The government reported that the major mode of transmission of HIV/AIDS is sexual. Homosexuality accounts for thirty-two percent of new cases and the reasons for this increase are a lack of the knowledge of how to prevent AIDS, no self-protection capabilities, and "rebellious and risky behavior" because of social discrimination. There is still much discrimination in the churches, too, so Chinese Christians generally consider AIDS a just punishment of God for "sinners". Lord, we pray that we will be more compassionate like our Savior and less judgmental. We also pray for those who suffer from AIDS and have accepted Jesus as their personal Savior.
In the churches in China there is often feuding among the leadership and even splits in the individual churches. In recent years people are fighting over denominational or theological differences and call each other unspiritual or heretics. They attack each other viciously, not unlike the "class clashes" of the Cultural Revolution. We praise the Lord that Chinese churches are re-discovering their denominational roots and identity, but we pray that believers will have the spirit of acceptance of others and a Kingdom perspective of "seeing others better than ourselves". We pray for genuine humility and true approval in Christ.
Every Chinese parent desires to give their only child a unique Chinese name; such a task will be "easier" soon. The government plans to release a 8,000-plus character dictionary, so all the surnames and given names must come from it. One problem is that many characters are consider obscure or are seldom used. Christian parents often find it difficult to raise children Biblically. Children quickly find church boring or stop attending. Relatively few churches have knowledgeable teachers to have an effective children's Sunday School. Let us pray for churches who have children's programs and that they would be effective. We remember all the parents who tell Bible stories themselves to their kids.
In every Chinese city, there are numerous roadside stands or hawkers. Historically, these mobile merchants are part of the society and tolerated by the officials. Today, many city officials are trying to clamp down on such business practices, but it has proven a difficult task. Farmers seeking work in cities and the urban unemployed resort to selling on roadside to make a living. We are told to remember the poor and dispossessed among us. Most churches intentionally welcome those middle-income or educated; let us pray for the believers who do not have a fixed income, are salaried or even unemployed.
In recent years, the number of homeless youth or children has steadily increased in all the larger cities. These children come from all provinces. Officials claim there are 1 to 1.5 million homeless children, and more than half of them are handicapped with a learning disability and have been abandoned by their parents. It is not uncommon for parents in interior China to ignore or even abandon their handicapped child. Let us pray especially for believers who have children with disabilities. May the Lord give them strength and the presence of the Lord to care for their "gift from God" and have the faith that God's blessing and grace is sufficient.
"McDull tribe" is the new term depicting the urban working young people who come from poor families and must earn every yuan themselves to buy a car or an apartment. Though they are poor, they are rich in spirit, just like the poor little piglet "McDull," a character in a popular Hong Kong cartoon series. We uplift every McDull believer in China. We pray that as they work hard to build their future, many of them will walk closely with their Master, growing daily through prayer and His Word. We also pray that churches will reach out to this group, born after 1980, who are known not only for being the "one-child generation" but also for being "self-centered."
Many of the "McDull Tribe" - young Chinese urban working people - find these lyrics of "Song of Mortal" comforting: "Working in big cities, it is frustrating to be helpless, but complaining only adds misery. The world isn