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Hometown: Lincoln, Nebraska

Degree(s) Obtained / Years Graduated from SAGU

2007-2011, 2012-2014, 2018-2019

AA in Biblical Studies 

BA in English

MA in Theology 


Lincoln, Nebraska native Lieutenant Wendy Byh credits SAGU with preparing her for success in her current role as a U.S. Navy chaplain. After graduating from SAGU with an A.A. in Biblical Studies, B.A. in English, MA in Theology, as well as a Master’s of Divinity, Lieutenant Byh served as a missionary in Khartoum, Sudan. Additionally, she has worked as a SAGU residential life director, an associate pastor at a church for the homeless, and a mentoring program coordinator for at-risk youth. 

Most recently, she completed a yearlong CPE internship and residency with Catholic Health Initiatives, where she provided pastoral care in multiple hospitals in Nebraska during the pandemic. While there, she gained valuable experience providing pastoral care to staff, patients, and families in the ICU, L&D, NICU, oncology, and mental health units. She also coordinated pastoral care while serving on palliative and trauma teams. 

Chaplain Byh is ordained and endorsed by the Assemblies of God and was commissioned in July 2021 as an officer in the U.S. Navy. She recently completed Officer Development School in September 2021 and completed the Basic Leadership Course at the Naval Chaplaincy School in November 2021. Her first assignment is as a Navy Medical Readiness and Training Command San Diego staff chaplain. She recently returned from a deployment on the USNS Mercy hospital ship, where she provided pastoral care and support to the 700-member crew while visiting five countries and logging over 21,000 miles at sea. She was promoted to the rank of lieutenant in October 2022.

Q: How did you know you wanted to be a U.S. Navy Chaplain? 

I have a heart for, and part of who God has called me to be is to serve those who are serving and to help those who are helping. I saw the value of member care growing up as a missionary kid, and the support my family and I received while serving was impactful and invaluable. I imagined missionary families and military families have these same attributes in common: high service, high sacrifice, and high transition in their shared experiences, and I feel called to support them as they serve.

This calling solidified at the beginning of the pandemic. I was asked to share a reflection, a word of encouragement, with the hospital staff on a floor where I had been working. While sharing, this quote from Mr. Rogers came to mind, “When I was a boy, and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” I remember looking around the room and seeing some of the staff members’ eyes well up with tears and looking stressed, as you would, at the beginning of a pandemic, as a frontline worker, and feeling a God-induced great compassion for them and thought, ‘Okay, we are looking to them in crisis; who is helping them? Who is helping the helpers? 

Another factor why I wanted to become a Navy chaplain was because of the need, especially for female chaplains. Around 20% of military service members are women, and about 5% of military chaplains are women. I believe when people see someone who looks like them, who represents the Holy, they are more likely to be interested in God and approach that person with their questions, hurt, and life. I have found this to be true as a military and hospital chaplain and am grateful to help reflect the image of God as a woman minister and chaplain.

Q. How did your time at SAGU influence what you are doing now?

Chaplains will often provide prayers at various ceremonies and events in the military. Quite a few of the prayers I have written so far have been evening prayers. While underway at sea, there is a tradition for the chaplain to read/deliver an evening prayer via the ship’s intercom system at the close of the day. Studying English at SAGU prepared me to craft and deliver well-written prayers that met the moment and connected with and encouraged sailors. 

SAGU provided me with key mentors and opportunities to practice so many different types of ministry that have been foundational in how I serve as a military chaplain. Also, my counseling and theology courses prepared me well to provide spiritual and emotional support and guidance to service members in all sorts of situations with all sorts of needs.  

Q: What is the most surprising aspect of being a navy chaplain? 

One thing that surprised me was how incarnational the ministry is. I remember thinking during deployment, what other pastors, besides chaplains, live long-term with the people they are called to serve and minister to. When you are sharing a bathroom, a bedroom, a common area to eat, a ship, with other people for 5 months plus there are a lot of opportunities to connect, build relationships with, and minister to others while sharing daily life with them. I was surprised by the access, opportunity, and openness of the people I get to serve. 

Q. What would you tell a current SAGU today? 

Be open to your journey being different than what you expect or expected. I am doing many of the things I felt called to and passionate about doing but in a completely different context than anything I had planned or was considering while in college. God is good, and will provide opportunities to serve in ways you have not even dreamed of yet.


As a leading Christian university, SAGU educates and prepares individuals who want to serve Christ and others. SAGU helps students discover and develop their God-given callings in a Spirit-empowered, learning community.

We believe in affordable tuition, made possible in part through the financial support of donors who embrace the mission of SAGU and the importance of affordable, accredited programs to train Christians for leadership in ministry, business, education, and service.Most majors are available in-person in Waxahachie, TX, and online through a wide range of associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. For more information, visit

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