The Washington Post had a nice piece this past week about embassies around the world helping American citizens.
It is a really nice piece and I recommend you read it. It talks a lot about the work our consular officers do helping Americans, from warning them of potential dangers to issuing them new passports or in some happy cases, birth certificates (Babies entitled to American citizenship who are born abroad receive a CRBA, or Consular Report of Birth Abroad).
The reporter actually spent some time observing a consular officer doing his job. It is important work that I think most Americans, particularly those in Congress, are unaware of. As one of my colleagues said in a comment on the article, if Congress spent a day observing what we do abroad for American citizens, they would probably be rushing to increase our staff and budget rather than axing it.