The massive and tragic landslide in Shenzhen tells the dark side of the story of migrant workers in China who seek better lives in the cities. Often they become casualties in their pursuit of survival and hope for a brighter future. It is a fact that rural churches there are declining rapidly because of the exodus of young people. We pray for God's mercy for all rural believers that they will not lose faith but will redouble their efforts to teach youth to know and love the Lord from a very young age.
Guangdong Province, including Shenzhen, has for decades drawn its blue collar work force from migrants from villages and small towns in poor areas in China. Many of the victims in China's urban disasters were migrant workers. The large number of migrant workers in Guangdong presents new opportunities for ministry since they are generally poor and poorly-educated people. We pray for those churches that target migrants and their families that the Lord will bless them with much fruit.
Shenzhen has a population of more than eighteen million and more than eighty percent of them are migrants from the countryside who do not have local permanent residence permits. We pray for the physical and psychological needs of hundreds of millions of migrant workers in China as well as their poor relationships with their children since many of them are separated for long periods. May the Lord have mercy on on those who are believers.
Many restless Chinese teenagers from rural areas leave their homes to look for work elsewhere and as a consequence lose touch with their families or see them only rarely, such as during the Lunar New Year holiday. We pray specifically for young people who have grown up in rural churches but no longer practice their faith in the cities. May the Lord have mercy on them, answer their prayers, and bring them back into the fellowship of believers.
Although factory jobs are still easy to find in China, the cost of living has been rising steadily. Many workers are unable to return home even during the holidays because their employers owe them back wages. There have been numerous incidences of migrant workers protesting to demand reasonable and better working conditions. We pray for the improvement of their plight but we also pray that churches will treat God's servants (their pastors) better as well.
Many urban churches in China lack strong Biblical teaching so the believers do not know the truth well. These churches emphasize teachings on prayer and meditation and focus only on having a good personal relationship with Jesus. We pray for these churches that the Lord will grant them faith with a love, hunger, and thirst for His word so they will know how to discern the truths in the Bible.
Urban churches in China are small and loosely organized so believers meet as small groups. Many of the believers previously attended the Three-Self churches but they left and began meeting in homes and gradually became independent churches. This kind of church has no spiritual leader and no full-time workers to serve in it so it is in danger of becoming a club for believers. We pray that the emphasis will be on teaching God's word along with the preaching of the gospel, not merely fellowship.