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Taking the stairs

Maria Niechwiadowicz


January 1, 2015. A beautiful, 35-degree, sunny day. With the day off, it was only natural to head towards Dongyue Mountain for an afternoon hike! My new UMC missionary pedometer at my hip, I set out, discovering that it is a 2 mile walk from my home to the base of Dongyue. I began the climb; stair after stair after stair. I have now ascended these flights of stairs multiple times, and each climb I learn something new. It is most fascinating to observe how the locals are handling the climb. ...

How do you celebrate?

Maria Niechwiadowicz


Merry Christmas! I hope this post finds you surrounded by the love of family both near and far! As I have spent Christmas Day in Guyuan, I had much time to reflect on Christmas traditions over the years. Upholding tradition has always been very important me but something that, obviously, changes over the years. When I was younger it used to annoy me when we didn’t do something “according to tradition” but something I realized I had to get over if I didn’t want to be disappointed year after ...

All is well

Maria Niechwiadowicz


All is well, all is well, angels and men rejoice. For the final and fourth week of Advent, it sure has been hard to rejoice this week. After pushing hard in preparation for the Play Competition, I found myself sick and exhausted. I basically quarantined myself into my apartment to force rest upon myself, which worked for my physical nature, but not so much for my emotional nature. Do you know what happens when you spend too much time alone during the Christmas season? You start to think about ...

Thank you! #GivingTuesday

Maria Niechwiadowicz


On December 2, 2014, more than $2.5 million was donated online to support over 770 projections, missions and ministries around the world! The General Board of Global Mission matched the first $1 million raised! Thank you to all who participated in this day of giving, and thank you to those of you who contributed to my own Advance fund! $565 was donated to my fund on December 2nd alone, putting me at a total $1690 overall! My goal is to reach $2500 by May 2015. Once again thank you to everyone ...

Respect the vision, respect the process

Maria Niechwiadowicz


After coaching the Song Competition in October, I was approached to assist with the annual Play Competition to take place in December. With my theatre background the department enquired as to whether I would be interested in directing the competition. My mind immediate sparked with interest but I quickly pulled myself back, what did they really mean by direct? In college I majored in Theatre Arts with a self proclaimed emphasis in Management. My Senior project entailed managing and producing 4 ...

Birthday blessings

Maria Niechwiadowicz


“Miss Niech, will you go home for Spring Holiday?” This is a question I have gotten on a weekly basis since arriving in China. After responding no, the next question is usually, “well, when will you go home?” When I explain that I will not go home until 2016, their eyes get wide with concern that I will not go home to my family. “Don’t you miss your family?” They ask. “You must go home,” they insist. As first year students who have never lived away from home and never been out of the country, ...

The struggle of Advent

Maria Niechwiadowicz


December has brought a full schedule for the teachers at Ningxia Teacher’s University. It is that point in the semester when I am beginning to fall behind on grading, my days are packed, my nights are getting longer and my sleep shorter, and my first winter cold is setting in. Oh and by the way, Christmas is coming! It is a little surreal to think that in the USA my brothers and NWU friends are taking final exams and preparing to head home for the holidays. I feel like the semester should be ...


Maria Niechwiadowicz


Today is the day: UMC #GivingTuesday! On this day, December 2nd, all donations made to The Advance between 12 a.m. EST and 11:59 p.m will be matched up to 1 million dollars! CLICK HERE NOW to donate to My Advance fund and join the holiday season of giving! The opportunity to serve as a Global Mission Fellow of the United Methodist Church would not be possible without gifts from generous donors from the world community. 100% of donations made to my Advance fund go towards the growth of ...

Give thanks!

Maria Niechwiadowicz


For a first thanksgiving away from home, I couldn’t be more grateful! I had a lovely day of teaching, workshop (in which I taught a silly version of Turkey in the Straw), hosted a pie social at my home, and spent the night playing games and learning to waltz! But I have expressed my thanks, so I want to leave you with thanks from my students. In light of learning how to invite and thank others, the students learned some important phrases…. I am thankful for…I am grateful for…I really appreciate...


Maria Niechwiadowicz


Sometimes it is hard to feel satisfied. But what does that really mean? What brings satisfaction? Is it simply fulfillment of one’s desire and needs or is satisfaction supposed to bring happiness and contentment? Can satisfaction be both of these things? Yet despite these confusing definitions we use the word “satisfactory”…meaning all needs are fulfilled but life isn’t perfect. That’s right, life is not perfect here in Guyuan. In many ways I feel unfulfilled…I am still struggling with my call ...

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