Morgan was on a softball scholarship in South Dakota when the pain caused from her rheumatoid arthritis became so unbearable that it forced her to make the difficult decision to return home. As an athlete, Morgan had always been on a team. It brought her great happiness as she felt a sense of belonging amongst her teammates but returning home and realizing that the plans she had laid out for her years in college would not be fulfilled, Morgan was devastated and fell into a great depression. She began isolating herself from her family and friends until one day, with the support of her friend Desiree,  she found the strength to attend church.

During one of her visits to Eastside, she saw a video about a Beyond Borders Compassion trip to Thailand. She felt the conviction of serving but was hesitant until Desiree, who was sitting next to her, said, “We are going to do it!” The encouragement from her friend was enough to motivate Morgan to spontaneously sign up. It was not long after that Morgan’s excitement turned into worry as she had to find a way to raise money for her trip. She prayed as she began fundraising and asking for donations. With just a few months before the trip, Morgan realized that she was $1,000 short from the money she needed to go on the Compassion trip. Upset and feeling defeated, Morgan revisited the donation list that evening and found that $1,000 was donated anonymously. She was going to Thailand!

Morgan and the Eastside team had finally arrived in Thailand when Morgan began feeling aching pain in her joints. Eventually the pain caused by the rheumatoid arthritis became so agonizing that she could barely walk. While at the hotel, Morgan asked for ice to help with the inflammation however, the hotel did not have any. She was angry at herself and thought, “Why me?! Why now?!” Morgan felt lonely and useless as she stayed in bed locked in her hotel room watching TV until a knock on the door interrupted her. It was some of the members of the Eastside team who found out about Morgan’s’ situation and found an ice factory that was located adjacent to the hotel. Together, they brought ice to Morgan’s room. They even dropped off handwritten “get well” notecards from each of the team members. Morgan was so surprised by the love and care she received from her new friends that for the first time, in a long time, Morgan felt like she was back on a team. With the love and prayers from her teammates, Morgan became well enough to help and participate at the orphanage. God showed her that life is best lived when it is with others and she left Thailand experiencing a love she will never forget.

“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” Mathew 18:2