True Love Waits-Family Edition Kicks Off a Trilogy of Events

As spring tries to make its entrance in the behind-the-calendar, starkly bare Northeast, thoughts turn to love. Prom season, graduations, weddings, births—all contribute to increased focus on relationships and tap into natural longings for a fulfilling and vital connection with someone to love and to be loved by. Home Improvement Ministries is speaking into this universally-valued but often confusing and disappointing state by hosting a trilogy of “love-centered” events in the space of three spring weekends.

The trilogy was kicked off with our annual True Love Waits – Family Edition held a week ago at the First Congregational Church of Hopkinton on Saturday, March 29, and at Christ Chapel in Centerville (Cape Cod) on Sunday, March 30.

“Today has brought me closer to God and to my mom. It has taught me how to face those certain situations and to be able to look at the whole dating thing and real love with a perspective through God’s eyes and what I should do to reflect Him well. I now know how to respect my body and find real true love and not a guy who just likes my physical appearance and not who I really am. I learned a lot today and enjoyed it. It was a really exhilarating experience. Thank you very much.”
—12 year old girl’s evaluation

The Team
A phenomenal team assembled to speak from their hearts about God’s design for relationships and sexuality.

David and Kassidy Thomas, two-year veterans with TLW-FE, spoke from their experience of the goodness of following scriptural guidelines during their six year dating relationship, which culminated in the joyous celebration of their pure union on their wedding day following their graduation from college. David, #86, is a tight end for the New England Patriots and will begin his third season this summer. They gave many practical tips for how to honor the commitment to purity and a lot of hope that “it can be done.”

Grant and Emily Williams, four-year veterans with TLW-FE, presented from a position of both having been raised in fairly dysfunctional, alcoholic, broken homes, and not learning about God’s design for sexuality until their young adult years. Through the transforming grace of God, they both laid their broken pasts at the foot of the cross and are now almost 12 years into a Christ-centered, vital, and growing marriage. They are raising their three daughters in the love and protection of Biblical guidelines and speak powerfully of the hope of breaking with the past and creating a godly legacy for the next generation. As a 6’8” former offensive lineman for the New England Patriot’s first Super Bowl team, Grant garners respect from all as he authentically speaks of what means more to him than his Super Bowl ring.

Lisa Friesen and Julie Friesen, favorites at TLW-FE for many years, represented the “I’m close enough in age to you to be credible” position. Lisa, now 25 and a full-time athletic trainer at a private high school in San Luis Obispo, CA, shared her continuing commitment to trust God’s design for purity. Signing a commitment card at TLW when she was 13 and still honoring that commitment 12 years later is linked to her ever-deepening heart for Jesus. She is more convinced than ever that she is “worth the wait” and spoke convincingly to a crowd that hears few such messages. Julie, 23 and a recent graduate of Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo (June ’07), has a powerful testimony of her ongoing commitment to purity as well. As an All-American lacrosse player, and four-time National Champion, Julie also attributes the “success” she’s had remaining pure to her vital relationship with the Lord and to believing that He wants to give her the best. Lisa and Julie did a workshop on how to develop God-honoring convictions that will facilitate purity through the college years. Hope-giving and an all too rare message from authentic young ladies, they cast a vision of hope for the teens.

Brian and Heather Dietz, also long time veterans with TLW-FE, are a refreshing example of a young couple with great hearts for the Lord and for His purposes. The joy of arranging their lives pre-and post-maritally around God’s good design was apparent as they shared their story. They taught specifically on developing thirst in teens for Christ, which is needed for buy-in to embracing God’s plan for purity and for relationships in general. As directors of the middle-school program at Grace Chapel, they brought a wealth of experience and connectability to the conference.

Jess and Elizabeth Bousa, students at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and of the Home improvement Ministries Church Partnership Training Program, made their debut appearance at TLW-FE. With a unique and compelling story of his transformation from being involved in using and selling drugs to falling in love with Jesus while “serving time” at Teen Challenge, Jess powerfully preached about how to honor the “temple” of God (1 Corinthians 6:19) by choosing sexual purity. Their seminar, entitled “It’s never too late to start doing the right thing,” was practical and real and their transparency and openness made them very approachable.

Paul and I (co-directors of Home Improvement Ministries), rounded out the team. With 32 years of marriage and ministry, our passion for this focus of sexual purity only grows stronger. We gave the key note talk—on “God’s Design for Sexual Purity”—and spoke on the goodness of God’s design and the delights of trusting Him with this very potent area of life.
The six-hour seminar included large group presentations, workshops, and question and answer time. The day culminated with a time of reflection and commitment. Lunch and snacks were also provided (and prepared and served by long-time HIM veteran Jim Martis.) Great resources were available at the book table, operated by Kimary Pomphrett. Both days were full of expectation, vitality, and hope.

Overall feedback was very positive and attendees indicated that it was a day well spent. One mom wrote on her evaluation:

“The workshops we attended were very helpful – I was impressed with the speakers’ genuineness and their willingness to be vulnerable with teens and parents alike. My daughter went to Julie and Lisa’s workshop and was encouraged by how they emphasized saying “Yes” to Jesus’ best for their lives rather than just “No.” I am so grateful that her take-away from the day was so positive and that she not only wants to commit herself to purity, but also to getting to know Christ better.”

At the end of the day, that expressed well the heart desire of all those on the team. Choosing sexual purity is closely linked with choosing to follow Jesus wholly, in every area of life. Our prayers will continue on behalf of each of the teens who made commitments to honor God with their sexuality – and to increasingly believe that “sex is great . . . it’s worth the wait . . . and each one of them is worth waiting for.”