Morgan Furlong, a 20-year-old college student from Canyon Lake, is taking a year off school to embark on a nine-month journey to three continents where she’ll serve others and help change lives, all while living out of a backpack. Morgan will live one month in Colombia, one month in Ecuador, two months in Thailand, two months in Cambodia and three months in Albania.
Morgan is the granddaughter of Canyon Lakers Gary and Sue Sell. The former Wee Miss Canyon Lake (2006) has lived in Canyon Lake most of her life. For the past two years, she’s been attending Northern Arizona University (NAU) working towards a degree in communications studies with a minor in law. Though she has thoroughly enjoyed her time in Flagstaff, she felt that it’s not where she’s supposed to be on her journey in life. “I felt the Lord working in my life, stretching and propelling me towards something much bigger than myself,” said Morgan.
Many years ago, Morgan heard a missionary speak about her work with victims of sex trafficking in Thailand. “Ever since then, I have known I wanted to help people around the world with issues of injustice,” said Morgan. “This opportunity to do so came at a perfect time. Doors at NAU were closing and I felt God telling me it was time to go and do His work in all corners of the world.”
Morgan thought the call to service would be many years from now, far off into the future, but it became abundantly clear to her that she needed to go now when she stumbled upon World Race Gap Year. She explains, “I have been deep in prayer these last few months trying to understand what I am supposed to be doing. When I stumbled upon World Race Gap Year, I immediately felt God’s peace rush over me and I’m confident that God is leading me in this direction.”
World Race Gap Year is an organization that takes college-aged students on a journey to three continents in nine months. Racers, typically ages 18 to 21, experience a variety of adventures like visiting ancient ruins and hiking up volcanoes. They trade in marketplaces, teach English and practical skills, befriend people caught in modern-day slavery, partner with local ministries, and strengthen local church bodies around the world. They experience how others live as they are immersed into new cultures, forming lasting relationships with people who bring a fresh perspective.
“Every day the World Race looks a little different. Some days will be packed full of construction, VBS, evangelism outreach, building relationships with orphans, or praying for the sick at a hospital. Some days could be slower: shopping for groceries at the market, cooking for your team, and spending time praying for the community you walk through. Regardless of the pace or the activity, every day will be focused on being a part of God’s kingdom work,” said Morgan.
To prepare for her travels, Morgan recently completed a required 10-day training camp in Georgia. The camp is intense and designed to be challenging. Morgan and her teammates were put in scenarios meant to stretch and refine them, and bring them closer to Christ and each other. In addition to evangelism and cross-cultural ministry training, Racers were trained on how to share stories, live in a close community and adapt to the unknown.
Morgan will set off on her journey on Sept. 7. “Who knew that after two years of college I would feel the call to stop mid track and follow my heart. God knows me better than I ever could, as hard of a reality check this is, it is amazingly true,” said Morgan.
Before setting off on her journey, Morgan needs to raise $14,951 to fund her trip. The cost covers food, medical insurance, lodging and air, land and sea travel. It also covers administrative, set up, coaching, debrief and training costs prior to and at the start of the race. To date, she’s raised $9,325.
To help with her fundraising efforts, Morgan is selling “Send Me” T-shirt for $20 each. Isaiah 6:8 says, “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’”
To purchase a T-shirt or make a donation to her cause, contact Morgan at 951-310-3134 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations can also be made online at morganfurlong.theworldrace.org. Online donations are tax deductible.a