FOR ELYESTER Losania, a confessed former homosexual, deviating from the “normal” lifestyle has its consequences, among them discriminatory looks and prejudice. But despite this, he never thought once of going straight. Until he became 100% pure, or chaste.

“Although the change is still a struggle, I can say that, after becoming a 100% Pure member, I am no longer gay,” Losania, a Business Administration graduate from the Pamantasan ng Lunsod ng Maynila, told the Varsitarian. “For two years now, I have given myself an ultimatum to stop my old ways.”

The “old ways” mean a life of vice, sexual promiscuity, and aimlessness.

For Losania, sharing his story would mean opening his life to the public. But sharing it in a summit last April with more or less than 9,000 members of 100% Pure, a movement committed to challenging the youth to live a chaste lifestyle, made him gain confidence after being accepted for what he was.

“I was really overwhelmed,” he said. “Kahit alam kong nakatingin sila sa akin, tinanggap pa rin nila ako kaagad. Okay na ako ngayon. Kaya ko nang i-share yung buhay ko kahit kanino. Mas mataas na din yung confidence ko sa sarili ko.”

Although the conversion cannot take effect overnight, Losania said all it takes to fully change is determination.

But aside from chastity, the 100% Pure movement also aims to convince young peole to live a life free of vices.

“Sa pag-inom, kahit na sabihin mong occasionally, pareho pa rin yun kasi umiinom ka pa rin. Tulad ng paninigarilyo, kahit sabihin mong isang stick na lang yung hinihithit mo, ang punto, naninigarilyo ka pa rin,” Losania said.

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Nailing one's faith

Cool and pure

While most teenagers think being cool and staying away from vices are realities apart, Youth for Christ (YFC) members Bianca Dinglasan and Joseph Tesoro believe otherwise. Following this belief, they formed 100% Pure in February 2005 to urge their fellow youth to lead a life of purity.

In cooperation with Couples for Christ (CFC), their mother community, the movement was formally launched by the YFC and Singles for Christ (SFC) last April in Subic. Although it promotes faith and chastity, a commitment that may be regarded by this generation as “uncool”, 100% Pure has incorporated fun in its endeavor. It has created an environment where the youth can interact and have fun, strengthening its advocacy in the process while attracting more members.

“In order to reach out to them, you have to talk to them the youthful way,” Tesoro said.

Tesoro and Dinglasan were able to achieve this by organizing parties, fashions shows, seminars, and creating trendy apparel like t-shirts.

“It would not be an effective come-on for the youth if you didn’t know what they want,” Tesoro said. “That is why it is better to keep the atmosphere lively and energetic so they will listen to you.”

By organizing youth-friendly parties and other activities, Tesoro said the movement proves that teenagers living a 100 per cent pure lifestyle can have a good time sans alcohol, cigarettes, sex, and other addictions.

A typical 100% pure party includes videos and a session of testimonials from members who have reformed with the help of the program. New members receive a covenant card and an arm band to remind them to stick to the cause.

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Sass, Pizzazz, and Razzmatazz

The covenant card given to the members is a memento of their pledge to God to forego all impurities and achieve chastity in every aspect of their lives.

The card contains an exhortation to be pure in mind by staying away from evil thoughts and desires such as lustful ideas and malice of any kind. A holder must also give up reading pornographic materials and other immoral publications.

Meanwhile, in order to be pure in body, any form of sexual activities and addictions, such as masturbation, cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, or any other form, that may harm the body is prohibited.

“To be pure in heart, on the other hand, means to abstain from all forms of violent tendencies such as selfishness, bitterness, resentments, abusive language, and rage,” the card reads.

The group offers forums and modules for a more serious discussion of the Christian teachings. These interactions, which are mostly attended by students from Catholic schools, are more solemn, being venues where topics like chastity are discussed. Tesoro said these schools view the forums as significant in values formation among teenagers.

Aside from the commitment, 100% Pure also adopted the statement of the True Love Waits Movement, an organization based in the United States which encourages the youth to save sex for marriage, to strengthen their obligation to sexual abstinence.

Bringing back God’s original plan

During her 2004 trip to the United States, Dinglasan, a former alcoholic, realized young people’s alarming disregard for purity. She said a change of perspective is needed to bring back God’s plan for teenagers to remain pure.

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Finding balance in poetic tension

Although it was an undertaking that seemed hard to come by, Dinglasan and Tesoro talked with CFC elders to help them set up 100% Pure. With CFC’s support, they were able to introduce it in the international YFC forum.

Through concerted efforts with the increasing YFC network, the program was launched in all parts of the world.

In the country, coordinators of the project have talked with the respective coordinators of the ministry from other provinces to introduce the project.

According to Losania, roughly 200,000 local YFC, SFC and CFC members, and 50,000 international members have expressed support for the movement. The increasing number of supporters shows that through its youth-friendly approach, 100% Pure has become a guide for young people who have been desensitized by the culture of drugs, promiscuity, sex, alcohol, cigarettes, and other worldly desires to embrace instead a life of purity of mind, heart, and body for God.

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