Known as “Chappy” to friends and visitors to the Chapel, Quignon has been operating his five-days-a-week nondenominational mission out of a converted semi truck for 11 years.
“I usually see about seven truckers a day,” Quignon says. “It seems like everyone is trying to fix somebody these days, but we are here to love the people. I don’t have the answers. God has the answers.”
Quignon lives at his chapel Sundays through Thursdays and goes home to his family the rest of the week. While at the chapel, Quignon sleeps in a back room of the semi.
“You have to be called and committed to be out here. I am a missionary, and most of the ministry I do is one-on-one,” Quignon says. “The whole spectrum walks through the door, and we’ll pray together or whatever they need.”
Quignon offers Bible studies on Sundays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
“So many truckers just need to debrief. They need to have someone to talk to so they can get rid of their pressures,” Quignon says. “If you don’t have that release, you go crazy. I don’t consider this ministry to be a luxury; it’s a necessity. What truckstop chapels are doing is crucial to the well-being of the trucking industry.”
Truckers aren’t the only ones benefiting from Quignon’s ministry. He has also helped the lot lizards that frequented his truckstop.
“There have been several prostitutes that were insistent on frequenting our stop,” Quignon says. “One woman told me repeatedly to stop being nice to her. I finally sat down with her and told her that God would provide another way for her to live. She broke down crying and never returned.”
Quignon has a website for further information on his ministry and others at www.transportforchrist.org.
Pastor James Carden, who operates a Christian ministry out of a trailer at the TravelCenters of America truckstop on I-20 at exit 77 in Cottondale, Ala., takes a different approach to the ministry.
A big part of his work is now done via audio cassettes and CDs.
“Last year we put out over 8,000 tapes and disks of positive ministry messages,” he says. “This enables us to reach many more people than we would otherwise, as we are ministering to the largest mission field in the United States, the transportation industry.”
The chapel has sent CDs to the Iron Pony Express drivers in Iraq and Kuwait, and some of the materials also have reached Haiti.
Carden started the chapel in 1999 with few resources.
“The Lord told me there was a need for a chapel at the TA,” he says. “So I spoke with management, and they told me that as long as it wouldn’t impede traffic, I could have any spot I wanted.”