Category Archives: Campus Ministries

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. 

 

His Passion, God’s Plan: How one alum followed his calling

By Becky St. Clair

Darrin Thurber graduated from PUC in 2007 with a degree in music performance on guitar, and a student missionary year in Pohnpei under his belt. He went on to earn a master’s degree in music from San Francisco State University, but ultimately, he felt God calling him in a slightly different direction. Today Darrin is a pastor with a wife and two daughters, and we ran into him again because, after several years in the midwest, Darrin is back in California, taking on a new experience as senior pastor of the Calimesa Church in SoCal. 

Let’s start with an easy one: Why music? 

I’ve always been very passionate about music, and I love performing. I also come from a musical family; my grandfather was a wonderful musician and sang with the King’s Heralds back in the 60s. My dad is a guitarist—he’s the one who taught me to play, actually—who loves to arrange and compose music. I grew up playing for church often, and I enjoyed it so much I would sit on my own at home and just play and sing. When I got to PUC, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do, but I signed up to take a music theory class, and I was hooked from day one. It was so much fun and exactly what I wanted to study. 

So how did you make the jump from music to pastoring?

When I was studying for my master’s, I was the interim worship pastor at the PUC Church for about half a year. That experience changed my life because I discovered I could use my music skills while also serving in a leadership role in the church. I learned a lot about what goes into planning a worship service, including how to collaborate with various entities, people, and groups, and exploring a variety of music styles. It felt perfect to me, but God had other plans. He closed that door and instead called me to Ohio to be a preaching pastor.

What did that look like for you?

Well, I originally went to be a campus ministry director on state college and university campuses for the Ohio Conference. Shortly after I got there, though, I felt God tugging me toward the seminary, so I went. What followed was a one-year stint pastoring a four-church district in rural Ohio before we settled in Mansfield where I served as pastor for five years. A month ago, in June 2020, I followed God’s lead to fill the senior pastor role at the Calimesa Church, and we’re just starting to get settled here.

How do music and pastoral ministry fit together in your life now?

Music is such an important, central part of church worship. Having a background in music has allowed me to be able to dialogue and collaborate with worship leaders and church musicians to plan services, and I’ve also been able to use my passion for music to connect with youth in my churches. Because of my experience being involved in several different ensembles at PUC, and during my time as worship pastor there, I can relate to a lot of people’s church music experiences and preferences, and it helps me as a pastor be able to meet their worship needs in a meaningful way.

How do you feel your overall experience at PUC prepared you for your life after college?

Oh man, PUC prepared me in so many ways. I had numerous opportunities to really grow my leadership skills and grow in my areas of interest—namely, music and sports—in a spiritual environment. Both of these things took a lot of my time in college, but they also taught me work ethic, commitment, and hard work. Both music and being on the basketball team taught me success doesn’t just come magically; I have to put in the time and effort to see results. All of that has benefited my pastoring a lot, as I’ve learned to prepare church services and sermons and help coordinate ministries and outreach programs.

Let’s take that a bit further: How do you feel the spiritual environment at PUC was beneficial?

Practicing these skills in a spiritual context prepared me to continue doing so as a pastor, and showed me that the best way in which to apply my passions and gifts is in a spiritual context. Music, leadership, and working hard toward something mean the most in a spiritual environment where you impact people for the Lord. I developed a lot of spirituality at PUC.

Today, as an adult, a pastor, a husband, and a dad, where or when do you feel closest to God?

The process of writing a sermon and preaching week after week is grueling, but it forces me to really depend on God in a way that’s so unique from other parts of my devotional life. Almost every week I tell God, “I can’t do that again. I have no more ideas. I’m spent.” And every week, without fail, he gives me something. He shows me his word is powerful and that he can use me even though I feel inadequate. The call to preach was never something I’d considered as a career, but the process of studying with God and being in prayer with him week after week are the moments when I feel closest to him. 

Darrin Thurber '07

Surviving A Deep Hole 

 

By: Tammy McGuire, Ph.D., Professor of Communication

This is probably an old-person’s reference, but I’m wondering if you have ever read or heard of Corrie ten Boom’s book (also a movie), “The Hiding Place”? It’s the story of a Dutch family who hid Jews in their home during the Holocaust; the family was later arrested and sent to Ravensbrück concentration camp. Just Google Corrie ten Boom’s name and prepare to be inspired.

I read “The Hiding Place” when I was in college, and there is a very sad part of the story (no spoilers here) where Corrie ten Boom shares a quote from her sister Betsie that has always stuck with me – in part because for many years I really didn’t understand just what it meant. The line is this: “There is no hole so deep that God is not deeper.”

Today, however, I believe I understand the beauty, hope, and depth of that line much better. For example, I see its meaning reflected in the beautiful poetry of Psalm 139: 9, 10 (read the whole Psalm for more inspiration):

“If I take the wings of the morning,

Or dwell in the uttermost part of the sea,

Even there your hand will guide me, 

Your right hand will hold me.”

There is no joy too great where God is not with us. There is no sorrow too deep where God is not with us. We cannot descend to any depth where He will abandon us. This beautiful truth is woven throughout the Bible. As Paul puts it in Romans 8:38-39:

“For I am persuaded, that neither death nor life … nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God …”

We have gone and are going through difficult, painful, and even wrenching times. Many are facing sorrows and bereavements and anxieties whose depths may seem bottomless.  Amidst all this, the truth remains unchanged: There is no hole so deep that God is not deeper. There is no darkness that can extinguish His love. There is no place we can go where He is not willing and able to walk with us.

May this thought bring us comfort on our journeys.

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4 Tips To Strengthen Your Relationship With God

One of Pastor Kent Rufo’s goals for PUC is to find ways to strengthen spiritual life on campus and encourage students to become closer to God. 

We asked Pastor Rufo to share some suggestions on ways students can build a stronger relationship with God. Here they are! 

Start A Bible Reading Group

This doesn’t need to be a big group. It can just be two people that find time to read the Bible together. The reading doesn’t need to take long either. You can read ten minutes before a class, after a class, or just a couple of minutes during the day. 

Have A Prayer Group

Start by praying with your friends, then invite more friends to see if they want to join. There is power in prayer. The more people, the better. Some people may not be comfortable, but reaching out shows that you care. Check out Prayer In Numbers for a great example! 

Have Bible Studies 

Some of the best Bible studies are student-led. If you want to start one, reach out to your friends, and see if they would be interested. If you don’t know how to start a Bible study, talk to the student chaplains or Pastor Rufo. 

Serve 

“Serve in some kind of mission, whether local or international,” says Pastor Rufo. PUC offers mission trips, outreach programs, and volunteer services for students. There are opportunities on campus to bring you out into the world and serve. You don’t need to go far to help others. There are people in our neighborhood who need a lot of help and support. 

Pastor Rufo loves hearing from students. If you have ideas you want to share with Pastor Rufo about spiritual life, don’t hesitate to talk to him. He is always open to new ideas and speaking with students. You can reach out to him via email at krufo@puc.eduFor more information about the Missions & and Chaplains team, visit their webpage

“If faculty, staff, and students are spiritually whole, then we’re working together.” -Pastor Rufo

 

Keep The Faith 

By Ally Romanes 

It’s no secret that we have been going through a strange time. Everyone has been dealing with this situation differently and for myself, it has been quite difficult. From school and work transitioning online, being home and unable to see many loved ones, and being able to travel, it’s been a rough transition. What I try to remember is there are better days ahead and I just need to keep the faith. 

Sometimes it’s hard to have faith and believe there are better days ahead. We are going through a tough time, but it is during these times we must stay close to God and have faith in Him. As we are living through the craziness of the world right now, we must not doubt God has better days prepared for us. 

It may seem like a long time before life feels “normal” again, but without God our days won’t be brighter. With Him, all things are possible. Hebrews 12:2 tells us He is the pioneer and perfecter of faith. Keep looking to Him for strength and remember to place your faith in Him.