“The AIDS epidemic of the 1990s, if no vaccine is found, will strike hardest among teenagers,” says Floyd McClung, Jr., Youth With A Mission’s (YWAM) Executive Director of International Operations.
“There is no such thing as safe sex apart from sexual abstinence.” Experts predict half-a-million active cases of AIDS in the U.S. by 1994.
“Sexual abstinence, as a means of AIDS prevention, has not yet been discussed seriously in this nation – a nation that was built upon Christian values,” McClung said.
Despite exhortations to “just say no,” the average American teenager loses virginity at age 16. In vain, new approaches to AIDS education are being tried against a backdrop of evidence that sexually active teens still use condoms only sporadically.
A recent analysis of blood samples collected from 40 urban hospitals by the U.S. Center for Disease Control reveals 1 percent of 15 and 16-year-olds are infected with the AIDS virus, and among 21-year-olds the infection rate approaches 3 percent.
Even in cities that researchers defined as medium risk, such as Atlanta, Chicago and Dallas, about 1 percent of the 21-year-olds are infected. At college level, 1 in 500 students, a total of 25,000, may carry the virus, according to a blood-sample survey conducted at 19 campuses in 1988 by the American College Health Association.
Church going youth are very much involved in illicit sex, according to a survey conducted by the Josh McDowell Ministry. Of the 1,400 churchgoing young people queried, 43 percent said they had engaged in sexual intercourse by age 18. “Part of the reason is the Christian community has been reluctant to deal with the issue regardless of the evidence,” said McClung.
“In the ‘Red Light’ district evil is blatant. In contrast, evil in suburbia has another form. I call it ‘creeping compromise.’ There, comfort dulls the spirit and complacency becomes acceptable.”
McClung added, “I see a lot of spiritual blindness today. People have been conned by the enemy and duped by their culture and compromised without knowing it. They have bought into a value system that is not biblical. It’s time to get back to a biblical standard of moral purity.”
In Amsterdam and other urban centers of the world, YWAM has established ministry teams to reach out to youth in need, particularly those infected by the AIDS virus.
Special teams have also been trained to minister to the spiritual and practical needs of AIDS victims. These team members provide domestic and emotional support to people who are too ill to shop, cook, manage their home, etc.
“We minister to people before the AIDS test, right to death itself,” said McClung. “We are basically doing what we have always done, reaching out in friendship to hurting people.”
Floyd McClung, a native of Long Beach, California, moved to Amsterdam, Holland, in 1973. McClung founded YWAM-Amsterdam in 1973 and established a missionary training center in the infamous “Red Light” district of Amsterdam, Holland, in 1985. “De Poort” (The Gate), as the center is called, provides training to equip urban missionaries to drug addicts, pimps, prostitutes, and the disenfranchised. One person in three coming to the ministry for help has the AIDS virus.
From Amsterdam, Floyd and his wife, Sally, train urban ministry teams which are then sent to other cities all over the world. Floyd’s most recent book, Living on the Devil’s Doorstep, tells of his family’s life in the Red Light District. The McClungs and their two children, Misha and Matthew, now live in the heart of Amsterdam.