The wait was over for the anticipated event “True Love Waits” when the international sexual abstinence campaign celebrated its 10th Year Anniversary on June 26.
Around 800 people gathered at the Centennial Park in Nashville, Tenn., to hear from a formidable assortment of Christian speakers and music artists who showed their commitment in remaining sexually pure before marriage.
"I hope these events remind teenagers that we are not alone," said Bob Bunn, event coordinator for the 10th Year Anniversary Celebration. "They were also able to celebrate others who have made the same God-honoring commitment."
Among those who gave their testimony was Jessica Vaughn, who participated as a student in True Love Waits’ first public display in Washington, D.C. Vaughn had signed a pledge card to be included in the display but she became pregnant during the time she drifted away from God. Seeing the display was a wake-up call for her to recommit her life to God, according to Bunn who recently spoke to Vaughn.
"You need to be pure," Bunn said, "but if you did make a mistake, God does forgive you."
Tara Dawn Christensen, Miss America 1997, shared her story on challenges she faced regarding sexual purity. Christian music artists Shaun Groves, Jadyn Maria, and Barlow Girl performed to support the campaign with Christian comedian Keith Deltano as the emcee.
True Love Waits, a ministry of Lifeway Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, started in 1993. Jimmy Hester, Executive Director of True Love Waits, has been involved with the ministry since the beginning. He testified to the impact the ministry has made on sexual activity among teenagers during its 10 years of reaching out.
There has been changes and decreasing trends for sexual activity and teen pregnancy, according to Hester. He added that True Love Waits has also been able to raise awareness for sexual abstinence among students.
"They see it as a viable option for them to accept," he said.
However, even after 10 years, the message of True Love Waits has remained the same, according to Hester. "Sex is for marriage," he said. "Remain sexual abstinent until marriage."
During the anniversary celebration, organizers also collected 300-400 sexual abstinence pledge cards, which were sent to Athens, Greece, to be included as part of the international Olympics display for True Love Waits. The new batch brings the total number of pledge cards to 400,000.
Bunn hopes that people will pray that God would use the pledge card display at the Olympics to "show His glory on an international level."
Although Hester and Bunn cannot yet name the many possibilities lying ahead for True Love Waits, both admit the ministry will continue to positively influence teenagers in keeping sexually pure.
"We're not done yet," said Bunn. "God still has a purpose for True Love Waits."