The following testimony is of a fellow BMM missionary who last month finished his course. I am thankful that I knew Dr. Quentin Kenoyer, though I have only recently come to learn more of and fully appreciate his service to our Lord.
As I sit here waiting for our plane to take us to Assam State of India I am thrilled to read of the work God has been doing in this remote part of the world because of the efforts and dedication of missionaries like the Kenoyers. I hope to even meet some of the nationals who knew and loved Dr. Quentin!
Below is a link to an excellent video put together by the BMM staff in commemoration of the Kenoyers as well as a short summery written of his life and work. I hope you'll rejoice with me in praise to God for the life and example of our brother and fellow servant Quentin Kenoyer.
As a young boy in Indiana, Quentin developed encephalitis. He lay in a hospital ward with 12 other boys, each suffering the same illness. It was a miracle that Quentin survived—only one other boy did. God’s plan for Quentin’s life had only just begun.
Quentin regained health and grew strong. When his baseball talent emerged, Quentin was offered a scholarship to Purdue University. As appealing as baseball was to him, nothing would detour him from his calling to be a doctor. He attended Indiana University medical school and was pushed through at lightning speed because of WWII. In between studies he attended a Bible study where he met a nursing student, Marleah Conway.
They married on December 25, 1946, and spent their honeymoon in Toronto at the first Urbana missions conference. Both wanted to serve on the mission field: Quentin wanted to go to China and Marleah to Africa. While at Urbana, they met Dr. Galen Crozier, BMM’s first missionary to Alipur, India. After Dr. Crozier shared his love for those most in need: lepers, widows, and the blind, the Kenoyers immediately responded to Dr. Crozier’s call to replace him in India.
They were undeterred in their pursuit of India, even when Quentin developed polio in 1950. As soon as he was well enough, their family of four—including two-and-a-half-year-old Tim and one-year-old Michelle—boarded a ship for Calcutta. Fifty-three days later they arrived.
After intense language training to learn Manipuri and Bengali, the Kenoyers arrived at Alipur, their home for the rest of their time in India. Quentin enlarged Dr. Crozier’s clinic to a small hospital, then a larger hospital with two operating theaters, a TB sanatorium, and an inpatient facility for 120. Foreign and Indian doctors helped Quentin, but many times he was the only doctor who somehow managed surgeries, outpatients, rounds twice a day, and being on call 24 hours a day. His willingness to serve patients, his skill as a doctor, and his kindness brought many people to the hospital. Often patients were brought with illnesses that were regarded as incurable, and they would be abandoned by their families. These patients were absorbed into the community of the mission, and some lived out their days there.
Although medicine had always been Quentin’s passion, he was no less passionate about bearing testimony to the love of Christ and boldly sharing the gospel with all who entered his circle, whether people of great status or the poorest of the poor. The Kenoyers’ boldness encouraged many of the Christian nurses and workers at the mission to be witnesses also. Today, some of the area’s influential Indian pastors can testify that they heard the gospel of Jesus Christ while they were patients at the Alipur hospital.
No surgeries or outpatients were scheduled for Sunday. However, it was the day Quentin preached a sermon to the hospital patients. Then he attended church, had a quick lunch, and ventured out with a team to do village evangelism. In the evening, he also attended the service and sometimes closed the day preaching a sermon as the sun was setting. The regular workday schedule resumed on Monday mornings, starting at six a.m. with a devotional for all the laborers.
Quentin also managed the hospital finances and the correspondence to local and central government officials, and he trained technicians in laboratory, pharmacy, and x-ray. He built a brick kiln and fired his own bricks, begged government officials for cement, and designed and planned the expansion of the hospital, working alongside missionary John Wilkens.
In the 1960s and ‘70s, the Indian government increasingly restricted the presence of foreigners in northeast India. Little by little missionaries were required to leave. By 1977, the Kenoyers could no longer stay, and with heavy hearts they left the ministry in India's Assam region.
God had given Quentin and Marleah 26 rich and spiritually fruitful years in India, and the Lord still had many years of ministry ahead for them. Moving to the Cleveland, Ohio, area, Dr. Kenoyer began a medical practice of his own. His partner in the practice was an Indian Christian, Dr. Sarah Eapen. Not long after Quentin began his practice, Baptist Mid-Missions’ Home Office needed a new Medical Director. Quentin was used to having many irons in the fire, and he gladly and capably took on this assignment in 1979, serving until his retirement in 2004.
For the Kenoyers, Cleveland was just as much their mission field as India had been. Quentin and Marleah gave their time at Faith Baptist Community Center in inner-city Cleveland. As they healed physical bodies, they also touched the souls inside. Dr. Kenoyer shared verses of Scripture to encourage or challenge his patients. As he cared for his missionary patients, he offered wise counsel and helped safeguard the health of a missionary force that spread the gospel around the world.
Throughout their lives, Quentin and Marleah served without fanfare and didn’t expect the accolades the world offers. Yet, through the service the Kenoyers humbly offered up to God, the Lord built His church in India, and strengthened His people in Ohio, and spread His influence throughout the world.
At the 2014 Annual Conference, the Kenoyers were honored with the William C. Haas Lifetime Service Award. However, because of the stroke Quentin suffered a few months earlier, Dr. Anderson presented the award to them in Quentin’s hospital room that spring.
At 90 years old Quentin Kenoyer went to be with his Lord December 3, 2014.