Coalition for Christian Outreach: How Changing Dorm Rooms Introduced a College Student to the Gospel
April 5, 2021
PITTSBURGH — The most significant thing Mandy discovered early on as a college student was that a new friendship, combined with a spider infestation, would soon change the course of her life and put her on the path to Jesus.
“I ended up living on the very back corner of campus,” explained Mandy in a Coalition for Christian Outreach (CCO) YouTube video. “That meant that there were bugs and critters all the time, which I thought would be fine. But then I ended up with a whole spider infestation in my room. That’s how I knew I needed to move out.”
Mandy’s friend Sarah happened to have an empty bed in her college room. Mandy was nervous about moving in with Sarah; Sarah lived in the Lighthouse – the women’s Christian house on the campus. “I was not a Christian at the time, but I needed a bed so badly,” said Mandy.
Even though the women who live in the Lighthouse are typically Christians, Mollie Little, the CCO campus minister, saw this as “a beautiful opportunity for Mandy to experience God’s love in a way that would be really genuine.”
Mandy spent the semester as Sarah’s roommate, and enjoyed it. “But then I left thinking, ‘Oh, I [should move to a] different dorm room,’” said Mandy. “That was the semester that I think I struggled the most ever – going through a lot and feeling really alone.”
Mandy decided to get help and ended up talking to Little. “[Mandy] explained how lost and how broken she felt, how she had been trying to search for this peace,” Little said. “I could see that she was in this place of curiosity, and I thought, ‘Why, Jesus, would You take her away from Sarah? And from this community of Christians when she’s hungry to know more?’ But you know, we need to trust Jesus with what He’s doing. We could see that God was working.”
“I took a Bible from the Lighthouse, took the semester off and basically spent that whole time just [being] in God’s presence and focusing on what life would be like when I got back to campus,” said Mandy.
Then Jubilee happened. The year before, Sarah had invited her to attend CCO Jubilee, [the ministry’s annual conference for students], but Mandy declined to go. This time, Mandy said yes. “I remember one specific moment where they say to the crowd, ‘If you’re ready to give your life to Jesus, come to the front right now and we’ll have somebody pray for you.’ I told Sarah that I needed to go to the front.”
Sarah, who had been praying for her friend was so happy. “I just feel like God gave me a front row seat to watch Him doing something amazing in my best friend’s life. It makes me want to cry.”
Now, after attending Jubilee, and finding God, Mandy’s life is on a better path. “There I was, in college in the middle of COVID, and it may seem really strange, but this has been a huge gift. Sarah and I are living together in the Lighthouse again. And this time it didn’t take a single spider to get me there!”
For 50 years,CCO Coalition for Christian Outreach (CCO) has been partnering with colleges and churches to invite college students into a relationship with Jesus Christ. The college and university campus are the most strategic mission fields in the world, with only 2 percent of students being reached with the Gospel. CCO partners with local church congregations to help students feel a sense of belonging. A community is formed between the CCO staff and students, who are invited into the lives of local congregations. Through this community of fellowship, CCO is able to minister to the students in a life-changing way.
For more information about the Coalition for Christian Outreach, or to interview a CCO representative, contact Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Marjorie Pratt, 610.584.1096, ext. 107, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.