Story by S.L. Hansen
WESTON (SNR) - Nearly a year after selling or giving away anything that wouldn’t fit into their car and embarking on a new life as missionaries in Mexico, David and Andrea Quinn of St. John Nepomucene Parish in Weston and their children, Eliza and Lucy, are preparing to cross the ocean to another mission field: Japan.
The Quinns have been serving with Family Missions Company (FMC), a Catholic missionary organization serving the poor in the Philippines, Mexico, Ecuador, and India.
“This past year has by far been the best year of our lives!” Andrea exclaimed. “Our marriage has never been stronger, our family is closer than ever before! We have grown in ways we couldn’t have imagined when we started.”
Their year in Mexico has not been without difficulties. David, an experienced construction manager, has put in many long hours fixing up homes with a crew of three local men, working hard from early morning to mid-afternoon. Meanwhile, Andrea, a nurse, tends to medical and personal needs of those living in their community.
Sometimes they get a short break before they tend to their evening responsibilities – Bible studies, prayer meetings, more home visits, or community events.
“We have spent more time together as a family than ever before, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t time as a family while ‘on the job’,” David explained.
“There have definitely been some difficulties like being away from home, including all the holidays and customs and incredible things we take for granted in the states… all the foods we are used to eating, or things like dryers and washers that wring out your clothes,” Andrea said. “But it has definitely been a change for the better.”
Within weeks of arriving in Mexico, however, the Quinns discovered that not everybody they were serving was as humble and grateful as they had anticipated. A few local people lied to and stole from them.
“Initially I found myself so angry,” Andrea admitted. “I couldn’t believe that these people who we had given up our lives for would do these things. Especially since we would have given them what they stole if they had just asked.”
After much prayer, Andrea said that the Lord gave her an “A-ha!” moment.
“I couldn’t help but see the similarities between us and Christ. He gave His life for me and yet I constantly sin and treat Him poorly,” she reflected.
Knowing how much Christ forgives us our sins enabled the Quinns to forgive and love the people who treated them poorly.
“How can I really be a missionary if I deny these people the love and forgiveness that Christ gives me every day?” Andrea realized. “Many of these people have spent their whole lives having to fend for and provide for themselves, many times by lying, cheating, and stealing. They are a very broken people who hunger for something genuine.”
David agreed that personal growth has been the biggest blessing for all of them.
“I feel like, and know that I am, a completely different person than I was a year ago,” he said. “You are forced to, based on the stresses and situation that constantly present themselves to practice all the classic virtues.”
Their little girls – ages 5 and 2 – are also growing spiritually. Eliza has become so generous, she’ll give away a prized possession without qualms.
Last March, the Quinns joined others in the FMC team for a pilgrimage to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. While there, a Mexican priest spoke about his work in Japan. Both David and Andrea felt that same kind of excitement as when they were first called by God to the mission field.
During a family retreat in August, the Quinns devoted time to praying to the Lord about staying in Mexico or going to Japan. They became convinced that Japan is their next destination. Their director has since confirmed it, even though FMC has never been in Japan.
Once again, the Quinns are facing hurdles, including covering the expense of living in Japan, getting visas, and so on. Two bishops have since denied permission for the Quinns to serve in their episcopacies, and they must have a bishop’s permission before they can move there.
“We are continually bringing it to prayer and feel Christ still calling us to serve there,” David said.
For now, their goal is to move in February. David is starting to learn Japanese and has been reading about the Japanese culture.
“The Christian population there is around 1%,” he reported. “Until Christianity finds the vein that authentically lines up with Japanese culture I don’t believe it will find much success… The Christian family offers a unique witness to the mission, especially in Asia, because it is a witness they haven’t seen.”
They are grateful for all the prayers and support they have received.
“None of this work is possible without both of those,” David said.
To support the Quinns financially, visit www.fmcmissions.com, click on “Support a Missionary” under the “Give” tab and scroll down to their photo under 2014 Intake Missionaries. You’ll also find links to their blog and more information about FMC.