Lincoln Elementary teacher Megan Kendall leaves Friday to teach at the 2nd Mile Missions preschool in Bavaro, Dominican Republic, for at least a year. Tuesday afternoon Kendall spoke about her upcoming journey to Lincoln and Warsaw Community Schools teachers, staff and administrators. Pictured standing behind Kendall are Rod (L) and Nancy (R) Wildman, with 2nd Mile Missions. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union
Lincoln Elementary teacher Megan Kendall leaves Friday to teach at the 2nd Mile Missions preschool in Bavaro, Dominican Republic, for at least a year. Tuesday afternoon Kendall spoke about her upcoming journey to Lincoln and Warsaw Community Schools teachers, staff and administrators. Pictured standing behind Kendall are Rod (L) and Nancy (R) Wildman, with 2nd Mile Missions. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union
Since her junior year in college, Megan Kendall has waited for God to return her to the Dominican Republic.
Over the summer, the Lincoln Elementary School first-grade teacher got the call. She leaves early Friday from Chicago to teach English to preschoolers in Bavaro, Dominican Republic, at the 2nd Mile Education Center, for at least one year.
Tuesday afternoon, Kendall shared with Lincoln and Warsaw Community Schools teachers, staff and administrators about her upcoming journey.
“My junior year at Taylor University, I took a spring break trip to the Dominican Republic, and I had the opportunity to work in an elementary school, preschoolers in particular,” she said. “I just loved it. The kids were so sweet, happy and joyful. They lived in homes made of cardboard and tarps for their roof. They came to school without shoes, or clothing five sizes too big, but they were still filled with joy, so happy to be there.”
She learned a lot from them and fell in love with the culture, people and especially the kids.
“I could feel God kind of working in me while I was there and kind of prompting me while I was there. Giving me the thoughts of returning there to teach and maybe serving in some way,” she continued.
At first, she found the idea a little scary because she had never considered teaching outside of the United States. Yet, that also excited her.
“I returned to Taylor and I graduated (in 2010), and after graduating I sought out different organizations in the Dominican that I could go and teach with,” she said.
Nothing came about.
“It just seemed like God was kind of closing those doors and it did become a bit frustrating thinking, ‘He’s placed a desire in my heart and why isn’t it working out?’” Kendall recalled.
Rod and Nancy Wildman, of 2nd Mile Missions, attend Warsaw Community Church with Kendall. One Sunday the Wildmans spoke in church about the school they started in the Dominican Republic.
“It was so exciting and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to sponsor a child and help in some way without being there,” Kendall said. “So I was thrilled and  wrote her a letter and thanked her for the opportunity, and expressed my interest in the Dominican. So I felt encouraged I could be a part of their ministry in some small way.”
Kendall still wanted to help in a bigger way, and her desire to return to the Dominican Republic was still in her heart.
“It just seemed so far fetched,” she said.
Then the Wildmans spoke again in church, this time talking about their House of Hope orphanage.
“As they were speaking I began to cry in church. I really felt God moving and prompting me to step out of my comfort zone and contact them and become vulnerable, which is not easy for me to do. And I did that, and Nancy responded,” she said.
Kendall met with them a couple times to learn more about their ministry.
“It was cool how we got to connect,” she said. “But once again it just seemed so far fetched that I would get to return to the Dominican.”
Kendall finished her third year of teaching at Lincoln in early June. In July, the Wildmans asked her if she would be interested in teaching in the Dominican.
“I said yes,” she said. “I’m really excited and thrilled with the opportunity, and just to see how God has orchestrated this whole thing. It’s neat to see His Hand in every aspect, big and small, and know without a shadow of a doubt that this is what I’m supposed to do. I’m thrilled and just anxious to get down there and see what God has in store for me.”
Kendall told Tuesday’s gathering that she appreciated all their support and will miss the Lincoln family.
“I know you’re thinking of me, praying for me, which I really appreciate. I just can’t thank you enough for your support,” she said.
“We’re so excited to have Megan,” Rod said. “And it is – the way everything just worked out – amazing because we need teachers, and there’s this whole thing going on in the Dominican about teachers and everything in public schools. We just came home, and it was the end of June, and we got back from a trip, and it was like, ‘We need these teachers. Call Megan!’‘ And she goes, ‘Yes!’ and we’re like ‘Yes!’ It is so cool.”
He said he recognized Kendall is a little anxious because it is a huge step. She will be living with another woman in an apartment down there, and it’s a whole different world where she doesn’t speak Spanish.
Rod said 2nd Mile has a school in the Dominican Republic with 800 students in preschool to high school, and they have a trade school. Kendall will have her own preschool classroom and the chance to develop the English preschool program, which Nancy hopes will develop into having a bilingual school.
“If (Dominican children) don’t go to school, there’s nothing for them,” Rod said. “The boys would be into drugs or stealing or both and manual labor for the rest of their life. Girls, prostitution is about all they have without an education. And trying to get married and hanging on to the guy, but they usually end up with a couple of kids and no guy to support them and that kind of stuff. It’s just a cycle of poverty that, without the education, they’re stuck in. And so, what our goal is, is to get them into education and really push them to stay in high school and don’t leave. About 14, junior high, is when they leave and we just push to get them all the way through, and get that education so they have a better job and the whole cycle.”
The school is five years old, but they’ve been working in the community about eight years, he said. They will open an orphanage in fall, and a health clinic is up and running to take care of the local community. For $35 a month, a person can sponsor one of the Dominican children.
To live in the Dominican Republic, Kendall is raising half support. She will also get the normal Dominican salary of $400 a month, but is trying to double that with support.
“That’s what she’ll need to live on, to help with her apartment, food and all that kind of stuff,” Rod explained.
To contact Kendall or to sponsor her, email her at MegInTheDR@gmail.com
To learn more about 2nd Missions, visit www.2ndmilemissions.org