Darrell Debowey is a pastor at Zion Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod located at 406 South 19th Street Laramie, Wyoming. He was born in 1959 in the town of Kimball Nebraska. With a population of 4,400 people, it was a very small town. Raised Lutheran as a kid he had his goals set very young and at the age of nine, he was set on becoming a pastor.

Debowey had started school in 1977 with the goal to become a pastor but no longer after he found enjoyment in another field, “The way the Missouri Synod [Ministry School] does it is that they want you to have a bachelor’s degree before you go to seminary, and what they do is that they have programs geared towards men preparing for the ministry” Debowey said. He later on and went to get his bachelors in general science, biblical languages Greek, and Hebrew. Enjoying the science side of things, he explored more options in that area. “I decide to explore the sciences more, so I went and got an additional major in biology and then went to the University of Michigan to study biology,” Debowey said.

Still young and having lots of debt he began to search for jobs. “After I had gotten my degree in biology I had started applying for jobs within the university because I had loans to pay off, graduate school loans and I thought after I had paid off the loans I would go back to the seminary.” Debowey Said. He had started working in a neuroscience laboratory studying movement disorders. “This was a basic laboratory where you are actually doing research on rats, decapitating them and studying their brains,” Debowey said. He did that for a little over two and a half years and then still not returning to seminary he searched for a job within the hospital. He found a job in the department of cardiology. “I worked for a doctor named Eric Topol, he was a very unique individual in that. He wanted me to work for him for the rest of my life. So, he did things other people could not do, giving me raises and promotions” Debowey Said. Debowey was enjoying this line of work and at this point was not yet wanting to go back to the seminary. “I wasn’t keen on going to the seminary because I was going to the seminary for the wrong reasons, a lot of men go to the seminary for the wrong reasons, lots of men go to the seminary for themselves instead of for the Lord.” Debowey Said.

He continued working under Dr. Topol. “Later after that Dr. Topol moved to the Cleveland clinic and took me with him, with that I got a big raise and big promotion, the clinic was a wonderful place to work, but all of us, this group of researchers were extraordinarily hard workers which become a problem because I wasn’t seeing my kids grow up,” Debowey said. Enduring this for a while and enjoying the invitations to speak in Europe. It was truly a fun life outside of missing out on his family. “All of this was truly a good time, but it was missing out with the family, and there was also this nagging voice saying you were going to go to seminary. I hadn’t taken a vacation in five years and I finally decide I have had enough. So shortly after I turned in my letter of resignation.” Debowey said.

Now going to the seminary Dr. Topol had still wanted him to work under him while he was at seminary. “He supported me for four years after I left the Cleveland clinic, it allowed my wife to not have to work and be able to stay home with the kids, the Lord worked everything out,” Debowey said. One plus to being a pastor after doing a very large amount of cardiovascular research is a lack of fear of hospitals. “Its been very helpful as a pastor because so many people end up in the hospital, and all pastors are really intimidated by hospitals, they don’t like hospital halls and for me, it’s like hey I’m going to the hospital. I’ve been around hospitals for thirty years, it doesn’t bother me one bit” Chucklingly Debowey said.

Sometimes he looks back and misses the clinic under certain circumstances. “The answer really depends on the situation because sometimes it’s been problems with people in the congregation and I’m like hmm wish I was back at the clinic,” Debowey said. That’s the hard part about having two careers, you see the benefits of both sides. “You are nostalgic, the saying is twenty years from now these will be the good old days, so you look back and you’re like it was so much nicer at the clinic. Then you remember commuting an hour a day both ways and dealing with all the conditions, and then when you get to work there is a stack of work that never ends.” Debowey said. Being a pastor is hard than it seems because you notice more than others might. “It’s hard to see things going on in the church, people that don’t listen to the work of God and it makes it hard, some days I wish I was back in medicine,” Debowey said.

Seminary is tough when you are starting so late in a career. “Seminary is graduate school, and so it is just a real grind, papers, and test, and along with that working three jobs because I didn’t want to come out with debt, I would be forty-one years old when I graduate from seminary,” Debowey said. Debowey worked really hard in seminary to stay afloat with a family and beginning a whole new career. “My life at that the clinic prepared me life at the seminary,” Debowey said. Having prior experience at the clinic allowed him, or had made it a habit to work hard. It also gave him a realization, “when I listen to people talk about climate change and so forth, it’s like do you actually know how hard it is to measure global anything. From being in environmental science you know how the near impossibility of actually measuring global things like atmospheric carbon or atmospheric water vapor and things like that. You are looking at billions of cubic feet only using a few sensors around the world normally around urban populations.” Debowey said.

Debowey has one challenge that made science much easier than being a pastor. “I am more comfortable working in the background, that’s why I had such a good career at the Cleveland Clinic because I could work in the background, and I could do things to make my boss better which was fine with me. I wasn’t looking for attention…I have never enjoyed public speaking and that’s at first, what stopped me from going to seminary, I still have lots of anxiety preaching on Sunday morning and giving the sermon.” Debowey Said. All of these challenges have strengthened him greatly. “As a pastor, challenges force you to pray more. Like God said to Paul when he gave Paul a thorn in the flesh, it was to weaken him. When you are weak then you are strong because you are more dependent on God’s grace and not on your own strength and abilities.” Debowey said. On the week to week basis his get up and go is amusing to him. “What gets me up in the morning is the amount of work I have to do if I slack off, it doesn’t get done. If I slack off the sermon is going to be terrible. If I slack off bible study will not be well prepared. If I slack off, I won’t be able to visit people and allow others to visit me. You never know what your day is going to be like as a pastor.” Debowey said chuckling.

Deboweys hobbies include fly fishing and fly tying and he enjoys spending time with his wife. “I love spending time with my wife, hiking in the country, snowshoeing in the winter, hiking in the summer and fall. Those are pretty prominent; I also try to get my ten thousand steps in a day. Trying to stay fit, after I was told I couldn’t play basketball or run anymore because I have arthritis in my right knee…I have tried to turn to walking, when walking I try to occupy my mind, I try to listen to a podcast. When playing basketball and running your mind doesn’t wander, but walking can sometimes get boring, and then I try to walk four-plus miles an hour.” Debowey said. Debowey is very straight to the point and sees the world as it is. “When people ask me what am I like, I say I’m probably a melancholy person. I am pretty serious; I see the world as it is. I don’t see it as worse or negatively, but I’m not an optimistic. People see the world the way they want it to be and that’s not real, and others see the world as really bad and that’s not good either. I see the world as it is.” Debowey said