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The success of the epic movie "Red Cliff" both in critical acclaim and in box office was a milestone for a Chinese movie. It is the most expensive Asian-financed film to date and movie producers can stop worrying so much about not being profitable because of the illegal pirated DVD's. It also proved that Mainland Chinese are changing, more affluent and willing to pay for movie tickets. The idea of churches in China still needing foreign support whether financial or teachers is being challenged, too. Many projects, mission and training programs are now paid for and conducted by Chinese nationals themselves. We praise God for the maturing of the growing churches in China. Still many churches remain small and weak. Let us pray that more Chinese-initiated projects will benefit these small churches.
It is true that many have received Bible training in the past, as there was a massive effort to equip as many workers possible. There is still a vast need for church workers with adequate training. Many have observed that the new crop of students are not as dedicated as those of the past and the burn-out rate of the newly graduated are high. We are committed to continue to pray for the training of workers especially among the urban churches. We pray for more qualified, high caliber young people who will answer the call to be shepherd and are willing to serve the Lord wholeheartedly.
Singapore has become the training ground for China Party officials. These management programs, offered jointly by local universities, are rigorous and such a "Singaporean experience" is essential for a future promotion. Singapore is also the training ground for many young Chinese pastors who will return to serve in their churches, both Three-Self and house churches. We pray for their learning and how the Lord will use them as they return to bless their congregations.
There are millions of factory girls in China; they came from villages to work in the factories in cities, big or small. Away from home, with little education and low self-esteem and with no social support, most think that life is summed up by the idea of "to die poor is a sin." We thank the Lord for ministries reaching out to factory girls. For some, lives have been changed completely and others have even received training to share Jesus with others. We remember all the factory girls who have come to know Jesus and we pray for their spiritual growth.
Although churches in China do not have denominations officially; in fact, denominations exist and those of different theological grounds would not accept each other. Some are even outright "hostile" toward one another. China's churches are now divided into camps: the Charismatic, Fundamentalist, Reformed and the Baptist. We sincerely pray for the ministries and work of all the different denominational backgrounds. May the Lord grant us all a heart to see that others are stronger than us; a heart of humility for all believers, rather than an expanding of their own turf.
China has expressed concern if the U.S. plans to skip the 2010 Shanghai World Expo because of the financial crisis. American participation cannot count on government funding and is solely dependent on private and corporate sponsors. With the economy in the downturn, many believers are holding off in giving to church. We pray for spiritual maturation and great faith of all Chinese believers, in what God can do for them and for their church.
The economic gap between urban and rural China continues to widen. City dwellers now make 3.36 times more than farmers (about 10,000 yuan a year). The government suggests that raising the food price can increase farmers' income. Among the rural churches, believers' giving continues to be low and lack of faith in giving seriously affects the growth of rural church. Believers constantly think that only outside help can help them. Let us pray that this self-pitying attitude will cease and that believers will be willing to step up boldly in serving God with what they have.