Sixteen years ago, The Delton Women’s Center began to take shape--first in the hearts, minds, and prayers of people in the faith community, and ultimately as a physical presence with an ambitious mission. It would be a pregnancy center devoted to sharing Christ, affirming life, and helping others to choose life. We thought we knew exactly what we were going to do.
And God smiled. You know how it goes… we tell Him our plans to make Him laugh!
The longer we served our very rural community, the more it became evident God had other plans for us. Oh, we never changed our purpose, or our reason for being here, but the way in which we served our community changed. One of the many things we had never thought about doing, but which has become a large part of our center, is our Purity Weekends.
As our clients answered questionnaires about when they first became sexually active, we were saddened to learn many had done so by the age of 11 or 12. Yes, our center was equipped with many abstinence DVDs, but they were geared toward high school students. There was a big gap in our material…we were seeing our clients too late. So, we researched material targeting a younger audience and settled on Dennis and Barbara Rainey’s Passport2Purity.
This program is designed to be used by a parent and their son or daughter, one-on-one. We ordered it and began to brainstorm how best to use this tool in our center. As we gathered ideas, a plan formed to tweak the program for a group setting.
Eventually we formulated what would become our Passport to Purity Weekends. We would invite five moms and their daughters aged 10-13. They would arrive Friday evening for a 6:00 meal, spend the night, and leave Saturday after lunch. That first weekend, we chose participants from among our family and close friends who would give us an honest evaluation.
So we began a journey with no idea where it would lead. Yet knowing it was God who was directing our path made it a little easier to jump into unknown waters.
Our goal for the weekend was to strengthen bonds between moms and daughters, to make uncomfortable things easier to talk about, and to teach God’s plan for purity in their lives. During the weekend, we enjoyed eating together, doing crafts, and listening to the Passport2Purity audio sessions.
We also shared several object lessons. One of my favorites involves a maze. We create a path using ropes, with many roadblocks and detours along the way. One brave mom and daughter volunteer to be first. The daughter is blindfolded, and her mom has to guide her through the maze. She can’t touch her daughter, only talk her through it. Sound easy? Well, at the same time our brave mom is trying to lead her daughter through the maze, all of the other moms and daughters are screaming at them to go a different way! After each pair has had a chance to maneuver through the maze, we talk about how hard it is for daughters to hear their mom’s voice over all the others. Much good discussion comes from this lesson.
Crafts are a big part of our weekend too. We make frames for photos taken of each mom-and-daughter team when they arrive Friday, as well as sand candles and t-shirt designs.
Teaching times focus on God’s intent that sex take place in the context of marriage, and that purity is more than just saying 'no' to sex before marriage. It’s also being careful about what goes into their minds -- from what they read, what they listen to, and what they watch. We also talk about how to make wise decisions when choosing friends and dealing with peer pressure.
We end our weekend by giving each girl a beautiful red rose. After talking about its beauty, we ask them to peel off one petal at a time and toss it on the floor as they name some of the things that would steal from their purity. It’s hard for them to start peeling off the petals, but the further they go the easier it gets. Soon all the petals are on the floor, and they have only a stem left. This activity fosters much discussion and many lessons. Then we give each girl beautiful white rose as a sign of her purity.
We gather in a circle and pray over each of them -- the moms, the daughters, and our teen helpers -- asking for God's protection, wisdom, courage, and boldness no matter what they'll be up against in the future.
So how does teaching purity fit into your center? For us, we’ve found a way to attack the problems we see before they happen. We hope you will be encouraged to do the same.
We just finished our 20th Passport to Purity Weekend. As you may have guessed, that first group loved it. Since then we have made changes and are always looking for ways to improve, but so far we have reached 100 girls with God's plan for purity -- and 100 moms who’ve said we made it much easier for them to talk with their daughters. Best of all, God is glorified.
We'd be happy to answer questions if you think this is something your center would like to do. You won’t be sorry you stepped out in faith. Trust me, the blessing will be yours.
Rebecca Hughes is the Director of Delton Women’s Center in Delton, Michigan. They can be found on Facebook and by phone: (269) 623-4061