Andrew J. Schlecht is a disciple of Jesus Christ, husband, father, grandfather and son on a great adventure. He received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Arizona, eventually becoming co-owner and president of Merry Carnell Schlecht, a successful architecture firm in Tucson, for about ten years. Answering a call to pastoral ministry, he resigned in order to attend both Fuller Seminary Southwest and Luther Seminary. After receiving his Master of Divinity from Luther Seminary, he was called to serve Kindred Lutheran Church in Kindred, North Dakota, where he lives with his wife, Vallorie. They have four children and four grandchildren.
What's the story behind your latest book?
For most of my life, writing was confined to school or for my profession as an architect. Over the years, my three daughters encouraged me to put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard as the case may be, and write a memoir. When I served my pastoral internship, one of the members of the church tried convincing me to write a book. But I did not take her seriously and shrugged it off. When my two elder daughters, Katharina and Victoria, were very young, I envisioned writing letters to all my children so they would know my great love for them. My plan was to keep the letters in a safe deposit box so they could receive them after I died. After stumbling upon a few of those tattered letters in a drawer, I realized I had never fulfilled my dream. Then one day in March of 2014, my youngest daughter asked me for stories about my life for an eighth grade English assignment. As I shared some of my memories and writings from the past twenty years, I decided that perhaps the time had finally arrived to pen a memoir. Why wait until I die? Some twenty years ago, I wrestled with the question, “Where am I?” I still wrestle. My guess is that others may wrestle too. Therefore, this question seems like a good place to start.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
By the time I graduated from high school, I had moved eight times throughout the Midwest (from the Dakotas to Ohio), attended four elementary schools, two middle schools and three high schools. Is it any wonder I struggle with the question, “Where am I?” There is an old maxim that you should write what you know. So I did. I share details about the people in my life. These are real people and actual events. They are not composites. I have witnessed God move and act in my life as well as in and through the people around me. I cannot possibly include every event in my life that formed and shaped me in my book, but I hope that the ones I chose to share will point to God in the details of life.
Andrew felt restless, full of anxiety, self-doubt and anger. He was president of the architecture company, but didn’t like who he was or where he was going. The pain from Melinda’s suicide would not go away. "Where is God? Where am I?” Life was overwhelming. Empty and alone, he felt like his heart had turned to stone. He could feel the heaviness within his chest. Sometimes he could hardly breathe.