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At the annual National Party Congress session, the premier of China offered a "modest olive branch" to Taiwan without a tone of hostility. It signaled the support of the leadership in China for a series of economic measures that negotiators from Beijing and Taipei are already discussing. Beijing will also implement a huge fiscal stimulus package to achieve an 8% growth in the GDP. The global economic crisis is affecting the church and giving for missions so that much of the mission and outreach efforts will most likely be scaled back this year. Let us pray for all those who are missionaries in China and depend on faithful giving from outside. May the Lord free us from anxiety and help all of us to fix our eyes on Him.
Many of the farmers who went to the cities to work are laid off now, but they have no more land to cultivate when they return home. Some of them have leased the land to factories, some have sold them to the local government. Living in a village without works or land and living off saving present a bleak prospect for many. Let us pray for rural churches so they will have wisdom in how to minister to these ever increasing number of unemployed congregation.
Are today's Chinese children the loneliest people on earth? Their parents are the product of the "one-child policy." These children not only do not have siblings but they also do not have cousins. For 90% of the young generation, the cell phone is their best friend. China churches face a huge task in reaching out to the young people who know little about "sacrifice and sharing." The sole aim of many parents is to please their only child. Let us pray for wisdom for the Christian parents and for their resolve to raise their only child for God.
Over half of the population of China lives in the countryside and nearly ten percent of them are illiterate. Although there is a basic availability of schooling for nine years, there is a lack of both qualified teachers and resources so only 4.3 percent have a high school education and 86.2 percent have a grade school or junior high education. Poor education will continue to hurt the rural churches in China in many ways, particularly in the quality of the workers and their teaching of believers. Let us lift up all those who serve in the rural churches. May the Lord add to their strength, lift them from despair, and reward them with fruit for their faithful services.
Although there are nine years of free education readily available in the countryside in China, its quality is shockingly poor. Many students drop out, especially girls, because their families are so poor and many farmers still feel that education is useless. Unfortunately many rural Christians and even preachers still play down the need for correct Biblical interpretation and application. Faith is often based on sentimentalism as well as "signs and wonders". Let us pray for a hunger for the Word of God and an ability to defend the faith from the savage attacks of cults.
AIDS is now the number one killer infection in China with about one death per hour. Unsafe sex is now the leading cause of the spread of HIV/AIDS. Since millions of farm laborers left home to work in the cities, the attitude toward sex has changed remarkably and prostitution and premarital sex are very common. We all need to flee form sexual temptations. Let us pray for guarding of the hearts of all believers, especially those who are away from home working or on business trips.
China recently reported a huge surplus of foreign exchange which implies that she as a market is still attractive to foreign investors. This month China made world news by acquiring substantial natural resources abroad with huge investment and unprecedented terms of purchases. Many will ask if China still needs our prayers. The answer is obvious! The nation is strong but the people will perish without Jesus. Let us affirm the call to pray for China's churches and her millions of believers, many of whom are struggling spiritually and financially.