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“Anyone can count the seeds in an apple;
only God knows the apples in a seed.”
In 1981, 25 years ago this month, we moved to the Washington, DC, area to plant the flag for Christian Legal Society in our nation’s capital. My boss was Lynn Buzzard, the CLS Executive Director at the time. Today CLS and Advocates International share facilities in Springfield, Virginia. Once again, Lynn Buzzard is my boss, but now he chairs Advocates’ Board. He is also the founding Dean of Handong University International Law School in South Korea, Asia’s first and only law school with a Christian worldview. Handong’s students have taken the initiative in organizing a global student network. (See email enclosed.)
Fifteen years ago this month in 1991, Lynn and I visited Moscow. We landed in the Soviet capital the day the Persian Gulf War began. At the time, I was CLS Executive Director and Lynn was a law professor in North Carolina. Our experience in Russia changed our lives. Some months later, I began the Advocates International journey.
Recently I received an encouraging letter from a Vietnamese law student who attended our 1st International Law Students Conference at the 5th Advocates Asia Conference in November. His grammar was more poetic than good prose when he wrote “that it is you who found this movement.” The truth is that all I found was the truth in scattering seed. Only the Creator knows the potential in each and every seed.
There is no greater thrill than to see seed take root in the next generation energized to impact the world for Christ. This month’s focus is on three young lawyers living in Asia who are bearing good fruit. Peter attends law school in Hanoi, Vietnam. Carrie, a Fullbright Scholar and recent graduate of Handong Law School, is spearheading the global student movement. Her His-Stories of God’s miraculous provision in Singapore read like the Second Book of Acts. Lynn and I met the third, Baasankhuu, in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, in 1998. He was a 23-year-old law grad with a vision to mobilize the few Christian lawyers in Mongolia to help believers in a culture 99.9% non-Christian. The Rule of Law Institute’s one full-time lawyer staff is fruitful beyond measure.
Thank you for enabling us to plant seed and nurture the next generation, as we continue…
Living in His-Story,
Samuel E. Ericsson
Servant & CEO
REFLECTING ON THE PAST YEAR
“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24
We all had 365 days, 8760 hours and 525,600 minutes in 2005. Was there one day, hour or
minute in 2005 that stands out as a special blessing from God?
“I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done.
The Lord has chastened me severely,
but he has not given me over to death.” Psalm 118:17-18
In 2005, was there an event in your life that you feel was the Lord’s chastening?
“In the beginning was The Story, and The Story was with God,
and The Story was God. The Story was with God in the beginning.
Through him we received The Story; without him there is no Story.”
Paraphrase of John 1:1-2
“All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:16
What dynamics are triggered when Christ is viewed as The Author of His-Story?
“He who believes in the God of providence is prepared to see
His hand in all things which come to him.” E.M. Bounds
“For by him all things were created; things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether
thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is
before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:16-17
If Paul is speaking Truth in this passage, what impact should this have on our view of national and international affairs?
“A Christian is one who bets his life that Christ is right.” Elton Trueblood
Is Christ the fulcrum of your worldview on which everything else hinges?
“Since my youth, O God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.
Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next
generation, your might to all who are to come.” Psalm 71:17-18
An agenda for 2006: Share His-Story
“We must all preach the Gospel and on occasion use words.” St. Thomas Aquinas
Samuel E. Ericsson
ADVOCATES IN ACTION IN ASIA:
The Next Generation
--Three Letters of Encouragement--
Letter from a Vietnamese Law Student on Behalf of Three Law Students
from Hanoi Who Attended the 1st International Student Conference
at the 5th Advocates Asia Conference in Singapore in November 2005
Dear Sir Sam Ericsson,
I am a law student come from Viet Nam (Hanoi ).
From the bottom of my heart, I would love to express my gratitude for the opportunity of joining with my brothers and sisters during this conference time.
This is my first time joining the Advocates’ Conference. The meaning of this time has moved me, touched me and driven me to look back at what I have done before.
I praise God for His wisdom. He has used a particular man in a particular moment to do a particular task. That it’s you who found this movement.
May God be with you in any situations of your life. I will remember you and your diseases in my Quiet Time.
In His Mercyful Blood,
Dai (David) &
Original letter was handwritten. Last names have been omitted.
December 15, 2005 email from Baasankhuu O. to Advocates International
Reporting 2005 Highlights of the Rule of Law Institute of Mongolia
Greetings from Mongolia. The Rule of Law Institute of Mongolia sends its activity report for the last quarter of 2005. Soon we shall forward the detailed information. Let me give a short overview of the deeds we have done this year.
1. The Miranda Card Law Project: in cooperation with the Ministry of Justice, the Police Commissioner and other agencies, we designed and printed nearly 1,000 laminated cards for the police setting forth the basic rights of arrested persons.
2. In cooperation with Korea’s HandongUniversityInternationalLawSchool, we helped conduct a Summer Training Seminar for Christian lawyers.
3. We helped register 12 churches, 14 non-governmental organizations and 2 companies. We assisted over 60 Christians from Australia, Korea and the USA with Mongolian visas.
4. We litigated 5 cases on behalf of Christians in the District Courts, one case in the Municipal Court, and one case in the Supreme Court.
5. We filed an application for a human rights case with the Constitutional Court
6. We gave ten interviews on local TV channels, made several presentations about human rights laws and participated in several debates
7. We prepared Human Rights Reports for the USA and South Korean Embassies, Human Rights organizations and the United Nations
8. We translated Advocates’ devotional book, No Higher Calling, for Mongolian lawyers.
9. We prepared several practical manuals for churches, fellowships and NGOs.
10. We helped initiate the Prayer Network for the Christian Lawyers Fellowship.
11. We helped five institutions resolve tax issues.
12. We conducted Law Seminars for business investors from Korea and China doing business in Mongolia.
Please, ask any questions you might have.
God Bless You
Email from Carrie Vojta, President of Advocates International Student Ministries’
Steering Committee, reporting on the 1st International Student Conference
held at the 5thAdvocates Asia Conference on November 24-27, 2005
It was wonderful to see some of you in Singapore. For those who couldn't make it, we remembered you in prayer. I wanted to get something out regarding the student conference. It was amazing! All the students were encouraged and motivated to start this ministry. It is exciting to see it take off! This winter we will work on: 1) a monthly student prayer calendar; 2) student devotionals; 3) web site; 4) email directory; 5) power points.
Advocates Asia Conference Report: “Christian Lawyers: Salt & Light of Asia" Approximately 300 legal professionals from 22 Asian countries gathered in Singapore to network, strategize, fellowship, worship, and pray. The key speakers included: Chief Justice Young Hun Lee (Korea), Lynn Buzzard (Dean, Korea’s Handong Law School), Mark Mudri (South Australia LCF), Ann Buwalda (Jubilee Campaign USA), Marvin Kramer ("Future & Hope" – Israel), Judge Maksimbekova (Kyrgyzstan), Judge George (India), Senior Prosecutor Sim Dong-sub (Korea), Sean Litton (International Justice Mission – Thailand) and former Advocates Asia President Lee Min Choon (Malaysia).
A Story of How God Provides: As preparation for the conference and financial obligations came due many students at Handong Law School did not have the finances and weighed the possibility of not going to this event. As President of the AI Steering Committee and as an executive board we had limited time to raise funds. Nine of the AISC-HILS board members needed funds, which seemed impossible. To face such a dilemma we decided to seek God and boldly come before His throne of Grace!
On October 24 (exactly a month prior to the conference), we began a daily fast and prayer schedule. Students signed up for meals: breakfast, lunch, and dinner, whereby as a "body" we were fasting and praying together for an entire month and meditating on various verses: "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you" (Matt. 7: 7). The Father knows what we need before we even ask him (Matt. 6:8). "If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer" (Matt. 21: 22).
I felt that God wanted the board to trust Him and that He would provide for us! AND He did! On November 24 the entire board arrived in Singapore and thanked God for His provisions. I did not know the details of everyone's financial condition. Nevertheless all nine members arrived. That night outside the guesthouse we worshipped and praised God for His blessings. God rewards those who diligently seek Him.
The next morning, as I was busy running around preparing for the day's events, an American lawyer that I know approached me. He expressed regrets that we had not met at the CLS conference in Naples , Florida , that was cancelled by Hurricane Wilma. He shared that a few days after the Naples cancellation, he sensed God telling him to get excited about Singapore ; specifically: "God told me to support international students who needed assistance." Since the program listed me as student coordinator he felt I knew who should receive the funds. He gave me 9 envelopes with verses from Proverbs for the 9 students!
I was speechless and overwhelmed. Tears trickled down as I realized that a month earlier we, as a body, boldly knocked at the door and asked in His name. God had prepared for us ahead of time. It was that simple act of faith, believing and waiting to receive God's blessing! I had the honor to distribute the gifts and witness the outpouring of God's blessing to those who had been faithful. This was by far one of the highlights of the conference for me. It was not an event that was center stage or a keynote address. However it will be a testimony to God's faithfulness for those who trust in Him and seek after Him. The executive board will never forget His provision!
Advocates International Law Student Ministry: The 1st Student Conference was a historic event for Advocates International and the Christian legal community. For the first time in any region, Christian law students gathered from various nations to form their own law student community, paralleling the lawyer's conference. For over a year, AISC-HILS had been preparing for this event through prayer, fasting and working with Advocates International, Advocates Asia, Advocates Korea and Christian Legal Society. When the time finally came, 53 students gathered from 17 countries!
God Provides: It was truly remarkable to see how God provided much more than we had ever imagined! We had spent many hours laboring over a detailed student program and discussed what would best facilitate discussion. When we arrived at the conference venue we were assigned a room on the 4th floor. Unbeknownst to us, there was a stage, a keyboard, two guitars, and three microphones! We hadn't planned to have worship due to lack of equipment. But God knew and prepared the room AND all the equipment for us! Three students stepped up and led worship without even practicing.
The 1st International Student Conference began in worship! An AISC-member from Indonesia opened in prayer. His simple, "Thank you, God! Thank you, God! Oh, Thank you!" brought tears. Before long many were weeping. You could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in the room as God looked down and was pleased!
Vision: Our first goal in encouraging one another was successful as students broke into small groups, sharing not only during the student program but also throughout the general conference. The future of the Christian community rests in the hands of the students. As students begin to "bear one another's burdens" through prayer and fellowship, we can grow as a community and begin to face the challenges ahead!
Closing Ceremony: The conference concluded with an evening where many delegates wore national dress. The night was filled with music, laughter, embraces, and tears. There was a sense of family since many delegates have no support back home. Thus, many father, uncle, brother and sister relationships were formed which time cannot dissolve. The highlight was Handong's final choir performance. Dean Buzzard, Dean Lee and the HILS Professors were beaming with pride, not just at their students’ talents (although they were amazing) but at the servant leadership the students displayed. Behind the scenes, they had moved tables, cleaned, made copies, run errands, moved boxes and served as translators in many languages. God seemed to say: "Humble yourself and you will be exalted; exalt yourself and you will be humbled" (Mat. 23:12) and "Well done my good and faithful servant" (Mat. 25: 21). From Singapore we are all pleased!