Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Prayer Request 7/2 - 7/8

Youth activism in Hong Kong has ebbed in recent years and legions of young supporters have been left bitterly disenchanted. Recently, however, the movement has been re-energized. Young people have shown up in masses to rally on the streets. Recently the churches there had to take a stand on social and political issues and stood for Biblical viewpoints. We pray that all believers will "act justly ... love mercy and ... walk humbly with (their) God." Malachi 6:8
Compared with older generations, young people in Hong Kong feel less affinity with mainland China and are more likely to see themselves as having a distinct Hong Kong identity. Young people protested against the imposition of patriotic educational curriculum in schools in 2012. Young Christians in Hong Kong today are much more vocal and involved in social issues than they were formerly. We pray that they are not only full of a sense of justice but also fervent in serving in their church. May the Lord use them mightily.
This is the political awakening of this generation’s political awakening, which has accelerated along with the erosion of the freedoms which have long set Hong Kong apart from the mainland, and as they have begun to fray, young people say they feel the threat more sharply. In the past, mainstream Chinese churches have often shunned political issues. Recently, churches in Taiwan and Hong Kong have been more involved in elections and the passage of laws. We pray that believers will be the light and salt of society and to glorify God in their workplace. 
Parents of young people whose children participated in political activism worry because they fear their children will be arrested and sentenced to jail. However, public anger grew when the chief official compared her harsh response to theirs and said that Christian parents and churches should discuss with their children how to live out their faith and be visible in our society. We pray that our young people will have the heart and mind of Daniel and his three friends. May the Lord remind us that we should always model our faith on theirs. 
Although Christians may face fear and ridicule, justice is one of the core teachings of the Bible. People of God must live an ethical life, and God holds us accountable when the needs of the oppressed are neglected, such as orphans, the poor, widows, and strangers. "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people." (Proverbs 14:34) Social justice is not only important but necessary! Let us continue to pray that Christians will not be marginalized but have influence in their society.
A nationwide campaign is underway in China to rename residential communities with foreign-sounding names. Officials in many cities are demanding name changes on the grounds that those names are “admiring foreigners” and lack cultural confidence. Although China claims to have religious liberty, Christianity, Catholicism, and Islam are regarded as foreign religions, with overseas influences and are closely monitored, unlike Taoism and Buddhism. We pray for God's mercy and unwavering faith in God for all believers in China.
Buildings with foreign names are also targeted in China. “Admiring the foreigners” is the chief reason. An official document claimed that these "grandiose, foreign, strange, weighty names" lack geographical significance, damage the national culture and hinder the people's lives and productivity. Many house churches meet in an office building, but local police have pressured their landlords to cancel their leases and threatened them with heavy fines. We pray for churches that must relocate or meet in smaller groups. May the Lord comfort them and give them the joy and boldness to continue meeting.

香港自2014「雨傘運動」中知名的領導者被判刑入獄後,公民運動亦有所減弱 。然而,近日港府因修訂逃犯條例,香港人再次走上街頭。求主掌管眾人的心,竭力尋求和睦,並「行公義、好憐憫、存謙卑的心與主同行。」 (彌六8).
政府正展開一場全中國范圍內打擊”洋地名”, 政府要求好些住宅小區修改名稱,理由是那些名字「崇洋媚外」,不夠「文化自信」。比如包括“凱撒豪庭”、“夏威夷海岸”和“維多利亞花園”等。說雖然中國宣稱有宗教自由,但基督教、天主教和伊斯蘭教卻被視為洋教,在其背後有海外勢力嫌疑,因而所受控制與道教和佛教完全不同。求主恩待祂的子民,在越艱難的日子更緊靠主,對神的信心堅定不動搖。
改名運動除了社區之外,建築物的命名也受到管制,「崇洋媚外」依然是一條主要原因。官方的文件稱,這些「大、洋、怪、重」等不規範地名,割斷了地名文脈,損害了民族文化,妨礙了人民群眾生活、生產活動。許多家庭教會租用辦公大樓聚會,近來宗教緊縮, 當局往往迫使房東取消租約,並以巨額罰款威脅。我們為必須遷移的教會或小組聚會祈求,願主安慰和開路,並賜他們喜樂和勇氣繼續敬拜讚美神。

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