ADVOCATES INTERNATIONAL: This is how far...
RE: An Opportunity to Impact Four Continents this Summer
While many people are enjoying the "hazy", lazy days of summer, Advocates International is focused and fully engaged globally. It is amazing to see the incredible difference twelve months can make!
One year ago, our regional groups - Advocates Europe, Advocates Asia and the Latin American Christian Lawyers Network - did not even exist. Twelve months later, Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin and North America - even Australia - all have active networks hosting major regional conferences, about 250 Christian lawyers and judges from 20 nations will attend each event. We predict that well over 2,000 Christians in the legal profession from 100 nations will meet together in 2002. That's exciting!
The enclosed global map shows the dramatic growth in national Christian lawyer groups since 1991 when there were only eight such groups. Today over 50 nations have Christian Lawyers who are organized and engaged in doing justice - plus six regional networks! Our goal is to see 100 active, self-sustaining national Christian lawyer ministries by 2011. We are well on the way to reach that goal!
An Opportunity to Impact Europe
In June, our Rule of Law Institute in Bulgaria hosted a two -day national conference addressing several proposed Laws on Religion being considered by Bulgaria's parliament. The lead lawyer for the Bulgarian Orthodox Church accepted our invitation to serve as one of the four moderators at the conference. The Chairman of the Parliament Human Rights Committee, who is responsible for drafting the new law, was also invited to speak. Both men also attended our Advocates Europe conference held that same week in Sofia.
Soon after these conferences, the two men asked Latcho Popov, the Director of our Institute, to draft an entirely new Law on Region consistent with the principles that they had heard at the two conferences. In July, I faxed a Model Law on Regional to Latcho, who is making necessary revisions so that it will fit the Bulgarian context; what a great opportunity to draft a law to protect religious freedom in a nation that for 45 years had some of harshest policies against religious freedom of any regime in the Soviet bloc!
An Opportunity to Impact Africa
In August, the African Christian Lawyers Network will hold its regional conference in Ghana. We expect 250 participants, up from 85 last year, including delegates from Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Togo and the USA. A major issue facing our African Lawyers is how to address Islam's challenges to religious freedom in many African nations.
An Opportunity to Impact Latin America
In September 2001, we held our first conference in Latin America. The 105 delegates from 14 nations organized the Latin American Christian Lawyers Network. The enthusiasm of this network is amazing! it is very likely that over 300 lawyers and judges will attend their second conference to be held in Septemer in San Jose, Costa Rica. There are two Cuban Christian lawyers who have already registered for the conference and we expect all 20 Latin speaking nations in the Americas to be represented.
An opportunity to Impact Asia
In October 2001, Advocates Asia held its first conference in Seoul, South Korea, Their network reaches about 25 nation on this important continent, in the first week of August 2002, 23 South Korean Christian lawyers and judges, including a member of South Korea's cabinet, put on a conference in the former soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan. the south Korean layers and judges have taken on the challenge to be the Good Samaritans in Central Asia, plans are underway for the October 2002 Advocates Asia conference to be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We expect 200-300 Asians to come to this conference.
Left Behind vs. Leave Behind
The phenomenally successfully Left Behind series has millions of readers eagerly following the unfolding drama of the "the end time" over $300 million and billions of hours of time have been invested in the books, videos and movies of this series. Although my wife, Bobby, has read several of them, I confess that I have not taken the time to do so.
But the question that comes to mind is what discernable impact will the series have on the lives of the readers? If we see ourselves as among those who will not be left behind what will we leave behind?" what will our legacy be here, when we see Christ there? There is much work yet to be done, as we continue...
Living in His-Story,
Samuel E. Ericson
Founder & President
P.S. Special thanks to Dave Treadwell (Our former Director of Administration) and his team at Central Union Rescue Mission (where Dave is CEO) for printing this month's newsletter. It has helped stretch our dollars during the financially tight summer months.