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Teen gains Internet pledges for True Love Waits campaign


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Via the Internet, an Ohio
teenager has been signing up youth for the popular True Love
Waits campaign for more than a year.
Sunday School Board officials, meanwhile, have
developed a reporting system to tally teens’ pledges to
abstain from sex until marriage made in churches and other
settings, utilizing faxes, e-mail and U.S. mail.
Joshua Davis, a 17-year-old Marietta (Ohio) High School
senior, has received on his personal web page more than 500
True Love Waits commitments — from Australia to Singapore
and nearly every state across the country.
Davis, a member of North Hills Baptist Church,
Marietta, is “just a high school student who strongly
supports” True Love Waits and wants to make it available to
teenagers who don’t have access to campaign materials.
A Southern Baptist who moved from Troy, Ala., to Ohio
in 1995, Davis has been working on computers since he was 5.
Today, he’s a computer consultant who builds web pages,
repairs computers and performs custom programming. His web
page, “Heaven on Earth Ministries,”
(http://www.marietta.edu/~daviso/HOEM/), is registered as
the second-largest Christian search engine on the Internet
with over 800 links. (Goshen Net is the first at
http://www.goshen.net/.)
Whenever a teenager signs the pledge through Davis’ web
page, he automatically receives an e-mail notice.
“I get five or six messages a day from people who have
signed the pledge. Sometimes on the weekends, I get 15,” he
said.
Davis said he finds he can express his love for God
best through computers.
“People have ways of expressing God in their own ways.
I find my best talent is in computers, and I want to use my
talent to give back to God what he’s given to me. I put this
Internet page up about two years ago to do that.”
Meanwhile, with the February 1998 True Love Waits Goes
Campus Valentine’s Eve campaign, Sunday School Board
officials have settled on a report card that attempts to
tally the total number of teenagers who have signed the True
Love Waits pledge. The card is available by calling
1-800-LUV-WAIT.
Created in April 1993 by the Southern Baptist
Convention agency, True Love Waits is an international
campaign that challenges teens and college students to
remain sexually abstinent until marriage.
Best estimates are that nearly half a million teenagers
have signed the True Love Waits pledge card which 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 be sexually abstinent from this day until the
day I enter a biblical marriage relationship.”
The newest phase of the campaign, True Love Waits Goes
Campus, was launched on Valentine’s Day 1997 and will be
held again on high school campuses across the nation on
Valentine’s Eve 1998.
“The vision for 1998 is that True Love Waits commitment
cards will be displayed on every secondary school campus in
America,” said Jimmy Hester, one of the Sunday School
Board’s campaign organizers.
Students and youth leaders are encouraged to report
results of their efforts to the national True Love Waits
team by Feb. 27 by returning to the BSSB the TLW report
card. Reports may also be faxed to (615) 251-2830 or sent
via e-mail to [email protected]. And in January, an
online reporting mechanism for True Love Waits will be
available via Sunday School Board Online at
www.bssb.com/tlwbase.htm.
TLW organizers also need to know about young people who
signed cards but did not get to display them on a school
campus. These cards can be reported on the last line of the
TLW report card.
On April 14, True Love Waits leaders will deliver a
full report (including the name of every participating
public and private school and the number of students on each
campus making the TLW commitment) to the office of President
Bill Clinton and to other government leaders.
Finding an effective system for reporting the number of
teenagers who have signed up for True Love Waits is
important “because we want to take the information and
deliver it to the president and key state leaders in an
effort to encourage them in their recent promotion of sexual
abstinence,” Hester said.
Hester referred to the Welfare Reform Act of 1996,
promoted by the president, passed by Congress and signed
into law last year. One section of the bill authorizes $50
million a year for the next five years for state-run
abstinence education programs. (For more information on
abstinence-based education programs and the federal funding,
go to the Medical Institute for Sexual Health web site,
http://www.mish.org/.)
“We are enlisting individuals from each state to
deliver the numbers of teens who have signed the abstinence
pledge in their states to their governors and state leaders.
We are going to then take the total number and deliver it in
some way to the White House,” Hester said. “We see this as
another avenue for people to publicly express their feelings
about sexual abstinence.”

    About the Author

  • Terri Lackey