February 2004

February 2004

Dear Friend,

"We use what we have to build up what we hope for."

Beauttah Siganga, advocate in Kisumu, Kenya

This week Beauttah Siganga sent me the enclosed encouraging email. I first met him in August 2001 on a seven-hour visit to Kisumu, a Kenyan city about an hour's flight from Nairobi, Kenya's capital. Beauttah has a one-lawyer general practice and leads the 20-member Christian Lawyer Fellowship in Kisumu. Traveling with me was my colleague, Bill Mauger, who was producing the Headwaters of Hope video for the African Christian Lawyers Fellowship and us. The above quote is the final line in that powerful video.

Beauttah is a role model for those seeking to follow Christ by doing justice, loving mercy and walking humbly with God. Micah 6:8. During our visit, he took us to the Kisumu Municipal Market in the center of town. It is a farmer's market with over 300 sellers selling all types of produce and other wares. Each seller's inventory is generally limited to two or three items, such as a few tomatoes, bananas, chickens or kitchen utensils.

In the mid-nineties, Kisumu City raised the rents substantially for the small stalls at the Market that the vendors used. The vendors called a meeting to discuss the city action and elected a representative from each category of merchandise to speak for them, e.g. one representing chicken sellers, another the banana sellers. In the middle of the delegates first meeting, the police burst in and declared that the meeting was illegal. The police put the 30 delegates in an open-air truck and drove them through a cold rainy night to a jail in a town several hours away. Two delegates became ill and eventually died from exposure. After the 30 delegates were released, they asked Beauttah to represent them. He filed suit for wrongful arrest. It took four years but he was successful. The day Bill and I visited him, the city told him to stop by and pick up the funds that the High Court had ordered be paid to the 30 delegates. Justice done!!

Beauttah is highly respected in Kisumu because he is a tireless and effective advocate for "the least of these." He is also well known for his strong Christian witness. We want to bring Beauttah and other advocates like him to the Global Convocation in October. Typically the delegates that we are inviting from developing nations earn only $10 per day, or about $300 per month. Advocates from countries like Liberia, Rwanda or Mongolia simply cannot find the $1,300 for the airfare or pay for the Convocation expenses. We want to help them.

In recent weeks Bobby and I have received appeals from several high school students seeking support for their two-week summer mission's trips overseas. Typically, their budgets run $3,000 apiece. No doubt, short-term summer mission's trips are great experiences.

Our Global Convocation is a short-term mission in reverse. Instead of sending Americans overseas, we are bringing the Beauttah's from around the globe here. So far, we have sent invitations to one delegate each from 73 nations. Our goal is 360 delegates from 120 nations. The standard for each of the delegates that we are inviting to the Convocation is the one Jesus gave us:

"`Well done, my good servant!' his master replied. `Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.'" Luke 19:17

While we in the home office are preparing for this historic event, our committed staff on four continents are helping identify the Luke 19:17 delegates. They continue their work of encouraging, enabling and equipping advocates. Our offices in Sofia, Bulgaria for Europe; Lima, Peru for Latin America; Lagos, Nigeria for Africa; New Delhi for India and Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia for Asia are dependent on us for most of their support. It costs us about $10 per hour per continent - $400 per week, $1,500 per month - to cover all the costs for one continent, including salaries, rent, phone and travel. That is "Bang for the buck!!"

On the backside of Beauttah's email you will see our Convocation Prayer List. Please keep us in your prayers as we work with Christian Legal Society in planning the Convocation.

Thank you again for being a partner in a movement that is impacting nations for Christ, as we continue...

Living in His-Story,

Samuel E. Ericsson
Founder & CEO