Tag Archives: college life

Connect Ministries: Serving Churches & Academies Around The World

Connect Ministries is one of PUC’s worship outreach ministries. Ran by the enrollment and marketing department, Lewis Govea is in charge of Connect Ministries- and has been involved since 2017, serving at different academies, camp meetings around California, and reaching out to churches to worship with. Besides making it a habit of attending camp meetings and doing vespers for local academies, they have also traveled as far as Arlington, TX., and Boston, MA. to worship with churches.

Lewis kindly answered some questions for us to learn more about Connect and how you, your church, and academies can get involved.

Tell us about Connect Ministries. 

I think George Tuyu, the PUC church’s current youth pastor, was a large proponent of its inception when he was a PUC student. It was a way for students to bring the banner of PUC to the local churches and academies and help them out with various parts of the service. It currently still operates as primarily a worship ministry. The people that are involved change year to year, but it has always been musicians across campus bringing PUC’s worship to local churches and schools, and sometimes not so local places.

What is your role with Connect Ministries? 

I started getting involved with Connect Ministries back in 2017. I was a freshman, and we went to do vespers at Rio Lindo Academy. I have done a number of things with Connect since then, including spending a week and a half at Redwood Campmeeting in 2019. Now I’m an enrollment counselor and am in charge of the entire ministry, which includes me reaching out to churches and organizing trips.

What plans do you have for Connect next school year? 

The plan for next year is to reinvigorate the program. The goal is to make sure our local churches and schools know they can call on Connect Ministries for a worship experience.

How has this ministry impacted you? 

This ministry is the first PUC ministry I got involved in. It inspired me to reimagine my view of worship and ministry altogether, and challenged me to think bigger and better all the time. These aren’t just productions, they’re worship experiences, and now I am called to lead it.

PUC admissions counselors Pauline Cidro (left) and Lewis Govea (right) with the Connect Ministries team.

What is your favorite thing about being a part of Connect Ministries? 

Being able to guide my student leaders when we are called somewhere. I love making music myself, and I enjoy the challenge of producing something high quality and heartfelt.

How can students get involved with Connect Ministries? 

Anyone interested in being a part of Connect Ministries or who is interested in having us visit their school or church just needs to email connectministries@puc.edu

Faces of PUC: Nyllah Safotu

Coming all the way from Kapolei, Hawaii, is Nyllah Safotu. She finished her first year of college majoring in biology pre-med and wants to work in secondary education or help endangered animals. Nyllah chose to attend PUC because she wanted to go to an Adventist institution where the environment could safely help her grow physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. We’re very pleased to have Nyllah as a part of our Pioneers family. 

What is your dream job?

I don’t quite have a specific dream job, but I’m thinking about working in either secondary education or to help endangered animals.

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

I’d say it’s a little different. My dream was to be a surgeon and find cures for diseases. I would still like a job that helps people but also the animals and the environment.  

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

My favorite thing is how warm and kind people have been here. I’ve been able to make so many great connections and friends with people who I can call family. Everyone has been super helpful with adjusting to college life and I just appreciate being in such a loving community.

Where is your favorite place in the world?

Singapore

If you had to be trapped in a movie for a day, what movie would you choose?

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

What is something you’re passionate about?

I’m really passionate about music, specifically listening to it. I love all kinds of genres and always enjoy hearing unique styles from different artists.

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

Golden Gate Park is such a beautiful place to enjoy nature, art, and the company of the people you’re with all in one place.

Come Join the Fun at PUC 

At PUC, students have many ways to get involved with campus life. Through clubs, worship services, outreaches, and other activities and programs, there is always something going on for students to take a break from their studies, de-stress, and have fun. Here are some ways you or your teenager can participate at PUC. 

Clubs 

Our students are passionate about their cultures, interests, and majors, which is why PUC has over 30 clubs. From the beginning of the school year- till the end, clubs host events, activities, and services students can attend and enjoy. You can also start your own club if you want to! 

Student Association 

The Student Association officers are dedicated to making student life the best it can possibly be. They throw a variety of events on campus and within Napa Valley, such as movie nights, food trucks, carnivals, and vespers. When you come to PUC, you can expect a lot of exciting things to happen.

Worship Services

One of the best things about coming to PUC is being a part of a faith-driven community. There are weekly vespers and student-led worships, small group Bible studies, and church services. We know everyone worships in different ways, which is why we encourage our students to gather their friends and worship together in the ways they prefer.  

Outreaches 

There are student-led outreaches during the week and weekend for students to help around the community. Our Campus Ministries team also takes students around the Bay Area during the weekends for a chance to minister to others. 

Mission Trips 

Every year our campus ministries team plans short and long-term mission trips for students to get the opportunity to serve in other countries. In the past, our students have gone to Fiji, Brazil, and most recently Kenya. Our students always come back having a great, life-changing experience.

Ensemble

Bring your musical gifts to PUC! Students can join the orchestra, wind ensemble, and touring choir. Our music instructors have directed and toured throughout Asia, Europe, and other parts of the world, and also performed in Carnegie Hall. We are blessed with skilled music teachers who adore all types of genres and enrich the lives of our students to grow as performers. 

Intramurals

Intramurals are one of the most popular ways students join in on the fun at PUC. More than half of our student body participates in intramural sports each quarter, like football, basketball, soccer, and volleyball. 

Athletics

If you want to continue your athletic talents in college, join the PUC Pioneers! Our athletics department offers- basketball, cross country, soccer, and volleyball teams for women and men. The coaching staff takes pride in building a talented, supportive team on and off the court; in representing PUC throughout California and other states. They make sure that student-athletes put school first and show good character and leadership.

PUC students, faculty, and organizations are always finding ways to make student life more fun and enjoyable for all. We hope you come to PUC to join in on the fun!

PUC’s History Club: Mixing Learning & Fun

Isai J. Martinez recently finished his junior year majoring in History with European Emphasis and minoring in Film and Television, and was this year’s History Club president. The History Club used to be department-based and usually included history and pre-law majors- but Isai and the rest of the club officers wanted to change that by opening up the club more to be an event-based club with fun events throughout the year.

As president, his role was to network with others and brainstorm with his team to bring amazing events and projects to the club. To learn more about the history club, Isai answered some questions for us. 

What made you decide to become the president of the club? 

This year, I accepted the post to be the president of the history club because, during my freshman year, the president of that year wanted to expand the club more. However, due to Covid-19, we were forced to cease any idea of it. I was very lucky to be chosen to take over the club and be able to present new ideas.

What were your goals for the History Club this year? 

We want to expand alongside the Pre-Law Society in order to bring more recognition to the club and establish new traditions that the History Club can be leading for a long time.

What are some exciting activities or events you have planned? 

My favorite event that we have planned is Foreign Film Night. We will be choosing films from around the world like a Japanese Studio Ghibli film, a Zombie-Historical Korean film, a Nollywood film, or a Mexican film from the ’60s. We will pick two movies and the students will be able to decide over a vote on Instagram what movie they will like to watch that movie night. 

Other events include a surprise trip during spring quarter and a special project that everyone (in-club or no club) can be involved in and we will announce that more information later. 

What is your favorite part about being in the History Club?

Honestly, my favorite part has been getting to know the rest of the history majors and working really well with the History professors. They don’t bite! They are the most approachable and charismatic group of people I have met. 

Convince me to join the History Club in five sentences. 

This year, the History Club is opening up more to become a bigger and more diverse group of people. We want people to learn and appreciate history and what better way than watching movies from around the world with your friends. We have so many things planned for those who want to be super involved and for those who want to casually participate. The History Club is open to all. We want you to know that History Club is there to have fun and that’s all!! 

Follow them on Instagram and we hope you join the History Club next year!

Faces of PUC: Christianne Andrianarijaona

This week’s Faces of PUC is Angwin local, Christianne Andrianarijaona. She is a third year biochemistry major who wants to pursue dentistry and is passionate about singing. We are blessed to have a sweet student like Christianne a part of our Pioneers family. 

What is your dream job? 

My dream would be something challenging, but one that still gives me peace in mind because of the good hours and organized schedule. That’s why I would want to go into dentistry. I know the patients and colleagues I’d meet along the way would be life-changing.

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

Haha, when I was younger, I wanted to be a professional singer, something very close to Tori Kelly or Beyonce. I have pretty bad stage fright and nerves, so I’ve gone against pursuing that.  But I must say that compared to now, I had a much more creative and open mindset. As a college student, I overthink often and I tend to go overboard with my creative thoughts, which ends up being overwhelming.

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

PUC is a very close-knit, small family meaning that you’ll find long-lasting friends and be able to see God through people. That’s what I like most about the Pioneers family. Everybody knows everybody.

Where is your favorite place in the world? 

My favorite place in the world would either be anywhere quiet and spacious, whether it be outdoors, a museum, library, Chan Shun, or wherever my family is.

If you had to be trapped in a movie for a day, what movie would you choose?

If I had to be trapped in a movie for a day, one of the movies I would choose would be Mrs. Doubtfire. Just watching the plotting, setting, and revealing unfold would be so entertaining. 

What is something you’re passionate about? 

I am passionate about singing, though I haven’t been pursuing as much as I wish. But it’s something that I love doing and am decently confident with.

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

Hmm, I would say Round One in San Jose. It’s a cute little arcade with bowling allies and karaoke rooms. The only thing that’s not very affordable is the ride there and back, but that’s Bay Area for you.

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!”

Climb Into The World of PUC’s EMS Club

The EMS Club is a student-led organization with the goal of teaching students skills in emergency medical care while engaging in fun outdoor activities. Gil Fayard is the president of the club and organizes and leads all club activities with the help of his team. He also leads weekly meetings to brainstorm and plan their upcoming fundraisers and events with my fellow officers. Gil thoughtfully answered some questions for us to learn more about the EMS Club.

Tell us about the EMS Club. How did this club get started?

The EMS club is a student-led organization here at PUC with the goal of teaching students skills in emergency medical care while engaging in fun outdoor activities. During the fall quarter of the 2019-2020 school year, some friends and classmates of mine noticed that there was no club to represent the emergency services department. We felt our field of study and interests were not represented by the PUC student body at the time, so this motivated us to start our club! Our vision is to build community by doing fun outdoor activities and teaching emergency medical skills applicable to those activities.

Can anyone join the club? 

Yes! Anyone may join the club. Students of all majors and standings are welcome. 

What do you hope to accomplish with the club this year?

An important goal I have for this club is for us to stay active. I want to host a variety of events throughout the school year so that we can build a community of students with similar interests, values, and the desire to learn emergency medical skills. 

Can you share with us any upcoming activities or events?

We have some exciting events for the rest of the school year. Rock climbing trips, movie nights, a minimalist survival camping trip, a snowboard/ski trip, pre-vespers, and white water rafting are all activities we are wanting to do.

How does the club incorporate spiritual life? 

The spiritual life within our club is heavily based upon the combination of friendship and God’s creation. We strengthen our spiritual lives by embracing our club’s sense of community while enjoying the beauty and opportunity of the outdoors. 

What is your favorite thing about being a part of the EMS Club?

I love brainstorming with my team and seeing our ideas transform into real events. It reminds me of how capable we are, and I get satisfaction from events that are fun, educational, and constructive for students. 

Convince me to join the EMS Club in five sentences.

The EMS club here at PUC is a student led organization that invites all. We are passionate about teaching students new and exciting skills in engaging ways. From rock climbing and rafting to bleeding control, and CPR, we got it! To make things better, our events will have minimal to no cost due to our efficient fundraising efforts. College is all about learning new skills, getting out of your comfort zone, and making friends, so EMS club is for you!

Follow the EMS Club on Instagram to stay up-to-date on activities, events, and trips. 

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. 

RA Feature: Keren Castro 

This week’s RA feature is Keren Castro, a senior photography major from Rehoboth, MA. She is RA for the third floor of Andre Hall and, depending on if she’s working at the front desk, she is the first face you see when you walk into the dorm. With this year being a first-time RA, she’s enjoyed getting out of her bubble and getting to know her residents and other students. 

Tell us about being a RA. What are your responsibilities, and what does a typical shift look like for you? 

Being an RA isn’t really a shift, it’s a full-time job. Just like being known as a student, I’m also known as an RA. And part of being an RA is doing room check every night. You have a hall partner, so you do switch off nights. We also do worships, dorm worships with the rest of our staff and Dean and hall worship with our floors. Being an RA also means coming to school early and getting training and preparation for the student body. Another side job to being an RA is that you’ll also work desk shifts. Greeting people in and out of the dorm, getting tasks done, and being a friendly face.

How many years have you been an RA? Why did you want to become an RA? 

This is my first year being an RA. It’s interesting because I didn’t really look for the position, Dean Philpott reached out to me about it. But when she did bring it up to me, the first thing I thought about was my RA freshman year. Eryn Pongs, the sweetest person I know, made me feel at home. I didn’t know anyone coming to PUC and I moved across the country for PUC. So, coming here was an adjustment, but Eryn made me feel welcomed and cared about. And if I could do that for someone else, that would be the greatest privilege of being an RA.

What values have you learned by being a PUC RA? 

Compassion is probably the greatest value I’ve learned so far being an RA. Checking in on my residents and seeing how they’re doing, hearing about their day/week. When residents feel like you care, they feel special. I’ve also learned a lot about communication and teamwork. This isn’t a job you can do by yourself. And having a team beside me to cheer me on or lift me up is the best thing there is.

How do you balance school and being a RA? 

Something the deans taught us during our training is that we are students first. So that means being on top of my studies. When I’m not working desk or in class or being an RA, I try to get everything else done. I set hours for myself and give myself breaks when needed.

What is the most difficult aspect of your job? What do you enjoy the most? 

I would say the most difficult aspect of my job is putting myself out there. I’m very much an introvert and so this job is a learning curve, going out of my comfort zone. Initiating conversation is something I must think about a lot. But something I enjoy the most is getting to know new people that I probably wouldn’t have done on my own. It’s fun to get out of my bubble sometimes. Also, I loved being on retreat with all the other RAs. Creating a community within ourselves and opening up to each other is a bond I’ll forever be thankful for.

How do you incorporate spiritual life with your residents?

This is a big thing for me because I am a pastor’s kid and I’ve loved getting to know what it’s like to have a relationship with God. But I also respect that not everyone who comes to PUC is Adventist or even Christian. On our halls, each RA has their own bulletin board and on mine, I’ve put a Prayer Request envelope. It was my goal from the beginning to start praying for the girls on my hall, the girls in the dorm, the staff we have, and myself as well. I want to be a spiritual mentor for these girls, and I want them to know that someone is praying for them. Sometimes if they can’t make it to put it on my board, they’ll tell me when I do room check. And I pray for them individually before I go to bed. Also, a lot of people from PUC follow me on my Instagram. And I make sure to reflect Christ there as well. When I have time, I’ll post small devotionals on my stories and people have told me it helps them a lot.

How do you build a community in your hall, and with other residents? 

I try to connect with them as much as possible. I ask about their games if they’re athletes, I help those in the same department as me, and most importantly hall worship is a time I like to have discussions with them on larger topics. 

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

My favorite thing about being part of the PUC family is having the same goal in mind: showing others who Christ is and developing friendships and relationships, establishing that community. Without that common ground, we wouldn’t get anywhere.

What advice would you give to someone interested in becoming a RA? 

I kind of relate it to being a camp counselor. Know it’s one of the hardest jobs to have but also the most rewarding. You’re going to be on the front line, and everyone will be looking at you to see how you’re doing your job but knowing you’re making an impact in someone’s life or being an example to others makes it all worth it. If you’re nervous to apply for the position, talk to the Deans or one of the current RAs, and we’ll help you navigate through the process. Interest in becoming an RA is on your heart for a reason and I think it’s worth it to investigate those feelings that you’re having and the leadership growth that comes with it.

What are you looking forward to this year? 

Something I’m looking forward to most this year is planning worships and getting to know the Deans more. When I was a resident myself, I was intimidated by them. I saw them as leaders that I didn’t know how to approach. And now working beside them, I know they’re someone I can talk to whether it be something serious or just wanting to create a friendly connection.

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!