The CCO’s ministry made me understand that faith did permeate every area of life. It helped me to understand that it needed to affect my whole life. I attended the Chatham Center Weekend as a student—the precursor to the Jubilee conference—and I learned to think through my chosen field of education as a Christian. I was taught to measure what I learned in the classroom through a Christian worldview.
I was a student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in the early 1970s, when the first CCO people showed up on campus. I made a commitment to Christ during the spring semester of my freshman year, and when I returned as a sophomore, I got involved in a sorority Bible study through the outreach to Greeks that CCO staff workers Dave Diehl and Terry Thomas started.
I joined staff in 1974 and during the next three years, I reached out to students at Robert Morris University and Carlow University. The CCO training was very formative for me. I was still young in my faith, and I found it fascinating to learn how my faith was to affect every area of life. It was intimidating to be on staff with so many seminary graduates, and it really motivated me to study harder. God used my vain, “I-don’t-want-to-appear-stupid” motivation to draw me closer to himself.
Because of the ministry, I began to think about success in different ways. Success as a Christian is about being good stewards of what God gives us. I realized the need for accountability of fellow believers. We needed to be surrounded by Christian community to keep us grounded.
I got more out of my years involved with the CCO’s ministry than I gave. I understand that how you parent must be affected by your faith. I know that God gave us directives so that we might live full, abundant lives—that living within God’s boundaries is a good thing. I grew up with a perception of Christianity being a “do’s and don’ts” kind of religion.
Through the CCO, I learned that obedience brings joy.
—Barbara (Yeager) Blandino, Indiana University of Pennsylvania 1974 | May 27, 2009