The last time I saw Zac, he was walking across the gymnasium floor at the conclusion of the middle school boy’s basketball championship. He was there with his mom and little sister to cheer on his underclassmen. I imagine that he had an encouraging word or a humorous jab with the radiant smile you see in the picture as he interacted with his peers.

Two days later, Zac slipped into a coma as a result of contracting a flu virus. A week later, Zac peacefully passed from this life to eternity.

In the months following his death, we sponsored a creative writing contest. I pray that the winning essay, written by a junior in the same high school that Zac attended, touches your heart as much as it has touched mine.

There are some people who learn the hardest of life’s lessons long before they are mature enough to fully grasp them. I happened to be one of those children. When I was six, my family moved to Kansas. That very year my parents divorced and my mother moved to a less than desirable location in Kansas City.

I saw things daily that most people will never see in their lives. To say the least, I was exposed to the realities of a harsh existence in an even harsher world. I had heard of Christ, but never gave the whole idea a second glance; my assumption was “If there is a God, he is a horrid being to allow things like what’s taking place on earth to happen. If He really is there, I want nothing to do with Him.” My father remarried when I was ten to a woman named Marianne; they had a daughter named Holly and would later have another named Brianna four years later. I dabbled more into the faith when my mother got sick with terminal cancer for the second time. Even this wasn’t real faith considering I dropped all attempts at it when she died. I was eleven. My father moved all of us to Maryland within a full year.

We found a church home and attended regularly. The people were amazing and on a youth retreat two years later, I gave my life to Christ. Consequently I became involved in the missions trips, youth group, anything that fed the faith I felt, which was burning like a flame inside me.  In my junior year, I decided to attend our Christian school. This change in atmosphere had a dramatic impact on my life for the better. Sometimes becoming a better Christian is just about willingness and the people you surround yourself with, knives sharpen knives as the saying goes.

During that first year a guy at our school, Zac Weiland, passed away. He was an amazing kid and touched the lives of virtually everyone who had the blessing of meeting him. This event helped to remind me of how very short life is. We will have to give account of every moment of every day when we reach heaven. How great would it be if for every one of those moments we can say we were serving God? The fact that I already lost so great a portion of my life saddens me beyond what you could possibly know. I have offended God in ways that go beyond the average; and yet I have come full circle into the arms of an ever loving, ever gracious Holy Father. The fact that I have found myself among those loved by the Lord proves that all things are possible with God.

To say that I think life is better with Christ is an understatement of epic proportions. I’m going to invite you right now as you read this, to accept the invitation of Jesus Christ as your Savior; from one sinner to another I tell you it’s hard, but more than worth every trial. Becoming a Christian doesn’t mean becoming perfect; our calling is to give it our best shot every day. To give our all to God at every possible chance, not to make up for the wrongs we’ve done, but to show others the way to be forgiven. I’m not the one most people would peg as open about her past, but I’m trying to share this with you in the hopes that you realize how very short your life span is. Zac was only 15 and who knows how long God intends for you to stay on this earth. Wouldn’t you prefer to go before God and say, “I have Jesus and I gave you everything” rather than, “all I can say is ‘oops.’

- Kim Diamond

Now that Zac is on the other side of life as we know it, if he could speak to you today, he would plead with you to take Kim Diamond’s words to heart and so do we. If God has broken through to your heart, we would love to hear from you and the story of your journey.

If you have questions or feel God is drawing you, we have some resources we would be willing to make available at no cost to you. In either case feel free to email: .

Thank you for taking the time to read and consider all that has been presented.

With our respect,

Dave Dassoulas and Andy Tvardzik,
Hope Builders