Category Archive: COVID-19

  1. Pestilence Confronted: “Bring them here to me…”

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    Pestilence Confronted: “Bring them here to me…”   Matthew 14:13-21
    Recently my wife Emily and I took a vacation road trip of over 2,000 miles driving from our home in Arizona to Minnesota. It took 3 full days and it gave us a chance to see how people in other cities were living during Covid. We were surprised to see that hotels and restaurants were quite empty and even the highways were fairly easy to navigate with little traffic.
    I noticed that most people were comfortable speaking about Covid and its impact on their lives. Clearly they are tired of the Covid routine and the changes it has brought. It all seems to resemble a bad movie that you paid to see but now you want to leave early and cannot. There is no way out, you must stay until the end. What is next and when will it end? No one seems to know. Now what?
    Jesus’ miracles speak to his unusual power over circumstances. Once when he had been healing the people and teaching them all day, evening came they had no food to give the people. What to do? Send them away to a nearby village to get food? They only had five loaves of bread and two fish and there were over 5,000 people. But Jesus said no!
    “They need not go away, you give them something to eat.
    “Bring them (bread and fish) here to me.”
    And the entire crowd was fed with much left over.
    The simple lesson for us: When faced with God-sized and unsolvable problems in life and ministry, bring them all to Jesus.
    Blessings,
    Jim Firnstahl

    Global Prayer Points

    As we seek to see our marketplace transformed by the Gospel, join us in prayer this week for the following requests from our Global Leadership.
    Africa: Pray for the growth of CBMC in Africa, even during these challenging days.
    Asia/Pacific: Pray that the virus will not continue especially in India, Bangladesh and Indonesia. Pray for the translation of Operation Timothy to Khmer, the language of Cambodia.
    Europe: Pray that our work will bear fruit and bring many business leaders to Christ. Specific prayer requests can be sent to [email protected]
    Latin America: Pray for protection and healing of CBMC families and team members who are in Brazil and Mexico, continued ‘hot spots’ of the pandemic.
    North America: Pray for establishing an e-CBMC (next generation) in North America Korean CBMC. Pray that Christian leaders would take the challenge to lead other leaders who need Jesus.
    If you have a prayer request, please send an email to CBMC International.
  2. Pestilence Confronted: ” A sower went out to sow his seed…”

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    Pestilence Confronted: “A sower went out to sow his seed….”

    In CBMC, we prepare ourselves to be able to “sow the seed” in the marketplace, at our place of business, where we are (normally!) everyday. Yet, at this time of the Covid virus when schedules and lives are so different, there are opportunities before us everyday to sow the “word of God.” People are losing hope and they are open to a humble and caring approach. Just this past week I was approached by a “homeless” man who asked me for help. I met his need and then asked him if I could pray for him. He was desperate and lost in life for sure. I prayed about God loving him and his need to seek God and His kingdom first, and he thanked me. Another day I took an Uber and had a chance to talk with the driver. He was a black American guy and we talked about faith and Covid and the current civil unrest. When I asked him (David) if I might contact him for coffee to continue our conversation, he said yes and gave me his personal phone number. 

    After Jesus told the crowd the parable of the “sower” his disciples asked him what it meant and he said: 

    “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’  (Luke 8:3-14)

    My dear CBMC friends, you and I have the greatest secret known to humankind: the “word of God.” God has empowered us to share it so it can impact the lives of others and lead them to Christ. In this time of anxiety, concern and loss of hope you and I have the very words of hope and life and truth. I pray each of us would do the simple thing and sow these seeds in faith and in good soil as we go. And then be prepared to disciple someone too!

    Blessings,
    Jim Firnstahl

    Global Prayer Points

    As we seek to see our marketplace transformed by the Gospel, join us in prayer this week for the following requests from our Global Leadership. 

    Africa: Pray for God’s intervention as we fight this virus globally. Pray for God’s protection and preservation of the health of all CBMC members across the world. Pray for the growth of CBMC in Africa, even during these challenging days.

    Asia/Pacific: Pray that the virus will not continue especially in India, Bangladesh and Indonesia. Pray for Malaysia to have a righteous government, political stability, economic recovery and racial harmony.

    Europe: Pray that our work will bear fruit and bring many business leaders to Christ. Specific prayer requests can be sent to [email protected]

    Latin America: Pray for protection and healing of CBMC families and team members who are in Brazil and Mexico, continued ‘hot spots’ of the pandemic.

    North America: Pray for establishing an e-CBMC (next generation) in North America Korean CBMC. Pray that Christian leaders would take the challenge to lead other leaders who need Jesus.

    If you have a prayer request, please send an email to CBMC International.

  3. Pestilence Confronted: “…Be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”

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    Pestilence Confronted: “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”  Matthew 10:16

    We should not be surprised that people all around us are acting oddly and becoming more unsettled and anxious. The Covid virus has upset most things and brought uncertainty about the future. This can be quite troubling to people because they find meaning and purpose from the world, its comforts and routines. They count on them, they strive for them and they put their faith and trust in them. Clearly their faith in these things has now been shaken by the Covid pestilence. In contrast, Christ-followers put their faith and trust in God and His unshakable kingdom. 

    When Jesus sent out his apostles to tell the people “the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 10) he said he was sending them out as “sheep among wolves” and therefore they should be careful to be “wise as serpents and innocent (gentile) as doves.” Jesus knew the hearts and intentions of men and women, and warned his apostles they would be persecuted for speaking about Jesus and the gospel. St. Paul called them a “crooked and twisted generation” and warned the Philippians to:

    “Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.” (Philippians 2:14-16)

    This holy wisdom is fully applicable today as we try to be ministers and ambassadors of Christ in the marketplace, in a world filled with confusion and pestilence.

    Blessings,
    Jim Firnstahl

    Global Prayer Points

    As we seek to see our marketplace transformed by the Gospel, join us in prayer this week for the following requests from our Global Leadership. 

    Africa: Pray for God’s intervention as we fight this virus globally. Pray for God’s protection and preservation of the health of all CBMC members across the world. Pray for the growth of CBMC in Africa, even during these challenging days.

    Asia/Pacific: Pray that the virus will not continue especially in India, Bangladesh and Indonesia. Pray for Malaysia to have a righteous government, political stability, economic recovery and racial harmony.

    Europe: Pray that our work will bear fruit and bring many business leaders to Christ. Specific prayer requests can be sent to [email protected]

    Latin America: Pray for protection and healing of CBMC families and team members who are in Brazil and Mexico, continued ‘hot spots’ of the pandemic.

    North America: Pray for establishing an e-CBMC (next generation) in North America Korean CBMC. Pray that Christian leaders would take the challenge to lead other leaders who need Jesus.

    If you have a prayer request, please send an email to CBMC International.

  4. Pestilence Confronted: “…I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses…”

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    Pestilence Confronted: “…I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses…” 

    The Covid virus is one of those things in life that makes us feel weak and powerless to act, to change the status quo. We adjust our lives to fit the new requirements and routines but it never seems to feel normal. It is almost as if the virus is in charge of our lives. We resent it and want to take back control. We want to do more, do better but we are told to stay in and stay put. We don’t like this sense of weakness. These are not the kind of circumstances that lead us to rejoice or boast about our lives. 

    Or are they? 

    In his letter to the Corinthians (2 Corinthians:11-12), St. Paul recounts the many hardships he suffered in the course of his ministry as an Apostle of Jesus Christ. In a strange kind of retelling he boasts not of victories in the flesh but of hardships and demonstrations of his extreme limitations and “weakness.” Why should he boast of his weaknesses? Isn’t weakness a liability, something to be avoided?  

    Paul goes on to tell us that he was even “harassed” by a messenger of Satan as a “thorn in the flesh.” Instead of lamenting his situation or worse giving up on God who allowed such things, he comes to understand that such things were “to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations” (given to him while in the Spirit).  God answers his prayers by telling him “that my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Isn’t it just like God to make our weaknesses the gateway to his power? 

    May grace and peace be multiplied to you.  

    Blessings,
    Jim Firnstahl

    Global Prayer Points

    As we seek to see our marketplace transformed by the Gospel, join us in prayer this week for the following requests from our Global Leadership. 

    Africa: Pray for God’s intervention as we fight this virus globally. Pray for God’s protection and preservation of the health of all CBMC members across the world. Pray for the growth of CBMC in Africa, even during these challenging days.

    Asia/Pacific: Pray that the virus will not continue especially in India, Bangladesh and Indonesia. Pray for Malaysia to have a righteous government, political stability, economic recovery and racial harmony. Hong Kong: please pray for peace and for our CBMC brothers and sisters who are working through challenges.

    Europe: Pray that our work will bear fruit and bring many business leaders to Christ. Specific prayer requests can be sent to [email protected]

    Latin America: Pray for protection and healing of CBMC families and team members who are in Brazil and Mexico, ‘hot spots’ of the pandemic.

    North America: Pray for establishing an e-CBMC (next generation) in North America Korean CBMC. Pray that Christian leaders would take the challenge to lead other leaders who need Jesus.

    If you have a prayer request, please send an email to CBMC International.

  5. Pestilence Confronted: Jars of Clay

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    Pestilence Confronted: “Jars of Clay…”

    This week at our CBMC team meeting one of our members shared how he was experiencing some “anxious times” and going through difficulties that were not related to the Covid 19 virus.  

    This really struck me as true to life. We do not need a “virus” to be troubled  by life’s problems or anxious about something, including suffering from poor health. Life is always fragile and unpredictable. As the Apostle Paul framed it, “we have this treasure [gospel, grace, salvation] in jars of clay” (2 Corinthians 4:7). Like a jar of clay we are breakable and continually aware that “the surpassing power belongs to God.” We are in reality, simply “jars of clay.” Once again the Holy Scriptures prove themselves to be timeless in application and perfect in speaking to the true issues of life.  

    In our team meeting we agreed that whatever time we have to live and in whatever circumstances we find ourselves, our task is to stay focused on the will of God for us. And we know part of God’s will for us is to be “witnesses” of Jesus, his Gospel and the kingdom of heaven. Another team member asked us to turn to Peter’s letter where we read this teaching: 

    “Humble yourselves, therefore under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7).

    It does bring much comfort to know that God cares for you and me in the midst of any and all circumstances and suffering. 

    Blessings,
    Jim Firnstahl

    Global Prayer Points

    As we seek to see our marketplace transformed by the Gospel, join us in prayer this week for the following requests from our Global Leadership. 

    Africa: Pray for God’s intervention as we fight this virus globally. Pray for God’s protection and preservation of the health of all CBMC members across the world. Pray for the growth of CBMC in Africa, even during these challenging days.

    Asia/Pacific: Pray that the virus will not continue especially in India, Bangladesh and Indonesia. Pray for Malaysia to have a righteous government, political stability, economic recovery and racial harmony. Hong Kong: please pray for peace and for our CBMC brothers and sisters who are working through the challenges in the days ahead. 

    Europe: Pray that our work will bear fruit and bring many business leaders to Christ. Specific prayer requests can be sent to [email protected]

    Latin America: Pray for protection and healing of CBMC families and team members who are in Brazil and Mexico, ‘hot spots’ of the pandemic.

    North America: Pray for establishing an e-CBMC (next generation) in North America Korean CBMC. Pray that Christian leaders would take the challenge to lead other leaders who need Jesus. 

    If you have a prayer request, please send an email to CBMC International.

  6. Pestilence Confronted: He (God) Gives Power to the Faint…

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    Pestilence Confronted: “He (God) gives power to the faint…”  (Isaiah 40:29)

    There seems to be no end to this virus. It came upon us without warning and now it will not go away. No government or earthly power can make it disappear. It is as if we are trapped. We wait for a vaccine and news that the number of new cases is slowing; some of us are hopeful but many are fateful about it too. The uncertainty and disruption is causing people to be edgy and frightened, civil unrest seems on the rise. There is even news of isolated national, regional and global conflicts. We seem to be powerless. When will it end?

    The prophet (God’s spokesperson) Isaiah had much to say to the people of his day; because they also had sickness, uncertainty and conflict. I think for the Christ-follower, the real question must be: Is God shaken by this virus? Isaiah wrote in Isaiah 40:15, 17-18:

    “Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket,
    and are accounted as the dust on the scales;
    behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust.”  

    “All the nations are as nothing before him,
    they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness.
    To whom then will you liken God,
    or what likeness compare with him?”

    It is quite clear to Isaiah that our God cannot be shaken by any earthly pestilence, war or economic dislocation. God remains God no matter the earthly circumstances. And those who “wait for the Lord shall renew their strength…they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31).

    For me, daily prayer for this “strength” is imperative in these days of pestilence…

    Global Prayer Points

    As we seek to see our marketplace transformed by the Gospel, join us in prayer this week for the following requests from our Global Leadership.
    Africa: Pray for God’s intervention as we fight this virus globally. Pray for God’s protection and preservation of the health of all CBMC members across the world. Pray for the growth of CBMC in Africa, even during these challenging days.
    Asia/Pacific: Pray that the virus will not continue especially in India, Bangladesh and Indonesia. Pray for Malaysia to have a righteous government, political stability, economic recovery and racial harmony. Hong Kong: please pray for peace and God’s intervention.
    Europe: Pray for our coaches and friends who help the business people and their peers in these crisis times. Specific prayer requests can be sent to [email protected]
    Latin America: Pray for protection and healing of CBMC families and team members who are in Mexico, Argentina, Peru and Brazil, ‘hot spots’ of the pandemic.
    North America: Pray for establishing an e-CBMC (next generation) in North America Korean CBMC. Pray that Christian leaders would take the challenge to lead other leaders who need Jesus.
    If you have a prayer request, please send an email to CBMC International.
  7. Pestilence Confronted: Always Pray and Don’t Give Up

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    Pestilence Confronted: “Jesus told his disciples a parable to show that they should always pray and not give up.”   Luke 18:1

    Recently I heard a story about a survivor of the Covid 19 virus. The survivor, an older man, was intent on finding and thanking the nurse who kept him alive both physically and mentally. It seems the man was receiving treatment in a hospital which could not allow his family to visit. Desperately sick and without his family at his side, the only voices of comfort he heard during his struggle to survive were from his caregivers. The man remembered one nurse in particular whose kind and encouraging words meant everything to him. She told him: “do not give-up.” These words were so powerful that the man attributed his survival and recovery to this nurse and these simple encouraging words. He eventually found the women and was able to express his thanks to her for helping to save his life. 

    Jesus knew that the church (the community of Christ-followers) would experience many temptations, hardships and even persecution before the coming of the kingdom of God (Jesus return). He told this parable (Luke 18:1-8) to demonstrate that persistent prayer to God will be heard and honored; even more so than the unrighteous judge who gave in to the constant requests of the widow. The Covid 19 virus has caused much anxiety, suffering and death. It is not over. This condition may continue until a vaccine is developed and widely available. So don’t give up! 

    Be persistent like the widow and “let your requests be known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:4-6).

    Global Prayer Points

    As we seek to see our marketplace transformed by the Gospel, join us in prayer this week for the following requests from our Global Leadership. 

    Africa: Pray for God’s intervention as we fight this virus globally. Pray for God’s protection and preservation of the health of all CBMC members across the world. Pray for the growth of CBMC in Africa, even during these challenging days.

    Asia/Pacific: Pray that the virus will not continue especially in India, Bangladesh and Indonesia. Pray for Malaysia to have a righteous government, political stability, economic recovery and racial harmony. Hong Kong: please pray for peace and God’s intervention. 

    Europe: Pray for our coaches and friends who help the business people and their peers in these crisis times. Specific prayer requests can be sent to [email protected]

    Latin America: Pray for protection and healing of CBMC families and team members who are in Mexico, Argentina, Perus and Brazil, ‘hot spots’ of the pandemic.

    North America: Pray for establishing an e-CBMC (next generation) in North America Korean CBMC. Pray that Christian leaders would take the challenge to lead other leaders who need Jesus. 

    If you have a prayer request, please send an email to CBMC International.

  8. Pestilence Confronted: Seeking Peace in the Midst of Turmoil

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    Pestilence Confronted: Seeking Peace in the Midst of Turmoil

    The world has much to offer by way of sensual pleasures and rich opportunities.  This is its great charm but also its basis of temptation.  A further deception is clearly seen in its lack of the most basic virtuous things like fairness, justice, equality and most clearly sustained peace.  The Covid 19 Virus has highlighted the weaknesses of our world systems, pushed many people and their governments to the limits of their abilities and stirred up anxiety everywhere.  One wonders if we can survive this Covid period without a major regional or global conflict: the peace is strained as the pestilence drags on.  

    In the mid-20th century, another time of great economic and political turmoil, it was necessary for Christians to define their predicament and recommit themselves to the timeless truths of Jesus and the Scriptures: “Through him [Jesus) befalls us a joyful deliverance from the godless fetters of this world for a free, grateful service to his creatures.”  This was the Barmen Declaration (1934) of the “confessing church” defining its role in contrast to the German Government Reich Church.  Today Christ-followers must again keep clear their calling and purpose — to love God and neighbor and not this world (I John 2:15).  If I do not condone the sensuous and evil ways of the world then I am free to limit my participation to those activities so that I can be the “salt” and “light” Jesus needs me to be (Matthew 5:13-16).  

    So where does peace come from in all of this? In his final soliloquy, Jesus told his disciples, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27).  Jesus, the Savior of the world, the son of God almighty, the one with God in the beginning, the ultimate ruler over the nations of the world, the one coming again to judge and establish his kingdom, is my peace.  

    Blessings,
    Jim

    Global Prayer Points

    As we seek to see our marketplace transformed by the Gospel, join us in prayer this week for the following requests from our Global Leadership. 

    Africa: Continue to pray for the Southern and East Africa Resilience Fund (SEARF) being developed by CBMC Business Leaders. Pray that God would bring trustworthy financial partners interested in the well-being of these small business owners. We will be sharing a Crowdfunding link soon, if you want to participate.

    Asia/Pacific: Pray that a cure will be provided for the Virus and heal our economy and rebuild our broken relationships. Give us wisdom and help us be more effective to share the Gospel and disciple others during these challenging days. Hong Kong: Please pray for the peace and democracy of Hong Kong.

    Europe: Pray for our coaches and friends who help the business people and their peers in these crisis times. Specific prayer requests can be sent to [email protected]

    Latin America: Pray for protection and healing of CBMC families and team members who are in Mexico, Argentina, Peru and Brazil, ‘hot spots’ of the pandemic.

    North America: Pray for establishing an e-CBMC (next generation) in North America Korean CBMC. Pray that Christian leaders would take the challenge to lead other leaders who need Jesus.

    If you have a prayer request, please send an email to CBMC International.

  9. Pestilence Confronted: Proclaiming The Kingdom Of God

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    Pestilence Confronted: Paul the Apostle “welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God..” Acts 28:30-31

    Last week Emily and I traveled by airline for the first time since February. I went to see my elderly mother who lives in an assisted living home in Minneapolis. Yes Minneapolis is the very city where George Floyd, an infamous man was made famous worldwide because he was brutally mistreated and died at the hands of police. As you can imagine, the mood there was somber and tense; one had the impression that healing is going to take much more time. The travel experience was also dismal since the airlines, hotels and restaurants all have a very low level of service at this time.

    As moved about the city I began thinking about my personal responsibility as Christ’s representative, His ambassador there in such a troubled place. I happened to reread St. Paul’s adventure and trials as he was escorted to Rome (Acts 27-28). He faced great danger by storm and shipwreck and many threats to his life. Yet he kept his focus on his life’s mission and witnessed to all around him. I was encouraged and challenged by this account in Acts. It reminded me that I am to see myself as presently in the world, but at the same time “I do not love the world or the things in the world” (I John 1:15-17). This clearly means that I do not agree with most things in the world, they are foreign to me. My calling is not so much to fix the things of the world but to bring the peace, grace and truth of Christ to bear upon it. Like St. Paul, I can do and be that kind of witness even in the most severe circumstances.

    Blessings,
    Jim Firnstahl

    Global Prayer Points

    As we seek to see our marketplace transformed by the Gospel, join us in prayer this week for the following requests from our Global Leadership. 

    Africa: Continue to pray for the Southern and East Africa Resilience Fund being developed by CBMC Business Leaders. Pray that God would bring trustworthy financial partners interested in the well-being of these small business owners. 

    Asia/Pacific: Use this season to strengthen CBMC members as ambassadors of Christ to love the people He put around us in the marketplace. APAC Saturday Prayer Meeting to be a model to CBMC teams in Asia/Pacific nations to start online meetings for prayer and encouragement during this pandemic. Hong Kong: Please pray for the peace and democracy of Hong Kong. 

    Europe: Pray for our coaches and friends who help the business people and their peers in these crisis times. Specific prayer requests can be sent to [email protected]

    Latin America: Pray for protection and healing of CBMC families and team members who are in Mexico and Brazil, ‘hot spots’ of the pandemic.

    North America: Pray for establishing an e-CBMC (next generation) in North America Korean CBMC. Pray that Christian leaders would take the challenge to lead other leaders who need Jesus. 

    If you have a prayer request, please send an email to CBMC International.

  10. Pestilence Confronted: Blessed Are The Peacemakers

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    Pestilence Confronted: “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God.” Matthew 5:9

    Tensions rise as anxious moments increase, as life and routines are continually disrupted. A common refrain has become: “when are things going to get back to normal?” The “virus” has killed thousands, unemployed millions, strained relationships and devastated our businesses. It is all very real, and it is only going away slowly, if at all. Our collective patience is stretched and strained: single local incidents can blow up into national ones. Look how a terrible police incident in Minneapolis has inflamed 40+ American cities in demonstrations and violence.

    Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 5-7) is considered the greatest moral treatise ever written. Its preamble is a collection of “blessings” or beatitudes in which Jesus teaches the attributes of the truly virtuous from a heavenly perspective. One of these attributes strikes me as perfectly suited to our turbulent times: “blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). In his letter to the Galatians, Paul lists “peace” as of one of the nine fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). Clearly, those of us empowered as “ministers of a new covenant” (2 Corinthians 5:6,9), the “ministry of righteousness” and “reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18-19), must bring peace until Jesus returns in glory. Like other trials and troubles, the virus tests our steadfastness in faith in many ways. May those who desire to be “called sons of God” find words and ways to calm the conflict brought on by the virus.

    Blessings,
    Jim Firnstahl

    Global Prayer Points

    As we seek to see our marketplace transformed by the Gospel, join us in prayer this week for the following requests from our Global Leadership. 

    AFRICA: Continue to pray for the Southern and East Africa Resilience Fund being developed by CBMC Business Leaders. Pray that God would bring trustworthy financial partners interested in the well-being of these small business owners. 

    ASIA/PACIFIC:  May all CBMC members be sustained with wisdom and grace from the Lord supporting each other in love. Please pray for a cure for the virus and heal our economy. May the Lord bring a quick and miraculous end to the darkness in our world. Hong Kong: Please pray for the peace and democracy of Hong Kong.

    EUROPE: Pray for establishing a V-CBMC (Vision CBMC) of next generation for Europe Korean CBMC. Specific prayer requests can be sent to [email protected]

    LATIN AMERICA: Pray for protection and healing of CBMC families and team members who are in Mexico and Brazil, ‘hot spots’ of the pandemic.

    NORTH AMERICA: Pray for establishing an e-CBMC (next generation) in North America Korean CBMC. Pray that Christian leaders would take the challenge to lead other leaders who need Jesus. 

    If you have a prayer request, please send an email to CBMC International.