In the spring of 1983, I was earnestly seeking God regarding where Nancy and I would live when we returned to Pasadena, CA to rejoin the Caleb Project team after our wedding in Pennsylvania. The Marengo House emerged from my search. We did not intend to start another ministry, but that is what happened. It is a longer story, but the conclusion is that Nancy and I bought a large, once beautiful, house in a high crime district of Pasadena. We invited eleven aspiring missionaries to join us in an intentional community in the house. Our purpose was to learn to deal with the relational issues that often derail missionaries after they move into a different culture.
As we were building the community we realized that it would be ideal if we could find an older couple to join us. In fact, we thought it would be amazing if we could convince a retired missionary couple to live with us in the house and mentor us life-on-life. As with many other elements in this story, I initially doubted that it would be possible, but thought it was worth trying. To my surprise and delight, we were introduced to George and Anne Tewksbury, who had recently returned from a missionary career in Pakistan.
I still remember how intimidated I felt when I first met them. Why, in their stage of life, would they choose to move into a small room in a large house filled with 20-something year-olds? I felt if they agreed to our proposal, they might be crazy or something.
It turns out they were a bit “crazy,” but in the most wonderful way possible. George and Anne added inestimable value to our community. Their maturity, humility, servant hearts, and funny stories profoundly impacted the dozens of younger people who passed through the Marengo House during the seven years it existed. Periodically, I wonder how to thank them for their gracious service and selfless love, but I have not found a way.
Now it is too late for me to properly honor them. Anne entered her eternal rest in April and yesterday I learned that George may have only a few days left on earth. As I have contemplated their lives and how much I appreciate them, I’ve finally realized that it is not my responsibility to reward them. There is no way I can. Anything I do will fall short because they were not looking for an earthly reward.
Their reward is from Christ.
May they enjoy it! From my perspective, the heavenly riches he is now pouring on Anne and soon George are well deserved.
Anne and George, I love you guys. Thank you! I look forward to partying with you again some day soon.