Seeing Christ with Tom Morgan (1951-2021)
On the evening of February 12, 2021, after having "suffered a little while," our brother Tom Morgan took his final breath on earth and was welcomed into heaven to be with the Lord for eternity. Born on October 31, 1951, Tom was 69 years of age.
Raised in Upland, CA by his mother (a homemaker) and father (former Marine who transitioned into a career as a beer salesman), Tom was the middle child of three spirited boys. Growing up, Tom and his brothers were raised in the Lutheran church and attended worship weekly (although admittedly, the worship services were not as interesting as the bible studies held afterwards). In conjunction with church on Sundays, Tom's formal teaching at Lutheran school (from first to fourth grade) piqued Tom's initial interest in the Bible, more specifically, biblical history. Around the same time, Tom also discovered another love: art. Although it wouldn't be until the eighth grade when Tom would take his first formal art class, Tom's love for art planted a seed in his heart that would eventually connect the beauty he experienced in art to the existence of God. Tom furthered his studies in art during his time at Cal State Fullerton, graduating with an Art major. It was during his time at Cal State Fullerton when Tom's life changed; in his own words, "it felt like a switch turned on." On Tom's frequent strolls and bike rides during his college days, he'd begin to notice the smell of the trees and the beauty of things around him, conceding to the compelling argument God was making to Tom about His existence through His art: creation. At this time, a campus ministry group at Cal State Fullerton approached Tom and engaged in further conversation with him about the gospel, causing Tom to grapple with the idea of being "born again." Unbeknownst to Tom during these critical moments, pieces in his life were coming together to reveal an irreplaceable faith in a purposeful God. What once thought to be a meaningless life started to look a lot different. Tom would say, "When I became a Christian, I knew I wasn't condemned anymore, I knew I wasn't going to go to Hell, I knew I was going to be with Christ." Post-college, Tom worked a number of different jobs prior to becoming a teacher (what most of us knew him to be). Immediately after graduating college, Tom worked as a taxi driver and eventually had the opportunity to train new taxi drivers. At the age of 42, Tom went to South Korea to teach the english language for two years. Upon his return to the States, Tom worked for a non-emergency ambulance organization in South Central Los Angeles, having the opportunity to interact with patients on a daily basis. Tom eventually returned to teaching, most recently substituting for the Rowland Heights School District. Throughout the jobs he held in his life, Tom's desire to share the gospel with all who he interacts with remained consistent. As many of us know, Tom had faithfully attended Theophilus since 1999 and was one of the first members of the church during the early stages of its inception.
Tom's love for Theophilus and the congregation was obvious. During hot summer days, Tom would walk into church, drenched in sweat. When asked about this, Tom would explain that his car's air conditioning was broken and coming from Pomona, the car would get hot - this all said with a cheerful attitude. Tom was an excellent example of a faithful brother in Christ, attending nearly every church event and study, answering questions no one knew the answers to during bible studies, and being a constant encouragement to those he interacted with.
Tom's commitment to God and His people did not waiver, even in his last days. Tom would tell one member, "I always think on Christ who suffered far more than I and He will heal me and all my brothers and sisters. I look forward [to] seeing Christ Our Beautiful Saviour!"
Tom's race is now finished and he's crossed the finish line; let us see this brother's wonderful example and run this race better than we did the day before. May Tom bask in the eternal glory of Jesus at his eternal home.