I Dare You to Live this Book
chronicles the journey of Zach Campa, a real teenager just making his way through life. He wrote in a journal for the last 18 months or so of his life, and this book shares with you the life principles he learned as he was recording his thoughts. Though this book allows you a glimpse into Zach’s struggles to find true freedom in this life, my hope is that it will lead you toward your own journey to find the freedom he found. The excerpts taken from Zach’s journal have been quoted word for word, and the principles that he was learning have been expanded as best that I can, as I was privileged to walk alongside him as his mom. I am humbled by this opportunity, as I know that I fell short of giving Zach my best many times. Yet, I loved him with all my heart and fought alongside him as he sought peace, joy, and purpose in this life. So, it seemed fitting that I record Zach’s story for you, which is really just God’s story. This excerpt was found in Zach’s journal, written on January 22, 2008: “That should also be my continued prayer that I surrender all to God just like David. And just like Christ gave his own life for me and everyone in the room. That should be my motivator, that one act can cause everyone to say “hey, he can do it, so I sure can!”
About The Authors
Shane Sutherland and Toni Finley
Shane Sutherland holds a B. S. in Christian Counseling and an M.A. in Professional Counseling, both from Liberty University. Shane counsels individuals, couples and families, and her passion is to work with families with struggling adolescents as well as to counsel teenagers themselves. Her education, insightful understanding of family systems, and personal experience gained through raising her own children through divorce, managing a blended family, and parenting through adolescent struggles has uniquely prepared Shane to speak wisdom and truth in very practical ways to both parents and teenagers.
Shane lives in Suwanee, Georgia with her husband of 16 years, Brian, and she has four children. Zach, who was 18 when he passed away in 2008, is now making his home in Heaven. Jered, 22, is a Senior at Georgia State University, Haley, 21, is a Senior at Georgia College and State University, and Sydney, 15, is a Freshman at her local high school. Shane, Brian and crew are part of the church family at Sugar Hill Church in Sugar Hill, Georgia.
Toni Finley lives in Georgia with her husband and best friend, Greg, together with their four children ages 8, 6 and 3 (twins). She has served as a volunteer and Bible study teacher for the last fourteen years, working with all ages in both children and student ministries. Toni holds a B.S. in Business Management from Palm Beach Atlantic University.
On August 31, 2008, Zach Campa died and went to heaven. He had just turned 18, only days before, on August 3rd and was getting ready to leave in three days to go to Argentina. He planned to study God’s Word and do missions there for the next 10 months. But, that’s the end of Zach’s story. The years that led to this point in Zach’s life were very different than those at the end of it. Zach’s life had been filled with much pain and strife. By all standards, he was just a normal teenager, trying to navigate the struggles of life. And life can sometimes deal tough blows.
Zach had experienced the hurt of divorce. In addition to the typical hardships that come with a broken home, his dad struggled with alcoholism, and I (his mom) wrestled with learning to be a good mom, through my own issues and problems at the time. Caught in the middle of our pain, Zach fought many fears and insecurities, and as he got older, his problems worsened. I realized that my son needed my help, and we began a journey, together with our family, that ultimately changed our whole lives. Our journey, propelled by hope and a determination to not give up, ended in restoration and healing.
The Dare Book chronicles Zach’s journey to break free from his own pain and live REAL in a culture that seems so satisfied with fake. With raw honesty and courage, one young man decided to look his pain in the eye and deal with it. The journey was hard, and things were never perfect, but the rewards were worth it all.
Before he died, Zach tasted the joy of his choice to live REAL, and this book challenges readers to do the same. May you open up the pages of I Dare You to Live this Book and find REAL life, maybe for the very first time.