By Pastor Rodney Lord
I had never had an experience like this before. I was in my early 20’s and sat through a ten hour course on the grace of God and wept for at least 80% of the time. Before me was an old man, a broken man, but a true pioneer in taking the gospel to the ends of the earth. He had one glass eye and had to hold his notes close to the other one to read. He wore large oversized “Frankenstein” shoes due to the damage to his feet caused from the poisons of coral. He was forced to walk to shore on coral reefs when his boat had wrecked.
As a young man, Dr. Sam Sasser dreamed of taking the gospel to the unreached in the Marshall Islands. His missions board said to go to the Fiji Islands because it seemed that the gospel was taking root there, but his dream was the Marshall Islands. Newly married and desperately needing confirmation, Sam flies from Los Angeles to Dallas to visit a man he thought would give him direction - Gordon Lindsay, the President and Founder of Christ For The Nations.
Without an appointment, he sat all day in the waiting area. At the end of the day, Gordon Lindsay beckoned Sam into his office and the dream was shared. He unfolded his vision of going to the unreached Marshall Islands. They talked into the evening and at the end “it seemed good to me and the Holy Spirit” (Acts 13) for Sam to go to the unreached Pacific Islands.
As a young man, Sam loved baseball. He had been drafted out of high school by the San Diego Padres and played for their club in the Pacific Coast League. In his first and only season, Sam led the league in number of hits and batting average. I think those records stood well into the 1980’s. But this dream was bigger than baseball. Leaving his wife at home for the first year, Sam went into territory that he would pioneer for the Kingdom of God. He would paddle a boat to reach the chain of islands with the gospel. Once a month during that first year, a plane would drop mail as it flew by. Sam said every month there was a letter of encouragement that fueled his dream from none other than Gordon Lindsay.
It’s hard to take notes when your eyes are so blurry from tears. As Dr. Sam Sasser told of exploits that were empowered by the grace of God to bring the gospel to those Islands, we knew we were in the presence of a living Apostle. That day we did not need pen and paper...his message of the Father’s grace was being etched on our hearts.
Before Sam, the Marshall Islands had very few believers. Today, the citizens of the Marshall Islands are a Christian majority. Dr. Sasser’s dream had taken him to the ends of the earth and he could say with John Newton…”Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come; ’tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.”
Be confident that the power of the grace of God will fuel your dreams as they become reality!