Why go through with it?

Why join the foreign service? Why upend our perfectly great life?

Cameron’s answer:

Someone’s got to do it! Why not us?
We have to do something! Why not this?

I don’t ask “why,” so much as “why not?” Jen doesn’t always find this answer particularly compelling… but it captures my feelings. The work of the Foreign Service makes the US safer and more prosperous. It helps people around the world. It’s worthy work, and someone has to do it! Why not our family? We don’t feel “perfect” for this, we don’t feel ready, we don’t feel special… but neither did any of the public servants that came before us, I’m sure!

Serving is what we do. A decade ago, I missed out on joining the Air Force due to a paperwork flub by lazy recruiter who’d already filled his spots for the cycle… It wasn’t meant to be. Being a Foreign Service Medical Provider gives me another chance to serve the country. Jen’s family also have a tradition of military, government, and civic service. It’s integral to the social contract that makes societies work: “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country,” and all that.

And besides, what would we do instead? We’re adventurers at heart! Sure, we like Netflix and video games, but we like hiking, and catching frogs, and watching sunsets more. Our kiddos are naturally curious little explorers, they never stop questioning the world (and their parents!). I hope this journey will enrich their childhood and help them grow into happy adults. I dream that our family will grow to appreciate each other even more as we share the hard times and the good.

Of course, there are also pragmatic reasons… career advancement, financial security, blah blah blah.

Jen’s answer:


That’s the short answer. The longer answer is that the world is wide and I want to see it. I’ve been lucky enough to see Japan, China, Mexico, Canada, Spain and Italy. Every time I am able to travel, I am in awe of the places I visit. I love seeing new cities, new scenery. I love to see what’s down the little hidden path. Why am I so curious?! I don’t know…

…but I know that the most influential experiences in my life have been expanding my worldview in other countries. And I want my kids to have that. I want them to know how other people live, and that it’s different, but people are people. I want them to appreciate what a beautiful world God has given us. There’s so much to see and I can’t wait. I think I finally understand what JFK said when he launched the space program in the 1962: “We choose to {do these things} not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”


Have you been half asleep
And have you heard voices
I've heard them calling my name
Is this the sweet sound that calls the young sailors
The voice might be one and the same
I've heard it too many times to ignore it
Its something that I'm supposed to be
Someday we'll find it
The Rainbow Connection
The lovers, the dreamers and me
- Kermit the Frog