Maria Niechwiadowicz

Maria is a Global Mission Fellow who began service as a United Methodist young adult missionary in August 2014. She will serve two years in mission service sponsored and directed by the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church as part of its Generation Transformation programming.

Maria is a recent graduate from Nebraska Wesleyan in Lincoln, Nebraska. She became a Global Mission Fellow in response to God’s call to live and work in mission service. Maria will work in China with the Amity Foundation where she will be serve as an English teacher.

All of Maria's posts are reblogged from her page, marianiechgmf.wordpress.com.

Renewed Vows

August 05, 2016

For the past six weeks I have been living at Emory University in Atlanta, GA as I have served as a trainer and facilitator for the 2016 Global Mission Fellows Training. Six weeks is the longest time I have been anywhere since coming back from China three months ago. Despite the work in planning, ...


Hope for the Church

June 03, 2016

The end of May brought a final family reunion for the Global Mission Fellow class of 2014-2016. Upon the end of General Conference in downtown Portland, we bused out to the serene haven that is A.Collins Retreat Center. Isolated in the midst of Oregon forest and under the warm hospitality of retreat...


Representing Young People

May 15, 2016

Check out the Young People’s Address from General Conference yesterday! Powerful words! The Book of Fellows As an ecumenical mutt, this has been my first year to really follow the events happening at UMC General Conference. It has been hard to read and watch over the past week as decisions...


Sacred Moment: Goodbye?

May 02, 2016

April 29 – 6 hours left in Guyuan, 16 hours left in ChinaI woke up with a deep breath, trying to take in the final moments of waking in my large, China bed. The soft glow of the morning sun shone through the curtain and I couldn’t help but eagerly hop out of bed to make it to the track one more ...


Saying Goodbye

April 28, 2016

Good byes are hard. Period. For the past month I have been saying good bye to students, faculty, and the Guyuan community. In some ways it has been great to have so much time to spend time with people to properly say goodbye, but on the other hand, it has also been a month of prolonged agony. My ...


Turning fear into Fear

April 20, 2016

This weekend I was, once again, invited to the Women’s Retreat that my teammate’s organization puts on every year in Yinchuan. It means a lot to be invited as the sole female GMF-er in China, providing time to get away, to find peace, and to connect to other women who really understand what it means...


Encore!

April 14, 2016

One more time. One more chance to audition, coach, and watch the annual English Play Competition! Once again, I was impressed with the students’ abilities to create and rehearse a show in such a short time. In two weeks they put their 10-15 minute plays together, while I eagerly scheduled time with ...


The Interview

April 01, 2016

After the Bus #2 article appeared online, Arnold & I were quickly found and contacted about doing a formal interview. Upon receiving permission from our teaching organization, we were both eager to accept. Turns out the interviewers from DaChenXiaoShi (online news organization) were just as eager ...


Sharing Traditions

March 29, 2016

Growing up, Easter was always one of my favorite holidays, which seems a little out of the norm for the average American child. Why Easter? Easter was our ‘extended family’ holiday, unlike Thanksgiving and Christmas, which were traditionally kept small and intimate. For us, the festivities started ...


Travel like Jesus

March 18, 2016

My latest post for The Book of Fellows – “Travel like Jesus.” The Book of Fellows Being a teacher in China gives me the benefit of a long winter holiday to wander through the country. What a blessing! What I realized on my most recent trip was that Jesus, too, was a traveler. In fact, ...


What ARE you doing?

March 15, 2016

So, I mentioned that last semester was my last semester teaching full-time at Ningxia Shifan Xueyuan. We are now into Week 3 and I’m sure you have been wondering – “What the heck are you doing?” Let me give you the updates – Arnold (my GMF teammate) and I were tasked to plan and teach a ...


Newsflash: Being a Foreigner

March 12, 2016

One sunny Saturday afternoon, Arnold and I board Bus #2 to head back to our apartments. Little did we know that history was being made. :) A day later a local friend found this news article on an online news site for Guyuan. Enjoy!   Please behave yourself in the public place, because now big ...


Praying With My Feet

February 29, 2016

Praying With My Feet: a hiking photo gallery through HuTiaoXia. Two days hiking and praying, being a both a photographer and an explorer.      All photos are property of Maria Niechwiadowicz (2016)


A Bowl of Compassion

February 17, 2016

Slowly the train came to a halting stop in the gray fog of the early morning. With a yawn, I heaved my pack on my back and joined the cue of people waiting to disembark at Gaya Junction, but before my feet reached the platform I was pulled into Murari-ji’s bear-hug embrace. “Maria-ji!” He proclaimed...


“Don’t Forget to Come Home”

February 16, 2016

Every place has a certain energy to it – an atmosphere that is rooted in a culture. The emotions that result can be positive or negative depending on each individuals’ personality and how the two consequent energies merge. I believe that what I actually see or do in a place does effect my overall ...


Return

February 11, 2016

Well, I have been back in Guyuan for about five days now, after my journey through India, and was immediately swept up in the festivities of the Chinese New Year! Xinnian kuaile! I certainly have a lot to say about my trip, but that will have to come later. Let’s focus on now. The room is full but ...


re-entering the land of the gods

January 04, 2016

Three years ago, at about this time exactly, I was beginning a study abroad journey to India. I was a Junior in college seeking to study Indian dance, expand my knowledge of religious customs, and be challenged by the world. I returned home, five months later, changed in many ways. Not only did I ...


Sharing the Spirit

December 30, 2015

Sharing the festivities of the winter holiday season is so rewarding! I made the most of my time this December by hosting, hosting, hosting! It is always a pleasure to share my home and share my oven :) Christmas came up quickly and soon it was time to celebrate in class! This year’s ...


Reason for the Season

December 24, 2015

It all began with a vision – a vision of Christmas spirit, of storytelling, and of sharing the true message of Christmas. As I mentioned in my post last week, most of this month (and last) has been devoted to preparing for an epic Christmas Pageant; a performance-based Christmas party for the ...


Fighting!

December 11, 2015

"Jia you,” my students say. “Fighting, fighting!” What they really mean is “Come on, you can do it!” This week has been a “fighting” week, one that I have constantly had to remind myself, ?? (jia you). All month the foreign teachers have been preparing the annual department Christmas celebration. ...


Belated Thanks

December 05, 2015

Once again, Arnold and I were invited up to Yinchuan this year to celebrate Thanksgiving with the other teacher team we work with, who have teammates in the city. Last year, I remember feeling happily overwhelmed. It was my first time to the capital city, I was learning how to use Chinese to buy a ...


TODAY: UMC #GivingTuesday

December 01, 2015

The opportunity to serve as a Global Mission Fellow would not be possible without gifts from generous donors from the world community. On December 1st (that’s today!), Global Ministries will allocate matching funds dollar for dollar up to the first $1 million in gifts to Advance projects received ...


Let It Be

November 23, 2015

My song-based office hours have been a hit again this semester! I have been providing a variety of English songs for my students, switching off every week between pop songs they can find at popular karaoke joints (KTV) and children’s songs that make for great English lessons. Last week I decided to ...


Are You Called?

November 18, 2015

Opportunity for young adults! Please share with anyone you think may be a good fit! Originally published on the Global Mission Fellows blog, The Book of Fellows.   Do you have a passion to serve in the world? Are you willing to spend 2-years in service? Do you feel called to address the roots of ...


An Autumn Stroll Through Kyoto

November 13, 2015

It is hard to describe the perfection of the autumn air in Kyoto this time of year! The air was crisp, the sun was golden and warm. The leaves were green and red and orange and yellow. It was lovely! Please enjoy this photo gallery – I hope makes you feel as if you are walking down the streets of ...


The Next Step

November 13, 2015

Midterm musing originally published on the Global Mission Fellows blog, The Book of Fellows. This month I had a chance to travel to Japan, along with the 27 other Global Mission Fellows that are placed internationally, to attend our Midterm event. In August of 2014 we left each other after our ...


What's not to Love About Japan?

November 13, 2015

After living in China for a year it was interesting to travel to Japan for two weeks because of how similar and different it is! At times I felt like I was in China – for example, the Japanese language contains traditional Chinese characters and (no offense) but the people look similar. But Japan ...


Autumn Pace

October 17, 2015

My mind is running endless thinking about this and that lesson planning proposal writing travel plotting. My hands are busy at work paper crafting homework grading letter writing muffin baking. So many things started – not many actually finished but little by little the pieces are falling into ...


A Stroll Through Chengdu

October 10, 2015

Eden and I took a risk; we bought train tickets to Chengdu during the October holiday. Yes, we are warriors! October 1st, the Chinese National Day, is one of the busiest holidays in China outside of Spring Festival. It is a time when plane tickets skyrocket, trains are booked solid, famous sites ...


Tongxin

September 25, 2015

Ningxia is known as the home to the Hui ethnic minority people, traditionally Muslim in culture and religion, but in reality, only 40% of the entire population of Ningxia is Hui. Living in Guyuan, the Hui population is noticeable but still very much a Han dominated city. However, in the small town...


I’m (not) an Expert

September 16, 2015

At Ningxia Shifan Xueyuan the foreign teachers are often formally referred to as “English Experts.” I laugh at this title because I find it ironic. I’m really only an expert by default, that is, I grew up in an English-speaking country and therefore, it is my native language. That does not mean ...


Community Track

September 08, 2015

Living on the old campus means that I am steps away from the well-worn, dirt track that has now become a community space. Over the past year, I have worn millions of footprints into it’s soil and run countless laps around it’s tedious loops. I have shared important conversations with friends within...


Traveling Simply

August 23, 2015

As any teacher can attest to, a semester of teaching can be long and tiring despite the joys that come with teaching. But the end of the semester brings a time of rest that is welcomed with open arms! Having almost two months of summer vacation is a huge blessing, one that most Global Mission ...


Summer Travel Through China, Photo Gallery

August 22, 2015

Beijing Gallery Well hey there, Beijing! Beacon of Tiananmen Inside the Forbidden City Niech Team plus Mao Great Wall of China, MuTianYu section   Rickshaw riding Temple of Heaven Visiting the 2008 Olympic venues! Olympic Champions! Shanghai Gallery Come take a look… ...


The Huangshan Hiker

August 18, 2015

n July I set out with a backpack, my sights set on Huangshan! Huangshan City is located within Anhui province in southeastern China. Located outside of the city is Mt. Huang or Yellow Mountain, for which the city is named. Mt. Huang is reputed to be the most beautiful and most visited mountain in ...


Redefining liberalism

July 12, 2015

In the context of America, I consider myself a liberal-minded Christian. One who interprets scripture with a progressive mindset and emphasizes the importance of living out the life and practices of Jesus Christ. But liberalism in China has a slightly different connotation, one that I have been ...


12 lessons in 12 months

July 03, 2015

I can now officially say that I have been a Global Mission Fellow for one year, which means there is just one year left of my service in China. It is amazing to look back and reflect on the time that has passed! What a journey of joys, struggles, understanding, and confusion this year has been. ...


First year of teaching, complete

June 18, 2015

After a long two weeks of listening to final exam speeches, grading outlines, and submitting final paperwork, I can now say that I have officially completed one year as a teacher at Ningxia Teacher’s University! (Cheering, Clap-clap, Hooray, Boo-yah! Trumpets, tambourines, confetti, etc) So what ...


Mother-daughter outreach

June 07, 2015

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” -1 Peter 4:10 Mandy has a gift. She is a party planner. When it comes to birthdays and holidays, Mandy is the best! Starting with a theme, Mandy will not only plan corresponding decorations and food, ...


Playing in the Sand

May 31, 2015

This weekend I had the chance to visit ZhongWei with a student that lives there! ZhongWei is located in west-central Ningxia along the Yellow River, and is boardered in mountains and the Tengger Desert! Its most popular feature is the Shapotou area, a 2,000-meter long and 100-meter high sand mound ...


Grit

May 22, 2015

I must admit, I might have stepped onto the pulpit in class this week. Not in an overly spiritual sense, but in passion and grit for my students. This week’s topic was focused on the concept of “Success.” In reading and listening to various perspectives on the idea, my students focused on defining ...


Pengyang

May 18, 2015

Discussing the geography of Guyuan can sometimes be confusing. The prefecture of Guyuan is split up into 5 counties. I live the the metropolitan area (in red), the Yuanzhou District. All the other counties are considered the “countryside.” When I say I live in Guyuan, I mean the metropolitan area ...


Bus #10

May 06, 2015

Back in the United States, the idea of a bus seemed to me a symbol of independence. Growing up in the small-big town of Sioux Falls, SD (population approximately 160,000), my only experience riding the bus was being old enough to take the yellow school bus to middle school everyday. I remember ...


Spring photos

April 27, 2015

Spring has finally come to Guyuan! After sporadic cold and rainy days, the sun is becoming warm and the trees are blossoming in color and fragrance. I just had to share the beauty!    


“Secret Garden of Prayer”

April 16, 2015

I had the privilege of being invited to a Women’s Retreat through another teaching organization last weekend. Our weekend was focused around the idea of the “Secret Garden” in light of prayer practices. It was a wonderful time of reflection, worship, and connecting with other women within Ningxia. ...


Easter dawn

April 09, 2015

“I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to ...


Easter eggs of all colors!

April 03, 2015

Dying eggs is definitely one of my favorite (secular) Easter traditions. There is something so magical and special about creating a colorful masterpiece on a simple egg! Throughout the years, I have tried my hand at various egg-dying methods. I used to yearn for special dye kits with extra stickers...


The madness that is March

March 29, 2015

Looked at my calendar this morning, I couldn’t help but gasp! Where did March go? Surely it can’t be Palm Sunday already. Easter is only a week away? Yikes! In many ways, March has seemed to be an infinitely long month. Though I only began classes less than a month ago, I feel like the semester ...


Help! I need videos!

March 18, 2015

Greetings friends! I need your help!   I have begun teaching my Oral English class for Freshman students this semester. Last term, the required textbook focused on practical English — going to the store, describing yourself, seeing a doctor, etc. This term is more focused on critical thinking and ...


Lent: Read, Receive, Renew

March 08, 2015

I was thrilled to see the newest edition of The New World Outlook this week, published by Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church! This edition contains reflections based on the World Council of Church’s statement on mission and evangelism, “Together Towards Life.” In December, I was asked...