Where do you go to get a contact number for the CIA?


This was the thinking going on in mi cabeza as I was exploring my options for the future.

Two years or so had elapsed since I graduated from the seminary and well into the “educating the youth” stage by teaching sophomore religion at a Lutheran prep school. As previously mentioned, public ministry was a family business. While it wasn’t an expectation, it certainly was a familiar “row to hoe”.

While I enjoyed many aspects of the ministry, I was not completely certain that this was the trajectory I saw myself on for my life and career. Sarah saw it as well. We had been dating for a while and as a teacher, she had been established for a few years.

What if, even after all those years of schooling, I were to pursue some other avenue, if even for a while? “You’re young, right? You can always come back to this when you check out ‘the other side’” I told myself. At the time, government service held a particular appeal – one of the federal agencies charged with protecting America and its citizens. Cue the call to a branch office of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Well, I was informed at that time that military experience was a big plus. However, I was so far removed from the military that I didn’t know the difference from a MOS to a TDY to a PCS. These were uncharted waters. Foreign languages helped. Surprisingly not everyone in the world operated in English (sarc.), so proficiency in other languages would be helpful.

I spoke with a professor with whom I worked, a combat veteran retired colonel, to get some advice on how to pursue some of these options laid out before me. His advice boiled down to these two: Join the Peace Corps or join the army.

Chaplain Steve Schroeder, CW4—Retired, served in both Afghanistan and Iraq as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot, flying many mission in combat situations. A helicopter crash ended his flying career and opened the path for a ministry helping those experiencing severe trauma.