A Group of Special Believers: Rural Migrant Workers

A migrant worker
A migrant worker
By Mu FengFebruary 5th, 2021

As the Chinese New Year is coming, rural migrant workers have returned home one after another. For some people, the busyness of the year may only rest during the holidays. The lives of migrant workers are not comfortable. Of course, it's not easy in all walks of life, mainly because there is no diploma. They can only rely on hard work to earn money to support their families. They are worth our attention.

Perhaps everyone's burden is different. Probably because we are born in different environments and times, the challenges will not be the same. As for migrant workers, I often pay attention to those who work on construction sites or factories. Because I was born in the countryside and my father also worked on construction sites, I understood such migrant workers. According to my observation, most of the rural workers work in factories or on construction sites. Few migrant workers join other large enterprises or set up shops as owners.

The lives of rural migrant workers are not comfortable. There are strict requirements for work on construction sites or in factories. Site workers are relatively free because commonly, their salary is calculated per day. If possible, they can take time off to attend church meetings. And to the workers in the factory, the requirements will be relatively stricter. If they frequently ask for leave, there will be a risk of deducting wages. It is not easy for Christians to juggle their time between work and meeting.

In recent years, however, things have changed for the better. Some of the brothers and sisters in the church have opened factories, provided jobs for many migrant workers who are also believers, and arranged their Sunday meetings properly. Because migrant workers also need to be strengthened and herded in faith, some churches have ministry work for the working group. Although rural migrant workers' mobility is relatively large, spending time feeding with them is necessary. Because it enables them to face the Christian mentality in any position, protects their lives from corrosion and temptation of the world. 

Rural migrant workers may sound like the most insignificant group of people in society. Still, they also go out to work for their families, for their children, and their livelihood. They often can not take care of their parents to fulfill filial piety. They cannot accompany their children in their growth for a long time because life's reality makes them go out to work. The environment they live in determines their choices, and the family situations they choose their options too. So, as Christians, we should pay more attention to them and try to understand their lives.

As the Chinese New year approaches, I also understand that many churches have specially prepared gatherings for migrant workers. Invited them to share their mental journey and talk about their faith views. It is a good calling, and it is also a concern and pastoral care for such a community.

As Christians, we should look at them from the right perspective. We often tend to be biased against rural migrant workers, thinking that they are just a group of people who do not study well and do not pursue. Not necessarily. All people have their difficulties. But in terms of faith, Christians should do more to help them, communicate with them more, and help them know the society and the world through faith principles.

Why do rural workers need the church's attention and care? I know some young post-90s migrant workers. Before they went out to work, they often have the habit of meeting worship at home, and they have no bad habits in their personal life. However, after they worked outside for several years, they sometimes didn't even go back during the Spring Festival. With the lack of faith for a long time, they may gradually lose the habit of faith life and become infected by the bad social atmosphere and develop some bad habits like smoking, visiting bars or KTV frequently, and rascal appearance.

All in all, rural migrant workers have different jobs, different pursuits, and different lifestyles. However, no matter who they are, they should uphold the principles of faith and maintain their faith and good habits after becoming Christians. They should not follow the secular values and drift with the tide.

Of course, the church cannot ignore such a group because they are also loved by God, eager to be redeemed, guided by faith, and live as Christians should be. 

- Translated by Nicolas Cao 

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