Wheelersburg Native makes a difference in Brazil
by Joedy McCreary
PDT Staff Writer
Erin Wawro, a native of Wheelersburg, has been serving as a missionary in Brazil since 2005. A graduate of Wheelersburg High School and Cedarville University with a major in Chemistry, Wawro never imagined she would be serving full-time as a missionary in the South American country.
Wawro is the daughter of the late Ronald Wawro — who passed away in 2001 — and Karen Wilcoxon.
“In the mid-1990’s I worked as church secretary at Wheelersburg Baptist Church and in that process I think I was just starting to get to know missionaries and communicating with them, God used that to start touching my heart,” Wawro said.
Wawro said the thoughts of becoming a missionary were rekindled during a Missions Conference at Wheelersburg Baptist Church in 2000. At that time, Wawro had the opportunity to speak with two missionaries, Randy and Cindy Richner.
“I remember around that time thinking, you know what, I think the Lord may be leading me into this,” Wawro said.
Wawro said she conferred with the missionary couple about what steps she should take.
“I asked Cindy, ‘What can I do? I have a Chemistry degree,’” Wawro said.
Wawro said she was advised that her educational background would not be a hindrance.
Thereafter, she became affiliated with the Association of Baptist World Evangelism, and went the process of becoming a missionary. ABWE is a global organization which focuses preparing equipping men and women around the world to spread the gospel.
Wawro said what inspires her most is having a positive impact upon other people’s lives.
“Seeing people that I have worked with and trained to become successful. For example, there were two brothers here that were a part of the youth group when I started, and now they are both in their 20s and now I call them my colleagues because we now work together in a lot of the ministries,” Wawro said.
Seeing people grow is a great perk for Wawro.
“There is another couple that I have worked with since I have been here, and to see them being successful youth leaders now. These are the highlights, when you can train other people to do ministry and to see them do it well,” Wawro said.
Wawro said she has also played the role of learner as well.
“They teach me too, there are many that I have to learn in this culture as well,” She said.
Wawro said one of her biggest challenges in serving as a missionary in Brazil has been learning and adjusting to all of the cultural differences.
Pastor Brad Brandt, Senior Pastor of Wheelersburg Baptist Church, Wawro’s home church, said Wawro is an a blessing to the Brazilians.
“She is very loved by the Brazilians, and encourages them through her words, and practical deeds of love. She is really involved in the youth ministry there, training and working with those who work with the youth,” Brandt said.
Brandt said Wawro has been very effective in serving as a missionary in Brazil, and has influenced other members of the Wheelersburg Baptist Church congregation to take mission trips.
“Erin is actually preparing for a group from our church to go to Brazil for the purpose of missions,” Brandt said.
Wawro said she gets to come to the United States once every two years, and then every four years for six months.
“They require that you go back and report to the churches, and people that support you, and give them updates on how you’re doing,” Wawro said.
Wawro said she is still excited and passionate about her missionary work in Brazil, and envisions doing so for a long time.
Portia Williams may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 286 or email@example.com. For breaking news, follow Portia on Twitter @ PortiaWillPDT
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