I first met Darby at a picnic bench in the quad of the campus of UW:Stout at Summer Festival my 9th grade year. I had been going to camp for a few summers, and had met the lord at my first Summer Festival as a 7th grader. Carolyn Bossen, one of my youth leaders introduced us and after our quick introduction I hustled off to whatever fun event the program team had cooked up for the day. As I took off Carolyn told me if I have ever had the chance, that I should spend time with Darby - I could sure learn a lot from him
For the last 8 years I had the privilege of spending most monday morning praying with Darby. Most of my peers would dread Monday mornings, because it meant going back to the grindstone. Not me, I know it would be a time of sharing tales of the weekend, grumbling of how disappointing Minnesota sports teams are, talking about what we'd want to accomplish at Youth Forum that week, that summer, that year and it'd be a chance for Darby to share one of his Devotions. Darby had such unique insight and such away of making stories you've heard a 1,000 times become fresh and relevant. After prayer we'd often go to get chow mien or a burger at snuffies and we'd continue the conversation, the dreaming and the strategizing.
I'm going to miss his wisdom and counsel, his jokes and his disarming sense of humor.
Last winter, Darby invited myself, Seth, Kelley and Kelly down to come spend a few days with him in their condo and Florida. We jumped at the opportunity and while we were down there - we joined with Joan, Reid and Carrol carpenter for one of the most powerful times of prayer that I've ever been a part of it. In that moment - everything was right with the world. We were reminded of God's promises of his faithfulness.
Darby was a visionary - he knew that teens needed a safe place, where they could be themselves, where they could laugh and have fun, where they could build trusted relationships with adults, but most importantly where they could come to have an understanding of who Jesus was. That passion that the lord put in him was how castaway got built, how Youth Forum thrived and how many teens, including many of in this room got to know Jesus.
I want to leave you with a line from the last devotion he gave at Summer Festival
If God is for us, who can be against us. If Jesus christ is on my side, who is on the other side! WHO CARES! - If you pardon my english, it don't matter. It just doesn't matter because Jesus is on my side.
Darby - I can't wait to see you again some day. Thank you for your time here. The way your trusted Christ in all things was inspiring and something I wish I could have an ounce of.