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Veteran Christian worker dies in Singapore

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
SOUTHEAST ASIA (BP)--Robert "Bob" William Morgan Jr., a Christian worker overseas for more than 23 years, died of a heart attack July 14 while cycling during a visit to Singapore. He was 64.

At the time of his death, Morgan and his wife Regina ("Jean") were stationed on a remote island in East Indonesia where they led Bible studies and taught in an orphanage.

Earlier, the Morgans had ministered in various roles in Indonesia. He served as a theology professor, church planter, church developer and business manager in Jakarta and other major cities.

In Southeast Asia, his loving manner made an impression on his co-workers and friends, including Lestari Nasution*, an Indonesian office assistant whom Morgan supervised. He was a personable man who hated to be called "boss" and who kept in touch after a change in ministry assignments, Nasution recounted. Morgan often sent her emails asking for updates about her family. Observing him, she said, taught her about Christ-like behavior.

"I learned so much from him … his leadership, his attitude ... and his patience," Nasution said. "He was a very patient person. It's a big loss for many people down here and for me as well."

Born Aug. 9, 1946, in Smithfield, Ky., Morgan was the oldest of seven children and accepted Christ at age 9. He attended Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Ky., where he met Regina Lee Miller, whom he married in 1968. He graduated a year later with a bachelor's degree in chemistry.


After college, Morgan delved into seminary, receiving a master of divinity degree in 1971 and a master of religious education degree in 1972 from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. For the next nine years, he served as pastor or youth director in churches from Garden City, Mich., to Maitland, Fla.

He led a church in Augsburg, Germany, from 1975-78 and toward the end of the decade he and his wife felt the Lord calling them to ministry through the International Mission Board. They were appointed in 1981.

The Morgans planted churches on the island of Java until 1997 when they returned to the United States. The couple moved back home to Kentucky, and Morgan became a pastor once again. Six years later, in 2003, they felt the Lord calling them back to Indonesia.

Morgan served as a business manager initially, but eventually he and Jean felt God leading them to their last work in East Indonesia.

Christian worker Bob Fuller* said Morgan's willingness to leave a desk job and move to a rough environment illustrates his spiritual dedication -- especially since he took the assignment later in life. Most people in their 60s would rather live in relative ease and comfort, he said, but the Morgans were not most people.


"He was probably one of the most helpful people I've ever met -- very kind," Fuller said. "He definitely had a great love for the church and wanted to see the church grow and strengthen, and he really had a heart willing to serve anywhere.... When many would be ... winding down what we already have going, Bob and Jean went to a hard-to-reach area."

In addition to his wife, Morgan is survived by their two children, Robert William Morgan III of Villa Park, Ill., and Lisa Morgan Ashworth of White House, Tenn. Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.

*Names changed. Shiloh Lane is a writer serving in Southeast Asia.

Copyright (c) 2011 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press

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