During his 26 years with LifeWay, Hester spearheaded True Love Waits' transition from an idea for a sex education campaign to an international movement to challenge young people to embrace a commitment to sexual abstinence until marriage.
Nearly 20 years ago Hester and Richard Ross, who at the time were family and youth ministry specialists with LifeWay, used a napkin to sketch out the concept for a movement that today is worldwide in scope.
"God has truly blessed our efforts in challenging students to make a commitment to sexual abstinence until marriage," Hester said. "While the look and tone of True Love Waits has changed over the past 18 years, God's intent for sexual behavior remains the same and continues to be important for students today."
In the United States alone, approximately 3 million youth have signed True Love Waits commitment cards at LifeWay events, pledging sexual purity until their wedding day. Another 1.1 million commitments have been documented in Africa, and hundreds of thousands of commitment cards from youth throughout the world have been displayed at several events, including the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
Currently more than 100 organizations use True Love Waits to promote sexual abstinence, in large part because they have seen its potential to reverse negative trends in communities.
Within a few years after it was introduced, True Love Waits had drawn the attention of hundreds of national and international news media outlets, including the "Today" show, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, Family Circle, Life, "Nightline" and "The Phil Donohue Show" as well as numerous newspapers and radio stations.
Don Beehler is a freelance writer in Franklin, Tenn. For more information about True Love Waits, visit www.truelovewaits.com
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