Heroes Across Pacific Magazine
Dr. Sam Sasser
In Loving Memory
Dr. Sam Sasser
July 31, 1937 - September 27, 1995
Dr. Sam Sasser was greatly loved by many thousands of Pacific Islanders. Since 1960 he served as a missionary in the Marshall Islands and Samoa, helped establish 26 churches, and pastored in Honolulu, California, and Texas. He taught in conferences and crusades in 63 nations. Sam's health had been failing for several years, but he continued to minister in conferences around the world. He had requested that his heart be buried in the Marshall Islands. The following prayer was offered in Sam's name at his Homegoing Celebration:
Bury my body, but do not bury my love
Bury my eyes, but not my vision
Bury my feet, but not the path of my life
Bury my hands, but do not bury my efforts
Bury my shoulders, but not the concern I carried
Bury my voice, but not my message
Bury my mind, but do not bury my dreams
Bury me, but do not bury my life
If you must bury something
Bury my sins, my weaknesses
but let my love for each of you
continue on in Jesus.
On December 14, family members -- including his wife Florence, daughter Renee (and her husband, Derek Loux), and son Terry who was born in the Marshall Islands -- boarded a plane for the Marshalls to carry out Sam's request.
In its 16th Constitutional Session the government of the Marshall Islands wrote a Resolution honoring Dr. Sasser's life. The two-page document was given to the Sasser family during a formal presentation while they were there.
Among other things, the Resolution stated, "...the Most Reverend Samuel Sasser dedicated his ...works among the Marshallese people, especially the young; and ... his teachings and guidance and wisdom have touched and greatly enriched the lives of the Marshallese people, and that his devotion to the Marshallese people will be felt for many generations to come...."
Editorial Note - Sam was also the best friend of my brother, Don Hall, founder of Teen Challenge in Los Angeles and Hawaii. They were "Best Man" at each other's wedding.
I was a missionary intern with the Sassers on the atoll of Majuro. They have been wonderful friends over the years. Mrs. Sasser will continue the work of the ministry "...taking the gospel to the unreached and equipping the saints for the work of the ministry in the islands and abroad."
Here's another touching Tribute to Sam:
"Sweet Jesus. Sweet Jesus."
I sat on the floor and looked up at this servant of God. He seemed so tired as he rested on pillows and underwent self-dialysis. A plate of crackers and a plum lay untasted at his side. He looked down at me as I asked if I might help him with his plastic socks and said, "Dear, I would appreciate it. It would take me twenty minutes a sock. I have no feeling in my fingers." As I gingerly untied the shoestrings of his only pair of shoes, I heard him say, "Sweet Jesus. Sweet Jesus."
It was time to go to services and as I assisted him with my shoulder, we slowly made our way down the hall. Again I heard him quietly say, "Sweet Jesus. Sweet Jesus." H carefully slid into the car and settled into the seat and I heard him once again say, "Sweet Jesus. Sweet Jesus" with a long sigh.
That weekend, Brother Sam ministered in our church for four services and a men's breakfast. Exhausted, full of cold and enduring much pain and discomfort, he was vibrant and full of life as he spoke of his love for Jesus, for the people of the Marshall Islands, for his mother, father, son, daughter and grandchild. But I don't think I will ever forget the way he spoke of his wife, Flo. His voice cracked and tears streamed down his cheeks as he shared of his love for her.
Dr. Sasser is gone now. His suffering is over. His body no longer aches. He was a living legend -- a modern-day Paul. His life was filled with tragedy and triumph: from a plane wreck, beatings, lonely travels in a one-man canoe in the Marshall Islands -- to blessings of revival, miracles, healings and great victories for the kingdom of his Lord. What was his secret? I believe I know. It was, "Sweet Jesus. Sweet Jesus." At every turn, with every need, Dr. Sasser called upon his Lord. Jesus was his sustenance in every situation. To me, the Master Potter would surely be pleased with the chosen vessel He had created in Sam Sasser.
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