In memoriam: Missionary emeritus H. Houston Greenhaw Jr., 82

H. Houston Greenhaw Jr., 1938-2021

Houston Greenhaw Jr., an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel among the American Affinity Peoples in Brazil, died Feb. 13, 2021, in Rowlett, Texas. He was 82.

Greenhaw was born on June 24, 1938, in Enid, Oklahoma, to the late Herman H. Greenhaw and Earlene Trenton Greenhaw. He was raised on the family farm caring for over 300 sheep, around 140 cows, about 250 pigs, and his horse Blue.

He received the Bachelor of Science in engineering physics from the University of Oklahoma, Norman. He was commissioned into the Regular Army and was stationed outside of Berlin when the Berlin Wall was going up. He was the commanding officer of a tank battalion and rose to the rank of captain.

According to his family, Greenhaw felt the need to go back to school to work on his doctorate in physics, but the Lord was really sending him back to meet Charla Hallock. “As their story goes, they went on their first date on a Friday night, spent the day on Saturday together, Sunday to First Baptist, Norman, where Charla’s grandad was the preacher, Sunday night he asked her to marry him and she said, ‘YES.’” They were married on May 28, 1966.

Greenhaw wrote when seeking missionary appointment, that engineering wasn’t to be his life’s work. He felt called into full-time Christian service, and Charla shared the call. They returned to school and he received the Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas,

After graduation, they were called to serve a Baptist church near Huntingdon, England, where Houston was pastor. The church, only five months old when they arrived, grew significantly while they were there. “Over sixty persons accepted the Lord and were baptized through the ministry of that church, three missions were established, and four men surrendered to preach,” he wrote.

Greenhaw resigned from the church to attend Cambridge University, where he received the Master of Arts in theology. Back in the United States, Greenhaw received the Doctor of Philosophy in biblical theology from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky.

According to his family, these learning experiences set the stage for the work the Lord had prepared for him and which became his greatest passion—teaching people the importance of reading God’s Word, understanding it and putting it into practice.

The Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board) appointed the Greenhaws missionaries to Brazil. They served 25 years in Sao Paulo and Recife, Brazil, teaching in the seminaries, serving as pastor of several churches, working in prisons, and engaging in other ministry.

In 2005 they retired and moved to Garland. They joined First Baptist Church, Garland. For 15 years, Greenhaw served as “pastor” of the Hispanic congregation, establishing cell groups that now expand from Texas throughout South America. He also was a professor at B. H. Carroll Theological Institute.

Greenhaw is survived by his wife of 54 years, Charlotte Hallock Greenhaw; his children, Denise Patton (Jeff), Heather Albuquerque (Oseas), and Marc Greenhaw (Isabel); six grandchildren. He is also survived by his two sisters, Teresa Brown and Sheryl Garton.

A celebration of life service was held Feb. 20, 2021, at First Baptist Church, Garland.

Read an obituary here.