Saturday, August 23, 2008
The Marshall Islands
This picture and the one below are of the beautiful Marshall Islands, where I grew up for 10 years. This is also where we adopted our three older girls, Telma, Teyolla and Keyolla. The water is so beautiful there! The Marshalese people are very gracious and have such precious hearts.
My parents, Sam and Florence Sasser, were missionaries in the Marshalls Islands, serving together for over 11 years. They planted churches and built and directed a Bible school called Calvary Bible Institute. When they first arrived in the islands, there was no running water and no electricity. The planes that landed on the island had to fly over the grassy landing field twice before landing. Once, to scare off the pigs and chickens on the landing strip and the other to land! Life was truly a great adventure there.
After 11 years of service in the Marshalls, Mom and Dad moved to Hawaii, pastoring a church on the island of Oahu for 5 years and ministering all over the South Pacific after their time in Hawaii. They were still involved for many years in helping the Marshalese in many practical and spiritual ways. They visited the islands often and when my father passed away in 1995, his heart was buried in the Marshalls as he had requested in his will. He loved the Marshalese people with a passion beyond words.
My mom, along with my brother Terry Sasser, returned to the Marshall Islands after my father's death. She remained there for another 11 years, serving the people a combined total of 22 years. In April of 2008, Mom moved from the Marshalls and in with our family. She is basing Charismedia Ministries (the name of her ministry) out of Kansas City. Mom is still helping the Marshalese people by translating important materials into the Marshalese language. She also travels to churches both nationally and internationally, bringing awareness to the needs of the Marshalese people. Mom also travels frequently to Springdale Arkansas where she is involved in helping the Marshalese community living there. There are over 20,000 Marshalese who have settled in Springdale, making that the largest Marshlaese community in the United States.
This picture of me, my brother Terry Sasser and my mom, was taken at the airport in the Marshall Islands. I joined my mom in the Marshall Islands and flew back home with her to Kansas City in April.
My brother, Terry, and his wife Amy, both live in the Marshalls and have four children. They adopted our Teyolla and Keyolla's siblings. Terry and Amy love the Marshalese and have done so much to help them. They write grants that benefit the islanders and help the schools there with supplies and after school programs. They built a Science Center there that includes all types of sea life, everything from live sharks to turtles, various types of salt water fish and giant blue star fish. They also work alongside the Marshalese government in many different areas. They have provided much help to the islanders in regards to issues such as teen pregnancy and awareness about Aids and STD's and are now planning to build a home for girls who have been abused.
As if Terry and Amy didn't already have their hands full...they formed an Olympic staff and got the Marshall Islands into the Olympics for the very first time this year. The Marshalese are competing in swimming, Tae Quon Do and track and field events. We are excited and we know the Marshalese are having a great time being involved!
Mom, visiting the grave where my dad's heart was buried.
Joanna and her mom, Marso, live in the Marshall Islands. Joanna was born with no eyes, only eye sockets. This was very traumatic for Joanna's mom Marso, and Joanna's father Solomon, as they are very poor and are not able to get Joanna the help she needs. Joanna and her family live in a tiny shack with many children. Joanna also suffers with swallowing and sensitive stomach issues. She chokes easily on food and many times her parents have to massage her throat to get her food to go down properly.
My husband Derek and I are going to begin raising money to bring Joanna and her mother to the states in February to get Joanna some of the help she needs. If any of you are interested in helping this precious family financially, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be more than happy to provide you with a tax receipt. Also, if any of you know of an Oncologist who might be willing to donate their services to help Joanna, please let us know. Thanks in advance for considering the needs of this precious little one.
Joanna's little cousin has such a precious little spirit and she sure loves her cousin, Joanna!
Thanks to all of you who read our blog and who faithfully pray for us! You are a blessing! Have a wonderful day and God bless you!