A little more than two years after launching an initiative to expand True Love Waits throughout Africa, more than 15,500 True Love Waits presentations have been made to African youth, and nearly half a million young people have heard its message promoting sexual abstinence until marriage.
Of that number, more than 200,500 have taken the True Love Waits pledge and nearly 41,500 adults have committed to faithfulness in marriage through the TLW-related "True Love Stays."
In Asia, True Love Waits also is making gains.
Sharon Pumpelly, lead consultant for True Love Waits International, noted, "In sub-Sahara Africa, AIDS has made people hungry for True Love Waits."
She believes there are many other True Love Waits presentations being made and commitments to biblical purity being secured beyond those that have been documented in the AIDS-ravaged African continent where the TLW message, or the lack of it, can have life-and-death consequences.
"When I travel to Africa often someone will pull out a True Love Waits card from his or her pocket and tell me the impact the commitment has made," she said.
One of the most powerful individual stories she has heard so far came from a young man who lost four siblings to AIDS. He lived a promiscuous lifestyle and does not remember all the young women he had sex with.
When he came to know the Lord and committed to purity, the young man commented that he would be like his deceased brothers and sisters if the True Love Waits presenter had not come when he did.
In the Philippines, God is opening doors and young people are responding. Jorex, a Filipino man, became so passionate about getting the True Love Waits message out to the young people in his rural area that he quit his job and began praying for the Lord to use him. He now has a thriving ministry and he was able to help the True Love Waits team in Manila with a large conference in Cebu City, which led to nearly sixty schools including True Love Waits in their curriculum.
People from a number of places in Asia have expressed interest in bringing the True Love Waits message to their parts of the world. One contact came from a youth leader in Malang, Indonesia, which is two hours from Jakarta. Derek Ross, director of True Love Waits in the Philippines, exchanged ideas with the youth leader and together they developed a plan for bringing True Love Waits to Indonesia.
"It is truly amazing what the True Love Waits International team has done in two years," said Jimmy Hester, cofounder of True Love Waits. "You just see God's hand all over this, yet there still is so much that needs to be done."
"True Love Waits" Emphasis
Racial Reconciliation Sunday
Focus on WMU
Week of Prayer and Mission Study for North American Missions and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering
Substance Abuse Prevention Sunday
Start a Church Sunday
Cooperative Program Sunday
Baptist Doctrine Study
Life Commitment Sunday
SBC Seminaries Sunday
Don Beehler is a freelance writer in Franklin, Tennessee. For more information about True Love Waits, visit www.lifeway.com/tlw.