Darlene was delivered into her Earth assignment on April 28, 1935 at the home of her parents, Walter Anthony and Lena Evelyn Sands McKenna, just east of Cimarron, Kansas. She grew up in Gray County, Cimarron, Haggard and Ingalls, KS. She completed her assignment as God's Ambassador on this Earth here in Grandview, MO and was called to her Celebration Banquet on Monday, October 13, 2014. Celebration Service to be held Saturday, October 19, 2014 fellowship & pot "blessing" at 5:30 with service at 7 pm.
Darlene was given a heart that was filled with love, willing to serve, and a gifting to discern others needs. She has always been filled with music and from a young age and participated every way she could. In her youth she was a drum majorette and as she got older she developed her vocal gifting. She performed many concerts at different churches and functions and was ever ready to sing special music wherever she was and there was a need. As a family we have many special fond memories of mom and her singing and rewording songs. Whenever "Who Wrote the Book of Love" is played, we will always hear mom singing "Who Let the Milk Cows Out".
At the age of 15, Darlene realized she needed a relationship with Jesus. She committed her life to Jesus and walked closely with God throughout her entire life. He was faithful in guiding and helping her through the many challenges that she would encounter during her assignment here on Earth.
She attended services at Gray Center in a one room school house with her mother and two sisters on most Sundays. It was here she saw the faith of a man of God, Josiah Murphy, who walked in God's paths. His leadership impacted her life. Her daily prayer became "Lord, help me live a Godly life of faith, love and purity so those who watch my life will see reflections of your work in me." She prayed this to her final days.
In 1951, Darlene was blessed to attend Friends Haviland Academy at the recommendation of Josiah Murphy and Ray Conant. She attended there for two years, graduating in 1953. It was there she met Waylen Brown and they were married on August 23, 1953 at Cimarron Christian Church.
Darlene was honored to give birth to their four children: Anthony W. on May 15, 1957 at Shilling AFB, where Waylen was stationed, Bradly J on April 18, 1959 at Wesley Hospital in Salina, KS due to the Base Hospital being closed at that time, a previous baby that went straight to God's arms and Michelle D. on March 23, 1965 at Dodge City, KS where Waylen was student pastor at Liberty Missionary Bible Church.
During the Air Force days, they were stationed at Salina, Shilling AFB, from there to St. John's, Newfoundland then to March AFB at Riverside CA. When he was was discharged they moved back to Waylen's childhood home in Chivington, CO. It was here that he answered God's call to ministry. They moved to Haviland, KS so Waylen could finish his schooling.
In 1964, 1965 and 1966 they served as relief Missionaries at Rough Rock Friends Mission. It was a blessed time for all. Darlene earned the Navajo name for No Baking Flour Lady by those that loved her and sought to teach her their Navajo ways. Obviously Darlene forgot the baking flour when making fry bread, thus the name.
Their first full-time pastorate was at the Friends Church in La Junta, CO. During their three years of ministry in La Junta they also fostered four children. They then were called to the Friends Church in Salem, IA. They ministered there for six years and their children grew up a lot here. They continued to have foster children. Next stop was Allen, NE. Here they served a yoke-ministry with Allen United Methodist church and Springbank Friends Church. After the yoke-ministry dissolved, they were called to Springfield Friends Church in CO where they served for six years. In 1978 Darlene was recorded as a Friends Minister in the Mid-America Yearly Meeting. She served on various education and mission boards with MAYM. She also became a certified floral designer and worked at Riches Funeral Home and Flowers. In 1982 Waylen took a sabbatical and Darlene finished out the year serving at Vilas Friends Church and Springfield Friends Church. July 1982 found them in Booker, TX where after a six month sabbatical, Waylen became pastor at Evangelica de los Amigos in Booker. Darlene continued to use her creative gifting and designer certification to start a flower shop for Leslie and Mary Custer where her gift of teaching was put to use in training several workers, including Mary. Darlene retired from the Flower Shop after having ulcer surgery. In 1987 they moved to Wichita, KS where again they were called to be involved in the church plant of Igelesia de Amigos with Tomas and Lupe Martinez. In 1988 they were called to serve under Native American Ministries, moving to Oklahoma City, OK. While Waylen went to the Seminole Reservation in Florida, Darlene worked as a temporary at Liberty Bank and Boatman's Bank while they were building a partner funded support base.
They were privileged to serve on a two week mission team in Jamaica in 1989 following Hurricane Andrew. Waylen served as a construction foreman and Darlene as a Christian Education consultant and "resident" mom. Wichita, KS was then again blessed with their return in 1992 where Darlene served a "Nannie" to their son Bradley's two children.
In 1993 they founded Ministry Among Native Americans, Inc. They spent 14 years working among the Seminole, Choctaw, Crow, Sioux and Navajo before retiring again. While among the Seminole in Florida the Brighton Reservation Seminole tribe adopted Darlene. She was given the name Ecoshee (meaning in Creek ? honored Aunt and Mekesuey ? Second mother) and placed in the Bird Clan. While among the Navajo, Haskie Honk named her "No baking powder lady" and Blue Gap people gave her the name Yootgai Asdzaa which means " white shell woman" or the Mother Teresa of the Navajo.
Her whole life she always had a heart for children and discerned when anyone needed love. She was very active in her children's lives as they grew up helping them get into and rescuing them from many fun situations and giving the neighbors entertainment ? like when Bradley and Anthony's pet snake got loose and crawled up Darlene's leg out front of the house in Salem, Ia. Needless to say, after that Anthony & Bradley they did not have a pet snake any longer ? they had pieces of a pet snake and the neighbors across the street had sore muscles from laughing so hard. Guess you get that Darlene does not like snakes. When the boys were young she was active in helping lead their Boy Scout troop as well as Girl Scouts for Michelle. She even later lead her granddaughter's Girl Scout Troop. She actively worked in developing youth groups and opened her home to all the youth in the area and loved them as they were in her home feeding them and laughing with them. She was not one to just sit around. She was active in her children and grandchildren's lives with taking them on field trips, the zoo, baking cookies with them, coloring Easter eggs, jumping on electric scooters and going without finding out how to stop them ? laying it over in the grass after barely missing the neighbor's mailbox was a quick improvise but effective stop. She was always quick to join in and laugh. She loved singing and leading the action songs at Vacation Bible School when they were working with the Indians. She helped with school events and band trips. She even helped teach her daughter & band friends how to modestly change clothes in a public parking lot during band competitions. She was ever creative and loved by all who knew her. Her home and arms were open to any and all that were hurting or just needed an extra dose of love and encouragement. She was open to give her advice but gentle in not forcing it on any of them, young or old.
Darlene suffered a brain stem stroke in January 2004 which left her with a left sided deficit. With much hard work and sheer determination she was able to go back to the Navajo reservation to serve in 2006. During her time there, a "flying tent" left her with a broken hip and later surgeries to replace her knee. The next two years left Waylen going to the Navajo with Anthony who had become a part of the MANA, Inc team. Waylen retired and passed the mantle on to Anthony with him becoming the Missions Director.
After retiring from MANA, Inc they were called to assist in planting Southeast Community Friends Church where Darlene served as Treasure and Waylen Associate Pastor. They served until due to health reasons they moved to Grandview, MO to live with Michelle's in their My Father's Blessing Ministry home. Yet again health challenges could not keep her down as she boldly picked up her prayer and writing mantel and became part of the My Father's Blessing Gatekeeper Ministry loving on, counseling and speaking in to those He brought. She hand wrote hundreds if not thousands (We'd have to go back and look to see how many rolls of 100 stamps we bought to know for sure) of encouraging notes to those God brought through the Ministry home and previously in her life. That does not include the ones she dictated to be emailed and sent by her daughter and other team members to leaders around the world, some that she had never met except in spirit. She also assisted with the MFB Timothy Dinners in helping to prepare food to feed those that would come weekly and loved assisting with the Healthy His Way Healing ministry in prayer, laying on of hands, anointing and deliverance which always gave her great energy and joy. On the Wednesday before her departure on Monday she wrote her final cards with her very last one being to the most amazing woman God created to love Darlene and be her heart sister, Judy Shetley. Thank you Judy for loving Darlene so well. On Friday when she started a faster decline she still took the energy to pray with her daughter, Michelle, for the My Fathers Blessing ministry prayer requests and those God laid on their hearts. When her grandsons, Josiah and Malachi, got home from their debate and speech class, Malachi came in to tell her about his day. She was alert enough to hear about Malachi tell about his day and laugh her last true laugh at his joke. "What is as big or bigger than an elephant but weighs nothing?" "His shadow." Darlene was faithful and true to her very last breath. Waylen & Darlene also became members and an active part of Willowcreek Friends Church. Darlene was active in helping restart the Friend's Women Mission Group and was elected to be their Prayer Coordinator. Darlene choose to serve God to her last earthly breath. Her wisdom, understanding, words (spoken and written) of encouragement, prayers, tears, laughter, and beautiful smile will be greatly missed. However Darlene's wisdom still continues on with all that she has spoken and prayed into the many lives that God chose to put in her path, to love and sow into them while she was on this Earth which will be passed on to their future generations. She may have been small and quiet but her imprint that is left behind is one of a mighty warrior. Our temporary void is Heaven's glorious, joy filled, welcome home celebration! Darlene truly walked out a life of sacrificing temporary rewards on this Earth to have them stored and received in Heaven for all of eternity. Knowing her time was near and the preparation for her upcoming Celebration so important, she took two days to rest up in silence (which was hard on us, as we laugh our way through situations good or challenging). She was conserving her energy for her final celebration serving as His Ambassador on this Earth. As hard as those two days of silence were, hearing her break the silence, praying in a language only God can understand and singing Heavenly notes that were clear and in perfect pitch and tone as she released the last of her breath from her Earthly body, brought joy and peace to Randy as he laid in the bed next to hers and her daughter, Michelle, as she held her in her arms while she entered into God's. As God opened her eyes to see Heaven, she had no earthly words to express the wonder and awe, so shared it with us by using God's language of celestial sounds of awe and joy. She was totally overjoyed and went eagerly, no struggle, no gasping, just a joyous melody. Michelle will forever be blessed by her mother's desire and request to be with her almost 24/7, and holding her mom the majority of the time in her arms until she returned home to God's loving arms. No greater gift, beyond the Love of God and communion with the Holy Spirit that she helped instill in me, her daughter, could she have given and blessed me and my family with.
Darlene was preceded in death by her parents, a child, two sisters, two brother-in-laws, one sister-in-law, and a niece.
She leaves to joyfully celebrate her life: her husband, Waylen Brown of Grandview MO,
three children, Anthony (Cheri) AZ, Bradley FL, Michelle Wendt (Randy) MO;
ten grandchildren Corynn Williams (Mike) TX, Tyrel Brown(Tiffany) TX, Chelsey (Steven) Beck TX, Mercedes Hays (Tony) KS, J. Daniel Brown FL, Sheridan Wendt CO, Josiah Wendt MO, Malachi Wendt MO, Eric Litzenberger MO, Anne Litzenberger MO. Nine plus two great grandchildren: Brodie and Kyler Beck, Riley & Benny Gomez, Owen Brown, Hunter, Lorelei and Braelynn (plus twins God is creating) Hays, Avery McCorkle MO; a God given heart and soul sister, Judy (Chris) Shetley OK and a host of spiritual children, grandchildren and friends literally around the world.
In lieu of flowers, Darlene has asked that Memorials be given to:
MANA - pastoral training, PO Box 1453 Page AZ 86040
and/or My Father's Blessing - leadership development, PO Box 1097, Grandview MO 64030.
Personal cards and notes may be sent to the family at PO Box 1098, Grandview MO 64030. E-mails may be sent to [emailprotected]
The family has greatly appreciated all the encouraging words, cards, acts of love and prayers that have and are going up during this time of celebration. Know that God is using you to help fill a great void in their lives.