Blog Posts

Missionary messages

What ARE you doing?

Maria Niechwiadowicz


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 Interpretation Skills class. This 6-week course that we are designing is for the new class of translation majors in the department, about 30 freshman students. The purpose is to build their confidence in speaking...

Newsflash: Being a Foreigner

Maria Niechwiadowicz


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 Guyuan is not old Guyuan of the past, because you can meet “international friends.” Even when you take the city bus. The above picture was taken by a man named “Zhanglei.” He saw a black handsome man and a...

Praying With My Feet

Maria Niechwiadowicz


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

Maria Niechwiadowicz


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 with enthusiasm beyond the early hour. The next 48 hours continued in the same manner – with shouts of joy and loving embraces of return – and each and every day of the week I remained in Bodh Gaya ...

“Don’t Forget to Come Home”

Maria Niechwiadowicz


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 perception of a place, but the energy of the place ultimately effects those experiences. Have you ever been in place that fills you with vibes of energy? Not the chills of wonder or amazement, but waves...


Maria Niechwiadowicz


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 not packed. Apples, oranges, nuts, seeds, chocolates, and other snacks in colored bowls take up the entire coffee table in front of me. The TV is playing some animated Chinese show, but no one is ...

re-entering the land of the gods

Maria Niechwiadowicz


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 come home with an expanded religious perspective and culinary palate, but my view of mission and justice had also been challenged. For the first time I really questioned what I believed and why, what ...

Sharing the Spirit

Maria Niechwiadowicz


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 activities included cookie baking, making Christmas cards for our Pen Pals in America, cutting out Scandinavian pleated hearts, and lots of selfies :) The school even threw each ...

Reason for the Season

Maria Niechwiadowicz


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 English department staff and students. We set the bar high, planning a night filled with games, dance, song, and a retelling of the Nativity Story. I functioned as the script writer, drama director, and ...


Maria Niechwiadowicz


"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. This year we are going full-out with a Christmas Performance, and so I was asked to both direct the drama portion and stage manage the entire production. For the most part, it has gone great so far! It...

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