Our featured missionaries for this week are Andrew and Jacky Quinley. Enjoy their interview with Emerge.
Emerge: What are you involved in as Emerge missionaries?
Andrew: My wife, Jacki, and I are focused on campus ministry and local Thai outreach. We are heavily engaged in relational ministry at a local campus, where I am serving as a teacher. On this campus, we also disciple and mentor the few young Christians that attend the university. We, further, act as Emerge representatives to local Thai churches to find out what they need and find out how Emerge can meet those needs through events, media productions, and hands-on discipleship.
Emerge: How many students you are teaching?
Andrew: As a teacher, I am in constant interaction with close to 200 students every week. Within the Christian Club on campus, we are involved in the lives of another 20 students weekly.
Emerge: What subjects are you teaching?
Andrew: I, currently, am teaching two basic English level courses and a Mythology course. The Mythology course has been exciting, because I’ve been able to discuss ideas and experiences of faith and spirituality in more depth.
Emerge: How do you think you are impacting the student’s lives as a college teacher?
Andrew: In nations like Thailand, the decision to become a follower of Jesus is a very gradual process. There is a lot of social and familial pressure against leaving Buddhism and becoming a Christian, because Buddhism is interwoven into every aspect of Thai culture. Every interaction that a Thai has with a Christian either nudges them towards Christ or away from him in incremental amounts. We spend months, and sometimes years, developing relationships with students, planting seeds of love and truth in their lives. We nurture them along their journey of discovering Christ, connecting them with other young Thai Christians to show them that Jesus is not a foreigner’s god. He is the only God of all people and he wants to show them how much he loves them. A number of these students are still on their journey and many have found Christ over the years we have been here. The Christians that we disciple have become leaders in their churches and on campus, establishing solid lives of influence in their communities.
Emerge: Why do you feel the need to live and serve in Thailand?
Andrew: We’ve always been drawn to the outsiders, especially those overlooked by others. Thailand is less than 3% Christian, and Asia receives so little attention from the church in the West. We wanted to serve in a field that had not yet seen much harvest. We’ve found that here.
Emerge: Can you illustrate this with a student’s story?
Andrew: Last semester I was able to coordinate the hosting of the Medialight exhibit on our university campus. This was a big deal because the campus does not normally host events by religious groups apart from the standard Buddhist ceremonies. As a media exhibit, the Medialight event blended art with stories of change that centered around the gospel. Not only was it a success with many students who came, shared their story, and heard the truth about the Jesus, but I was able, as a teacher, to encourage the students I taught to attend. About a week after, one of those students, named Boon*, whom I hadn’t seen at the event, found me walking across campus. He came along beside me and asked me if I was a Christian. “Yes,” I told him. “Why do you ask?” He told me that he’d attended the exhibit on both nights and really enjoyed it. I asked him if he was interested in Christianity. He told me he might like to talk about it some more. I told him that I would love to talk with him whenever he wanted to. Boon’s one of those students I continue to connect with, praying and watching for that moment when he is ready to take his search for true life further.*pseudonym
Emerge: Coming to your personal life, what it is like to be a missionary and raise children in Thailand?
Andrew: We are so grateful that we get to raise our children in Thailand. Thai people are hospitable and generous with their help and concern. Everywhere we take August and Reese, they make an immediate connection with shopkeepers, waitresses, students, security guards, other parents, etc. I can’t tell you how many selfies Auggy and Reese have been in with people we randomly meet at school, in the mall, or on the street. This provides us with limitless opportunities to begin conversations and relationships with the people we meet. Growing up, I was blessed to be a part of my parent’s ministry. It was a family mission, and I want to share that with my kids too. This is not their parent’s ministry. It is our ministry as children of God. We are all called to reach the lost. That means that we, the parents, are called, and so are our kids. It’s our job to help shape their perspective as servants and helpers, healers of the broken and friends of the lonely.
Emerge: What is your dream in this area?
Andrew: We want to shape the lives of teachers, the administrators, and the students on the campus so that this University will raise up young leaders for the region that are founded in the teachings of Jesus, bound by his love, and reaching out to their nations.
Emerge: Can you tell us about Jacki’s ministry with the women in Thailand?
Andrew: Jacki, specifically, has become connected to so many young mothers in the city. Most of these women are foreigners married to Thai men. A majority of them are not Christian. Jacki cultivates these relationships, sharing the gospel with them through her life as she ministers to these women and their kids.