Ted and Marietta Johns

ted & Marietta JohnsTed and Marietta Johns met when they were students at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota, and their life has been filled with opportunities to serve through their work, volunteerism, and travels throughout the world.

Ted has been pastor of Lutheran congregations in Boston, San Diego, Phoenix, and Minneapolis. Marietta’s vocation took a providential turn when there wasn’t an opening for a music teacher in Minneapolis. She decided to do something different: she began a new career in financial services with IDS (Investors Diversified Services). IDS was acquired by American Express Financial Services, and Marietta moved into management, becoming a Senior Vice President.

When Marietta was asked to become Head of Sales for American Express’s business in England, Ted said, “Marietta followed me when I took a call to a different church. Now it was my turn to accompany her to London. With Marietta engaged in her job, Ted went to work for Children’s Aid International, assisting children in Russia with health issues caused by the Chernobyl catastrophic nuclear disaster.

The John’s support for Spirit in the Desert Retreat Center began shortly after the facility was acquired by the Lutheran Church in 1993. In addition to their annual financial support, both Marietta and Ted have provided guidance for the retreat center by serving on the Board of Directors and the Stakeholder’s Council. Their support continues because they value Spirit in the Desert’s welcoming guests of all faiths and ethnic backgrounds. They are excited about the annual increase in the number of guests from all over the world who experience renewal as they connect with nature, God, and each other.

Asked what motivates their support and generosity, they both said, “It is inside of us; giving is spiritual renewal.”