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True Love Waits to tout pledges from 100 countries at Olympics

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–True Love Waits is going to the 2004 Summer Olympics.

Next year when the world turns its attention to Athens, Greece, the birthplace of the Olympics, True Love Waits pledges to abstinence will be a part of the celebration.

Hundreds of thousands of signed promises of sexual purity from Christian youth in at least 100 countries will be displayed and celebrated in Athens on Sunday, Aug. 22, 2004, during the XXVIII Olympiad. 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.”

“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.

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“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 Athens celebration will feature a display of True Love Waits promise cards from around the world and include 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.

Pledge cards with an Athens/Olympic theme will be available for purchase, as will a True Love Waits Summer Olympics 2004 pin, beginning this summer. Additional information and updates about the Athens display and celebration, including mailing and shipping instructions for the pledge cards, will be posted in coming weeks on www.truelovewaits.com. A logo for True Love Waits Athens celebration and promotional fliers may be downloaded from the site.

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.
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For more information, visit www.truelovewaits.com, send e-mail inquires to truelovewaits@lifeway.com or call 1-800-LUV-WAIT (588-9248).
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at www.bpnews.net. Photo title: TRUE LOVE WAITS LOGO.