Darlene Faith Green was born on July 20, 1936, in the Free Methodist parsonage in Edison, Nebraska five minutes before her sister, Arlene Hope, the twin daughters of John C. and Jennie Green. The girls joined their four older brothers, John, Bob, Carroll, and Clark. Faith grew up in parsonages in Nebraska and Oregon before enrolling at Los Angeles Pacific High School & College, where she met and fell in love with Dean Smidderks, a California boy with whom she shared a love of singing and a deep commitment to the Lord. They were married on June 9, 1955, and moved to Seattle to complete studies at Seattle Pacific College and then on to Wilmore, Kentucky, where Faith worked as a seamstress while Dean completed his seminary degree at Asbury Seminary.
The young couple accepted a pastorate in Yucca Valley, California where their daughters Angie and Jennie were born. During these years, they felt led to serve as missionaries and in 1963, they accepted an appointment to Mozambique. They spent the next two years in language study in Portugal and then sailed to South Africa where they were stationed at Baker Farm Mission while waiting for visas to Mozambique. After learning the Tswa language, Faith taught in the Bible School and assisted with women’s ministries. Faith’s indomitable spirit and great sense of humor were assets during these years on a remote mission station without electricity or safe drinking water. It was here that their third daughter, Kathie, was born. During their first furlough in 1969 in Los Angeles, California, Hendrik joined the family.
After a busy year of deputation, Dean & Faith returned to Witbank, South Africa, where they completed another 5 years of missionary service, with Faith assuming duties of mission bookkeeper. Visas were finally granted while on their second furlough in 1974, and the family returned to Inhamachafo Mission Station in Mozambique in 1975, but civil war soon engulfed the country, forcing them to return to South Africa.
Faith continued to serve alongside Dean in South Africa at Witbank, Carletonville, and Johannesburg, as well as at the Bible Schools in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Malawi until their retirement in 1999. Faith added responsibilities of overseeing child sponsorship and served as mission hostess to overseas guests and missionaries. She is fondly remembered by many for her constant supply of cookies and cake and for delicious meals conjured from the most meagre supplies. It was a rare day that guests were not seated around their table or lodged in their guest rooms. All were made to feel at home.
Faith’s love for the African students earned her the nickname of Mamane Wuxinji (Mother Mercy) – a fitting name for her unfailing display of love and compassion. She was also a devoted mother to her four children, who relished her great sense of humor and zest for the adventure that Africa supplied in abundance. She approached every difficulty - from malaria to hyenas - with a positive attitude.
After retiring from the mission field, Dean and Faith pastored the Free Methodist church in Omaha, Nebraska and “retired” a second time to McPherson, Kansas where Faith kept busy with volunteer work at the charity thrift store. After several years of declining health, Faith moved to Pine Village Nursing Home in Moundridge, Kansas, where she endeared herself to the staff with her gentle disposition and love of singing. Faith died on July 24, 2023, just a few days after celebrating her 68th anniversary and 87th birthday.
Faith is survived by her husband, Dean, of McPherson, Kansas; brother, Bob Green of Lawrence, Kansas; children Angie (Tim) Lancaster and Jennie (Brent) Hall, both of McPherson, Kathie (Malcolm) Vaughan of St. Joseph, Missouri, and Hendrik (Kaylene) Smidderks of Wichita; by grandchildren Desiree Harris, Timothy Lancaster, Sharon Lancaster, Lisa Yoder, David Hall, Amy Corona, Trevor Vaughan, Erin Blair and Linnea Smidderks; by 12 great-grandchildren, and many Green and Smidderks nieces and nephews.
The family will receive visitors from 6-7:30 p.m. on Friday, September 8th at the McPherson Free Methodist Church parlor, and a memorial service will be held at the McPherson Free Methodist Church on Saturday, September 9th at 10:30 a.m. To view a live stream broadcast of the service, please click on the following link: http://macfmc.org/live-stream
Memorial donations can be made to Free Methodist World Missions or Hope & Healing Africa in care of Stockham Family Funeral Home, 205 North Chestnut, McPherson, KS 67460.