The recent typhoon brought the worst flooding in half a century to Southern Taiwan and ravaged many villages. Historically, the people in the villages in Taiwan are predominately Buddhist and they have been "hard soil" and very resistant to the gospel and church work. The people in the churches of Taiwan are not slow in going to help the needy but Christian efforts are easily dwarfed and overshadowed by Buddhist relief workers. Let us pray for the Christians in Taiwan that they will not be discouraged but will continue to be light and salt all over the island, especially in the rural regions.
To commemorate the 2008 Olympics, August 8th will also be delcared as a "National Fitness Day" and all public sports facilities will be free on that day. A year ago, Beijing mobilized 1.7 million young volunteers to staff five hundred information stations throughout the city for the Olympics. This year Beijing formally incorporated the spirit of volunteerism in the curriculum of all the schools from grade one through high school. Although historically the churches in China have been reluctant to be involved in social matters, since the Sichuan earthquake Christians have been more visible in social work and many churches have also had an attitude shift in community involvement. We thank the Lord for this change. May the Lord continue to cause believers to be more mature and churches to be more bold in showing the compassion of Christ.
Many young people have graduated from seminary training in China but many of them are not clear about the true meaning of sacrificial service, or they are not so gifted or able to serve as those who worked in the churches in the past, and the drop-out rate is alarmingly high. There are those who say the quality of today's students is not so good as that of those in the years past. However, we know that God can use all who are humble and weak and so we keep praying for those who are being trained now. May the Lord give them wisdom, integrity, humility, and passion for His flock.
Ten million students took the college entrance examination competing for six million spots this year. Nearly all of them were born after 1990. Every year the Chinese essay portion of the exam draws lots of interest because it reflects the interests and experiences of the students. In Tianjin they were given the topic, "What Post-Ninety Means to Me". In Beijing the subject was, "I Have a Pair of Invisible Wings", a lyric from a pop song. We pray for campus ministries through out China this fall, as this new generation of young people enter colleges. May the Lord give us abundant harvest, a revival among young believers and more workers to reach out to the incoming college students.
There are three hundred so-called clinics or centers in China offering Internet-addiction treatment which includes medications, confinement,or electro-shock as well as training with physical force. Recently a death at one of these clinics has exposed a great concern for the safety of the methods of treatment used there. The addiction of many teens to the Internet/computer game is a huge headache for many Chinese parents. Let us pray along with those Christian fathers and mothers who are struggling with their children' behavioral problems as well as the poor quality of their parent-child relationship, another common problem in China.
Some urban churches try to rent adjoining units in commercial buildings as places for worship in China but this is deemed illegal in there so this has become a point of contention and confrontation between churches and local officials. Let us pray for churches struggling with the issue of obtaining a "legal location" and "legal identity" in order to expand their ministry. For many congregations, this is a long process and we pray for the building up of core team members as well as finding a consensus for the direction for each church.
In the churches of China it is very easy to find radical teachings, especially in rural areas. Some say that Jesus' coming is imminent and must stop doing everything now. Others place great emphasis on defeating the work of Satan or claim they have special supernatural powers. It is sad to see naive sheep led astray by the false prophets and teachers. When the government clamps down on these groups, they believe they have been singled out and persecuted. Let us pray that these lambs/sheep will come to rest in the true fold of Jesus.