Blog Posts

Missionary messages

Renewed Vows

Maria Niechwiadowicz


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, preparing, and facilitating, the busy schedule, and the long days, it has felt good to “settle” into a place. Being here for six weeks and amidst a team of Global Mission Fellow alumni and candidates has...

Hope for the Church

Maria Niechwiadowicz


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 staff, we were able to reflect, laugh, and be in community. I have often described this family with positive words, unable to fully convey the unique love that has formed among us, but after ...

Representing Young People

Maria Niechwiadowicz


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 have been made (or not made), riling up voices on social media and blog sites.  I’m not here to challenge any of the opinions or decisions presented, but to focus our attention on the young people ...

Sacred Moment: Goodbye?

Maria Niechwiadowicz


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 time.  It was a typical Guyuan morning. The warmth of the sun cancelled out the morning chill. The track area was filled with the ayi (aunt/grandmother) walkers, badminton players, tai chi -ers, and other...

Saying Goodbye

Maria Niechwiadowicz


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 family used to joke about the “Sorteberg goodbye” – meaning when family members started to leave, it would take them at least another half an hour to actually get out the door after saying the goodbyes. ...

Turning fear into Fear

Maria Niechwiadowicz


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 to be living and serving abroad. This year our group joined the Velvet Ashes Retreat. Velvet Ashes is an online resource for women serving abroad (which I wish I would have known about a year ago), ...


Maria Niechwiadowicz


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 them to tweak and critique! The result was a marvelous night of dramas, comedies, and fairytales. The process was much different than last year. For one, I am now used to the way the University works ...

The Interview

Maria Niechwiadowicz


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 to meet us. They showed up at my door with notebooks, a camera, and words of greeting. We had a blast discussing life in Guyuan together. This news company is a private organization (meaning, not ...

Sharing Traditions

Maria Niechwiadowicz


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 on Easter Saturday with the annual frosting of the bunny cake at my great aunt’s home. Then on Easter Sunday, my mom invited all the in-town relatives, which consisted of cousins, great aunts and ...

Travel like Jesus

Maria Niechwiadowicz


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, Jesus was the ultimate traveler, using his own two feet to take him from place to place. Reading the Gospels we find that Jesus actually seems quite fond of nature, journeying to mountains and lakes ...

Page 1 of 10 1 2 3 4 5 ... 10 next