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November 21, 2023

Phoenix, Arizona

Ethan Childs

On November 18-19, 2023, a team of students and staff from SAGU American Indian College served at an outreach to the community of Whiteriver, Arizona, located on the White Mountain Apache Reservation. This event, hosted by Whiteriver Assembly of God church, served about 200 people from the community with a Thanksgiving meal, time of worship and testimony, and a game of bingo with prizes. The students and staff from SAGU AIC worked alongside the members of Whiteriver AG to serve the community. They helped to set up the event with tables and chairs and handed out meals. Some of the students also led in a time of worship during the event.  

Through this outreach, students are able to gain practical ministry skills. Jackie Cooper, a SAGU AIC student, said this event was “a great learning experience and I look forward to the next Whiteriver adventure.”  

The team from SAGU AIC was also able to experience the Sunday morning service led by SAGU AIC alumni, Senior Pastor Marty Paxson (White Mountain Apache). The team led worship and prayed with attendees of the service during an altar call. Over half the congregation responded to Pastor Marty’s call to truly live out the Christian faith.  

Pastor Marty was truly thankful to have SAGU AIC students at this event. He said, “Having AIC students serving alongside us is always the best. I graduated from AIC, and I love that college. I invest in the college as much as I can. Having the AIC students here to serve in our Community Thanksgiving Dinner was great and I love seeing the Kingdom of God being invested in. I love AIC and what it stands for: ‘serving Native people.’” 

As a school founded on Native ministry, SAGU AIC’s priority is serving Native people across the U.S. But this is a first for many students. Cameron Daukei, a Diné student at SAGU AIC, said, “My first time in Whiteriver was great. I enjoyed serving the White Mountain Apache people and getting to connect with ministers of the gospel. I saw the love Pastor Marty has for the Whiteriver community and how much work and care he puts into the community. God has really blessed his ministry and that was very encouraging for me. I made friends and memories on this trip. I would love to go back on the next outreach.” 

These opportunities provide experience and training for students from SAGU AIC to do ministry on reservations in our country. Many of the students have a call to do ministry with Native people. One of these students, Nathaniel Zuspan (Klamath Modoc Tribe), said, “It was very rewarding and awesome to experience the culture and see so many people just hungry for God at the altar. One of my most favorite parts was seeing the community coming in even though they were probably going through a lot. That just made my heart just desire even further to continue working with Native people because of how it impacted me.” 

Thank you to Pastor Marty and Whiteriver Assembly of God for this incredible opportunity! 


Southwestern Assemblies of God University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate, baccalaureate, masters, and doctorate degrees. Contact the SACSCOC at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Southwestern Assemblies of God University.