Member Spotlight: Tommy and Nancy Quintin
The Quintin family—Nancy, Noah, Kaylen, and Tommy—stand in front of a photo of Patience, the scalloping boat that Tommy captains, and a cross given to him by three men he helped to rescue at sea.
By Michael Miller
Tommy Quintin was taking the crew of the Patience, the 101-foot scalloping boat he captains, back to its New Bedford, Massachusetts, port on August 6, 2011, after a 4½-day trip when the radio popped on with a distress call.
“I assumed it was a hoax, since it was the weekend, but I continued to listen to it,” says Tommy, who has been part of Samaritan Ministries along with his wife, Nancy, and their children, Kaylen and Noah, since March 2011.
As he was getting ready to take the first bite of a celebratory steak, a crew tradition after a successful catch, the same distress call was broadcast again, this time with details. The person seeking aid said he could see two “draggers,” scallop boats, to the south.
From that, Tommy said he could tell the distress call was real, since he could see another dragger not far off.
He turned the Patience north and started talking on the radio to the three men whose 20-foot boat, Cynthia Z, had sunk about 10 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard, an island off Cape Cod. The men had been fishing for bluefin tuna when they discovered a small leak and a locked-up bilge pump. The boat sank in minutes, leaving them floating in their orange life jackets in 65-degree water.
Tommy’s boat arrived on the scene within 20 minutes and took the three men aboard. One of them, John Majewski, was wearing a waterproof helmet cam that recorded footage of the rescue from the point of view of the water. (Warning: There are two instances of mild profanity in the video.)
“Other than a few scrapes, they were OK,” Tommy says.
The 50-year-old captain also is certain that their rescue was performed through God’s providence. The radio the three men used to send out the distress call had been attached to the sunken boat, but miraculously popped free to the surface. It transmitted long enough to send out the SOS and guide the Patience to the men’s location. By the time the Patience had arrived in port, though, the radio was dead.
“When we got them on board, the first thing the guy with the helmet cam did was come up to the wheelhouse to thank me personally for saving his life,” Tommy says. “I said, ‘Don’t thank me, thank God.’ He said, ‘I can’t believe you just said that. Fifteen seconds before the boat was gone, I prayed that God would send somebody to save us.’
“I said, ‘Well, we’re the answer to your prayers!’”
Tommy says he sees the rescue as an opportunity to glorify God through several media interviews and to give the Gospel to the three men the Patience crew rescued. The Quintins plan to have the men and their families over to their house.
“God’s not finished with me yet,” Tommy says. “He wants me to tell these guys about Christ.”
And to tell others.
A television news story about the rescue even used his answer to why he performed the rescue: “I picked them up because God values life, and I’m a Christian.”
He also was able to include his faith in an interview for Travel Channel’s When Vacations Attack. The show interviewed him and the rescued men for an upcoming episode.
“I’m hoping they keep some of the Christian stuff in it,” Tommy says.
The faith that Tommy shares with others helps him in a number of ways. He believes prayer keeps him and his crew safe on the ocean as they deal with bad weather and as they work with heavy steel nets used to drag the ocean floor for scallops.
“I don’t hide my faith, but I don’t push it down their throats,” Tommy says. “I pray all the time for my crew’s safety and, when we head into port after we’ve made our last haul, I always pray with them and it’s always voluntary. I’ve never had a guy say no. We thank God for the trip, for safety, but most of all that all of the guys will be going home to their families again, because it isn’t exactly the safest job on the planet.”
Nancy prays for Tommy while he’s out, and trusts that God is taking care of her husband of 20 years.
“He’s always been a very safe captain,” she says. “And I’ve learned throughout the years that God is in control of everything and worry is a sin. What God wants me to do instead of worry is to pray, to give it completely over to Him.”
Nancy has had to “give it completely over to Him” in more than one way. Several years ago, a church friend began bugging her to go on a missions trip to an orphanage in India through Manna Group of Ministries. The orphanage takes in children off the street, many times out of sex trafficking situations, and provides them with a home and education. Nancy had a puppet ministry and the team leader thought it would be great if she could go to India to minister to the kids.
Nancy didn’t want to go.
“I almost felt like Jonah,” she says. “I knew it was going to be a lot of work, I knew it was going to be out of my comfort zone. Really, I was being lazy. I didn’t want to serve. It just came down to that.”
Finally, Nancy gave in after talking it over with Tommy and reading in James 1:27 that Christians are obligated to “visit widows and orphans in their affliction.” She went, and was put off by the lice in the hair and sores on the skin of the orphans, but then remembered how Jesus reached out to lepers.
“I reached out to those kids and started hugging them and kissing them,” she recalls, choking up at the memory. “I said, ‘God, You brought me here, not so I could be repulsed, but so I could show the love of Christ.’ How could I not reach out and touch them and show them that? It was different from that day on.”
Tommy went, not for his own spiritual growth, but for that of his daughter, Kaylen, when she was 14. On that first trip, he went with a bit of arrogance as “Mr. Missions Man.”
“God quickly took care of that when I got there,” he says. Then something even better happened: “I fell in love with the kids right away.”
He’s been back twice, Nancy once and Kaylen twice.
Tommy says Kaylen was changed by it, too, from a self-centered teenager to a mature young Christian woman, now in her second year of studies at Lee University in Tennessee.
Tommy and Nancy both say that their trips to India have drawn them closer to God.
“The thing that impacts me most over there is the faith of the Christians,” Tommy says. “They’re a minority, and their faith costs them a lot. Every time you go, you hear about real miracles. It dawned on me when they pray, they have a faith that is very attractive. They believe it’s going to happen.”
The most recent trip for Tommy, in November, had a princess theme. “We wanted to let the little girls know they were God’s little princesses,” Tommy says.
The film Cinderella was shown, gifts were given and Tommy “was prancing around with a wand, touching them on their heads and saying ‘I love you’ in their language.”
“Each day they opened up a little more,” Tommy says. “By the time we left, these girls were roaring. They had ear-to-ear grins. I haven’t stopped thanking God for what He did.”
Hopefully, the three men picked up by the Patience won’t stop thanking God for what He did through Tommy.
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