Blog Posts

Missionary messages


Maria Niechwiadowicz


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 their own idea of success, speculating what a successful future might look like for them, and assessing their own goals and dreams. In preparing for these two lessons, I came across Angela Lee ...


Maria Niechwiadowicz


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 of Guyuan. But when my students say they are from Guyuan, I further ask, where in Guyuan? If a student is from the city and not one of the other districts they will promptly say, “Oh, I am a local ...

Bus #10

Maria Niechwiadowicz


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 feeling so grown up standing at the corner of Spencer Blvd and Marson Drive waiting for the bus to arrive. But I honestly can say that I have never set foot on a Sioux Falls city bus. This may seem odd to ...

Spring photos

Maria Niechwiadowicz


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”

Maria Niechwiadowicz


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.  I can’t say I that I have ever thought of my prayer life as a “secret garden.” To me, “secret” implies something you don’t want others to see or be a part of. And if you do reveal a secret, say to a ...

Easter dawn

Maria Niechwiadowicz


“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 take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” – Philippians 3:10-12   “Jesus paid it all. All to Him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.” -Hymn   “The moon is ...

Easter eggs of all colors!

Maria Niechwiadowicz


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 or markers to create interesting designs on the eggs before dying. One year I bought a marbled egg kit, which was mediocre at best. As I delved into the culinary world, I stunk up the kitchen one ...

The madness that is March

Maria Niechwiadowicz


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 should be halfway over. Isn’t it midterms yet? In all honesty, it has been a rocky start to the spring semester. The past 3 weeks have been classified by changing schedules, added courses, spontaneous ...

Help! I need videos!

Maria Niechwiadowicz


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 analyzing one’s concepts and opinions.    Next month we will begin a unit on stereotypes! We will be discussing stereotypes within China (based on the region) but also how to defend yourself and ...

Lent: Read, Receive, Renew

Maria Niechwiadowicz


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 to submit an article sharing my thoughts on the presence of the Holy Spirit within mission. Being able to reflect on the presented piece of theology in light of my own experiences in the world and ...

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