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Dale Wayne WarkentinDecember 14, 1936 ~ February 15, 2019 (age 82)
Dale Wayne Warkentin was born on December 14, 1936, in Red Bluff, California, son of Elmo Henry Warkentin and Sara Dorothy (Enns) Warkentin.
In January, 1943, following his sixth birthday, Dale entered first grade in Chico, California. He also began attending Child Evangelism club and one day was captivated by the flannel graph story of Jesus dying on the cross and Jesus’ love for him personally. That afternoon Dale knelt and prayed to receive Christ as his own personal Savior.
The family moved to Hillsboro, Kansas, in the middle of Dad’s first grade year, as Elmo had decided to go to Tabor College.
While in college, Elmo began commuting to Dorrance, Kansas, to be the pastor of the Dorrance Mennonite Brethren Church, with the family eventually moving to Dorrance.
Although the church was small, there were four other boys in the same grade as Dale. One of them was Darwin Steinle. Who could imagine that forty years later Darwin’s daughter, Joan, would marry Dale’s son, Brent?
After his fifth grade year, the family returned to Hillsboro so Elmo could resume full-time studies.
After Elmo’s graduation from Tabor, the family moved to Cordell, Oklahoma, where Elmo pastored the Cordell Mennonite Brethren church and Dale attended high school at Corn Bible Academy from 1951-1954. With another move to Wheaton, Illinois, for Elmo’s graduate studies at Wheaton College, Dale graduated from Wheaton High School.
Dale decided to attend Wheaton College, and during his four years of undergraduate work, two major events took place. First, he met Joyce Swanson, whom he married in 1959. Second, the murder of 5 missionaries by the Auca Indians in Ecuador in 1956—which planted the seeds of God’s call on Dale’s life to be a pastor and missionary.
After graduation from Wheaton and their wedding, Dale and Joyce moved to Pasadena, California, where he pastored a church part-time while attending Fuller Theological Seminary. In 1961 their son, Craig, was born. Brent joined the family in 1963, and Lori arrived in 1964, while Dale pastored the Ulysses, KS, MB Church (1962 -1966). Then the family moved to Wichita, KS, where Dale pastored the Wichita First MB Church (1967-1975).
In 1975 Dale resigned from First MB Church to become a missionary to Indonesia, and the family moved to Pasadena in order for Dale to take missions courses at Fuller Seminary before going overseas. Then, ten days before they were scheduled to leave, Dale was hit by a car while crossing the street, breaking both his legs and delaying their arrival in Indonesia by six months.
Over the next eight years (1976 – 1984) Dale trained Indonesian pastors who started over 30 churches in Indonesia. These were wonderful years for Dale and Joyce.
In 1984 they returned to the States where Dale became the pastor of the Butler Mennonite Brethren Church in Fresno, CA. In 1988 dad began working for MB Mission and served in various roles over the next 13 years.
Dale and Joyce loved retirement – but continued to serve faithfully, volunteering in church, serving through SOWERS (Servants On Wheels Ever Ready) as they traveled with their RV, and spending six months in Indonesia in 2004.
In 2008, Dale and Joyce moved to Wichita – the place they always considered to be their “sweet spot” of ministry. Here, Dale and Joyce continued to volunteer and serve.
Dale was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2012, and Joyce with Pancreatic cancer in 2013. They both responded with remarkable trust in God. Having spent a lifetime showing others how to live for Christ, they continued to live with faith, courage, and constant love and trust in God. Joyce passed away on September 18, 2014, and Dale continued to live and be cared for at the Oxford Grand—their last home together.
As Parkinson’s continued to ravage Dale’s body, particularly over his last year, the family has been praying for God to usher him home to heaven. Dad truly believed that, “To live is Christ, but to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21) and God answered our prayer and took Dale home on February 15, 2019.
Dale is preceded in death by his wife, Joyce. Loving and missing Dale is his family: Craig (wife, Linda Denniston) Warkentin, Brent (wife, Joan) Warkentin, Lori (husband, Chris Walsh). Grandchildren: Justin Denniston-Warkentin, Janet (husband, Thomas) Calvert, Stacey (husband, Ryan) Neufeld, Taylor (husband Sam) Hundert, and Jordan (wife, Kellie) Walsh. Great-grandchildren: Lincoln Calvert and Sutton Calvert. And younger brother, Mark (Los Angeles, CA).
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