Anticipating millions of layoffs from bloated state-owned coal and steel companies, Chinese authorities are diverting these laid-off or soon-to-be-unemployed workers into jobs in farming, forestry and public services. We pray for believers who have been laid off or suffered bankruptcy and must start a new career in middle life, that the Lord will have mercy on them so they will experience God's miraculous provision.
Retraining unemployed miners and steelworkers to work in other sectors may keep unemployment rates under check, such jobs generally pay less, and could mean a step down in quality of living, reduced spending power and potentially increased dissatisfaction in life. There are many unemployed people or those who have retired early in every church in China. These people are still young and able to serve. We pray that pastors and leaders in the churches will have the vision of mobilizing these people, discipling them, and help them to serve.
Workers laid off from inefficient state-owned coal and steel firms in China, will join those unemployed from other struggling sectors like textiles and apparel industries which are already shedding an estimated 400,000 employees a year. Most unemployed people really do not have many skills so they resort to selling goods on roadsides for ten or fifteen dollars a day. We pray churches will have compassion and not look down on believers who are unemployed but will help them with their family and financial needs.
Currently, the number of unemployed in China is about 130 million, about 10% of the population. The problem is particularly serious in the industrial northern Chinese cities where 80% of state-owned enterprises have shut down. Most of the people who are laid off are over forty and some have been through the horrendous Cultural Revolution. Generally their education and ability to learn new skills are low. We pray that churches will be compassionate about the spiritual growth of the unemployed rather than ignoring them.
Changing professions is not easy for millions of Chinese miners, the options available to these workers are lower-paying jobs in work in sanitation or logging, usually only about a third of their pay as miners who earn about 463 USD monthly. Unemployed people are poor and often disappointed, and perhaps more receptive to the gospel. We pray that many churches seek out and share the Gospel with them, showing genuine interest to help them, not merely sharing Jesus with the white-collared.
In China, caring for one’s elderly parents remains an important responsibility for children. For preachers and pastors, who are often struggling on a limited income, the added task of caring for their aging parents can be particularly challenging. We pray in particular for preachers and church-workers who bear the responsibility of caring for their elderly parents on a minimal income, that the Lord will give them effectiveness in serving, andability to serve their church without financial worries.
Some pastors in China have found the pressure of caring for elderly parents is so immense they have resorted to leaving their churches. Many pastors in China, especially those who have elderly parents are hesitant to preach about filial piety in the pulpit. We pray for believers who shoulder the heavy responsibility of caring for their elderly parents that the Lord will give them an extra measure of faith, tenderness, and patience and that they will have joy in doing what pleases the Lord every day.