Time to Get Serious

People ask me all the time what I'm doing when I leave the mission. It's a logical question, seeing as though I am right at the 5 months left mark. The answer is I have no idea, and it's time to get serious.

First of all, I AM planning to move on, after the Mayer Lutheran High School group leaves on 1/1/12. It's obvious to me for lots of reasons that my calling here is up. When I decided to extend my original 1 1/2 yrs. to 3 yrs., that was right for me at the time and I don't regret it for a second, but I have no intention of doing so again. No one here wants me to go, but they are starting to envision a reality without Erin.

It's time to admit to myself and everyone else that Lutheran Bible Translators didn't work out like I was hoping it would, leaving me at a crossroads. For a long time I was positive that my next step was LBT, so I never really thought about other options. Certain people are saying "I told you so" now, but I just have to move on to whatever those "other options" entail. I've come to the realization that I want to use Spanish in my future employment. I adore it, I've spent a long time around it including my entire college career, and I'm currently in practice. I never want to be that person that I see ALL the time, the kind that took it for a couple of years in high school but doesn't remember anything. I also want to be affecting lives somehow. I could probably get any number of positions (sales rep, etc.) simply because I am bilingual, but having been hands-on in ministry for a couple years now, I want to find something that will give me purpose and satisfaction. I'd also ideally like to be in St. Louis. My whole family and lots of my friends are there, so that will always be home to me: I'm a Midwest girl.

I guess I basically have 3 categories of ideas right now:

(1) Get a non-teaching job. As previously stated, I would want it to utilize Spanish somehow. I'd be open to any type of interpreting/translating; one common type that interests me is medical interpreting. I also remembered yesterday that my Spanish professor in college worked for the FBI...maybe I'll become a Contract Linguist ;) I've done a couple of monster.com searches, to no avail. I have also searched the LCMS Employment Database for jobs within all LCMS organizations.

(2) Teach Spanish. I keep thinking that I really would like to teach eventually. I definitely wouldn't forget what I've learned, plus I'd be instilling (hopefully) a love for it in more young minds. I wouldn't be doing what I do today if I hadn't fallen in love with Spanish in 7th grade. I have finally realized that I would be good at it, and between living in Spain and on the US/Mexico border I would have tons of cool cultural elements to bring to my classroom (which would look A LOT like my high school Spanish teacher's...). Spanish-wise I'm set, but I'd need a certification of some sort, if nothing else for my own peace of mind. I don't think a degree would be necessary, but I admit that I know nothing about pedagogy.

(3) Go back to school for a Master's in linguistics. If I would have gone with LBT, my pre-field training would have been in linguistics. I was actually super-excited about it, so part of me wants to study the subject on my own for no other reason than that it interests me. I looked at gradschools.com and made a list of schools with that program in places where I would be OK with moving (unfortunately, none in STL). But, the thing that keeps holding me back is that when I graduated, I would probably pursue option (1) or option (2) anyhow, so what's the point? I also have no idea how I would pay for it, unless it was a fellowship program (which it looks like there are actually a decent amount of). If I am going to do it though, now is the time: now as in before I have a career, house, family, etc., and NOW as in there is a 50% discount on the GRE between August 1 and September 30!

I don't want to say too much, but a pair of leads with the same organization did emerge from my LCMS database searches late last week. Both would be in STL, and one has a bilingual component, although I fear that it might be too much of a desk job to keep me happy. I submitted 2 applications and my resume though, so we'll see if I get a phone call for an interview in the near future. My mind is already spinning as to where I would live and if it would be possible to get my teaching certification in the evenings. I will DEFINITELY keep you posted. In the meantime, other ideas and prayers are welcome!

Until next time, blessings!