Story by S.L. Hansen
(SNR) - If all goes well, David and Andrea Quinn of Saint John Nepomucene parish in Weston and their two daughters will be on their way to Mexico as missionaries in January.
Until October 2012, the Quinns responded to missions like anybody else.
“We were just like normal people,” Andrea said with a little laugh. “If a person came to our church for a mission appeal, we’d write them a check.”
That all changed on World Missions Sunday 2012. While Andrea, a registered nurse, worked her overnight shift at the Saunders Medical Center in Wahoo that Saturday evening, Dave attended the Vigil Mass.
During his homily, the priest suggested that the congregation pray for somebody in the parish whom God was calling to missions. Dave felt an undeniable excitement deep in his soul.
The next morning, Andrea went to Mass in the morning before heading home to sleep. When she awoke, Dave said, “We should sell this house and everything and just go be foreign missionaries.”
She was speechless – that morning at Mass, she, too, had felt an urge to go into foreign missions.
Of course, it wasn’t as easy as just chucking everything and heading overseas. Especially with a toddler, a baby and a 3,000 square-foot house under construction. (Dave is a construction manager and built the house himself.)
“We didn’t even know if there was an organization that would take families as missionaries,” Dave recalled.
By December, he was Google-searching for a reliably Catholic missionary group that would allow the four Quinns to become missionaries together. He discovered Family Missions Company (FMC), a Catholic missionary organization serving the poor in the Philippines, Mexico, Ecuador, and India.
FMC regularly hosts a five-day “Come and See” retreat, so last April, the Quinns traveled down to Louisiana to learn more.
“The minute we got there, we knew this was what God wanted for us,” Andrea said. “When God has called you to something, there’s a peace in that.”
They returned to Nebraska with just 12 weeks to get rid of most of their belongings, finish the house Dave was building and get it on the market so they could return to Louisiana for three months of training.
“I went to work [on the house],” Dave said. “God must have multiplied my time because I shouldn’t have gotten it done in that time, but I did.”
Garage sales took care of some belongings. Dave’s truck was sold, and most everything else was donated to Catholic Social Services.
“It was initially really hard for me,” Andrea admitted. “There were a few little things I was not ready to get rid of…but once I did, it felt like a weight off our shoulders.”
They’re down to about two weeks of clothing per person, Dave’s guitar for playing hymns at Mass and other services, a few toys for Eliza, almost 4, and Lucy, 18 months, a laptop, and just a handful of other items.
“Everything we own can fit into our car,” Andrea noted.
Three months of training this autumn included a month-long stint at the FMC post in General Cepeda, Mexico. There, the Hastings natives were able to serve the poor and help the priest, who is solely responsible for some 8,000 souls spread out in ranchos – little communities of 10-20 households up to 90 minutes from town.
The Quinns have been assigned to the General Cepeda post for the year 2014, along with another family and a few single people. As a family of four, they need to raise pledges to cover about $600 in family living expenses each month.
“Part of the charism of the FCM is living in gospel poverty,” Dave explained. “You live on what you need, not what you want.”
They also want to go to language school to improve their Spanish, an expense that will have to come out of their own pockets. If they raise a little extra every month, that money will become alms for the poor, or Dave will purchase construction materials to repair some of the rancho homes that are in bad shape.
The only thing holding the Quinns back is their newly built house, just west of Wahoo. The Quinns would like to sell it so they can leave for Mexico at the same time as the rest of their FMC group.
“If it doesn’t sell, I will have to work to make house payments,” Dave stated. “Or maybe the Lord has some special donor who will take over those house payments until it sells… We don’t feel right using money that people have given us for missions to make house payments.”
What the Quinns need most, however, is prayer.
“We know it’s going to be difficult,” Dave said. “Homesickness will set in. We need people to be praying for us.”
“And for the people there,” Andrea interjected. “There is so much alcoholism and poverty. I hope people will be praying that they would be filled with God’s love.”
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. There are also links to their blog and more information about FMC.
Nebraska family become missionaries
Story by S.L. Hansen