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Advocates Asia 2011 Conference Report!
August 25 through 27 were especially blessed days for those of us who attended the eleventh annual Advocates Asia (“AA”) conference in Seoul, Korea. Christian advocates from 21 countries throughout Asia (and a few other countries) met, worshipped, shared and learned together. The conference theme of “Liberty to the Captives,” was especially poignant as we met only miles away from North Korea, where tens of thousands of our Christian brothers and sisters are being systematically worked, starved and tortured to death in “death camps” which we learned were more hellish than we could ever have imagined. We heard an appalling report from Cheol-Hwan Kang, a Christian newspaper reporter from Seoul who is one of only a few persons to escape North Korea and from such a prison camp alive. Another highlight was the comprehensive discussion of ways in which we might support and protect Christians in Muslim Countries in which persecution of Christians has been so prevalent.
Still another highlight of our AA conference were country reports from the participants. This year’s reports were as enthralling and disturbing as ever. Advocates from (among other countries) Nepal, Bangladesh, Mongolia, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, Korea, Russia, Singapore and several Central Asian countries reported on what God is doing. One of our most active country groups is the Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (“CLAAS”) in Pakistan, a country in which the Barnabas Fund just announced that an estimated 700 young Pakistani Christian girls annually are kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam and marry their captors. Our CLAAS lawyers had an especially challenging year during which two senior Pakistani officials (the governor of the largest Pakistani state and the only non-Muslim cabinet member) were assassinated for their support for a presidential pardon for one of CLAAS’s clients who was accused of blaspheming Mohammed and threatened with a sentence of death.
The thing most of us may remember best is the beyond-the-call-of-duty hospitality provided by our hosts, the Hallelujah Church and Advocates Korea. More than 70 students, professors and recent graduates from Handong International Law School (“HILS”) attended the conference and about 30 of them served as volunteer helpers and/or worship team leaders. Dean Eric Enlow made this possible by postponing the school’s semester for a week. What a blessing!
Our host country also provided some of the finest speakers AA has ever had, including Korea’s former Minister of Justice and the current Chief Justice of Korea’s Supreme Court—the former president of Advocates Korea.
Among others at the conference were visitors from the United States and Europe. If you are interested in an eye-opening, horizon-broadening and potentially life-changing experience, plan on joining us for our twelfth annual AA conference in Singapore or Indonesia next year.
Min Choon Lee Tim Klenk
Chairman of Advocates Asia AI Board Member