November 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

Dear Friend,

Live your life in such a way that it would make
no sense if God did not exist.
Advocates' Board Chairman Lynn Buzzard


"Awesome," "life-changing," "historic," "unbelievable," "overpowering," "incredible," "speechless," "a ‘God thing'", "enriching" and "unforgettable" were some of the comments I heard at Advocates' 5th Global Convocation held in Washington DC.

A statement shared many times that echoed the feeling of many at the Convocation was, "I thank God I was able to come. It impacted my life. Thank you, God."

Being thankful = full of thanks = was one thread weaving the conferees together. Thankful to God; thankful for the colleagues they met from 100 nations who invested time, talent and treasure - some invested nearly one year's salary - and thankful to those who made the event possible through their gifts, prayers and hard work.

So, this letter is my thank/full, thanks/giving to the Giver of all good gifts for what was accomplished during seven days in October at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. The 44 thanks/givings that follow simply scratch the surface of the impact of this historic event. It was a "God thing"! He was there! He exists!!

Thank you, Lord, for enabling 500 internationals to join an equal number of American lawyers, judges and students to focus on the theme, Redeeming Law: Christian Calling and the Legal Profession.

Thank you, Lord, for the tireless work of the 13-member Global Council Steering Committee chaired byCanada's Ruth Ross, the Executive Director of Canada's Christian Legal Fellowship who serves as President of Advocates North America. The Steering Committee linked six continents, held at least 27 conference calls and exchanged well over 4,000 emails in preparing for The Event!

Thank you, Lord, for the enthusiasm, diligence and wisdom of the 23-member Global Council in its transition and willingness to take greater responsibility in leading a global Christian lawyer movement informally linking 30,000 advocates in over 150 nations.

Thank you, Lord, for South Africa's Teresa Conradie, the two-term President of Advocates Africa, unanimously elected as the first Chairperson of the Global Council. Thank you, God, for Teresa's humility, availability, wisdom, eloquence, spiritual insight and leadership in bringing unanimity to a group of strong leaders from 20 nations.

Thank you, Lord, for the first Convocation with six active regional networks with superb leadership teams in Africa, Asia, Australia/Oceania, Europe, Latin America and North America. Thank you, God, for their selfless servant leadership in looking out not only for their own interest but that of others.

Thank you, Lord, for the seven Global Task Forces that will take the lead in focusing and facilitating the work in seven key areas facing believers worldwide.

Thank you, Lord, for Advocates' Board member and Pepperdine Law School Dean, Ken Starr, for his opening address providing the backdrop for the Global Task Forces.

Thank you, Lord, for Advocates Africa's commitment to oversee the Global Task Force on Peace & Reconciliation. Nearly all 53 African nations are now linked to Advocates Africa.

Thank you, Lord, for Advocates Asia's commitment to oversee the Global Task Force on Religious Freedom. Nearly 40 Asian nations are now linked to Advocates Asia.

Thank you, Lord, for Advocates Europe's commitment to oversee the Global Task Force on Integrity & the Rule of Law focusing on corruption and abuse of power. Nearly 40 European nations are now linked to Advocates Europe.

Thank you, Lord, for Advocates Latin America's commitment to oversee the Global Task Force on Human Rights & Justice for the Poor. Advocates Latin America links all nations within the region, including formal national organizations in 19 of 21 nations.

Thank you, Lord, for Advocates North America's commitment to oversee the Global Task Forces on the Sanctity of Life, and Protecting the Family. Advocates North America links Canada, the Caribbean and the United States.

Thank you, Lord, for Advocates Oceania's commitment to initiate the Global Task Force on Prayer.

Thank you, Lord, for the powerful witness of Roelf Meyer, the former Minister of Constitutional Affairs from South Africa, who shared his story of being intimately involved in the negotiations ending apartheid. He was the Chief Negotiator for the government. The negotiations resulted the first democratic elections in South Africa. The much-feared bloodshed that could have cost a million lives was thereby avoided.

Thank you, Lord, for the life and witness of Global Council member, Mike Chibita, who heard of his confirmation as Uganda's next Solicitor General while at the Convocation.

Thank you, Lord, for the unforgettable testimony of Dickson Ogwang from Uganda sharing how he witnessed the brutal murder of his grandparents as a 10-year-old boy, and was forced to join the band of rebels, the Lord's Army, as a teen-ager. After serving in Uganda's military, Dickson launched the Peace & Reconciliation Ministry of Africa, funded in part by Advocates International.

Thank you, Lord, for the timely witness by Bob Fu, of the China Aid Association. There were 18 Chinese delegates at the Convocation. After the Saturday evening session, they gathered in my hotel suite for communion and a time of foot washing. These are the men and women that God is using in mighty ways in building China.

Thank you, Lord, for Advocates Latin America's main session where they led 1,000 delegates in singing two inspiring songs on justice that they had composed.

Thank you, Lord, for the dynamic challenge from England's Barrister, Andrea Minichiello-Wiliams, who is on the frontlines in England addressing the legal, moral and ethical issues facing her beloved nation. No one will soon forget the DVD of Andrea's 13-year-old daughter, Jenny, playing the piano and singing a song she composed on the view from the womb of a baby facing abortion.

Thank you, Lord, for the stirring testimony by a delegate from an oil-rich Muslim nation ruled by a strong-man where he is the only Christian lawyer in his nation. He searched seven years to find a Bible. His love for the Lord, eloquence and optimism were unforgettable.

Thank you, Lord, for the wisdom and insight by Advocates Board Chairman and my mentor, Professor & Dean Lynn Buzzard, in his morning Bible-study series from his just-published book, Dry Bones, Flying Chariots and Edible Scrolls: Ezekiel's Striking Vision for Our Chaotic Times. Thank you, God, for Lynn's leadership of Advocates over the past decade and for serving as the founding Dean at HandongInternationalLawSchool in Korea.

Thank you, Lord, for the excellent teaching by longtime friend, Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, founder of Love & Respect Ministries. He spoke at a luncheon, taught four seminars and gave each conferee a copy of his million-copy hard-back best seller, Love & Respect. It's a must read!!!!

Thank you, Lord, for 75 Canadians who cancelled their national conference for the Convocation.

Thank you, Lord, for the commitment of nearly 30 Latin lawyers to come five days early for their 3rd Continuing Legal Education seminar spearheaded by ALA's coordinator, Law Professor Nina Balmaceda, who recently received her PhD in International Political Science from Notre Dame.

Thank you, Lord, for Christian Legal Society and its Board's willingness to co-host this historic event.

Thank you, Lord, for the dynamic personal testimonies of scores of lawyers, judges and students who shared how God works through available servants to impact justice.

Thank you, Lord, for the 25 translators who, from their sound-proof booths, provided simultaneous translation in Chinese, Mandarin, Spanish, French and Russian.

Thank you, Lord, for the 32 workshops and 10 main sessions and the 80+ speakers, workshop leaders and panelists who served without any honorariums.

Thank you, Lord, for the 20 students and seven faculty from Handong International Law School (HILS) and their leadership in praise and worship. Congratulations to HILS for winning the first-ever Global Moot Court Competition. Thank you, Lord, for HILS graduate, Ida Lee's enthusiasm and hard work in organizing the moot court event.

Thank you, Lord, for the 250+ law students that participated in the Convocation, including over 200 Christian Legal Society student members led by Daniel Kim and Professor Mike Schutt. Mike's book, Redeeming Law: Christian Calling and the Legal Profession, provided the theme for the Convocation.

Thank you, Lord, for the law student from the South Pacific who spent $2,000 to get her visa, $3,000 for the air fare and $500 for the Convocation fee. She had been wrestling with God's call to commit her career to impact Asia for Christ. The Convocation removed all doubts. She viewed her $5,500 investment as worth every dollar in how it changed her life and confirmed God's call to her.

Thank you, Lord, for the 12 Australians who braved the 26-hour flight at a cost of $3,000 each and went home incredibly energized to impact Australia and Oceania for Christ's Kingdom.

Thank you, Lord, for Aussie's finest, Mark Mudri, who spearheaded organizing a global prayer support for the Convocation. Thank you, God, for Michael Chang from Vancouver, Canada and others who led the 24-hour prayer watch. Mark had written 66 Days of Prayer, devotionals that were God-inspired.

Thank you, Lord, for first-time delegates from 16 nations, including Algeria, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Chad, Georgia, Guinee-Conakry, Italy, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Mexico, Moldova, Morocco, Panama and Slovakia, as well as Puerto Rico.

Thank you, Lord, for the 500+ who received US visas.

Thank you, Lord, for the leadership of Advocates International's Board in making The Event possible.

Thank you, Lord, for the selfless commitment by the Christian Legal Society staff under the exemplary leadership of Sam Casey, David Lee and Brent McBurney.

Thank you, Lord, for "the best staff money can't buy" at Advocates International. Many worked 18‑hour days, 6 days per week for several months. At the Convocation they often put in 20‑hour days.

Thank you, Lord, for the scores of volunteers who helped in countless ways this past year.

Thank you, Lord, for the untold thousands on six continents who prayed for The Event.

Thank you, Lord, for the hundreds who invested their finances in gifts.

Thank you, Lord, for giving me life, health and strength to witness another Convocation.

Thank you, Lord, for Bobby's patience, grace and generosity to allow me to do so.

Above all else, THANK YOU, LORD, for your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, as we seek to be His witnesses in our profession, while...

Living in His-Story,
Sam Ericsson,
Founder & President