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Missionaries share 35 years of service in Brazil at Minden Lions Club

by Amber McDown

Ron and Alana Greenwich, missionaries with 35 years of service, were the featured speakers at the January 25 noon meeting of the Minden Lions Club. The couple recounted their experiences in Brazil, where they dedicated their lives to spreading the Word of Jesus and undertaking various humanitarian efforts.

Beginning their presentation with Ron reciting John 3:16 in Portuguese, the official language of Brazil, the Greenwhichs highlighted the vastness of Brazil, larger than the continental United States. As Southern Baptist missionaries affiliated with the International Mission Board, they spent a year in language school before settling in Florianópolis, a coastal city in southern Brazil, to establish churches and share the message of Jesus.

Collaborating with local partners, the Greenwichs played a pivotal role in founding 10 churches in the greater Florianópolis area. Leveraging their social work backgrounds, their mission extended to the Baptist Friendship House, offering daycare, feeding programs, and vocational courses, primarily aimed at empowering women.

Their initiatives included working in children’s homes, establishing centers for addiction recovery, engaging in disaster relief efforts, and addressing various needs of the urban poor. Alana reflected on the multitude of needs they witnessed, emphasizing their commitment to serving communities wherever they went.

“Since we worked with the urban poor, we saw so many needs wherever we went,” said Alana. 

In their 32 years in southern Brazil, the Greenwichs saw the establishment of churches and community centers, providing accredited career training for men in fields like electrical work, construction, and masonry.

Returning to Minden to care for Alana’s parents, the Greenwichs later resumed their missionary work in Manaus, northwestern Brazil, surrounded by the Amazonian forest. “We were called back to Brazil to do something very different from what we had done for 32 years, and that was to mentor the new missionaries arriving in Brazil,” said Alana. 

In this new chapter, they helped train incoming missionaries, facilitating their acclimatization to Brazil while emphasizing the importance of spreading God’s Word without imposing cultural changes.

Ron, acknowledging their ordinary nature, emphasized that their calling and God’s equipping allowed them to make a lasting impact. He encouraged others to heed God’s calling in their lives, emphasizing the transformative power of sharing the message of the Lord.

“I encourage you — and you don’t have to be a preacher or a missionary — to obey God’s calling, whatever that may be in your life,” stated Ron.

The Minden Lions Club meets every Thursday at noon at the American Legion Memorial Hall, 119 W. Pine St. in downtown Minden. The club extends a welcome to potential new members interested in serving the community.

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