Editor’s note: This is the first in a series on alumni who have gone into the ministry.
Megan Coley, a 2013 Union alumna, has always had a heart for missions, especially in Nicaragua.
After graduation, Coley found herself serving in ministry at El Ayudante, a family enrichment center in Leon, Nicaragua, where she is a liaison and special projects coordinator.
Coley is no stranger to the people of El Ayudante; she has been serving the organization since she was in eighth grade.
“Working with the kids and with this organization just felt right,” Coley said. “I wouldn’t say I had a divine moment when I knew that “bam!” I was supposed to be here; I just felt a continual draw from the Holy Spirit to one day serve here in Nicaragua. It’s like a second home to me.”
El Ayudante serves as a before- and after-school program where children come from at-risk environments.
Children arrive at the center before school to eat breakfast and afterward attend a local Catholic school.
The children return to the center to have lunch and to participate in English classes and tutoring and, finally, playtime.
Sponsorship for each child comes from individuals in the United States.
Coley coordinates the interaction and correspondence between the centers’ children and their sponsors.
“I absolutely love where I work,” Coley said. “Everyone is very open and kind. Even though the work we are doing is serious at times, we have a lot of fun.”
A native of Jackson, Coley received a bachelor of science degree in Elementary Education (K-8) and Learning Foundations from Union in spring 2013.
Coley’s contract to work at El Ayudante ends in June 2014, but she is undecided whether she will choose to extend her service.
“I figured I have the rest of my life to sit in an office or behind a desk and make millions — just kidding about the money part,” Coley said. “I’m not tied down, I’m not in a serious relationship, and I have nothing holding me back, so why not just go?”
Coley says that she especially enjoys going out into the communities and working with the children at the center. Many of the Leon residents have nothing more than clothing and a few coins, she said.
“Seeing smiles on the faces of people that have every excuse to frown inspires me to continue my work, and I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything,” Coley said.