Shenyang in a Word: Worry

Editor’s note: This year, we are praying for cities across China. In February, we are praying for Shenyang. With a population of more than 8 million, Shenyang is the largest city in northeastern China, and an important industrial center for the whole country. To help us pray, a group of pastors shares some of their observations about Shenyang’s people and culture, and speak about some of the changes they have seen in recent years.

This is the second of a two-part interview. Responses have been edited and slightly rearranged for clarity and length.


Gospel Ministry and Needs

China Partnership: What is different about doing gospel ministry in Shenyang now versus five years ago?

Yuan Yi: The church is related to the infrastructure and the population in the city as a whole. Our church has grown slightly over the last five years, just as the city population has grown a little. Now, we have several dozen formal church members. Five years ago, around the time our church began to establish membership, China began to experience more persecution. The environment for the church as a whole has gotten worse. Covid-19 lasted for about three years. I have experienced that, although the number of people in the church has not grown by a whole lot, the people in the church have gotten a deeper understanding of the church.

If you used one word to describe people, I think that word is worry. They are so insecure. People worry about themselves, their future, their career, their health. They worry about their children.

Last year, we were released from the Covid-Zero protocols. When that happened, we started to invite more people to church to listen to the gospel. We also started to put more effort into praying for people to receive the gospel.

CP: What are the needs of your neighbors in Shenyang?

Lan Kangxi: The competition is so severe. Especially for couples who are raising their children, you can’t believe how much effort these couples put in to raise their child. If the children go to public school, then they have so much homework. Besides school homework, parents also take their kids to all kinds of training programs. And they are still worried their children won’t succeed! Even adults who are middle class, with a good career and income, are very busy. They greatly fear their children won’t be as successful as they are.

If you used one word to describe people, I think that word is worry. They are so insecure. People worry about themselves, their future, their career, their health. They worry about their children. It’s ironic, because you see many parents who pour out their lives into their children. But you also see many parents who give their children to the grandparents, because they spend so much time on their career.

One way we can help is to challenge people, including Christians: do not worry. If we could live a life of not worrying, it would be a great blessing.

How to Pray

CP: How we can we be praying for Shenyang and for Christians in Shenyang?


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Yuan Yi: Pray for my dad. He is in his 80s, and believed in God some years ago. His memory is getting worse and worse. I have a few years left to accompany him, so please pray for him. I want to learn more about taking care of the older generation in the church. Recently, we had a funeral for an older believer who passed away. Now, there are more and more older people in the city. Pray for our church to learn how to look after the older generation.

Besides that, I hope that pastors in Shenyang can pray together more often. I hope we can have more time to be together and make connections. In our church, we hope for more brothers to rise up to serve and lead.

The last thing is that Shenyang has a special situation. Several years ago, there was a serious situation in the Three Self church here. The two biggest places were shut down, so many believers who used to attend the Three Self now have nowhere to go. Several have come to my church, and I can tell they have not really understood the gospel. Right now this is our biggest burden. We hope we can use more programs or other means to help those who think they are believers really understand the gospel.

One way we can help is to challenge people, including Christians: do not worry. If we could live a life of not worrying, it would be a great blessing.

Bai Jun: For people in Shenyang, the government-owned system is like a world. If you live in that world, you are legal. If you are out of it, people see you as an idiot. That is why believers in the Three Self church see the system as legal and reasonable. If you leave that, you will be seen as aliens. They don’t understand the gospel very well. Their lives and faith are two separate things. It is very normal that what the preacher preaches from the pulpit is not related to the believers’ actual needs.

I hope you can pray for the church environment in Shenyang. The church wants to revive believers’ spiritual lives through the pulpit, which is good. But we don’t put much focus on church government. We hope you can pray for us to commit to both preaching and building the church.

Han Liang: I really appreciate that you can pray for us. I know how important prayer is. The spiritual attack is very real in this city. It is a very dark city: we not only fight humans, we fight the dark world. Prayerfulness is important. I don’t know about other churches, but our church’s prayer life is not good. I realize prayer is very weak in church and life. I’m so appreciative that you pray for us.

Our church already has church government, but we lack workers. Pray for God to raise up church leaders. This year I am trying to train up men and women hoping that, in the future, they can become workers in the church.

Next, pray for me to grow in godliness and knowledge. I need wisdom in how to pastor a church; sometimes it is so complicated. Also pray for my family. I want to lead my family and my children to read the Bible, pray together, and talk with them. I hope we can have family worship together every week.

I really appreciate that you can pray for us. I know how important prayer is. The spiritual attack is very real in this city.

Lan Kangxi: Please pray for my family. We have one child who is a preschooler; pray for us to know how to raise this child wisely and biblically. Pray for my wife and I to have stable and healthy emotions, and not to explode so easily when challenged.

Also pray for families in my church. We have several families, and we are all very busy, especially those with busy careers. Pray for them to have time to seek the Lord, and to commit more time to build their families and to help and serve other singles. We hope to build up the families in my church so they can build and serve others. The families are the stable part in a church because usually, when you get married and have children, you stay instead of moving to other cities. They are also not so old, and can still take care of others.

I also pray we can start to have more channels to reach out and share the gospel with others.


Yuan Yi, Han Liang, Bai Jun, and Lan Kangxi are pseudonyms for Chinese pastors who live in Shenyang.

Pray for the church in Shenyang to be firmly built. Pray for Christians to entrust their worries to God.

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LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA

With rising pressure and persecution in China, there are two challenges imperative for church leaders. The first challenge is for current leaders to love Christ above all else, and not to stray into legalism or love of the world. The second challenge is to raise up the next generation of leaders, who will humbly model Jesus even if current leaders are arrested.

WILL YOU JOIN US IN PRAYING FOR LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA? PRAY FOR:

  1. Current leaders to grow in their daily walks with Christ
  2. Current leaders to shepherd and raise up new leaders
  3. New leaders who love Christ and will model him to the world
  4. New leaders to love and care for the church

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ABOUT LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

About Shenyang

Shenyang is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Liaoning Province. It is known for its rich history and cultural heritage, including the Shenyang Imperial Palace, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Shenyang is also a hub for China’s heavy industry, with companies such as the China First Automobile Group and the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation having their headquarters in the city.

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Qingdao is a city located in eastern China and is famous for its beaches, beer, and seafood. The city is home to several landmarks, including the Zhanqiao Pier and the Badaguan Scenic Area. Qingdao is also a major port and has a thriving economy, with industries such as electronics, petrochemicals, and machinery.

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About Xiamen

Xiamen is a city located in southeastern China and is a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful coastal scenery, including Gulangyu Island, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city is also a hub for China’s high-tech industry, with companies such as Huawei and ZTE having research and development centers in Xiamen.

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About Chongqing

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About Nanjing

Nanjing is a city located in eastern China and is the capital of Jiangsu Province. It is one of China’s ancient capitals and has a rich cultural history, including the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum, the Nanjing City Wall, and the Confucius Temple. Nanjing is also a modern city with a thriving economy and is home to several universities, including Nanjing University and Southeast University.

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About Changchun

Changchun is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Jilin Province. It is known for its rich cultural heritage and is home to several historical landmarks such as the Puppet Emperor’s Palace and the Jingyuetan National Forest Park. Changchun is also a hub for China’s automotive industry, with several major automobile manufacturers having their headquarters in the city.

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About Guangzhou

Guangzhou, also known as Canton, is a city located in southern China and is the capital of Guangdong Province. It is one of the country’s largest and most prosperous cities, serving as a major transportation and trading hub for the region. Guangzhou is renowned for its modern architecture, including the Canton Tower and the Guangzhou Opera House, as well as its Cantonese cuisine, which is famous for its variety and bold flavors. The city also has a rich history, with landmarks such as the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall, the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, and the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees. Additionally, Guangzhou hosts the annual Canton Fair, the largest trade fair in China.

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About Kunming

Kunming is a city located in southwest China and is the capital of Yunnan Province. Known as the “City of Eternal Spring” for its mild climate, Kunming is a popular tourist destination due to its natural beauty and cultural diversity. The city is home to several scenic spots, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Stone Forest, Dian Lake, and the Western Hills. Kunming is also famous for its unique cuisine, which features a mix of Han, Yi, and Bai ethnic flavors. The city has a rich cultural history, with ancient temples and shrines like the Yuantong Temple and the Golden Temple, and it’s also a hub for Yunnan’s ethnic minority cultures, such as the Yi and Bai peoples.

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About Shenzhen

Shenzhen is a city located in southeastern China and is one of the country’s fastest-growing metropolises. The city is renowned for its thriving tech industry, with companies such as Huawei, Tencent, and DJI having their headquarters in Shenzhen. The city also has a vibrant cultural scene, with numerous museums, art galleries, and parks. Shenzhen is also known for its modern architecture, such as the Ping An Finance Center and the Shenzhen Bay Sports Center. Despite its modernization, Shenzhen also has a rich history and cultural heritage, with landmarks such as the Dapeng Fortress and the Chiwan Tin Hau Temple.

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About Chengdu

Chengdu is a city located in the southwestern region of China, and the capital of Sichuan province. It has a population of over 18 million people, and it is famous for its spicy Sichuan cuisine, laid-back lifestyle, and its cute and cuddly residents – the giant pandas. Chengdu is home to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, where visitors can observe these adorable creatures in their natural habitat. The city also boasts a rich cultural heritage, with numerous temples, museums, and historical sites scattered throughout its boundaries. Chengdu is a city of contrasts, with ancient traditions coexisting alongside modern developments, making it an intriguing and fascinating destination for visitors to China. 

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About Beijing

Beijing is the capital city of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of over 21 million people. The city has a rich history that spans over 3,000 years, and it has served as the capital of various dynasties throughout China’s history. Beijing is home to some of the most iconic landmarks in China, including the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven. The city is also a hub for political, cultural, and educational activities, with numerous universities and research institutions located within its boundaries. Beijing is renowned for its traditional architecture, rich cuisine, and vibrant cultural scene, making it a must-visit destination for travelers to China.

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About Shanghai

Shanghai is a vibrant and dynamic city located on the eastern coast of China. It is the largest city in China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of over 24 million people. Shanghai is a global financial hub and a major center for international trade, with a rich history and culture that spans over 1,000 years. The city is famous for its iconic skyline, which features towering skyscrapers such as the Oriental Pearl Tower and the Shanghai Tower. Shanghai is also home to a diverse culinary scene, world-class museums and art galleries, and numerous shopping districts. It is a city that is constantly evolving and reinventing itself, making it a fascinating destination for visitors from around the world.

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