What Student Leaders Say About Wesleyan Small Groups

SPU students like you have grown spiritually and in community through leading a Wesleyan Small Group.

Name: Mireya Garcia
Year: Graduated, June 2020
Major: Linguistics and Asian Studies

SoulCare was impactful for me because of its mentorship model. As a student leader, I had the weekly support of a graduate Seminary mentor. SoulCare ensured that as I was pouring into other students, I was also being filled. My mentors prayed with me, taught me to step into my identity as a first-gen Latina, and to lead from who I am. They taught me that my God-given identity was important to answering the question, "How goes it with your soul?"

Name: Abby VanderKooi
Year: Senior
Major: Psychology

Leading a Wesleyan small group during a global pandemic challenged and expanded my view of Christian fellowship in a positive way. Holding a space to reflect and engage with the state of my soul in the presence of a small group of individuals allowed me to explore my own faith, while finding long-lasting, meaningful connections along the way. As a leader, it was awesome to listen to the stories of my small group members, as I was constantly shown the unique ways God works through all of us while being reminded that all people and all stories are important.

Name: Alvin Loupatty
Year: Graduated, June 2021
Major: Communications

Being a SoulCare leader was a gift because it helped me step out of my comfort zone and challenged me to provide a safe and sacred place for others to share about their life journey. By listening to their sharing, I learned so much as well. Being a SoulCare leader is one of the biggest blessings God has put in my life.

Name: Devon Yamane
Year: Senior
Major: Psychology

The genuine love that everyone in the SoulCare program has for God and each other is the greatest blessing I have experienced in my time at SPU. It is incredible to witness how God’s love can be shared by way of the simple question, “How goes it with your soul?” and to hear new students say how grateful they are to set aside an hour of their week to reflect and answer this question. To be able to answer this question myself in mentor group and receive love and support from fellow SoulCare leaders and Seminary mentors is also a gift I cherish.

Name: Emily Bogle
Year: Senior
Major: Theology, Mathematics, and Honors Liberal Arts

Through my experiences in SoulCare, I have learned in deep, intimate, and vulnerable ways what it means to be human, to care for the soul, and specifically within the Christian context what it means to be an image bearer. Spending intentional time every week reflecting, sharing, and listening has helped me to become more attuned to the Spirit in connecting me to God and others. It is out of this growing sense that I am able to connect with others in a way that they hopefully feel seen, known, heard, and valued in the wholeness of who they are.

Name: Giao Nguyen
Year: Senior
Major: Theatre

In my experience leading SoulCare Wesleyan small groups, it was a great blessing to be able to meet first year students where they are in their faith journey, and cultivate a space in which their self-exploration is the topic at hand. With our weekly meetings, it was beautiful to see the ways in which students were able to not only grow within themselves, but to name the experiences they had, especially in the past year of isolation. Serving as a Wesleyan small group leader has especially taught me about how leading can take many forms and mediums in community.

Name: Quinn Laulainen
Year: Senior
Major: Human Development and Family Studies, Psychology

My experience as a Wesleyan small group leader was nothing but positive! Heading into a fully online year was challenging, but I didn't let it get in the way of how I lead groups and cultivated space for talking about God and the state of our souls. I felt equipped, thanks to my mentor, with the tools I needed to create a positive atmosphere for participants. Even online, I felt that participants knew how to be vulnerable with one another as much as they could. I am so proud of them for showing up and doing their best. This program does a fantastic job at fostering a welcoming environment for students to explore their faith and their state of being. I am so thankful to be a part of it!