Volunteerism gained a new status and recognition in China following the earthquake. Millions saw how others went to disaster areas and served without reimbursement. That is a visible shift of the mentality on the streets which says, "What is in it for me?" It is hard to know whether this shift in thinking will be permanent or not but interest in religions has increased. Let us pray that Christianity will not remain a minority belief religion and Christians will not be marginalized in society in the coming decade.
The earthquake has become a watershed event for Chinese society. The Central government has been able to reclaim its legitimacy and role as a caretaker of the people. Undoubtedly the Communist leaders showed their connection to the people. The government allowed Christians volunteers to help in the rescue efforts to identify themselves and display Christian sayings, such as "Jesus loves you". Let us pray that the relationship between the government and churches, especially house churches, will be improved.
In Chengdu hospitals, immediately following the earthquake in Sichuan, Christians quickly came and volunteered to help. Although it was unplanned and had little coordination, this was the first time believers from all parts of China were mobilized. Since Chinese Christians have long been regarded as invisible, we thank the Lord for this open door to help. May all the Christian churches be more active and prominent in their communities to serve and proclaim God's love boldly.
The concept of missions is taking root in churches in China. Many of them are now forming short-term mission teams to go to other parts of the country. Many urban Christians have but little idea of the poverty and misery found in rural areas. Numerous people will go on these trips this summer. As young Christians see how privileged and comfortable their lives are, we pray the Lord will open their eyes to see the suffering of others and even move them to share God's love by giving their lives to work for Him.
About sixty-seven percent of the people in China live in villages and many of them dream of being in cities instead. Because there are about thirty million "ming-gong"(rural migrant workers) in every large city rural churches are declining in membership.We definitely need to pray for the leaders of rural churches that they will find new ways to minister to their "ex-flock" who are now working in the cities. We need workers and vision to reach these "ming-gong" families, especially the believers.
Some churches in China are involved in the movement to take the gospel to Muslim countries, especially those in the Middle East. We are thankful for this increased awareness of missions but we need to pray for the millions of Chinese Muslims (often restaurant workers and street vendors) who live in the cities in China.Even more importantly, we must confront and confess our own deep and unspoken ethnic pride, fear, and ambivalence toward these Muslim neighbors.
More and more young people are going to church in urban areas in China and this leads to a need for someone to minister to those who are single, and especially to those who want to marry but have no Christian prospects. These churches have a pressing need for someone to do premarital counseling along with ministry to singles. We lift up those who are doing the training and the counselors themselves. Many church workers are single ladies and we pray specifically for their wellbeing and strength.