After thirteen years of service to the Guam-Micronesia Mission, Leonard and Janna Quaile have returned to the States to await their next service opportunity. Most recently they served as Education Director and Education Secretary at our headquarters in Guam for the past six years. Their story is intertwined with mission work, especially in the islands of Micronesia.
It all began in the fall of 1974…
Growing up on a dairy farm in the middle of the state of New York, Leonard was the eighth of nine children. After attending junior camp for many years, he decided he wanted to go to school so that he could work with youth at camps and in Pathfinders. He was attending Atlantic Union College in 1974 when he was recruited to be a student missionary. He applied to three locations - Mexico, Palau, and Thailand, in order of preference. He was accepted to Palau as the maintenance worker. After growing up on a farm, he felt it was a perfect opportunity.
Far away in Walla Walla, Washington, Janna was attending Walla Walla College. She and a friend decided they wanted to be student missionaries and signed up for the same locations. They picked three options in order, Mexico,Palau, and Thailand (It wasn’t until later, that Janna and Leonard realized they each picked the same three choices). Janna was accepted to Palau, and her friend ended up going to a completely different location.
Soon the summer arrived, and it was time to go to Palau. On their way, some of the missionaries stopped in Hawaii to visit. They stayed in various church member’s houses and then traveled the island together. It was in Hawaii that Leonard and Janna first met, August 18, 1975, at the local Adventist Book Center. They were in the same group that toured the island. They knew they were both going to Palau, but they were going to different schools. Jannawould be serving at the elementary school and Leonard at the academy.
When Leonard arrived, his responsibilities ended up being different than planned. Instead of only doing maintenance, they needed him to each. He taught math and various other subjects while still fulfilling the maintenance needs. In fact, his first project was to get a working vehicle for the academy.He pulled three jeeps out of the jungle and combined the working parts to make one functioning vehicle.
At the elementary school, they didn’t have a Principal lined up. As a result, the local Pastor, Willy Nobuo, stepped in as Principal. He quickly became close to Janna and Leonard and still is to this day.
Both schools were much smaller than they are now. The elementary school only had five teachers, which included Janna and one other female student missionary. The academy had seven teachers in total, including Leonard and one other male student missionary. Occasionally, on the weekends,the two ladies would make the trip up to the academy and stay in the girls’dorm. It wasn’t just a short drive there, as it also included a ferry trip between islands. With these frequent trips, they started realizing they liked each other around New Years.
In February, Sid Nelson came and did evangelistic meetings for a few weeks. Each day he would speak at chapel at each school and then have evangelistic meetings in the evening. Pastor Nelson quickly learned of the relationship between Leonard and Janna and would pass letters between them each time he went to the other school.
Eventually their time in Palau came to an end and they decided that they would go separate ways and date around. According to Leonard,“I wanted to make sure that if she was going to find someone better for her than I, that she find him before we got married.” Even with this mutual decision, on their way home, they each ended up meeting the other’s family. She went through Alaska and met his brother, and he went through Walla Walla and met her family.
Back at Atlantic Union College, Leonard decided that he wanted to learn to be a principal. He knew of the great need for them in Micronesia so that is what encouraged this decision. He was now working on his Bachelor’s in Elementary Education. In the meantime, at Walla Walla College, Janna started nursing school after having decided that teaching was not for her. They each tried dating around, but they knew they had something between them. Soon they were sending letters and frequently talking on the phone.
Two years after Palau, Leonard graduated and got his first teaching job in Veneta, Oregon. He also asked Janna to marry him and she said yes. She had one more year left in nursing school from Walla Walla College that took place in Portland, Oregon,thankfully only two hours away from Leonard. He finished up his first year of teaching, and a week after she graduated, they got married. Leonard continued teaching at the same school, and Janna became a nurse at a nearby hospital. Five years passed, in which Leonard got his Master’s in School Administration, and they had two children, Nathan and Jannetta.
Leonard and Janna both knew they wanted to go back to Micronesia, so they moved to Leonard’s home state of New York to work and wait for a mission call. Here he became the Principal and 5th-8th grade teacher at Frontenac Elementary School in Union Springs. They were here for four years until they received the call back to the mission field in 1988. This time, the call was to Pohnpei, where he would be the Principal for six years. While there, they had two more children, Marianne and Leanna. Quick story… for the fourth child, they had a naming contest at the school. The winning name was chosen, a blend of Leonard and Janna’s names – Leanna.
The next stage in their life was moving to Ronan, Montana,where Leonard was Principal for six years at Glacier View Christian School.During this time, Leonard got his pilot’s license as a hobby, and Janna was the Director for their local Pathfinder club.
Their next journey led them to Pendleton, Oregon, to be close to Walla Walla University and Janna’s family. Here, Leonard was the Principal for Harris Junior Academy which was a Kindergarten to 10th grade school. Nathan, their oldest, attended Walla Walla University. During his second year there, he decided he wanted to go to Palau as a student missionary like his parents had. Unfortunately, he died as a result of a car accident during the last week of school. Jannetta, Nathan’s sister, later attended Walla Walla University. On the day of her graduation, she married Nathan’s best friend, Jared.
After six years at Harris Junior Academy, Leonard and Janna moved to North Dakota where Leonard became the Principal of Dakota Adventist Academy and the Education Superintendent for the Dakota Conference. Janna also worked as his secretary for both jobs. They worked there for six years plus one extra as the Superintendent. During this time, Marianne, their daughter, was at Walla Walla University and went as a student missionary to Palau, like her brother had planned and her parents had done.
The next call for Leonard and Janna was back to Micronesia.This time to Guam for the Guam-Micronesia Mission. Leonard served as the Education Director, and Janna assisted as the Education Secretary. That same year Leanna, the youngest daughter, went to Ebeye as a student missionary for a year from Walla Walla University. A few years later, their daughter Jannetta, son-in-law Jared and their four children took a two-year call to Kosrae.
For Leonard and Janna, their call to Guam was five years however, it’s been six now and even though they’ve been offered other positions, they don’t feel called to a specific one yet. In the meantime, they have decided to return to their home that they still have in Pendleton, Oregon.In talking about the future, they say, “We are waiting to see where our next ministry opportunity will be. We have found a tremendous joy in service and plan to continue to serve in some manner.”
With over thirteen years of service in the Guam-Micronesia Mission, we have been greatly blessed by the work they have done here. They have touched hundreds of lives in a positive way including missionaries,potential missionaries and the locals on the islands. We are sad to see them go yet awed by the impact they’ve made that will likely be visible for many years to come. One thing we know for sure - things will not be the same here on Guam. Lord willing, we will see them out here in the islands again.