas, there are truly very few Han Chinese who are willing to live humbly among ethnic minorities. Christians in China often speak in hyperbole and express lofty goals but they are unwilling to fulfill them. We pray that more Christians will begin to care for these people and share the gospel with the ethnic minorities who live near them.
Many of the would-be missionaries from China who were planning to evangelize in Muslim countries in Central Asia and the Middle East have returned home. The key reasons for their failure to persevere are lack of adequate preparation and training as well as unrealistic goals. We lift up in prayer all those disappointed and disillusioned people and their sending churches. May the Lord comfort and renew them so they will not be bitter toward anyone but will continue to serve in their own churches.
The vision of ‘Back to Jerusalem’ in its many forms did provide a powerful cause to encourage churches to pray, and to train Chinese missionaries. However, there are still many formidable barriers for churches in China to realize the fruit of cross-cultural missions. Ethnocentrism and pride are major hindrances to missionary efforts. We pray that churches in China will humble themselves, be willing to learn the languages and culture of other countries, and above all, to humbly learn and partner with western churches.
Perhaps with proper training and practical on-the-field experience gained from working with Muslims, Tibetans or other minorities inside China, Chinese missionaries can be more effective and more adapt in sending out missionaries to other countries. We pray that more churches in China will preach about missions and prepare their young people for missionary work. May the Lord give young believers good models of dedication and service in the churches and may many of them be inspired to be missionaries.