Margaret Morgan was born on June 15, 1934 in a coal mining village in Porth, Glamorgan, Wales. Her father worked in a chain grocery firm as a debt and rent collector. He was an elder in the nearby Welsh Chapel where Morgan attended Sunday school. When she was three, her mother passed away. She was taken care of by her grandmother for four years until her father remarried. Morgan had a good relationship with her step-mother, whom she considered her real mum.
She attended the Ferndale Secondary School and harboured an ambition to be a ballet dancer. Things changed at the age of 12 when she surrendered her life to Jesus Christ during an evangelistic campaign by a well-known evangelist.
In September 1952, she was admitted to the Bristol Royal Infirmary to train as a nurse. Although known for being sickly and easily tired, she managed to complete the course in three years. While working as a nurse at Bristol, she became a close friend of another nurse, Brenda Holton, through the Nurses Christian Union. Her interest in the Far East grew when Holton went to Thailand with the China Inland Mission (CIM), serving as a missionary nurse. She naturally became Holton’s prayer partner and was excited at all the challenges and opportunities of mission work in a foreign land.
When she attended the Keswick Convention held in the Lake District in 1960, she felt called by God to be a nurse and a missionary through Isaiah 52:12: “For ye shall not go out with haste…”  She proceeded to attend the Mount Hermon Missionary Training College for women in Ealing for two years. In 1963, she attended the Candidate Course at the CIM headquarters, London and was unanimously accepted by the council.
In April 1964, Morgan arrived at the OMF international centre in Singapore on the way to serve in South Thailand. Her subsequent language training in Thai was at the Union Language Centre, located in the capital of Thailand, Bangkok. At the end of August 1965, she arrived in South Thailand, where mission work was growing rapidly with acute shortages of missionaries, especially those with a medical background.
In 1953 the mission had started work in South Thailand with a team of four missionaries who were expelled from China after the communists took over. The four southern Thai provinces were populated mainly by Malays (estimated at 80 percent) with some Thais, Chinese, Pakistanis and Indians. The Thai were predominantly Muslims and some had formed rebel bands to fight for independence from the central Thai government and lurked dangerously in the mountainous jungles of the Malayan-Thai border.
As medical services were still lacking in some towns, doors were opened by the Thai government for the setting up of a health facility in Saiburi in Pattani province. On April 5, 1955, the Saiburi Christian Clinic was officially opened in a shophouse by CIM, with the chief of police as the guest of honour. A few fully qualified doctors and nurses were mobilised. Many of the patients who came suffered from leprosy, an infectious and debilitating disease that carried a stigma and made them social outcasts. However, if taken early and over a long period of time with regular follow-ups, the newer Western medicine was very effective in curing this disease. Reaching patients, however, could be a challenge as they were shunned and looked down upon when they used public transport. Therefore, the nurses had to make frequent visits to their homes which might be located in hard-to-reach rural places.
In 1960, the new Saiburi Christian Hospital was opened to the public for outpatient and inpatient treatment. The general hospital had 40 beds and dealt with 50-100 outpatients daily. Crowds with all kinds of illnesses thronged the hospital, seeking treatment from the doctors and nurses who served sacrificially with love and care. Many of these foreigners were fluent in the local languages like Thai and Malay, which made communication easier. In 1966, a leprosy clinic was started within the hospital to meet the growing demand.
In 1966, Morgan started working at the hospital, taking charge of a ward. After she had served for four years, her leaders reported that “Margaret has done an outstanding job as a first termer. She has led souls to the Lord, her general influence has been good.”  A number of the local Thai men were baptised and involved in Bible study to learn more about their newfound faith.
In 1973, after her return from furlough, Morgan was redesignated as a leprosy nurse to the outlying districts with home visitation. She and Minka Hanskamp, a nurse from Holland, stayed in a house in Pattani as they visited clinics located in Pujud and Palas. This work was more dangerous as separatists were known to operate in some villages situated near the jungle fringes. She took this risk in her stride as part and parcel of serving God. In fact, one night, gunshots were fired into the compound of the Saiburi Christian Hospital. This was after the new leprosy wing was opened and had admitted several patients. As a security measure, the local authorities posted armed policemen at the hospital gates to ease tension.
On April 23, 1974, three men kidnapped Morgan and Hanskamp as they arrived at the Pujud clinic in the morning. They were bundled into a dark green Mazda taxi at gunpoint on the pretext of their being taken to see some patients.
On April 30, two letters came from the kidnappers, with one asking for a 10 million-baht ransom (around £200,000 then) and an official letter from OMF to protest Israel’s handling of Palestinian rights. The other letter was written by the two missionaries saying that they were in the custody of the “jungle people” and were safe. Both conditions for release of the missionaries could not be met as paying ransom would have encouraged further kidnapping and getting into international politics is not part of OMF’s agenda as a mission organisation.
Ian Murray, the representative of OMF, met with some Thai officials and the kidnappers without much success. Violence between the military and separatists escalated in the next few weeks. The crisis received international attention and prayers were initiated in many parts of the Christian world.
Initially, the missionaries were allowed to write to OMF and their families. They were able to receive Bibles and some clothing. However, after their last letter dated August 14, 1974, there was silence and all negotiations ceased. Rumours of their execution then spread but were not verified.
On March 20, 1975, BBC radio reported that two bodies had been found in the jungle. Forensic evidence confirmed that the bodies were that of the two kidnapped missionaries. Both had been killed by bullet shots to the back of their heads five or six months earlier. A separatist who had earlier surrendered to the Thai police admitted that it was his comrade who had murdered them around September 1974. Both missionaries were calm when informed that they would be shot, saying, “All right! Will you let us have a little time to read and pray?”
On May 15, 1975, a funeral service was held in Saiburi, attended by hundreds of people from all walks of life and faith. Most were shocked by the violent deaths suffered by these women who had come to help the sick.
A note found in Morgan’s room in the house she shared with Hanskamp read, “Make no distinction between what God appointed and what God permitted. His appointment and His permission are equally His will.”  She had served God faithfully through OMF for nine years in South Thailand.
- ^ Phyllis Thompson, Minka and Margaret (London: Hodder & Stoughton / Overseas Missionary Fellowship, 1976), 17.
- ^ CIM changed its name to the Overseas Missionary Fellowship (OMF) in 1964.
- ^ Thompson, Minka and Margaret, 70.
- ^ David Pickard, Dawn Wind: OMF Church Planting in Thailand (Kent: OMF Books, 1980), 65.
- ^ OMF Thailand, Facebook, June 1, 2016, accessed September 22, 2023, https://www.facebook.com/OMFThailand/photos/a.219034318255734/624233154402513/?type=3.
- ^ Language training, which may last for two years or more, is mandatory for OMF missionaries prior to entering the mission field. In OMF, it is called Daniel Learning.
- ^ Thompson, Minka and Margaret, 103.
- ^ In OMF, a term of service is four years, followed by a year of furlough. Furlough is called home assignment today and is a year of deputation in the home country, away from the mission field, to reconnect with the sending church and prayer supporters. It is also used as a time to rest and be refreshed with new knowledge and skills.
- ^ “Hendrika Hermina (Minka) Hanskamp”, accessed September 22, 2023, https://www.laidlaw100.ac.nz/post/hendrika-hermina-minka-hanskamp.
- ^ Phyllis Thompson, Minka and Margaret (London: Hodder & Stoughton/Overseas Missionary Fellowship, 1976), 187.
- ^ Denis J. V. Lane, “Shall we look for another?” East Asia Millions August/September 1975 (North American edition), p74
- ^ Thompson, Minka and Margaret, 186.
Laidlaw College. “Hendrika Hermina (Minka) Hanskamp”. Accessed September 22, 2023. https://www.laidlaw100.ac.nz/post/hendrika-hermina-minka-hanskamp.
Pickard, David. Dawn Wind: OMF Church Planting in Thailand. Kent: OMF Books, 1980.
Thompson, Phyllis. Minka and Margaret. London: Hodder & Stoughton/Overseas Missionary Fellowship, 1976.