by Shannon Dennis, Journalist Intern
The sleepy little island of Saba may be located in the heart of the Caribbean Basin, but it can also be found deep in the heart of Lipscomb Missions. With its five square-mile land area and its peaceful culture, Saba remains a secret to much of the world; however, Lipscomb knows Saba well, for the University has sent mission teams to the island for the past nine years. As a result of Lipscomb’s service to the Saba community, this summer Myron Hassell, 17, journeyed from his home in Saba to attend Lipscomb University to pursue a degree in Business Management and Entrepreneurship.
Lipscomb alum Michael Thomas (’99) and his wife Aletha arrived on the island in 2001 for Michael to attend the Saba University School of Medicine. It was not long after their arrival that they met young Myron, who was just eight years old at the time. As the instigators of the Saba mission trips, they first met Myron when they hosted the first batch of Lipscomb students to serve in the elementary school during spring break 2003. With each new mission trip, the Thomas family saw Myron grow and get more involved with the mission teams. Aletha states, “It’s wonderful to see how Lipscomb’s service in Saba resulted in Myron becoming a student at the University where he might continue to grow.”
On a crisp October morning, Myron and I sit at a table outside of Starbucks and chat about how he came to Lipscomb. I ask him what might be his first memory of the Lipscomb mission teams. He smiles as he recalls the excitement surrounding the mission teams when they visited every year: “Not only are the Lipscomb students welcomed on Saba but their presence have always ignited anticipation of what the new chapter of their service would entail.”
The friendly countenance of the team members caused him to be eager to join in the games, devotions, and various activities the mission teams offered. He also remembers the team members bringing books to read to him along with the other school children. He enjoyed hearing the stories read aloud as well as reading them for himself. Growing up while seeing the impact of the mission teams, he observed, “every group... has vigorously worked to please, educate and impress the population.”
I next ask why Myron chose Lipscomb University. He sits back and thinks for a moment, but then sits right up on the edge of his seat with excitement as he shares that Lipscomb’s dedication to the Saba community inspired him look into attending Lipscomb University. Though he had considered attending other Universities, he found his decision an easy one to make. Myron felt Lipscomb would be the ideal environment for him to grow in his relationship with God. Myron remarks, “It is this love and commitment which the Lipscomb group portrayed that influenced me to apply to Lipscomb University to pursue my college education.”
Though he misses the quiet life of Saba at times, Myron enjoys the faster pace of North American society. He enjoys living in Nashville and being on campus where there are always activities to get involved in. He feels the most unusual, but the most fun activity he has participated in as of yet was roller skating. Additionally, he enjoys incorporating himself into the Lipscomb community by serving as a manager for the Bison basketball team. He shared with me that, “The basketball players make me feel at home.”
The effect of a short-term mission trip is sometimes difficult to gauge, but in this case, after nine years of deepening the relationship between Lipscomb Missions and Saba, Myron’s story is a clear indication that the work in Saba has had a deep influence, one which God continues to slowly reveal. As Myron continues at Lipscomb, he now hopes to join a mission trip back to Saba so that he might serve his home community; just like the Lipscomb Missions teams he grew up with.
To read Myron's Admissions essay for acceptance into Lipscomb, click here