Constance Tyne, a 15-year-old member of Grace Reformed Church, the URC plant in Jersey City, NJ, addressed UN representatives at the Commission on the Status of Women on March 22. She and the four other young people on the panel presented speeches on topics related to the theme “Women’s Empowerment and its Link to Sustainable Development.”
For over a year, the Tyne family has been involved with Concepts of Truth International, a nonprofit organization that provides abortion counseling, recovery, and prevention through a live assistance phone line and other programs and materials. The organization’s recovery curriculum was recently endorsed by Focus on the Family and is available in English and Chinese.
Millie Lace, founder and director of the organization, was impressed with recent work Constance performed in helping organize and promote a 5K fundraising run. She asked Constance to head up the panel.
“As chairman, my job was to put together a panel of youth, introduce them to the organization and instruct them on their responsibilities for the Conference on the Status of Women,” Constance says. She explains that each speech focused on solutions to different topics related to the theme.
She chose to speak on “Empowering Women through Education” because of the difference in methods used by Concepts of Truth compared to those employed by the UN.
“Concepts of Truth’s methods of help and healing…differ from the UN’s methods,” she says. “They can provide a comfort that the UN cannot: forgiveness in Christ and healing from Him is a crucial aspect of the recovery process. Clients are also specially helped by women, handpicked to counsel. A unique thing about Concepts of Truth is the staff; all counseling staff are very knowledgeable women who have had previous abortions, and have themselves healed from that process. Now, because of the forgiveness received in Christ, they use their past to help others heal from the same wounds once inflicted on them.”
The students prepared for weeks prior to the event, practicing on their own and with adult mentors. One parent is an actress and drama coach; Constance’s mother, Josephine Tyne, is an attorney and homeschool co-op teacher.
Pastor Sam Perez, of Grace Reformed Church, says, “The Tynes have been with the church since the very beginning as a core family (so almost three years). I would describe them, briefly, as an exemplary homeschooling Christian family.”
As a homeschooled student, Constance has gained debate and public speaking experience through NCFCA (National Christian Forensics and Communications Association).
She says, “Although the panel did not require much refutation to the audience, previous public speaking experience was definitely beneficial, as I felt I was more able to connect and engage with the audience.”
Over 100 people witnessed the presentation in a room set up for 50. “The walls were lined with people! The panel was attended by UN staff, delegates, other NGOs, visitors, families of the panelists, volunteers from Concepts of Truth, and others,” Constance says. “The atmosphere was very relaxed and friendly. The audience was responsive to our speeches, and—unlike other panels we witnessed—there were no probing questions from a slightly defensive audience. We were positively and warmly received.”
Witnessing the great variety of cultures represented at the event was “an eye opening experience” for Constance. “Seeing people from different countries, coming together to learn, teach and meet others is incredible, but the fact that God made a way for Concepts of Truth to be a part this is truly wonderful. In many countries, unsafe abortions are frequent and regular. Having the opportunity for Concepts of Truth to educate some people, in order that they may share with the country, is something that could only be ordained by someone bigger, someone with a universal plan.”
She was encouraged to see other NGOs (Non-Government Organizations). “I was able to meet a woman from Ireland, who was there with a Christian group at the UN. We know that God is doing things all over the world, working in the lives of His people, but to see and be a part of it firsthand is unforgettable.”
Constance cites the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19: “ ‘Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.’ I truly believe that the work Concepts of Truth is doing is globally impacting lives for the better and is helping to change hearts, minds and actions. I am proud to say I am a part of this noble and Christ-centered endeavor.”
The above article by Glenda Mathes appeared on pages 11 & 12 of the June 15, 2016, issue of Christian Renewal.