Endings and beginnings

Maria Niechwiadowicz


For the first time in the 4 months I have been in Guyuan, I have gotten the blogging prompt from family and friends…You haven’t posted in a while? What is going on in China?

The truth is, it has been pretty slow around here yet my mind I has been constantly processing. 2015 has brought a new year but the end of a semester at Ningxia Teacher’s University! I finished classes, gave final exams, and had my grades calculated by January 12th. The result was a huge sigh of achievement but also an air of reflection. As I look back on the past 4 months, I am overwhelmed by the depth of this journey. It is hard to even measure the countless discoveries and emotions I have experienced thus far. I couldn’t be more grateful for the ways in which the Lord has worked in my heart during this first leg of the journey to break down expectations, eliminate fears, and remove barriers. The result has been being able to see how the Spirit is working in this city, in the university, and in me. My relationships with students have grown tenfold within the last few weeks, bringing purposeful conversations, laughter, and a deeper understanding of this place.

I now have a chance to set new goals, pursue new China dreams, and establish myself even deeper!

I pray that you are finding ways to renew your own heart and listen to where God is leading you in 2015. As I prepare for next semester I ask for prayers of direction and wisdom as I revise my lesson objectives and goals for engaging in this Guyuan community.

In a few days I will boarding a flight to spend my winter holiday in Taiwan. Taiwan is bringing many opportunities for me to serve, sightsee, and celebrate! Flying into the capital city of Taipei I will spend almost 2 weeks with Tai’an Presbyterian Church. This is the sister congregation to First Presbyterian Church in Sioux Falls, SD, where I worked as a Children’s Ministry intern for the past three summers! Here I will be attending worship, leading two liturgical dance workshops, two elementary conversation activity sessions, and visiting the youth groups and church school classes. I am thrilled to be able to directly engage with a faith community and have an opportunity to sightsee around the Taipei area! (If you have suggestions on what to see or what I must eat, post your thoughts!) Then I will head south to the city of Kaohsiung to see a friend! Sha-Lin graduated with me in May after living in the USA for two years. At Nebraska Wesleyan she studied International Business and taught the Mandarin classes on campus (which I now wish I would have taken)! She was able to spend both Thanksgiving and Easter with my family last year, so it is only natural for me to spend the Chinese New Year with her family this year. :)

I will try to post a bit from Taiwan, but if Wifi and timing is not in my favor, look forward to some great stories posted in March!

Zai Jian!