I taught Christian Doctrine and World Religions/Apologetics at Crean Lutheran High School in Irvine, CA, for nine years. The following is a farewell interview that the school published between myself and the school’s founding principal and now Executive Director, Jeffrey Beavers, in 2018.
Crean Lutheran faculty and author, Andy Wrasman, feels God’s Call to serve in a church parish.
Last week, Mr. Wrasman made final decisions to heed the Lord’s Call to head to seminary in St. Louis and become an ordained pastor in the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod. He and his wife Jessica plan to pack up after this school year and move there. Mr. Wrasman will be enrolling in Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, next fall. Crean Lutheran administration, faculty, and staff receive this message with mixed emotions; sad to see Mr. Wrasman leave, but delighted to hear the Lord is moving him into full-time church work. In a recent conversation between Mr. Beavers and Mr. Wrasman, the following remarks were shared:
Mr. Beavers: Mr. Wrasman, you know we will miss you dearly. We have had a wonderful history with both you and Mrs. Wrasman teaching at Crean Lutheran from our earliest days. You’ve both made a tremendous impact on the lives of our CLHS students who have been taught by you both. This must be bittersweet for you?
Mr. Wrasman: Of course it is bittersweet. I never dread coming to school to teach, grade, and prepare for classes. In many ways, teaching at CLHS does not feel like work, because I enjoy being here with the students and all of my colleagues. I will miss everyone here deeply.
I’ve been blessed to teach our senior theology course, World Religions and Christian Apologetics, and until the 2016-2017 school year, I was the only teacher to have taught this course. So for many years, every four-year student at CLHS started theology with Mrs. Schramm and ended with me. Thinking of that type of imprint I’ve been able to have on so many of our graduating classes makes leaving here very difficult, and I certainly have weighed that influence through the process of making this decision. I do think changing roles from teacher to pastor will increase the impact and service I can have in God’s Kingdom; otherwise, I would never consider leaving Crean.
The Vision Statement we have to be “a beacon which shines the light of Jesus Christ in a world of spiritual darkness” is one of the aspects that drew me to CLHS, and with my departure now, I’ve come to see that this school is not just sending students out equipped to be a light of Christ for the world, but Crean Lutheran has been doing this with its teachers and administrators too!
Mr. Beavers: I admire your faithful heart that is hearing the Lord’s call to serve in a congregational church setting; share on how the Lord led you to make this decision.
Mr. Wrasman: As a high school student in Tennessee, I loved being involved with football and track (and the free year-long gym membership that came with football). Apart from sports, a few elective classes, and Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), I didn’t enjoy my studies, so I never planned to go to college. I had said a few times to people who asked why I wasn’t going to college that the only thing I’d ever consider paying to study was the Bible, and after a near-death experience as a result of sin in my life, God pushed me to leave the career I had chosen as an electrician to be a pastor, which is a long story to explain here. I came to Irvine, California to Concordia University to study the Bible as a first step to being a pastor. Again, I found that I didn’t enjoy certain elements of school so much, so I began to find a way around another four years of school to be a pastor in the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, which was being a theology teacher.
I figured that if God really wanted me to be a pastor that he would eventually get me to seminary. The idea of being a pastor has never left my mind, and finally all the excuses and reasons I had to keep me from entering into our denominations’ ordination process have been removed. With these obstacles out of the way, I began to consider this transition seriously by seeking the Lord for confirmation. The Sunday after this prayerful questioning, my pastor preached a message that was directly for me concerning this move, and that afternoon I watched the movie, Babe, with my daughter. The farmer in that film tries to have his pig do the work of a sheepdog because he kept thinking the pig could do the work and “Farmer Hoggett knew that little ideas that tickled and nagged and refused to go away should never be ignored for in them lie the seeds of destiny.” Since I had been praying throughout the movie about the pastor’s sermon that day, I took the quote to be an answer to my prayers.
Mr. Beavers: You moved from China to join our faculty, and are now off to St. Louis to study at Concordia Seminary, clearly another new adventure for you and Mrs. Wrasman; how has your past and experiences at CLHS influenced this decision?
Mr. Wrasman: I made a big move when I first left Tennessee for California, not knowing anyone here, and having never crossed the Mississippi River before, but God blessed me tremendously through that move. It was here that I met my wife and together we were blessed in China. We had a wonderful church body where we lived called Hangzhou International Christian Fellowship, where I was able to preach every couple of months. We both began to write and publish articles in the local English newspaper and travel magazine, oftentimes managing to share the Christian faith in the articles we published.
At Crean Lutheran, I was blessed to be Chapel Coordinator for two years, which gave me a foretaste of what planning a yearly church calendar will entail as a pastor. I also have been able to get connected within the Christian Apologetics community because of teaching Apologetics at CLHS. Christian Apologetics isn’t even a required course at our seminary, and I think there are only one, maybe two electives in Apologetics offered, so I hope to play a role in our denomination as a pastor in the realm of defending the Christian faith.
Mr. Beavers: I’ve always admired your efforts to boldly evangelize in the community, on college campuses, and here at CLHS; a few years ago you authored Contradict – They Can’t All Be True, based on John 14:6; how did that research and writing influence you as a Christian witnessing to the world?
Mr. Wrasman: My role at CLHS was very instrumental in this regard. When we first returned from China, we attended Light of Christ Lutheran Church which is extremely close to University of California, Irvine (UCI). The congregational president asked me to spearhead evangelism to the campus. Because I was teaching World Religions and Apologetics at CLHS, when one of my evangelism partners suggested using a contradict image as a conversation starter, I immediately was drawn to it. Everything I was learning and teaching to create the course at CLHS equipped me for the evangelism and apologetic discussions on the campus, and all the encounters at UCI helped flavor my classroom discussions. It also provided me with some street credibility with our students. In many ways, Contradict – They Can’t All Be True, is the product of teaching at CLHS and sharing the Gospel at UCI.
Mr. Beavers: We will miss you, and I know our students will too. We will keep you and your family in our prayers. What message do you want to leave our students and their families with?
Mr. Wrasman: Jesus Christ is the first and the last. He is the way, the truth, and the life, the only way to eternal life and a relationship with God, because Jesus is our all-sufficient Savior who has paid for all of our sins. Without him in your life all is, in the end, meaningless, a chasing after the wind. But in Christ, there is certainty of eternal life and meaning even in the most mundane aspects of life and hope even in the most painful trials of this world. Turn to him if you haven’t, and if you are already in Christ, rest in him, the author and perfecter of your faith.