One Step Forward, Two Steps Back
While we were in Pasadena God had called us to missions. When we went to Texarkana the clock had to be reset because the mission board policy was not to recruit anyone who had not been at their place of service under two years. So everything was on hold. Finally, after two years communication resumed and we were on the track to the mission field. After all the interviews and exams we were appointed as missionaries by then President Baker James Cauthen. Who had been a missionary to China during the Shantung Revival. Eventually we headed to Missionary Orientation in Pine Mountain, Georgia. But wait a major piece of our life took place. while in Texarkana our third child, our baby, Tina was born right after I returned from a mission trip to Haiti with Wade Akins. I returned on Friday and she was born on Sunday , August 1974.. As time went on and we were heavy engaged with the mission board, Tina had some health issues. Our doctor, Nathan Wright examined her from head-to-toe seemingly several times. But she kept losing weight. He submitted his data to his former med school professor and still no diagnosis. Their only thing they came up with was "failure to thrive." Her body was not assimilating the nutrients she needed to live. When the doctor at the mission board saw her medical records they suspended our appointment process. We got the call one day and from that day forward Tina started to gain weight. Was this another miracle? Absolutely! After several months of monitoring her, Dr. Wright sent a report in on her health and we were back on track and headed to Georgia on January 1976.
Our tenure in Pasadena was only 15 months but the Lord was gracious and merciful. I was contacted by a church in Texarkana,TX and interviewed with it. So in March 1973 we moved all four of us to Texarkana. I will never forget the day I moved my few boxes of books and office items to my closet office in the Youth Building. As I drove up to the building there sat Keith Frazier and David McCullough sitting out there. I greeted them and they barely said high and they watched me take in the boxes never offering to help. It was my idea they weren't very interested in me nor the Lord at that time. Things kind of stated out slow but I implemented a discipleship plan with adults and youth.. We started a Wednesday night youth service we then called Joy Explosion. This caught on like wildfire. Soon the place was packed out. We had a youth discipleship group on Friday mornings at 6:30 am. Only eight at a time was permitted to participate. That Summer we went to a Youth camp at Lakeview and that is where God began to really move. I also remember the camp speaker, Mike Toby. God was beginning to work on some of our kids. One such was Keith. Jesus got a hold of his heart and He didn't let go. We became friends as I discipled him and he challenged me. I wish I could tell you all that went on those three years. We had the musical group TRUTH come, the Sounds of Joy who one of the members was Russ Taff. Sammy Tippit came and preached to us. David Wilkerson and Dallas Holm came to Texarkana. I was able to get the reigning Miss America to come and give her testimony. It was at this time that we started out ski trips first to New Mexico and then Colorado. I am telling you it was an incredible ministry as the Holy Spirit directed us. However, it was not with opposition and persecution. When you follow Jesus there will be times of testing. Just one: We were on a ski trip and when we got back the pastor called us in and reported that Timm, our son had received burns on his body when he pulled a hot cup of coffee his grandmother had just poured on himself and he was in the hospital in Shreveport. We rushed to his side and when we got there he acted like he didn't want to see us. But he soon warmed up and let me tell you, God healed him completely No scars today. Hallelujah!
Trials and Victory
We moved to Pasadena,TX as Associate Pastor of Richey St. Baptist Church. I was in-charge of everything else that the pastor did not want to do. It was Christian education and youth ministry. This was in 1972 and the Jesus Movement was underway. I wish I could tell you everything but just a few highlights. ABout a month into my ministry the pastor was asked to go do a witnessing clinic and ask me to preach on Sunday night( that was when we had Sunday night services). I prayed and prepared a message on "Revival." I mean there was a lot of prayer put into this. When we had the service, I preached and offered an invitation. People began to come forward repenting, confessing, and giving testimony. The invitation time lasted over an hour as God moved mightily among is. I believe seven people got saved and families restored. It was an awesome sight. when the pastor got back a spirit of jealousy came on him like that of King Saul with David. And for months he persecuted me severely. It was a time of testing and drove us to our knees. We grew in the Lord in an amazing way. Our only hope was Jesus. God began a work with our youth. They began to grow in spirit and in numbers. We took them to a youth camp in Arkansas and God poured out His Spirit on us like nothing else. It was a miracle to behold. We started with three young people and when we left we had a retreat and seventy-five young people attended. This is where God talk us how to have a Quiet Time. We had opportunity to ministry is Hope Mission in Houston with Mildred McWhorter. We had a James Robinson crusade while we were there in Pasadena. It was here that God really opened up the teaching and work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We were going through the school of fire but it was also a time of rich blessing. While in Pasadena our son,Timothy Lynn Sasser, was born in July of 1972.
We soon settled into a routine in Ft.Worth and things were going great. I got an opportunity to go to Brunswick, Maine to preach a revival in the Spring of 1971. God provided the funds to fly and God did a marvelous work during the week I was there. It is still in my memory bank as a spiritual milestone. In fact, a few months later the church lost their pastor and they asked me to come be the pastor but I had to turn them down because I was one semester from graduating. I was coaching at St. Mary's School and really loved it. Most of my students were Hispanic and I got a real cultural lesson. I had some wonderful students. I did not know at the time God was preparing us for Latin America. The Fall of 1971 began and time approached in which I was to graduate. I had filled out information in order for churches to look and see if they wanted a Seminary graduate but no takers. We were getting desperate. One day I was passing through the Rotunda of Scarborough Hall and there was a man there recruiting for people to go to Ohio and start churches. I talked with him. He gave me some material and I went home and told Sandra of that only possibility of ministry. It was frightening to us. But we prayed and said Lord if this is where you want us to go we will go. A prayer of surrender. The next two days we received two calls from churches inquiring about an interview. One was in a little town in Louisiana as pastor and the other was in Pasadena,TX as associate pastor. We interviewed with both and decided on the Pasadena position. We went from famine to feast overnight. Little did we know what lay ahead of us. God was graduating us from Seminary but was about to place us in the school of fire.
Here we are in Ft.Worth. We now have a home( mobile), a baby, jobs, friends, and a very busy schedule. Sandra comes home one day crying from school and her principal has just chews her out. I mean she is heartbroken. She wants to quit but she can't. I tell her that we need to pray for Mr. Delaney that God would change his heart. This we do and we pray hard. In a matter of a day or two his whole attitude changes and soon Sandra is one of his favorite teachers. "The power of prayer". Even though we have jobs our money is tight. We could buy groceries in those days for 20 dollars a week. We could not go to a movie and the only time we could eat out , if we had any money was on Wednesday at El Fenix where they had 2 for 1 enchilada dinners. I think they were 3 dollars and we ordered water. On Tammi's very first birthday she got sick from allergies. Ft.Worth is the allergy capital of the world. So after a visit with the allergist she had to take shots weekly. There were times that after tithing, paying bills,and other extra expenses we didn't have anything until the next pay period. The money had run out and there was still another week. I am sure some of you have been there or even there now. But God always came through. Maybe some family would visit us and bring us a couple of sacks of food and take us out to eat. Always a special treat. Or I would get a preaching engagement and get an offering. One time a friend invited me to preach at this country church he was pastoring. He said don't worry someone will invite you to eat after the service. When I got there they told me to teach Sunday School. So that I did and then preached. After the service on of the deacons came up and said that they were not going to have church that evening and that we could go home. There we were out in the country, little money and a baby to feed. So on our way back home we stop at a small town restaurant and order a hamburger with fries, two glasses of water and split the hamburger three ways. Of course, Tammi got all the french fries which she was happy to have. I know on at least one occasion when we were short for the month and we needed grocery money, I went to our mailbox and there was an anonymous envelope with some money in it. God always provided.( Jehovah-jireh) He is faithful and true.
Daily devotional written by Pastor Lynn Sasser.