Commission Culture Gains Momentum

Momentum for Commission Culture in the Oregon Conference is building as more and more members are actively engaging in personal witnessing. And many times, engaging in Commission Culture is so deeply ingrained that sharing Christ is a natural result of day-to-day living. Such was the case for Ivonne Allen, a vocational rehabilitation counselor with the Oregon Commission for the Blind who is also a member at the Sunnyside Church.

As a rehabilitation counselor, Allen is responsible for finding ways to assist blind people as they enter or re-enter the workforce. Two years ago a client, John Clark, entered her office needing help to find a job. At one point Clark had been a professional chef in Las Vegas; now he found himself legally blind, morbidly obese, hypertensive and depressed, in addition to having high cholesterol, diabetes and congestive heart disease. As Allen looked at this man in need of work, yet in dire health, she wondered what she could do to assist him in his journey toward employment. Silently she prayed for wisdom and direction.

One Sabbath while in church, Allen heard an announcement for an upcoming CHIP (Coronary Health Improvement Project) program, but she didn't pay much attention to it at the time. A few days later while doing a little house cleaning, Allen began thinking about and praying for Clark's situation. What could she do to help him improve his health and become employable? All of a sudden, she came across the CHIP brochure she had received. Could this be the answer? And would it be possible to gain funding from a state agency to send a client to a church-based program? She wasn't sure, but she was willing to find out.

At each step of petitioning for funding, Allen kept receiving positive answers. Finally, she was given clearance to use agency funds to enroll Clark in Sunnyside Church's CHIP program. It would be an "experiment" to monitor the effectiveness of the program.

Week by week Clark faithfully attended the CHIP programs, followed the dietary guidelines, and incorporated walking into his daily routine. By the end of the session, John found that his blood pressure had dropped significantly. Additionally, his cholesterol and glucose levels had decreased as had his need for insulin.

When it came time for Clark to report back to the Commission for the Blind about his progress and results from the CHIP program, the members of the commission's board become so excited that they sent six people to Illinois to receive corporate CHIP training. Among the group was Charlene Cook, a vivacious blind lady who became the CHIP director for the Oregon Commission for the Blind.

This spring the Commission's CHIP program celebrated its fourth graduation. But instead of the festivities taking place at the Commission's Portland office, the event was held at the Sunnyside Church.

Allen is thankful that she was able to assist Clark on his path to better health and eventually employment. She's also thankful for her church's programs that do, indeed, reach into and make a difference in the community. "It feels good to see we have something to offer!"

For more information about the Coronary Health Improvement Project, visit

June 01, 2007 / Oregon Conference