July 2008

July 2008

Dear Friend,

"When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?....
The Lord examines the righteous...he loves justice...upright men will see his face.
from David's Psalm 11:3,5,7 written in 1000 BC

GOD'S EXAM: Recently I spoke at a church "Citizenship Sunday" on Would You Pass God's "PC" Citizenship Exam? (PC = Providentially Challenging.) My text was Psalm 11 where David responds to his fearful advisers who saw only frightening consequences and crumbling foundations. David was optimistic because he knew God is in control. God's power is not diminished by any turn of events. However, God does not preserve believers from difficult circumstances, but tests - examines - both the righteous and the wicked. For some, God's tests become a refining fire while others are destroyed. (PS: I'd love to share the message at any church helping sponsor an advocate to our Convocation.)

WHAT CAN WE DO? We're bombarded daily with bad news about our crumbling foundations locally, nationally and globally. What can the righteous do? Like David, we can trust God! We can pray! Prayer is talking to God about what we are doing together with Him = "Thy will be done!" We can go when doors open to do justice - something God loves! We can invest our time, talent and treasure to enable others to do justice. Let me share some recent His-Stories of a Sovereign God.

A GLOBAL CONFERENCE CALL: While writing this letter, I participated in our bi-weekly Convocation Steering Committee conference call linking leaders from six continents planning this historic event. We expect to see 600 of God's finest advocates from at least 100 nations - plus 800 from CLS. 44% of the funds needed to help bring these advocates for training, strategizing and networking is in hand. Five families have contributed a combined $200,000 challenge gift that will match your investment dollar for dollar. The biggest issue may be securing visas, especially in Africa andAsia. Prayer is needed!

GOD'S CONFIRMING HANDONASIA: A few weeks ago I emailed a friend who suffered in prison for his faith. He now lives in the United States because he can't safely return to his country. We had not talked for several years. He emailed back that he was in London but would be in Washington, DC, a few days later with several key Asian lawyers. His-Story! Driving to DC for our Monday noon meeting, I prayed that God would confirm His hand on the meeting by providing a parking space - a very rare gift at high noon in DC. When I arrived at the hotel, a car pulled out right in front of the hotel - revealing a meter-free spot! Meter-free spaces don't exist in DC - until I needed one! His-Story! The two Asian human rights lawyers we were supposed to meet did not show up, but a key Asian pastor and his lawyer just happened (!!) to be in town. His-Story! Sam Casey, our Vice Chairman and CEO of Christian Legal Society, and I spent four wonderful hours with my friend and his colleagues.

They invited me to attend a week-long symposium during July 6-13 in Korea hosted by Advocates Korea and Handong International Law School helping a group of Asian lawyers address legal issues facing believers in Asia. His-Story! Since I was a last-minute add-on to the program, the

organizers gave me 30 minutes to share my thoughts over lunch one day. I then asked our small office staff to assemble a 220-page syllabus of 50+ of my letters, articles and other materials on law and faith issues. They completed 40 beautifully tabbed ring-binders in 24-hours! His-Story! When the organizers heard about the syllabus, they opened up the entire week-end for me to discuss the materials. We hope to see over 100 Asian lawyers, judges, professors, students and leaders at our Global Convocation. Pray for their visas and funding! Is there one Asian nation you want to help? What can the righteous do?

GOD'S CONFIRMING HAND ON THE UNBORN: For forty years, Planned Parenthood and abortion activists have denied the fact that abortion kills a separate human. On June 27, 2008, the US 8th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision that abortion providers must tell women the truth, in writing, that the abortion procedure "will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being" (see Press Release). Sam Casey and his colleagues helped draft this South Dakota informed consent law that Planned Parenthood wants thrown out. The next step is a full trial. Pray for Sam who will join Advocates staff in January as General Counsel. Advocates' Global Law of Life Project will be part of the Convocation.

ALBANIA'S 20% TAX ON MINISTRIES: Imagine the impact if Congress passed - without hearings - a 20% tax on all tuition and fees paid to Christian colleges and schools. Imagine if the same tax was imposed on all fees paid for seminars, concerts, conferences, or other services provided by churches and other not-for-profits. In December 2007, Albania's Parliament passed a 20% Value-Added-Tax (VAT) on all such fees and services. The impact on ministries serving the poor in Albania will be huge. Enclosed is my June 21, 2008 letter to Albania's Prime Minister, Sali Berisha, along with a speech I gave in Albania in 2002 honoring Mother Teresa, an Albanian. I never knew when or how Bobby and I might reap from our gift to the people of Albania of a statue of Mother Teresa. The General Counsel of Albania's Central Bank, Toni Gogu, a former youth pastor, will attend the Convocation with five others. Albania has come a long way from the days when the possession of a Bible meant 10 years in prison!

GOOD NEWS FROM AFRICA: Our Special Counsel and Program Director for Africa, Bayo Akinlade, was again invited to attend the June meetings of the 53-nation African Union meetings in Cairo, Egypt. This month, Sam Casey will travel to Uganda and Liberia with the Peace & Reconciliation Project that we have helped launch. Advocates Africa's President, Teresa Conradie of South Africa, has traveled to several nations this year as Christ's ambassador to be a peacemaker and reconciler. Advocates' Peace & Reconciliation Project will also be part of the Convocation.

ENGAGED IN LATIN AMERICA: In June, our Program Facilitator for Advocates Latin America, Nina Balmaceda traveled to several Central and South American nations and met with national law groups and government officials. Latin America may have all its nations send delegates to the Convocation.

In Psalm 11, David states that "the upright will see [the Lord's] face." In this life, we won't see the Lord's face but his hands and handiwork are everywhere - if. "In the kingdom of God, no one can see so long as he remains a spectator." Let's not lose courage, while...

Living in His-Story,
Sam Ericsson
Founder & President