NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Hundreds of thousands of signed promises for abstinence from Christian youths will be displayed at the Olympic Stadium in Athens Greece on Sunday, Aug. 22, 2004, as part of the True Love Waits outreach program.
The pledge reads, "Believing that true love waits, I make a commitment to God, myself, my family, my friends, my future mate, and my future children to a lifetime of purity including sexual abstinence from this day until the day I enter a biblical marriage relationship."
The XXVIII Olympiad will include the True Love Waits promise cards display from around the world, as well as an outdoor rally. Plans in the works include Olympic athletes who stand for purity challenging students to take a stand and youth from AIDS-ravaged nations giving testimonies of courage and moral resolve. A major Christian TV network tentatively has committed to making the event a live TV special.
Other observances will take place all over the world as students and their churches commemorate the commitment to biblical sexual purity to coincide with the Sunday celebration in Athens. Churches will coordinate and participate in regional and local True Love Waits events leading up to and on Aug. 22, 2004. Many of the True Love Waits pledge cards that are part of these local and regional events will be sent to Athens for the international exhibit.
"This [international display] will amplify the voices of the Christian students who are standing for purity -- either by being physically present in Athens or by being represented there by their pledge card," said Jimmy Hester, senior director of student ministry publishing of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. LifeWay produces True Love Waits which has been endorsed by 96 Christian entities.
"It's our prayer that as the world's attention is focused on Athens for the Olympic Games people will become aware of the hundreds of thousands of youth who have made decisions to protect themselves physically and spiritually by living a life of purity, " Hester said.
The 2004 True Love Waits celebration marks the 10th year anniversary of the sexual abstinence campaign and is the fourth time commitment cards have been displayed internationally. The first worldwide display occurred in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1995 during the Baptist World Congress. More than 220,000 True Love Waits commitment cards representing countries from every continent were on display at that meeting. The second international showing occurred in February 1996 in Atlanta at True Love Waits Thru the Roof when 340,000 cards were stacked to the roof of the Georgia Dome. The third event was Dec. 31-Jan.1, 2000, in Australia as a symbol of crossing into the new millennium with commitments to purity.