August 2008

August 2008

Dear Friend,

Why spend time and resources training lawyers from 111 nations to promote religious freedom, reconciliation and ethics within their countries and regions? (See enclosed list.)

STUNNED: In 1991, a few months after beginning the journey that has become Advocates International, I had dinner with an evangelist from India who worked with hundreds of Indian pastors. I told him that my goal was to encourage Christian lawyers globally to put their law degrees to work for Christ and the Church. I asked him whether this would resonate with pastors and lawyers in India. I'll never forget his response: "Sam, one lawyer can have a greater impact on India than 100,000 preachers preaching sermons every Sunday for a year!"

I was stunned! He explained: "If a lawyer wins a major case in India's Supreme Court it can benefit every pastor, every church and every believer in India. Likewise, if a lawyer crafts legislation that promotes religious freedom, all believers benefit. Sermons don't do that."

OPPORTUNITIES: Since that 1991 dinner, I have seen the truth of his statement borne out time and again as a few lawyers working together - or even solo - have had a great impact. The upcoming Global Convocation will enable many of the world's best advocates to network and be encouraged and equipped to serve Christ and the Church. Consider these opportunities where your investment can bear great fruit in a nation for a generation:

29 FROM CHINA: On a recent trip to Asia, I met several Chinese pastors and lawyers. I spoke on "Finding Harmony among Competing Interests" and provided a 220-page syllabus with sample letters, briefs and other tools. We discussed the importance of the rule of law and the practical application of the Golden Rule in China. These colleagues do not want to poke their government in the eye. They're committed to bearing witness to Jesus for the betterment of China and the Chinese people. As a result, we have 29 Chinese delegates who want to come = one delegate for every 45 million Chinese citizens! We've committed $1,000 for every delegate to the Convocation, including the Chinese. Pray for their visas and safe journeys.

21 FROM INDIA: After our 3rd Convocation in 2000, Dr. Richard Howell, the Director of the Evangelical Fellowship of India, returned home and launched the Christian Lawyers Association of India. Today CLA of India has 500+ members active in helping India's 30+ million believers as they face the worst persecution in over 60 years. Seven states have introduced "anti-conversion laws" that would make it a serious crime to encourage any conversion! We have invited 21 advocates (one delegate for every 50 million Indians) including two justices.

7 FROM NEPAL : Last month, Nepal's 239-year monarchy ended. An elected Parliament, with the Maoist Party in control, chose its government. Hinduism has been the official religion in Nepal for centuries and conversion to Christianity was viewed as a capital crime. Seven Nepalese - including the first-ever Christian woman lawyer - will come in October. They pay their own $2,300 air fare + $495 Convocation Fee.

100+ FROM ASIA: In addition to the above, the Lord willing, we will see delegates from 20 other Asian nations: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Burma, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mongolia, North Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.

50 NATIONS WHERE ISLAM PRESENTS LEGAL CHALLENGES: One of the great challenges facing lawyers globally, especially in Africa, Asia and Europe, is how to best respond to those in Islam whose views of religious freedom would place restrictions on believers of other faiths. The Convocation will have delegates from about 50 nations where this is an issue that needs to be addressed at the national, regional and global levels.

100 FROM 30 AFRICAN NATIONS: Among 30 African nations sending delegates, we have our first-ever representatives from Algeria (perhaps their only Christian woman lawyer), Morocco, Cameroon (a female justice), CentralAfricaRepublic, Chad, Gambia, Guinea, Libya, Mali and Niger. The hurdles for many African colleagues will be getting visas and the $1,800 - $2,500 round-trip air fare. We're trying to build a fund for a few 50% travel scholarships plus $1,000 per delegate.

100 FROM 25 EUROPEAN NATIONS: Among 25 European nations sending delegates, are the first-ever from Georgia, Moldova, Monaco and Montenegro, joining colleagues from Albania, Armenia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Kosovo, Macedonia, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine and the UK. This will be Advocates Europe's largest-ever participation of nations.

16 FROM AUSTRALIA: Even though the air fare from Australia is about $3,300 round trip - plus their $495 Convocation fee - we will have 16 lawyers from Australia at the Convocation up from only one in 2004. The Aussies get the award for the largest growth percentage since 2004 and the steepest air fare! Our prayer is that they will return home praising God!

75 FROM CANADA: The Christian Legal Fellowship of Canada cancelled their annual conference in order to join the Convocation. Their Executive Director, Ruth Ross, chairs the 16-member Global Council Convocation Steering Committee. She will also lead the workshops on the challenges facing us in family and marriage (see program).

LATIN AMERICA = 100%: Our hope is to see Latin America send delegates from every nation within their region - a first for any continent - while...

Living in His-Story,
Sam Ericsson

P.S. The Convocation is only seven weeks away. Your help is needed now so that delegates can book their flights. Thank you for your prayers and support!