GREENVILLE, S.C. (BP)–After successfully launching True Love Waits in six African countries a little over a year ago, the ministry has received an additional $350,000 to expand its abstinence-until-marriage message into two more countries. The funding was made available through LifeWay Christian Resources’ A Defining Moment major-donor campaign.
An evaluation is underway to determine the two countries best suited for the expansion, said Jimmy Hester, cofounder of True Love Waits.
Sharon Pumpelly, lead consultant for True Love Waits International, said the message of waiting has made a “huge difference” because countries that promote condoms as the primary way to combat AIDS are not seeing decreases in their rates.
“[Young people] are making life and death choices,” she said at the third annual A Defining Moment meeting, held in October in Greenville, S.C.
Pumpelly gave progress reports for each of the six African countries where True Love Waits has initiated its first phase of new work: South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Tanzania, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.
From August 2007 to August 2008, nearly 27,000 abstinence commitments were recorded, and more than 9,000 youth committed their lives to Christ. Because reporting is challenging, organizers believe that many other young people have made commitments.
Pumpelly cited statistics illustrating the scope of the AIDS problem: Worldwide, there are an estimated 33.2 million children and adults living with HIV, with more than 6,800 new infections occurring every day. More than 96 percent are in low- and middle-income countries, and about 1,200 of the new infections occur in children under 15 years of age.
Pumpelly also announced that True Love Waits International has created True Love Stays commitment cards for married couples to emphasize the importance of faithfulness in marriage.
True Love Waits’ goal in Africa is to get a quarter of the youth in each of the six countries to make a sincere commitment to abstinence until marriage and to a lifetime of biblical purity. The ministry also plans to train teams in every district and major city to make True Love Waits presentations and follow up with youth who have made commitments.
Since its introduction in Uganda 14 years ago, True Love Waits has been a catalyst for bringing people together to address the AIDS problem and spread the message of biblical purity to schools, youth groups, communities and other places. By creating positive peer pressure through True Love Waits, the ministry hopes to see a reduction in the HIV rate in five years in each targeted country.
A Defining Moment also allocated an additional $180,000 for a new Chinese Bible translation, which will enable translation work to continue for the Chinese Standard Bible Old Testament.
The contemporary CSB New Testament, which was published last May in partnership with Asia Bible Society, has been met with great enthusiasm by Chinese throughout the world. A dedication ceremony with prominent Christian leaders in Hong Kong was held Sept. 11. James Hudson Taylor III, whose great grandfather was well-known China missionary Hudson Taylor, led a prayer of blessing for the new translation.
The first draft of the Old Testament is nearly two-thirds finished, and plans call for the final draft of the entire Old Testament to be completed by the end of 2011.
Phill Burgess, executive director of LifeWay’s Holman Bible Outreach International, announced plans for a parallel New Testament translation of the new Chinese Standard Bible (CSB) translation with the Chinese Union Version (CUV) Bible, which was completed in 1919. Although widely used, the CUV can be difficult to understand and has a number of translation difficulties. The parallel translation is being published by B&H Publishing Group and will be available in December.
The 2 Timothy Discipleship-Kenya project, which facilitates a biblical process of making disciples through local churches, received an additional $240,000. According to Ernie McAninch, LifeWay’s manager of ministry ventures, the additional financial resources will enable the project to resource more than 3,000 churches.
Funding for all three projects was approved by the president’s cabinet of A Defining Moment, which is chaired by Jimmy Draper, president emeritus of LifeWay. Under Draper’s leadership, LifeWay initiated the major-donor campaign in 2005 to touch the nations for Jesus Christ.
“I never cease to be inspired by the leaders of these three projects,” said president’s cabinet member Rick Fisher, who serves as foundation director for The Carolina Legacy Trust. “It’s really refreshing to see their hearts and passion.”
Don Beehler is a freelance writer in Franklin, Tenn.