New Adventures: The US Foreign Service

Editor’s note: This was originally posted to Facebook on February 24.

Friends, I’m excited to announce the start of a new adventure. I’ve accepted an appointment to be an economic Diplomat with the U.S. Foreign Service. This means that I’ll be representing my country overseas. Lisa and the kids will be moving with me.

I’ve walked away from two previous jobs that I loved: one with the U.S. Coast Guard and one with Shinn Photography. Now I’m leaving another. I’ve loved Fresno Pacific University and the community here. Teaching has been a growing and fulfilling part of my life. I can’t say enough good things about this institution or its people!

In the near term, we’ll be moving to Washington D.C. We leave on March 18 for a road trip across America. After some training in DC (6 months to a year depending on language), we’ll head to another part of the world. I’ve agreed to serve anywhere my country requires, and I don’t have any indication about where that’ll be; other than the fact that it’ll be somewhere with a U.S. Embassy.

The mission of a U.S. diplomat in the Foreign Service is to promote peace, support prosperity, and protect American citizens while advancing the interests of the U.S. abroad. I’ll do economic diplomacy, advocating on behalf of US companies and US interests. My policy portfolio will probably include areas like trade treaties, energy policy, health, science, and technology policy, and other random bilateral and multilateral policy areas that don’t fit cleanly into other categories.

If you want to read a bunch of stories about exactly what US Diplomats do, check out America’s Other Army: https://amzn.to/2vcTEXK. Another really good, systematic approach to the topic can be read here: https://amzn.to/2VrFTjQ. If you want the movie version, see this recent documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QK_yRCrwp04. If blogs are your thing, here are a bunch of them: http://afsa.org/foreign-service-blogs.

We’ll be wrapping up everything in our lives in California over the next three weeks. We are selling a LOT of stuff (including two vehicles) at several garage sales and online. In the meantime, we’re also trying to connect with many of the people we love and see in our California lives. If you’re in Central California, we’d be happy to hang out (if time permits). If we don’t see you, it’s only because time is finite, while our love for you is less so.

Thanks to those of you who have supported us on this journey so far! We began the application process in 2013, so your patience with us has been long.

Prayers, of course, are appreciated!

Washington Day 1 pics

These aren’t all that exciting, but here are the first day pictures. We had a wonderful meal last night at McCormick and Schmick’s with some of the folks from the Fresno Council of Government. It’s a really fun group, and I think they’ll make this a very enjoyable and productive trip.

Today (Sunday), we have an almost entirely free day to do sightseeing. Should be fun!