An Autobiography - Of Sorts
Authored by Pastor Wesley Darby in July, 2005.
Frank Sinatra sang "I did it my way" but I prefer Col. 3:16,17 & 23. With my personality I preferred following the cloud by day and the light by night. Ex. 13:21. When I was saved I did my best to follow "The Way" with what I had. Now I see God began His call in a special way. My great-grandfather was a minister who has on his tombstone "loved by God and man". My grandfather named his first son Wesley Andrew Darby in 1897 but he died 4 years later. My mother's parents were married by his brother who was a Baptist minister. Donna's grandfather was a Scottish Covenanter who became a Methodist pastor and her nephew has ministered in several Methodist churches in Arizona.
Wesley was a bashful, fearful, redheaded, snaggle-tooth kid with an inferiority complex and dyslexia; raised on a dairy farm in Glendale, aimless in school. Born Sept. 19, 1928 he was born again Feb. 8, 1944. Baptized by Dr. C.I. Tucker in the First Baptist Church he answered God's call Feb. 20th. He took notes in Sunday School, learned to lead the youth group in church, led singing in the first meeting of the Ariz. Bible Institute, wrote a history of the Ariz. Baptist Convention, led the Sun Valley BYF when the State group took a stand for Conservative doctrines. God led him to leadership in the GUHS Letterman's club sponsoring a state wide basketball tournament. Working 4 years as school janitor he learned responsibility, and a summer session at BIOLA got him a Scofield Reference Bible and a Halley's Bible Handbook. During one summer at Prescott Pines Camp Dr. Pettingill taught him and a month working on a trail crew at the Grand Canyon prepared him for football at NAU but Dr. R.S.Beal Jr. put him in charge of the Sunnyside Baptist Church, and the janitor's job at the post office got him a Moody Monthly magazine. Then, with Spurgeon's sermon notes he handled 4 services on Sunday at Sunnyside and an afternoon Bible class at Belmont Ordinance Depot.
The deacons gave him 2 weeks to go back to Glendale and get a wife so 2 hours before she graduated, Donna got her MRS degree and moved into a stone cottage at ASU, Flagstaff as a pastor's wife. With a 12 foot trailer house they moved to Denver for Rockmont Bible College. Donna worked in a typing and print shop (& typed all of Wesley's papers). He was night manager of the Tours Hotel across the street from the capitol and learned a lot about inner city problems. They taught Sunday School and helped start the First Baptist Church of Westminster. Wesley was active in the embryonic preachers group until he graduated with a B.A.
In 1950 they moved back to Arizona and God placed them in Clifton, Ariz. living in an old historic 2 story church. Wesley worked as Deputy County Assessor to pay the bills. He studied material from "Bib. Sac." of Dallas Seminary and "Theo. Today" from Princeton.
A rough mining community taught them by union strikes, political fights and he learned from the sheriff and the FBI. He led the church like a Bible Institute, pushed Bible reading, training the young people, hauling them to Prescott Pines Camp and revivals in neighboring churches of Duncan and Safford. Five young people went into the Lord's special service. Wesley was chaplain in the Civil Air Patrol with search and rescue flights in an Aircoupe. He helped organize the Greenlee County Ministerial Association, spoke in all of the county high schools and conducted a radio broadcast. Donna typed bulletins, newsletters and helped her husband, living upstairs in the back of the church for five years.
In July 1955 the Darbys came to Phoenix and as pastor he used his experiences to lead a troubled church with financial problems into being a family church with a job for everybody and love for all. With special classes in Sunday School, Training Union, and Wed. night even the preschool children soon had 5+ hours a week in the Bible. Donna kept the typing of newsletters and bulletins flowing to everyone, and Wesley volunteered service in Juvenile Court, Adult Probation, County Hospital, Rest homes, Youth for Christ, revivals in other churches, Arizona Bible Institute, Phoenix Gospel Mission, Greater Phoenix Association of Evangelicals, Ariz. Christian Conf. on Youth & Adult Problems, night ETTA Bible Classes in other Churches, called the meeting to start Southwestern Bible College (and taught there for 23 years), organized WHBC with a job for everybody and special training for some 70 who felt God's call for special service.
Wesley served as Chaplain and President of the Arizona Breakfast Club and some 35 years as Republican Party precinct committeeman. Through the Arizona Baptist Convention he led the bookstore committee, the CB Foundation, and the development of their pastor's health insurance and retirement fund that went national. Wesley continued his studies at ASU, Oxford University and the Summit ministry. His work has been written up in Who's Who under several categories. He hid his lack of "formal" education degrees by working hard and studying publications widely.
In 1990 Wesley retired on Social Security and was elected church treasurer and business manager after being asked to serve by the new pastors. In 1997-99 he was elected pastor again.
Now growing old, eyesight dimming, strength failing the Darby's favorite Bible passages have changed from II Timothy 2 to Ecclesiastes 12. Double heart bypass slowed Wesley, and Donna had a serious seizure that reminded them how much they love each other. Now they spend time visiting churches, encouraging young pastors (many he helped train at SWC) and trying to grow old gracefully. They claim Matt. 10:41,42 for many special friends who continue to be of loving support to them as they try to minister as God leads. Wesley still has his "Prayer Wall" of pictures and, if your picture is not there, he keeps asking for one. Social Security covers their family expenses and his continuing "Ministers Account Darby" covers his "business" expenses as he continues his calling as a full time minister of the Lord Jesus Christ. Wesley's continued desire is to help young ministers as Dr. C.I. Tucker, Dr. R.S. Beal, and Dr. Leroy Thomas helped him and Donna in their youth. You can contact Pastor Emeritus Wesley Darby any time as his phone is still beside his bed for emergency calls at home, and his cell phone is working while he is out taking the elderly to their appointments.
Your prayers are appreciated, and your prayer requests are held before the Lord. Phil. 1:3-7.
Please pray for our 4 daughters, 11 grandchildren and 7 (so far) great grandchildren and, when possible, Wesley will show you pictures and tell you about each one — especially the 3 grandsons.
Pastor Darby went to be with the Lord on December 14, 2015. While he no longer answers his phone and can no longer show you pictures and tell you about their grandkids, your prayers for his family are still very much appreciated. They have more grandchildren and great grandchildren now!