China (MNN) — China’s economy is staggering into the New Year with a grim outlook. The Chinese government was hoping 2022 would see an economic boost of at least 5.5%. But according to Beijing’s latest numbers, the national economy only grew around 3%.
It’s no surprise given the negative economic and social impact of China’s “zero Covid” policies. Last month, the Chinese government lifted Covid restrictions. But only time will tell if the economy can make a comeback.
For now, Erik Burklin with China Partner says they are in touch with Chinese pastors and hearing encouraging reports as society re-opens.
“I think they’re just looking forward to a new fresh year. Many have said their churches are going back to normal again. Yes, many of them have been infected. But the good news is that by far, the majority, like 99%-plus are recovering very quickly,” Burklin says.
“I think there’s a sense of new hope and a sense of the future and that things will get back to normal. One pastor was saying, ‘We’re going back to face-to-face services!’ which they hadn’t been doing for months.
“Another leader told me that they are actually starting a new course at their seminary. They had like 30 new applicants that have applied to their seminary, so they’re very excited that people are kind of coming out of the shell a little bit.”
For the last two years, China Partner has utilized the virtual meeting platform, Zoom, to continue working with Chinese pastors for pastoral training and encouragement.
Burklin says, “But what’s fun is now they’re saying, ‘Please come back, please visit us. Thank you for praying for us so faithfully. We want to see you again. We miss you,’” says Burklin. “So that’s very endearing to us.”
Once travel to China re-opens, China Partner plans to visit the Chinese pastors they’ve trained and equipped for ministry for the last two years.
Following strict Covid policies and lockdowns, the Chinese people need the perspective of hope in Jesus Christ.
“Many people who’ve lost their jobs and have become depressed, this is where the Church can speak into that.”
You can support China Partner here as they equip pastors in China for critical Gospel ministry in the name of Jesus!
Also, Burklin asks, “Pray for faithfulness for the believers, especially the Christian leaders there — the church pastors and church leaders.
“Secondly, pray for protection, for this pandemic not to cause any more deaths. The Chinese, in general, are much more superstitious and very scared of dying. Again, it’s an opportunity for Christians to come alongside and say, ‘This is what you can experience in Christ. You don’t have to fear death.’
“Thirdly, [pray] that God would allow us as China Partner staff and friends to be able to travel back to China again in 2023. That would be a huge blessing if that could truly become reality again.”
Header photo courtesy of China Partner.