"Young Ladies of Virtue" and "Young Men of Integrity" came together recently at the Lovejoy Community Center, to make a vow to God and themselves, to abstain from sex before marriage. The event was sponsored by Bless God's Children Ministries Inc. Volunteers and organizers of the ministry are also pictured with the teens.
By Elaine Rackley
A "Vow of Purity" ceremony, that its supporters hope will be copied, took place recently at the Lovejoy Community Center.
A cadre of 10 young people -- seven girls, and three boys -- stood before their parents, friends and others, to promise they will abstain from sex until they are married.
Once the vows were declared, the youngsters found they would have help keeping their vows -- help from their parents, and the group sponsoring the event, Bless God's Children Ministries Inc.
The young people are part of the "Young Ladies of Virtue" and "Young Men of Integrity" programs, of Bless God's Children Ministries Inc., an independent ministry that is taking measures to educate young people about the consequences of pre-martial sex.
Caitlyn Smith, 14, said taking the vow of abstinence is a big step in her life.
"At this age, I think it is important to stay abstinent. I really think that other teenagers should take the vow as well, but it all has to start with one person," said Smith.
"We work with young people to help them become productive and responsible adults," said Eleyda Jones, director and founder of the ministerial group.
The ministry works with young people from Clayton, Henry and Fayette counties.
"We teach them about abstinence, to help break generational curses of having sex outside of marriage," said Jones, of Hampton. "Having sex outside of marriage is what produced a lot of fatherless children."
There is a course young people must complete prior to making the pledge, explained Jones. Some of the seminar topics include "Your Body," and "Sex out of marriage, and diseases." The seminars are taught by a registered nurse, according to Jones.
Parents are allowed to attend the sessions, but are asked to stay in the rear of the class, so the young people can feel more "comfortable," during the sometimes-graphic discussions, continued Jones.
Class participants are asked to write down anonymous questions, which are placed in a box. The nurse then responds to the questions.
"We have a preparation [period] where, we teach them the meaning [of the process], by defining what a vow is, and the importance of a vow, before God," she continued. "We focus on their body, teaching them their body is a temple, where the Holy Spirit dwells."
Corey Bain, and his wife Jeanine , of Locust Grove, are directors of the Young Men of Integrity, and Young Ladies of Virtue programs.
"It is important for the ladies, and young men, to keep themselves [pure] before marriage," said Corey Bain. "We showed them the spiritual side, what God expects for them to do, and we told them about the positive aspects of keeping the vow of purity.
Bain said he believes the young people took the pledge seriously.
"I was especially proud of the young men who took the vow," he continued, regarding the program which took place late last month. "They were teased about it at school, but one of the young men said that taking the vow proved he was a man."
Marcia Holder, a fund-raiser volunteer, and treasurer for the ministry, had three daughters to participate in the "Vow of Purity" ceremony, Danielle Smith, 15, and 14-year-old twins, Courtney and Caitlyn Smith.
"Oh my God, it was such a great experience for me as a mom," said Holder of Fayetteville. "I was a teenage mother myself, and as a mom, I don't want my kids to follow in my footsteps.
"When I heard of Bless God's Children's Ministry and the work they were doing, I had to get my children involved and get involved myself," added Holder.
Teenager Caitlyn credited the director of the ministry's work with enhancing the growth and development of young people involved in the ministry.
"Sister Elyada Jones helps the girls and boys stay committed to the vow," said the youngster. "She is changing kids' lives by doing this. She is truly a blessing in disguise."
Free registration is available for upcoming events, such as Movie time, April 16, at the Lovejoy Community Center, and pregnant teen seminars, such as "Don't give up, Let's talk," scheduled for April 30, at the Lovejoy library, 1721 McDonough Road.
For more information about Bless God's Children Ministries Inc., visit www.blessgodschildren.com, or call Eleyda Jones at (678) 604-0651.