... in China
Members of Allen-Lee collect colorful pencils and "encouragement" stickers for Cornelia (Connie) Wieck, the only United Methodist missionary in China right now.
As a UMC missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries, Connie serves in Longzhou (pronounced "Long Joe") in southern China near the Vietnam border. Her work is done under the auspices of the Amity Foundation which was established in 1985 by Chinese Christians to work for community development through education, health, disaster relief, blindness prevention, and church-initiated projects.
Connie has been with Global Ministries since 1996 as an English language teacher. She spent three years as Wesley Girl's High School in Taipei, Taiwan. Prior to her move to Longzhou in 2009, she was at Luzhou Vocational and Technological College in Sichuan Province, China. She is now affiliated with GuangxiNormal University for Nationalities, a three-year college. Longzhou is a rural town an hour from China's border with Vietnam.
Connie teaches first and second year students who are English majors in business, tourism, and education. Her 280 students are looking to improve the future of their families. Many are the first in their families to seek higher education. China requires English language study from grade three through high school, and also for college and university study. Amity has 18 English language teachers located in developing areas of the vast country.
Connie was a Global Ministries Mission Intern from 1988 to 1991, teaching English to junior high school students in Kyoto, Japan, through a program at the Kyoto YWCA. The focus of English study centered on environmental issues and how the students might care for nature in Japan and throughout the world.
Of her experience as a Mission Intern, which led to a lifetime commitment, Connie says , "One day, a mother of one of the students came to me and said, 'My daughter asked me why you cared so much about the world and its people. I told her it was because you were a Christian. She thought about this deeply and then said "I want to be just like her." ' I suddenly realized that the presence of God is always shining through us, embracing others when we (or they) least expect it. What a wonderful gift of love God has given us to share with others! This was when I began to focus on a commitment to the church through full-time missionary service."
One of Connie's favorite Bible verses is Proverbs 16:3: "Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed." (NIV)
The U.S. portion of Connie's mission internship was served in Washington, DC at the General Board of Church and Society, where she worked on environmental issues. She then returned to China, again teaching English as a Second Language with the Amity Program from 1991 to 1994, before becoming a missionary.
A native of Marshall, Illinois, Connie earned a B.A. degree in English with a teaching certificate in secondary education from Eastern Illinois University in Charleston in 1987. She received a Master of Arts degree in TESOL (Teaching English for Speakers of Other Languages) in 1996 from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.
Connie is a member of First United Methodist Church in Marshall, Illinois, in the Illinois Great Rivers Annual Conference. In Longzhou she attends the services of the small Protestant community and also the local Catholic church. She finds that in her area Christians can worship regularly and openly.
For more information, visit Connie's blog at https://connieinchina.org/.
Information about Connie's work taken from GBGM-UMC website.