True Love Waits: Nearly 1 million African youth commit to abstinence
EDITOR'S NOTE: February will be "True Love Waits" Emphasis Month in churches across the Southern Baptist Convention.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--The number of commitments by African youth to biblical purity through True Love Waits International stands at more than 959,000 since LifeWay Christian Resources launched its strategic initiative there in the summer of 2007.
During that three-and-a-half-year period, more than 1.6 million young people in Africa heard the True Love Waits message promoting sexual abstinence until marriage. In addition, nearly 46,000 married adults have committed to faithfulness, and more than 41,600 decisions to follow Jesus Christ have been recorded by True Love Waits team members.
From April to October 2010, the total grew by more than 70,000 African youth, according to TLW leaders.
In the Philippines, nearly 22,000 students signed commitment cards last year after going through training, with plans in place for expanding outreach to Filipino youth between ages 15 to 24 beginning this year. True Love Waits International launched in that country in 2009.
"We are very close to having 1 million young people in Africa make documented commitments to biblical purity through this initiative, which will be an incredible milestone," said Jimmy Hester, co-founder of True Love Waits (www.truelovewaits.com).
"In a continent ravaged by AIDS, these African commitments literally have life-and-death consequences," Hester said. "We also are encouraged by the vital work being done throughout the Philippines."
In Africa, the greatest response to True Love Waits is in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. In November, True Love Waits International South Africa was approved as a registered organization, and ministry partnerships there are growing, reported Sharon Pumpelly, lead consultant for True Love Waits International.
During a presentation in Zambia, one girl stood and said, "True Love Waits is a good program. We have benefited and our lives have changed for the better. This program is different from our peer-educating programs because it is bringing salvation [in addition to] promoting sexual purity."
The Zambian girl concluded by making an appeal to True Love Waits team members "to come and train us as presenters."
"There are many more requests and hopefully we will be able to meet those," Pumpelly said. "I believe God is using True Love Waits to reach the next generation for Christ and that He is raising up people who are hungry and passionate for the message of purity."
True Love Waits International works in 10 countries in Eastern and Southern Africa and also provides assistance in Namibia, Madagascar and Lesotho.
Don Beehler is a freelance writer in Franklin. Tenn. For more information about True Love Waits, visit www.truelovewaits.com.