Arlene Denise (Shannon) Swain (60) graduated from ENC in May of 1960 with a major in English. In August of that year she said, “I do” to Alfred Swain, and together they served as missionaries in South America for the Church of the Nazarene for 40 years. As a missionary, Arlene had many varied and interesting experiences and assignments. As young missionaries, they were responsible for establishing new churches and Arlene taught Sunday school lessons, missionary lessons, and music lessons. She also had many responsibilities at home like putting food on the table, getting the clothes washed, and getting the children to school. Later on, she became a professor in the Bible school and seminary and realized her need for more preparation. During furloughs in the 1980’s, she took very valuable music courses at ENC and earned the equivalent of a minor in music. Also during shorter furloughs in the 1980’s and 1990’s, she took advantage of the new Masters in Religion program at ENC and finished most of her class work.
One of her most interesting assignments, during her last 12 years as a missionary, was to coordinate the Child Sponsorship program for children of Nazarene pastors in Peru and Bolivia. In this capacity, she was responsible for translating all letters between children and sponsors, resulting in a heightened awareness of cultural and spiritual diversity within the church. Arlene is now semi-retired, working as an instructor of Spanish, GED preparation, and Math for adults. She continues to play her flute in church and in a local community orchestra. The Swains have three children: David, Gordon, and Tina, who are all professors in colleges and universities in the United States.