Ok, so I figure it is time to write up the backstory here. I am Amber. Hello, nice to meet you. I am also called Shihu (as in "She-who-does-such-and-such-a-thing) and I am known as Blue Paradox, or Blue, online. Those are really the only names you need to worry about as far as I am concerned. I was born in Texas, and have lived there 98% of my life. I am one of those Texans who is very proud of her Texas Pride. Now here is the paradox of my Texas nature: I don't eat Mexican, (or spicy food for that matter), I don't like football all that much (I can actually stand it now, which is an improvement) and I don't want to live there right now. But yes, I still love Texas with a passion beyond reason. (I really enjoy the phrase "passion beyond reason", so it's entirely possible, even probable, that I will use this phrase to death, resurrect it, and use it again.) Also, I don't speak with a Texas accent (or what people associate as a Texas accent).
Ok, so now everyone is aware of my love of Texas. Now on to other things.
I belong to the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, or LCMS for short. Since I was a small child, I have grown up learning about God. Somewhere along the way, I decided that I should live my life for Him. At the time, I thought that meant living a good Christian life wherever I might be. I never seriously considered being a church worker. So I made it through two years of junior college not really knowing what I wanted to do with my life. I had many interests, (most of them in the creative fields) but I didn't really want to live my life as an artist (of any kind) because that is a rather risky way to live (stability of job, salary etc). So nothing really grabbed at me, until I decided I wanted to go to this private Lutheran college. While applying, I found they were starting a new program for church workers (called a DCE, or Director of Christian Education). This caught my attention immediately. This was just about the perfect job for me. I could incorporate my many diverse interests and talents, I could work with kids, AND I was able to serve God. This would be a job with stability that wasn't mind-numinbly boring. Perfect! I applied.
My first sememster or so was wonderful. My GPA didn't fall too terribly much (I transferred in with a 3.56) and I was invovled in many things. Then my life changed. I became depressed. This is a serious medical condition that I lived with for about two years. It was such a difficult time for me. I was on many different medications during the course of my treatment. (I am also ADD, which complicates the whole medication/remembering to take medication issue) This, I now believe, was an important time for me. I was forced to grow as a person, and grow spiritually. I was forced to depend entirely on God for everything. I believe now that I am a better person as a result of my experiences. Of course, I would never want to do it again. Well, a side effect would be a disastrous drop in my GPA. By my last semesmter, I could no longer stay in my program. I was so close to graduating in my field, but it seemed impossible to do. So my advisor (who kindly helped me through the whole process) worked with the registrar to find a way for me to graduate with a Liberal Arts degree. At the time I was disappointed, but I really couldn't afford to keep going to school. (private schools are exceptionally expensive and I acquired quite a large debt) So I managed to graduate.
This left me with no job though. I spent some time searching, and praying, trying to see if God really wanted me to work in the church, or if He had other plans for me. Turns out the answer was yes, and yes. He wanted me to work in the church, just not in America. I had been brought to a point in my life to seriously consider mission work. As it turns out, I absolutely love Japan, and had an interest in it for several years (fueled by my addiction to anime). So when I found out I could use my training for church work AND go to Japan, I jumped at the chance. So here I am now.
Hope that clears things up. :-)