The hottest TV series in China right now is "Dwelling Narrowness" which speaks about life in the big city. It is not Prada shoes and gossip with girlfriends but it depicts working young people who are trying to make ends meet while living in extremely tiny quarters that make them feel like a snail in its shell. Working in cities means paying exorbitant rent. In the Chinese church it is difficult to find young couples and we ask the Lord to raise up more of them to serve in the churches. May He make them a revitalizing force through their friendship and fellowship in small groups as they become co-workers in their churches and may He protect their marriages. We take this time to pray for all the young urban believers.
People think that the consumers in large Chinese cities are more likely to spend money but people in the "second tiered" cities are even bigger buyers collectively. As the government shifts the investment program into the central six provinces, businessmen are directing their focus to meeting the appetite of the vast ?previously untapped consumer market. Churches in central China have not received so much attention recently as they did in the past. We remember particularly the Christians and churches in Hunan, Hubei, and Jiangxi provinces. They all share a similar problem--they lack shepherds for the churches and have believers who have not really been discipled in depth. We pray, too, for the seminaries in these provinces that graduate a total of 2000 to 3000 students a year which is not enough to replace those who retire from ministry.
A recent survey shows that seven out of ten men in China would not marry a female secretary. Back in 2003 the Sichuan governments forbid male leaders to have female secretaries. Unfortunately, the term "female secretary" has been understood to be the boss's mistress who caters to his every need. This is merely the tip of the iceberg concerning moral corruption in modern China, especially in the workplace. Let us pray for the guarding of the hearts of believers whether employer or employee. We also pray for divine wisdom for all Christians who face ethical dilemmas in their business and work.
In the past the favorite TV series in China were historical dramas but now shows? portraying problems in social and family relationships are grabbing huge audiences. Shows like "Dwelling Narrowness", "House", "Wedding Dress", "Living for a Face" probe deeply into facets of family ties in today's urban lives. They resonate and cause viewers to identify with them. ?Preaching? in church must be Biblical and applicable to real life. We pray for the powerful delivery of God's Word in all of the churches in China. We pray, too, that the pastors make applications that encourage believers to live out God's principles in a crooked world and show God's love even in times of very difficult family conflicts.
Churches in China have generally taken one of two different paths in terms of evangelism. Churches that fervently preach the gospel have seen much fruit. Other churches are overly conscious about security, cautious in their ministry and will share Jesus with only the people they know well. It is clear that the latter group of churches is in decline. Many temples and folk religions have sprung up in China which is a testimony to the emptiness the men' s hearts and the great window of opportunity which the Christian churches have missed. May the Lord open our eyes to the hugely vast harvest field and the cry of lost souls.
It is humorously said that an average Chinese needs to apply for eighty permits (cards) in his/her lifetime before the final death certificate. In comparison, an American need to apply for only one social security number for his/her whole life. It is hard to prove that one is a Christian other than by one's lifestyle and testimony. There are many who quietly care for the homeless, the poor, the orphans and show by their kind deeds the proof of their Christian identity. We praise God for them and may the Lord raise up even more people like them who become "a little Jesus" in this totally money-crazed society.
Domestic violence occurs in both urban and rural setting, but because of traditional mindset, spouse abuse is much more prevalent among the 800 million residents in the countryside. Violence causing severe injuries and even death are quite common. Churches are not deaf or blind to the plight and suffering of domestic violence, but churches often turn their back on the victims because the lack of training and resources. Let us pray that more believers will extend their hands to help those who badly need love of Jesus Christ.