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home : obituaries : obituaries
January 24, 2020

11/27/2019 11:09:00 AM
Arlene Helen (Gerdes) Derksen

Arlene Helen (Gerdes) Derksen age 91, of Mt. Lake died on Nov. 17, 2019, at Pleasant View Good Samaritan Center- St. James in St. James.
Visitation will be on Friday, Dec. 6, 2019, from 4 to 7 p.m., at the Sturm Funeral Home, Mt. Lake Chapel, and will continue on Saturday from 10 until 11 a.m., at the Community Bible Church-Mt. Lake.
Service will be held at the Community Bible Church-Mt. Lake, on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019, at 11 a.m. The clergy will be Pastor Dan Strutz.
Interment will be at the First Mennonite Cemetery-Butterfield.
Arrangements are with the Sturm Funeral Home in Mt. Lake.
Online condolences may be left for the family at www.sturmfh.com.
Arlene was born July 8, 1928, in Mt. Lake, to Otto and Nettie Gerdes and grew up on the family farm. She went to be with her Lord and Savior on Nov. 17, 2019.
She went to a one room country school for grades 1- 8 and then transferred to Mt. Lake High School, graduating in 1946. From early age she loved the Lord. At age 12, she knelt by her bedside and she "asked Jesus to come into my heart." She was baptized on confession of her faith and accepted into membership of the Mennonite Brethren Church.
While she was still in high school she committed her life to serve the Lord, "wherever He would lead." This dedication to the Lord characterized her ministry of service throughout her entire life.
She began Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kan., in 1946 and it was there that she recognized God's calling to be a nurse and a missionary. She began her nurse's training at Mounds Midway School of Nursing in St. Paul completing her nursing degree in 1952 and completing Tabor College in 1954.
She was then ordained and commissioned by the Mennonite Brethren Mission and was assigned to missionary service in what was then the Belgian Congo. In preparation for this, she spent one year in Antwerp, Belgium, studying tropical medicine and French.
She began mission work in the Congo in 1955 at the MB mission station in Kajiji where there was a hospital, nurses training program and church. Arlene especially loved the children and the nursing students and focused a lot of her ministry on caring for the sick children and teaching the students.
After 26 years in the Congo, some health issues made it prudent to discontinue her work there. Arlene was concerned about what her focus of ministry would be on returning home.
At that point, Clarence Derksen entered her life and they were married July 1981. What a joy it was for her. They lived on Clarence's farm near Butterfield and both were actively involved in numerous Christian ministries. Arlene served as Sunday School teacher, St. James Christian Women's Club leader, Community Bible Church Women's Mission Society chairman and many other ministries.
She also enjoyed being stepmother/grandmother to Clarence's children whom she loved very much and encouraged them in their faith.
Clarence passed away in January 1996 after which Arlene moved to her home in Mt. Lake.
In 2012, she moved to the Good Samaritan Retirement Home in St. James where she continued her ministry through Bible Studies, prayer groups and personal encouragement.
Arlene was preceded in death by parents, Otto and Nettie Gerdes; brothers, Ray and Marvin; and husband, Clarence.
There are many surviving family members including brother, Art Gerdes (Peggy); sister-in-law, Yvonne Gerdes (Marvin); stepchildren: DeWayne Derksen (Margaret), Sharon Spear (C.T.L.), and Darrel Derksen (Patricia); and many nieces, nephews and step-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, Arlene suggested donations to MB Missions and Services or the Mt. Lake Christian School.

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