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February 11, 2001
Forty-eight years ago today, February 11, 1953, my family entered New York City's harbor by ship as immigrants from Sweden. I still remember seeing the Statue of Liberty for the first time. I was eight years old. My adventure in America was about to begin.
Yesterday, Advocates' Board met to review our first decade and plan for the next. There was an air of excitement, enthusiasm and thanksgiving as we reflected on the breadth and depth of our small ministry with its global mission of promoting religious freedom, reconciliation and the integration of faith and vocation. The enclosed "team roster" shares how we network through Board and staff relationships with those addressing our mission. We optimize our impact and minimize the expense.
Today I am en route to Albania, Bulgaria, Portugal, Spain, Greece and Austria to meet our colleagues. Traveling with me is Ambassador Slavi Pachovski, whom I met on my first visit to Bulgaria in 1991. At the time he was a law professor at Sofia University. During 1992-97, he served as the Un Ambassador from Bulgaria. Today Slavi serves as Advocates' full-time Liaison to the UN diplomatic community. Here is the trip itinerary:
* Albania: Address a workshop on a proposed law on religion. Twenty years ago, the mere possession of a Bible in Albania meant a ten-year prison term. Today, Albania has perhaps the most level playing field of any Balkan nation.
* Bulgaria: Address our Rule of Law Institute that has 110 Christian lawyer members active in a dozen major law projects, including a new law on religion.
* Portugal: Meet with our lawyers engaged in religious liberty and related matters, including a new law on religion under consideration in the Parliament..
* Spain: Meet with our lawyers engaged in religious liberty and related matters.
* Greece: Meet with our lawyers engaged in religious liberty and related matters.
* Austria: Meetings with UN diplomats on a Declaration on Restorative Justice pursued by Prison Fellowship International with the assistance of Ambassador Pachovski.
I thank God for an unbelievable adventure since I first saw the Statue of Liberty. Your prayers are greatly appreciated and your support is definitely needed as we continue...
Living in His-Story,
Samuel E. Ericsson,
President & CEO
A Tribute to Karen Sue Lord
November 10, 1967 -January 29, 2001
In January 1993, Karen joined Advocates International as our first Staff Counsel. A Wheaton College grad, she had just received her Juris Doctor from Washington School of Law at American University. At the time, Advocates was too small to support even one full-time lawyer, so to make ends meet, Karen and I practiced immigration law. I often referred to our firm as "Lord, Ericsson, & Lord." Karen's passion from the beginning was to be an advocate for those who suffered because of their faith.
In 1995, Karen became Counsel for Freedom of Religion at the Helsinki Commission, serving the U.S. Congress as the first counsel with that title. She was a unique diplomat: an ambassador for Christ as well as her nation and cause. On January 29, 2001, after a four-year battle with colon cancer, Karen's Chief Client and her Savior, called her home. She was 33.
My reflections on this remarkable advocate is that Karen was:
Singer, guitarist and flautist
Eager to serve
Loved life fully
Opened closed minds
Reached the persecuted
Delighted in her Lord and Savior
Karen is the only lawyer that I know who spent her entire career --- from the beginning to the finish --- helping the persecuted. The memorial service on February 3 was a celebration of life. Karen's life energized her colleagues in the battle against evil and for justice and compassion. Her legacy is for time and eternity.
Although the globe was her mission-field, her advocacy on behalf of human rights and religious liberty in Central Asia was closest to Karen's heart. Gifts "in memory of Karen Lord" may be given to INTERDEV, P.O. Box 3883, Seattle, WA, 98124-3883 and will be applied to help the persecuted in Central Asia.
by Samuel E. Ericsson