Category Archives: Campus Ministries

Serve With Love: PUC Travels to Kenya

This past spring break, 22 students, two professors from PUC, and five parents, went to serve in Kenya. They traveled to Kensington Hall Oloosinon Girls Secondary School (with about 150 students) to deliver 18 laptop computers and a projector. PUC students trained five out of eight teachers on how to use the laptops since most of the teachers were unfamiliar with computers but were eager to learn. Professor of Biology Floyd Hayes organized this mission trip for the fourth time and shared that his favorite memory from this trip was seeing the joy in the eyes of the teachers as they learned how to use their laptop computers. 10 of the computers will be in the computer lab they planned to set up before the students returned in April. Computer training will be a game-changer for the students, providing them with crucial skills that will help them find jobs and interact with a complex modern society.

PUC students training teachers how to use laptop computers

A laptop was also donated to a clinic where the group constructed the foundation of a new building at the Africa Mission Services Community Health Clinic and Birth Center. Nursing Professor Nicolette Piaubert and PUC students assisted in delivering five babies at the clinic- one baby was named Nicolette, and another was named Christie in honor of nursing student Christie Sumner. Several students assisted Dr. John Hiss and his wife Rita, a nurse (and parents of PUC student Nathan Hiss), with a few dozen patients in the clinic’s outpatient offices.

Nursing Professor Nicolette Piaubert (L) and nursing student Christie Sumner (R) with newborn babies named after them

During the trip, PUC students hosted Vacation Bible School for four days, where they enjoyed teaching and interacting with 75 students and witnessing 13 of those students baptized by Pastor Vuong Tran.

Students leading out in Vacation Bible School

The group also had the chance to spend two and a half days on safari in the Maasai Mara National Reserve, observing thousands of mammals plus many interesting reptiles and birds. “The highlight was seeing the big cats, including a few dozen lions, three cheetahs, and two leopards. The Maasai Giraffes and African Bush Elephants were also spectacular,” said Hayes. “This was my fourth trip to Kenya, and each time, I experience new sights and sounds. As a wildlife biologist, observing the iconic wildlife of Africa up close and personal has been the highlight of my career. I always feel like I’m in heaven! But not quite. It’s not safe to walk among the big animals, so I look forward to walking safely among them in heaven.”

Panthera Leo (African lions) 
Masai giraffe

With this being the fourth mission trip Professor Hayes organized, he shared that this one was different from the previous trips in that they donated laptop computers to a school. “Mission trips provide a wonderful opportunity for students to interact with people from another culture to learn how much we share in common and to realize how variable our opportunities are. I hope the students will realize how fortunate they are to have so many opportunities that are unavailable to many people who live in impoverished communities. That they will become more sensitive to the needs of those people, and that they will take advantage of the opportunities they have in life to help make the world a better place for others.”

It’s incredible to see the impact these mission trips give our students. To watch them lead and serve with love is an amazing sight, and we could not be more proud of the group that went to Kenya this past spring break. “I highly recommend participating in PUC’s homeless ministries, going on at least one mission trip, and becoming a student missionary in a developing country,” said Hayes. “Mission service is a life-transforming experience!”

Get To Know Assistant Professor of Theology Laura Wibberding 

Laura Wibberding has been teaching at PUC for the last five years. When she first visited PUC, she loved the campus and shared, “As an Oregon native, I thought there was too much sun =)” Teaching at PUC has been one of the most meaningful jobs for Laura. She loves getting to know the students and learning about the history of our college. We’re glad to have Laura at PUC and see our students enjoy her classes. 

How long have you worked at PUC? 

I’ve worked at PUC for about 5-years now, although most of that time I was an adjunct. This year I started as a regular faculty. I’ve enjoyed growing into my relationship with PUC, learning more about the college and the students as I do. 

What brought you to PUC? How/Why did you decide to work here? 

Our family moved here in 2017 when my husband started teaching and knew I wanted to be a part of this community. Honestly, teaching at PUC is one of the most meaningful jobs I could imagine.

What is the best thing about being a part of the Pioneers family? 

All the Pioneers, of course! Actually, both kinds. I love getting to know students. You guys are all insightful and creative. And I love Adventist history, so those Pioneers make me happy, too. There’s a story behind every building name on campus and a lot of the street names, too. I love being part of it. I also love that we don’t just inherit a legacy- we choose how we want to direct the future. 

Where is your favorite place to eat in the Valley, and why? 

I’m actually not the most adventurous with eating out. We discovered our kids like Pizzeria Tra Vigne and often go there. But my favorite place to eat is my own kitchen.  

What is something you can do/want to do that might be surprising for people to learn? 

I used to use my church history degree to create drama programs for our churches. I have tubs of Renaissance-era costumes and props I made for those, and I keep daydreaming about pulling them out again. Maybe if life slows down a little, I’ll get to that! 

What song are you listening to on repeat lately? 

The one I can’t get out of my head is “Surface Pressure” from Encanto.  

Where is your dream vacation?  

I love old architecture and art and especially ruins. I picked Rome for our 20th-anniversary trip, and what I’d love to do next is see Spain or Greece. 

Finish this sentence: On Sunday mornings, you can find me…  

Doing laundry. Sunday is for all the work I couldn’t get to during the week, but it’s also family movie night with the kids, so there’s balance. 

Meet Student Chaplain, Andres Borrero 

Andres Borrero is one of PUC’s student chaplains this year and is making sure to provide students with the best worship experience thus far. He loves being able to serve others and do so while keeping God a part of everything he’s involved in. Andres wants everyone to be involved in any way they feel comfortable and be able to see how God works through all of us. Don’t hesitate to talk to Andres if you want to participate in worship or be a part of his team! 

Share with us what being a student chaplain means to you. 

Being a student chaplain, for me, means being part of a team. A team in which we work together weekly to help provide opportunities for students to come together to worship and praise God. Not only that but I am responsible for overseeing many music and technology aspects for many of our programs. I do so by helping manage those aspects which are something I love to do, especially with Student-led programs, which is what has drawn me over the years. 

What made you want to be a student chaplain? 

For the last 3 years I have been the music chaplain of the school, and music, specifically praise music, has always been a big part of my life growing up. This year I am passing my torch as this is my last year, but very much still involved. Although I am not a music chaplain anymore, but a student chaplain, I find that now I am able to look into more aspects around school in which I can be a part of and not just music. In other words, now having more time than I used to, I now can use that time to focus on other ministries. 

What are your responsibilities? 

Currently, my responsibilities are managing the AV team for each service or program, which includes slides and presentations, sound, and live streaming. Also as I go through the transition of passing the torch of music chaplain I am currently training the new music chaplain. Lastly and one of my most important jobs especially for the other team members, is I am here for anything, if someone needs to talk just about life, or struggling, or would want bible studies, or simply just needs help with a program, I am here to do so. 

What are the challenges you have as a student chaplain? 

Currently, I do not find many challenges quite frankly. One I might find is, as students it can be hard to come together to have meetings, which would be very helpful weekly. But we are all current students which can make it quite hard sometimes. 

What do you hope to accomplish as a student chaplain this year? 

I hope to leave this school better than I got here, from the religious aspect on campus. I believe we are quite on track to do so, and especially with music, I would like to create a concrete system by the end of the year that can be used for the years to come and create less stress for students. 

What about being a student chaplain has prepared you for your career and other aspects of your future? 

Being able to take charge and shape my interpersonal skills has definitely been a by-product of being a chaplain for four years now. I now currently work in a mental health facility and can see every time I go to work how these tools that I have gained from being a chaplain I now use for my work and how I approach the mental health patients. 

What advice do you have for something who is struggling with their spiritual life? 

Get involved! I myself struggle spiritually even now sometimes, and as humans, I believe it is not bad to do so. But get involved whether you might agree completely with God or not. Getting involved can show you Jesus in so many ways! From the teams you work with to seeing how everything is processed and how we involve God in all we do. There is always room for more on our team! 

What do you love about PUC? 

PUC has such a family setting. I would walk out of my dorm and head over to the grind and I always knew everyone I passed, and they knew me! That family aspect where we really know each other is so much fun. Because of that, so many people loved to get involved and support each other when they are not, which is what I love so much about this school. 

What is your favorite weekend activity? 

On-campus: Definity vespers! Being a part of the rush of the whole program and when I am able to sing and lead, being able to create an atmosphere for my fellow students.

Off-campus: Going to baseball games! I absolutely love baseball!

Meet Student Chaplain, Ashley Garner 

Ashley Garner is one of PUC’s student chaplains this year. Through her previous roles with our campus ministries team and joining praise and worship, she fell in love with ministry- and wanted to take on more responsibilities by becoming a student chaplain. She’s been able to meet more people- and witness ministry and Jesus change lives.

Share with us what it means being a student chaplain.

Disclaimer: This is just how I would personally define student chaplaincy; others may have differing definitions! A student chaplain has the privilege and great responsibility to assist and guide individual students as well as the student body as a whole in spirituality. Being a student chaplain means to engage in many different types of ministry and serve the various needs of students, staff, and the community. Modeling Jesus, student chaplains should seek to serve the whole person: the physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual needs of those around them. I believe that a student chaplain has the responsibility to be a campus prayer leader/prayer warrior, consistently praying for others and for spiritual change on campus.

What made you want to be a student chaplain?

I first started getting involved with ministry in high school. I joined the praise team, the Campus Ministries team, and eventually became the Religious-vice my senior year. I started on the PUC Campus Ministries team last year as PR; and also got involved with PUC praise and worship. I fell in love with ministry through these roles and wanted to further my journey in ministry and take on a new role and a bit more responsibility this year as a student chaplain!

What are your responsibilities?

Under Campus Ministries, I am a general student chaplain, the women’s dorm/residence hall chaplain, and I am our PR (this is my second year doing that!). My responsibilities generally include but are not limited to: managing Campus Ministries and being a part of our team; assisting the Chaplain in various ways, serving on a spiritual life committee; being a spiritual resource for dorm staff and residents; and managing Campus Ministries social media and public relations. Moreover, I have a responsibility to my campus, Pacific Union College; my boss, the PUC Chaplain, Pastor Kent Rufo; my team, the Campus Ministries team; and to overall serve God in everything I do.

What are the challenges you have as a student chaplain?

The challenges I’ve discovered, specifically this year, are trying to reach the entire student body in a meaningful way that promotes spiritual change. I’d love to personally know every single person on this campus and their needs; however, this is, unfortunately, impossible for one person to do. Also, programming is a big part of our ministry, and it’s an awesome opportunity but I wish I had more opportunities to connect with people on a one-on-one, personal basis. It’s definitely been a transitional year with COVID-19 still impacting our campus and the way we do ministry, which has undoubtedly presented challenges for the past 2+ years.

What is your favorite part about being a student chaplain?

My favorite part about being a student chaplain is the relationships with people. It’s been amazing to get to know more people, work with those who share the same love for God and others, and to be a part of a community. It’s also a very rewarding job: it’s really cool to see someone be impacted by the ministry we do and to see lives change through Jesus.

What do you hope to accomplish as a student chaplain this year?

What I’d love to accomplish this year is to start meaningful spiritual change on our campus. For the past 2 years, life has been largely uncertain and challenging due to the pandemic. As we try to rebuild from that, I want to help create a safe community at PUC, where people can dwell with God and others. I want to help create an atmosphere and culture that people who experience our campus can say, “God is working here and God’s presence is prevalent”.

What advice do you have for someone struggling with their spiritual life? 

This is a tough question but so important. Firstly, I want to encourage those struggling. It’s certainly okay to struggle with your spiritual walk, and everyone— even the most devout religious leaders— struggle with their spiritual life sometimes. It’s okay to admit you are struggling and I think that takes courage and is admirable. Another piece of advice to specifically PUC students: utilize your resources! There are many resources for spiritual care here on campus. Talk to our Chaplain, a professor you trust, the counseling center, or even a student chaplain, Religious-vice president, or any student leader. We are here for you and we would love to assist you in your spiritual life, and we’d love to simply pray for you. Prayer is powerful!

What about being a student chaplain has prepared you for your career and other aspects of your future?

Student chaplaincy has prepared me for my career- in the sense that I’ve gotten to work with many different people from all walks of life, and I’ve gotten to build interpersonal skills. It’s also taught me a lot about fostering community in the workplace. I believe you can minister in any professional field, and being involved in ministry has taught me that and has also equipped me with skills to do so, although I still have a lot to learn. Being a student chaplain frequently pushes me outside my comfort zone, and I’ve developed leadership skills and learned to be more comfortable with public speaking. 

What is your favorite weekend activity?

My favorite weekend activities are trying new coffee shops, thrifting, and yoga. I love coffee, and my favorite coffee shop near PUC is Soul Rebel Organic Coffee and Juice Bar in Calistoga. I also have been getting into yoga recently, and hot yoga is my favorite!

What do you enjoy doing outside of school?

Outside of school, I really enjoy hanging out with friends and family, playing sports, working out, and music (usually singing or playing the piano). I’m currently playing basketball intramurals, and my favorite sports are flag football and soccer. I make it a priority to move my body at least once a day, whether it is weight lifting, running, walking, or playing sports with friends.

What do you love about PUC?

I love many things about PUC. For one, the campus and the Napa Valley are beautiful; I love the trees, the sunshine, the sunsets, and even the fog and rain. I also love that there are so many opportunities here; for example, I’ve gotten to become a Student chaplain, a student-athlete on the women’s soccer team for 2-years, a member of the praise and worship team, a member of the Psychology honor’s society (Psi Chi), I was blessed to get a part-time job at Adventist Health St. Helena and I’m planning on serving as a student missionary next year! Through all of those opportunities, I’ve grown personally, spiritually, academically, socially, and professionally: I’ve met amazing people, traveled, made memories that are so special to me, and grown my relationship with God. PUC is pretty great. I’m honestly just so thankful that it was a part of God’s plan for me to attend here.

Get To Know PUC Church Pastor Chanda Nunes

By: Ashley Eisele

In the midst of the pandemic, the PUC Church welcomed new lead pastor Chanda Nunes after more than a year-long search to find the right candidate. 

Pastor Nunes was born and raised in Toronto, Canada, and is a graduate of Burman University (formerly Canadian University College) and Andrews University, where she received her Master of Divinity degree. She also holds associate degrees in private investigation & paralegal studies and is a certified life coach practitioner.

She began her pastoral ministry in August 2003, serving the Alberta Conference at the College Heights Seventh-day Adventist Church, on the campus of Burman. From 2008-2015, Pastor Nunes served the Kansas-Nebraska Conference at the New Haven Seventh-day Adventist Church and was the first Black pastor ever to serve in the Conference, as well as the first Black woman pastor to serve in the Mid-American Union. She was commissioned while there in 2011.

Pastor Nunes has served the Northern California Conference since 2015, most recently at the Capitol City Seventh-day Adventist Church in Sacramento, Calif. She is the first Black woman pastor to serve within the Conference where she was ordained in June 2018.

“My biggest hope for right now,” Nunes says. “Is that this pandemic will cease, and that we have an opportunity to come back together as a church family to experience the love and fellowship that we have been missing all these months.”

While Pastor Nunes is very excited for the unique experience of pastoring in a college town, the pandemic has not allowed her congregation to get to know her as well as she would like so she jumped at the chance to sit down (virtually) and answer some questions. 

What is pastoring like during a pandemic? 

Pastoring during a pandemic is a unique position to be in. This is something we’ve never been through or have seen modeled for us, so we’re literally starting at ground zero. This is the time for pastors to unleash their creativity like never before, in order that the Message of the Gospel can continue moving forward. 

How do you connect with a new community when our congregation is virtual?

This part is a challenge. I’m an extrovert and love to meet new people, so with the social distancing that we are expected to adhere to, it will now take (more) time to get to know members individually. Every week, I try to work my way through our church family directory, and make a number of phone calls, send emails/texts messages.

What makes pastoring a campus church special? 

Pastoring a campus church is an exciting and unique experience! You have great resources at hand, the opportunity to meet people from all over the world, energy and insight from all age-ranges, and the desire to come together to learn, and to lift up Jesus!

What hopes do you have for the PUC Church and community in the coming months and years? 

My biggest hopes for right now is that this pandemic will cease, and that we have an opportunity to come back together as a church family to experience the love and fellowship that we have been missing all these months.  

The PUC Church welcomes you to join their weekly worship service each Sabbath morning at 11 a.m. Join at livestream.com/pucchurch

The Women’s Volleyball Team Shows Pioneers Spirit

By Richie Silie 

Times are difficult and that is a fact. But even in the midst of a global pandemic, our student athletes are finding ways to be good “teammates” to our surrounding communities. 

Members of our women’s volleyball team made the decision to volunteer at the COVID-19 testing site in Yountville, Calif. These ladies didn’t just help at the mobile clinic, they also passed out food, toiletries, and various personal health items to families in need. Overcoming challenges and working as a team are part of an athlete’s everyday life so it was no surprise to see the selflessness of our Pioneers. These incredible young people lead our athletics department by shining their light “all around the neighborhood.” 

The #PUCPioneersNation has really stepped up and shown they are proudly part of the larger Napa Valley community. Though we are more than ready to have all our students back on campus and regain a sense of normalcy, we are blessed to give back in as many ways as possible because that IS the Pioneers way! 

Follow us on Instagram at @pucpioneers!

A Letter From PUC’s SA President

Hello PUC,

Hi everyone! My name is Lewis Govea, this years’ PUC Student Association President. I am a senior music major looking to attend pharmacy school in the future. My PUC journey started fall of 2017 when I came to PUC as an aspiring biochemistry major. My efforts to power through my chosen major were thwarted by passion and the desire to be as well rounded as possible, so I switched my major to music with voice being my primary instrument.

My passion for music began very early. I have been in choirs and plays my entire academic life and have continued to grow as a musician. My musical experience ingrained within me the value of teamwork, so I continue to seek out groups that work together for a common goal. This desire, to be a part of something larger than myself, is what drew me to student government. I joined PUC’s Student Association fall of 2019 as the Social Vice President, where I took my skills as a team player and refined them into being the skills of a team leader. I found leadership to be one of my core characteristics. I planned fun events, like Bob Ross Paint Night and a concert where I invited The Voice alum Jej Vinson to sing. I felt like I was making an impact on campus, but I also felt limited to the social lives of PUC students rather than being someone who could affect actual changes to campus life and culture. This is what made me run for president.

School is starting and it might feel like there is no end in sight to this pandemic. I can already sense the walls of my bedroom pressing inwards, but I still don’t give up hope. Hope for better days and for when I can see the kind and loving faces of my friends again. If I begin to feel stagnate, I will push myself to fight for a cause. That cause will be to do everything in my power to make everyone connect to a community that loves them and will support them through these difficult times. This quarantine has been tough, and nobody expects you to just pick up where you left off. Heal. Rest. PUC SA is doing the work to make those dreams a reality. 

Until we meet again,

Lewis Govea

SA President

Get To Know Your Student Association

Welcome to a new year at PUC! We are so excited to get to know each and every Pioneer! This year we have a great group of student leaders who have been working hard to make sure this is the best year yet. Let’s take a minute to meet them and when you see them around campus, don’t hesitate to say hello!

thumbnail_image001Lewis Govea – President 

“There is nothing I want more than to reunite with my PUC family, but I know everything is going to be different when all this is over. The incoming SA Team has the monumental task of rebuilding the PUC Family following this forced separation, but that’s exactly what we signed up for. This pandemic has strained our support systems and left us feeling alone, but I want everyone to know that SA will be waiting for you all with open arms and hearts full of love when we are back together again. We see our reunion as something to be excited for and we are ready to make PUC feel like home again. SA misses everyone and can’t wait to be back home on the hill. We love you all!”

thumbnail_Image-2Aileen Kurts – VP 

“I’m so excited to be a part of SA because I know the potential Student Senate has for making great changes at PUC. I’m ready to lead the Senate to make PUC feel like home for all students. I’m hoping to create a mentorship program at PUC so freshmen have some more guidance in what they’re doing and so they know people who have accomplished what they dream of. Senate is a powerful tool that I’m hoping every student learns about and utilizes so that their experience at PUC is the best they can have because PUC is not just a school but a place to create a family and call home.”

thumbnail_11B82805-844F-4B31-8C46-5B54A7F03BCDSebastian Anderson – PR/Marketing VP

“I’m thrilled to have another opportunity to be a leader and representative of the student body. I hope to use the PR & Marketing position to bring the whole campus closer together while helping campus culture and energy flourish. I want to do everything in my power to make sure everyone feels included, involved, and invited to everything the SA team puts together.”

thumbnail_ImageGrace Jong – Social VP 

“Hey, guys! I can’t wait for all the exciting new adventures that God has planned for PUC. This upcoming year, I have so many events planned in order to connect the students together. Stay tuned always remember to give love and give grace :)”

thumbnail_Image-1Keren Castro – Religious VP 

I’m really excited to be part of SA and bringing new things to PUC. My biggest goal for next year is really to bring more opportunities for the students to seek a more personal and deeper relationship with God while creating a stronger community through it. This past year, I was on Noah’s RVP team and we brought together Afterglow and we’ve seen amazing outcomes from it. So now I only want to expand from that.”

thumbnail_IMG-20190831-WA0008Miriam YU – Financial VP 

“I’m excited to meet everyone, especially the new SA team, real soon and also to bond with the student body. As FVP I look forward to growing in this position and meeting all the accounting goals.”

thumbnail_ADC_0034Adam Adreveno – Video Producer 

“I look forward to making quality videos for everyone to engage with and enjoy!”

Faces of PUC: Dannica Roberts 

Coming to PUC from Honolulu, HI, Dannica Roberts is studying physical education. As an older sibling, she’s always been a nurturer and is really passionate about helping people which makes her a great fit here at PUC where students are encouraged to join service projects. Dannica is well-known for being “super sweet” so when you see her on campus don’t hesitate to say hello! 

What is your dream job? 

My dream job would be to become a pilot and a dentist for children. 

How does that compare to what you wanted to be when you were young? 

When I was young, I wanted to become a teacher, so my dream jobs have not happened yet. Eventually, I would love to learn how to fly a plane and maybe get some experience in the dentistry field. 

What is your favorite thing about being a part of the Pioneers family? 

I receive so much love and support from the Pioneers family. 

What is your favorite place in the world? 

My favorite places in the world are either the beach where I would be surfing or in another country, like Taiwan or Peru where I would want to help with community service projects. 

What show are you bingeing these days? 

I have been binge-watching Criminal Minds and I am so close to finishing all 12 seasons of it. 

What is something you’re passionate about? 

I am passionate about going out into the community and helping with service projects. 

Recommend a place to go to the Bay Area on a weekend? 

I would recommend buying a ticket to go riding on the cable car around San Francisco and of course, visiting Ghirardelli Square. 

 

Faces of PUC: April Medel 

April Medel is a senior from Stockton, Calif., majoring in psychology with an emphasis in Spanish and pre-medicine. She is passionate about helping others and is dedicated to making changes in how the medical field treats minorities. April was sweet enough to answer some questions for us. We are truly blessed to have students like April on our campus!

What is your dream job?

My dream job is to be a doctor. Personally, it does not really matter to me what kind of doctor I end up being as long as I am able to make a difference in someone’s life physically and emotionally and being able to use my knowledge and resources to try and fix parts of the system that are broken, like the prejudice many minorities face while seeking medical care. 

How does that compare to what you wanted to be when you were young? 

I’ve wanted to be a doctor since I was in the first grade!  Having the ability to help others and using the resources I have to help those in need is something I wanted to do since I was a kid and I am glad that my priorities have not changed. 

What is your favorite thing about being a part of the Pioneers family? 

My favorite thing about being part of the Pioneers family is that I am given the opportunity to worship God at the end of a stressful week. Many schools do not offer that opportunity, and I feel like it is great how PUC students can all get together, praise God, and give thanks for another successful week. 

Where is your favorite place in the world? 

My favorite place in the world is definitely Yosemite. Yosemite is basically my second home and I have been going there since I was born. It is a place where I can shut out the world and just thank God for all the blessings in my life. 

What show are you bingeing these days? 

I have been watching Space Force and 100 Humans on Netflix. Space Force is such a cute show and I just love Steve Carell. 100 Humans is extremely interesting so if you are interested in research and random human behaviors, then you should definitely check it out! 

What is something you’re passionate about? 

I am really passionate about standing up against racism and making sure everyone is treated equally and with respect. The Black Lives Matter movement, standing up for women and LGBTQ+ rights, and helping immigrants and DACA recipients are stuff that I am really passionate about. 

Recommend a place to go in the Bay Area on a weekend

I recommend going to Napa or to Pier 39 in San Francisco with your friends. If you want a bit more adventure, definitely check out Alcatraz in San Francisco or the Manchester House in San Jose.