I made it!

Maria Niechwiadowicz


After hours of plane time I am happy to say that I have arrived in the Philippines! Our 14hr flight plus 3:30am arrival left me stiff and groggy. Despite massive lines, immigration and customs were simple and uneventful. I leaped for joy when I spotted my luggage, thinking of my experience in India. Stepping out into the morning, the air was thick with moisture and a light rain fell from the sky. Welcome to Manila!

Being the first group to arrive, we lucked out with a low key day. Most of us took a morning nap before making our way down to the cafeteria. We were surprised to find some interesting items…fish heads, bitter gourd, and other curries with rice! I opted for corned beef with an egg and toast along with coffee (aka Nescafé). I am excited to have so many new foods available!

The rest of the day was spent getting to know the others as more fellows continued to arrive. A few of us took a walk around the neighborhood and I felt right at home. The environment reminds me a bit of India–crowded streets, vendors selling fragrant foods, and noise! I even found my personal street:


Today we moved from Manila to Tagaytay where we will be spending most of our time. As we drove out of the city the terrain became more mountainous. Palm trees covered the area and soon we passed by rows and rows of pineapple fields! The conference center is beautiful! Yellow hibiscus flowers that cover trellises and the views of the land are spectacular! This peaceful space seems to be perfect for weeks of reflection, teaching, and connection.

Our days are filled with workshops, prayer time, and relationship building. Please pray for the Fellows as we find peace in our placements, connect with each other, and listen to the spirit. Pray for our leaders from the General Board of Global Mission as they train us, and give spiritual support.