The Bible warns we should be careful of the enemy whose only mission is to kill, steal and destroy, even the innocence of our children. The African Evangelical Baptist Church's Lifted Youth of Grand Prairie is seeking to bring awareness to sexual abstinence with an event that they have hosted for three years entitled, 'True Love Waits'.
"What started out as a silly idea turned into an elegant occasion," said Adenike Adeyemo, event coordinator. "Each year the program doesn't receive the response that we hope to, but this year was by far different than any other year."
True Love Waits is an event that started over 20 years ago and has gained popularity among teenagers and youth ministries especially in the message of purity and sexual abstinence outside of marriage. The goal of the event is to demonstrate the biblical perspective of sexual purity.
"Our children are going through a lot of oppression, oppositions, peer pressure and disappointments from the world we live in, and the safest place for them to find refuge is in the presence of God," said Abimbola Ianiyan, assistant coordinator in the youth department.
This year, the AEBC Lifted Youth involved parents. The idea of involving parents was that the youth were expected to find a date in a parent that was not their own. While at the ceremony, the parents would be their representatives of Christ in their lives and also serve as accountability mentors for them.
"For me personally, the event was a blessing," said Abimbola. "I felt the presence of God and it brought me to tears seeing my children commit themselves to the Lord to live a holy life that will honor Him, and as a parent that also honored me."
The ceremony was a very special night consisting of dancing, food, entertainment, preaching and spoken word (poetry intended for onstage performance) performed by the youth.
"The reason I attended the ceremony was to really understand what it meant to wait," said Ibukun Oladejo, youth at AEBC. "While at the event, I had the opportunity of reading spoken word with one of my fellow youth, Gideon Adeyemo, and it felt absolutely remarkable to be able to do something I love for the glory of God."
At the conclusion of the ceremony was the ring exchange in which the parent placed a purity ring, taken from boxes shaped like tuxedos and wedding dresses, on the youths' finger symbolizing their commitment of faith to waiting for true love.
The event was recorded as its best attended, most organized and most glorious so far. AEBC Lifted Youth believe with the support of the church, the parents, and by the glory of God in the coming years they will continue to be blessed with each year they host the event and more youth will come to commit their lives to waiting and staying pure.
"We recorded an excellent event. Twenty-nine youth signed a commitment certificate of purity and received their rings," said Adewale Laja-Akintayo, AEBC youth coordinator. "Being able to encourage and help these young people understand the basic truth of the Bible has and always will be a humbling experience, and I am blessed to have that opportunity."