Morgan McKeown ~ SEEing Others {Story 27 of 30}

December 1995

From my journal – I have failed in everything especially the attempt to find me. I walk blindly through the dark, searching for—I don’t know what.  Something to fill the emptiness? There is a light to guide me, yet I choose not to follow. I am not good enough to be in that light. Through I know it will accept me. Darkness is all I see, all it is, is reality.

At 14 my life was consumed with depression, bulimia, suicidal thoughts, and toxic friendships. Although I had truly committed my life to Christ the summer before, all I could think about was death. I was slowly killing myself, constantly longing for God, yet running further and further from Him.  I learned to put on the mask of competent Christianity: on the surface everything was perfectly arranged, underneath I was unraveling.

December 2005

I was done.  The relationship I thought would end in marriage had left me broken and alone.  The only contents in my refrigerator were cans of Diet Coke and a Costco sized bottle of Malibu Rum.  Up to that point, my job as a youth director at a church and my frenzied good works were enough to submerge my ever-present, crippling insecurity.  After the breakup, all I had pushed down came bursting out.  At the age of 25, I was burnt out, done with ministry, and fantasized about being done with life.

March 2006

My friend, Joy, enthusiastically exclaimed, “Morgan I heard about the most amazing trip!  You would love it!”    Not much excited me, but I was willing to hear her out.  “There is this trip called the World Race.  You get to do mission work in 11 countries in 11 months.”  From the moment Joy said those words, a host of butterflies took up residence in my stomach.  I couldn’t sleep that night.  I knew right then everything was going to change.

July 2007 while on the World Race

From my journal – I started out these three months in Africa broken for myself, for what I had been through and the things I had suffered in my past. Now my heart has changed, been healed, and I am broken for these children; for injustice; the cycle of poverty; childhood rape; AIDS; and lack of education.  I am torn to shreds by children shivering in rags. I feel emptiness for the kids who only get food sometimes. I’m in pain for their lack of medical attention.

At the same time, I know it’s not mine to cure. I can’t solve my own problems let alone solve the problems of one of these children. I have to choose trust. I have to choose to believe in the God of scripture who loves justice and champions the poor, the widow, and the orphan.

Every time I sit today I begin to cry. God why the pain? Why the sin? Why the injustice?

I understand you have to have the pain to know the beauty, but God my heart has been ripped out, torn to pieces. Tandi has AIDS, babies raise babies, children are raped. God, children are dying!  God, do you hear my voice crying out for them?

Jesus I know you died for them. Can you please hold them, feed them, educate them and teach them Your grace and love?

Then God responded, “Morgan, every tear you cried today was actually my tear. I was crying through you.”

Today

God used 2007 to painfully shred the mask of competent Christianity I was so comfortable hiding behind.  I was wrecked by a Kingdom reality much bigger than my own and thrown into a story that includes orphans in Swaziland, sex slaves in Thailand, and students desperate for the gospel in China.

Since The Race, everything is different.  I decided to intentionally live in community.  My sister and I started a non-profit homeless outreach called Fill-A-Belly.  We serve around 200 people a week who are in need of a warm meal and genuine friendships.

I’m a full-time missionary, but I live in San Diego.  My job is to lead mission trips and work on local events that promote awareness of what’s happening in Swaziland.  I LOVE it!

This weekend I was teaching the parable of the Good Samaritan at an Orphan Awareness event for youth.  I asked them a tricky question, “What was the first thing the Samaritan did?”

After a lot of answers, one girl understood what had to happen first, “He SAW the man hurting.”

Before 2007 I was too busy constantly rearranging my own insecurities to see anyone else hurting.  The World Race helped me SEE others.  Some days my worldview still becomes selfishly myopic, but thankfully God has given me honest friends that whip my butt into gear and weekly conversations with the homeless that remind me to get over myself!

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From Morgan:  I’ve always loved missions but that passion came alive in 2007 when I went on the adventure of a lifetime, The World Race.  I traveled to 11 countries in 11 months and did mission work in a huge variety of settings.  Since The Race I’ve led four trips back to Swaziland, my favorite stop.  This summer I had the amazing, blister-filled, opportunity to walk, yes walk, 122 miles across Swaziland while raising awareness for HIV/AIDS.

In 2008 my sister Molly and I started a relational homeless outreach called Fill-A-Belly.  When Molly first came up with the idea I responded, “homelessness isn’t really my thing.”  I’m pretty sure, when I said that, God laughed!  I had no idea that 5 years later we would have our own non-profit, be empowering thousands of wonderful volunteers to feed 200 people weekly, and that our outreach nights would be the highlight of my week!

I live in San Diego with 4 incredible roommates and 2 rescue Pit Bulls (who are cuddle-aholics).  I love speaking and writing, and currently blog at www.morganmckeown.theworldrace.org.

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My greatest honor during 30 Days of Story has been messaging with some of the authors before they post.  As Morgan and I “chatted” about her post, she found it difficult to land on just one thing about which to write.  After visiting 11 countries in 11 months, starting a homeless ministry, and walking 122 miles across Swaziland, one has lots to write about.  She’s seen God’s faithfulness in many ways and in many places.  As we “refined” what she planned to write, I got to thinking…

Shouldn’t we all have much to say about God’s faithfulness?  Even if we’ve never been outside the country…in our daily lives, doesn’t He prove Himself faithful?  He delivers me safely to my destination even though I am a terrible driver.  He uses others to speak into my life at just the right moments even though I can be unteachable and sarcastic.  He answers prayers and provides even when I don’t know how to pray.

He is faithful.  Always. Maybe we just don’t notice.  I pray you stop and take note of His faithfulness and love today.  I did –  and was overwhelmed by the evidence of Him at work.

I am thankful to Morgan for sharing.  I hope her story not only encourages the adults, but also the teens I know that read.  There’s hope, gals.  It’s found in Him…and Him alone.

Comments

  1. Morgan, I LOVE how vulnerable you are willing to be in order to show people God’s faithfulness. He really has done amazing things through you, from hugs on a bad day to sending a bunch of crazy young adults to Swaziland with you. And one thing I’ve always appreciated about you is that you DO see people. And you respond to what you see. Love you! Thanks for sharing! Xoxo
    And Sarah, even the snippet you wrote after her post was a great reminder for me. Thank you for adding that!

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