by Rebecca Llenos, director of communication

At eighteen years old, Maegan Morrow wanted to be a missionary. She grew up in church. Her parents were worship leaders, and she began singing in the worship band at fourteen. Her family friend, Kemper Crabb, was always a “cool rocker guy” in her eyes and had played in some of the first Christian rock bands out at the time. Her uncle was a part of that scene as well, and he started a worship band that she joined at fourteen. The fact that both these guys led worship and gave her the opportunity to be in the band really influenced her to go to church and eventually be a leader in her youth group. When Maegan went to her dad to tell him about her plans of becoming a missionary, though encouraging, he insisted that she attend college. While on a mission trip with her father, Maegan worked in an orphanage where there were children with autism and brain injuries. She watched her father sing to these children, and she saw them respond. She played her guitar and saw something light up in these children as they were able to move to the music and react to the music when they would not respond to anything else. Maegan felt music was her calling and that after college she could travel the world, sharing the gospel through song. She began to study music at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville. A friend in her theory class was majoring in music therapy and shared her knowledge with Maegan. Maegan was hooked, and decided to change her major from vocal performance to music therapy. Her love for church music continued—she led worship and sang in a church choir. Though she still wanted to be in ministry, she continued her degree plan until she graduated with a degree in music therapy. The question now was where to go from here? She continued to study and became certified in Neurological Music   Therapy. Because of this certification, she was hired at TIRR (The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research) Memorial Hermann as one of only two music therapists on staff. “TIRR is my mission field,” says Maegan. “Music therapy is my ministry to the world, but I don’t have to leave Houston.” She works with patients from all over the world, including Pakistan, Africa, and Asia. This wasn’t an instant realization for Maegan. It took a while, along with some pretty tough experiences, to see that her world was becoming something so much more than she could ever have imagined—that God had planned this path all along. In the early days of her job at TIRR, Maegan was subject to the scientific explanations of how people are healed. “I worked with so many people of different religions and doctors who honestly believed that science is what heals. I always knew that God was the answer, but it took awhile for me to be confident in that and be able to share that with others.” After her father passed away suddenly, Maegan’s Christian life took a downward spiral. She began questioning Jesus and what He is all about. A relationship with an atheist fueled this curiosity, and she says she was really not sure what to believe any more. “I felt I had nothing to hold on to,” says Maegan. “Sitting in the car with this guy, I could hear Jesus calling me back. I actually thought ‘How sad that I can hear Jesus and he can’t.’” A friend invited her to visit a church where her long-time friend Kemper Crabb was leading worship. “I went to see Kemper, not to go to church. I wasn’t myself. I wasn’t anything, really. I felt so bad that I had turned away from God. I tried to push God away, and he would not let me. Seeing Kemper was what I needed, and he invited me to come to a class he led at The Church of St. John the Divine. I wasn’t sure I wanted to be there, but I needed something.” “I came to the class and hung in the back. Everyone was so nice, and I couldn’t understand why they were being so nice to me. They didn’t know me.” Maegan attributes her coming back to the church to what she learned in Kemper’s class. “I learned solid answers about my Christian life that I thought I already knew. I continue to do so every week. I have found Jesus in a way that is new and exciting to me. I died in Christ and came back to life, once I really knew the mercy of Jesus and that hard as I try, I can’t deny it. I thought I knew God from growing up in church and everything I had done and learned. St. John the Divine has opened my eyes and my heart to who Jesus really is, and that has brought me to where I am today.” Today, Maegan is much more confident on her mission field. She has taken her ministry in music therapy to another level. “I pray with patients, I pray with their families. People are struggling in crisis, and sometimes I just have to go there and talk about Jesus to them. I now have the real answers in healing and I share them every day.” Maegan works with brain-injury patients through rhythm and song. Music is in both the right brain and the left brain. “By using familiar songs or rhythms, we are creating new pathways in the brain to the language functions and the movement functions, and people are responding in amazing ways. Plus, I get to sing church songs, like ‘Amazing Grace’ or ‘When the Saints Go Marching In’ to help these people regain some of the simplest tasks.” Recently, Maegan has been in the media for her work with Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. “She has responded so well to music therapy because music has always been a part of her life. We have begun to find the new pathways to heal her brain. She will most likely get to watch her husband when the shuttle launches. She is a miracle every day.” Music therapy is slowly moving forward in the medical world. “We are just now finding out how much music can heal. God created music not only for fun, but to help us, and I get to use it to help the development and healing process.” Maegan continues her missionary work every day. People come to her and ask for prayer, not knowing that she’s a Christian. She and a group of nurses pray over the beds before patients come in, over equipment, and for each other. Maegan and her 17-month old daughter, Gia, love the contemporary service. “St. John the Divine has given me a church home that I can worship in, learn in, and be a part of. What I love the most is that when faced with the science of healing questions, I have really good answers in Jesus, and I have the proof in the Bible to back it up.” If you are a musician and would like to be a part of the music medical field as a volunteer, you can join the “Friends of Music Therapy” at TIRR/Memorial Hermann, contact Maegan, MT-BC, NMT Fellow, CBIS, Neurologic Music Therapy.



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