ST. PAULS — The death of their son didn’t stop Drs. Leslie and Cindy Morgan from pursuing their lifelong mission of helping others — in fact, it only energized them to do more.
The two doctors, missionaries in Bangladesh for 24 years, lost their middle child, Everett, to bone cancer in 2008. After taking about nine months off, the Morgans decided to go back to Bangladesh to continue their service.
“We returned changed people,” Cindy said.
Added Leslie: “I think our son would have wanted us to go back. Just seeing his faith during the entire thing really strengthened me a lot.”
The Morgans spoke about their mission experiences Tuesday night after a potluck supper at St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church. They spoke of the challenges of serving in a country where almost a third of the population is below the poverty line. The couple split their time in Bangladesh between school classrooms and the community. They help children, men and women with medical needs and offer them medical advice. They also serve as spiritual mentors to some of the people in Bangladesh.
Edna Muse and Terrie Evans, both members of St. Paul’s, said they were saddened to hear how many people live in poverty in Bangladesh.
“I worked with children all my life, and I can’t imagine children living like that,” Evans said.
In 1992, the Morgans helped the Presbyterian Church establish a relationship with the Church of Bangladesh, a denomination of more than 19,000 members in 94 congregations in a South Asian country with the fourth-largest Muslim population in the world. They have also helped to carry out the church’s health ministries.
According to The World Bank, the country is ranked first in the world in children suffering from malnutrition, and health problems abound from poor water quality and prevalence of infectious diseases. Inflictions such as malaria and tuberculosis are prevalent, and rural doctors with no formal training make up about 62 percent of the country’s health care providers.
The Morgans were invited to speak at St. Paul’s by two friends of theirs — the church’s pastor, Sue Hudson, and her husband David Hudson, who serves Lumber Bridge Presbyterian Church and Antioch Presbyterian Church. The Hudsons met the Morgans about six years ago in Asia, while doing missionary work.
“They’re our favorite people,” Sue Hudson said of the Morgans.
The Morgans have been back in the United States since January to teach members from supporting churches about their experiences in Bangladesh. At the end of their visit in May, the couple will have visited about 55 churches in 19 states.
Leslie said his first time visiting Bangladesh was in 1977, through a program that sent college students from the Presbyterian Church to different countries. In 1980, he and Cindy went back to Bangladesh through that same program. In 1990, Leslie and Cindy moved to Bangladesh with their children Laura, Everett and Stewart.
For more information about the Morgans, visit www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/missionconnections/morgan-leslie-and-cynthia/.