Dale and Jean Quesnel have more than 100 children – and a few grandchildren – all living in China.
“It’s all of God,” says Dale, a retired tool and die maker from New Hamburg, Ont. “God arranged it and put it together.”
It all began when the Quesnels learned about Chinese university graduates coming to study engineering for one year at the University of Waterloo. The students, all employees of the same oil company in China, also wanted to learn Western culture and improve their English. So Dale and Jean offered ELL (English Language Learner) classes through their church.
“As part of this class we also teach them about God,” explains Dale. “Most want to know about Jesus, this book called the Bible and how God fits into the whole scheme of things.”
The Quesnels learned about Back to God Ministries (BTGM) Chinese devotional resources available and began giving the Chinese Today to students who were interested. “I appreciate that the stories are in our friends’ language, and they seem very happy for that as well,” says Dale.
Dale and Jean open their home every Sunday afternoon for a time of teaching and fellowship. “We share Jesus very openly,” says Jean, who prepares meals and invites some of the students to live with them.
Grace is one young woman who lived with the Quesnels for a time. “They are my local parents,” says Grace, who first met Dale and Jean when they had an extra symphony ticket. “I was curious about Western culture and their community life.”
But through the Quesnels’ witness and love, Grace came to know about life in Christ. “My grandma in China is a Christian. So I knew a little about the Bible and God before I came to Canada. Dale and Jean taught me more about God deeply. I’m interested in the Bible – it is a powerful book. Very different from my education.”
Like most of the students, Grace will return to China after her year of education. She is concerned about connecting with other Christians once she returns to China. “Most Chinese people don’t have faith,” she says. “I will stay in touch with Dale and Jean.”
‘God’s love became our love’
And thanks to the Quesnels’ ministry, Grace will have other Christian brothers and sisters to connect with in China. Dale continues to communicate with his students – now numbering more than 100 – through QQ, a Chinese chat site. And he has even picked up a few new spiritual children through these QQ conversations.
“Six months ago I connected with a government official who was very hostile to me at first,” recalls Dale. But as Dale continued to gently explain the Christian faith, the man opened his heart to Christ. “He even asked me to suggest biblical names for his children!” says Dale. “He told me they are my grandchildren – they call us grandpa and grandma.”
Gao, another student who came to the Quesnel’s home for the English classes, objected to Dale’s use of the Bible. “I am a communist,” he declared. “We cannot read from your Bible.”
But Dale proceeded to read from I Corinthians 13, and before he finished the chapter, Gao humbly confessed that he had not loved his wife as he should. She planned to divorce him before he returned to China. “Hearing this [passage], something touched me inside,” Gao said. “I am changed.”
Gao has since returned to China and reconciled with his wife. “We talk with them as often as we can,” Dale reports. “We now have two ‘grandchildren’ in that family too.”
“We love the Chinese people. We embraced them as our people. God’s love became our love,” says Jean. “Our call is to be faithful in planting the seed. God is bringing the results. We’re just trying to keep in step with what he is doing.”
Dale and Jean are thankful for the resources from BTGMI that help them in this ministry. They also send BTGMI materials and web links to their Christian friends in China. “We believe they are a big help,” says Dale. “We praise God for his provision through the materials!”