Do We Change Our Last Name?

One of the most important questions that 2 boys pondered as their mom and her fiancé discussed marriage. Clark was much easier to spell and pronounce. Little did we know that a new last name would present all manner of pronunciation woes for the rest of our lives: Weideman. It is pronounced, “We-da-men” but without […]

Halloween & Jesus: 6 Ideas for Making Halloween Meaningful

Every year we get this strange opportunity… Here’s how the Zinn family does Halloween! ———— Halloween is weird. Cute kids and large quantities of sugar. Yards strewn with synthetic spiderwebs and battery-powered cackling skeletons and gigantic inflatable witches. A background that includes remembering the dead, pacifying ancient Celtic gods, prayer and fasting… and smashed pumpkins. […]

I can’t think of a bigger win from our Sports Camp ministry then this young lady.  Crystal has been touched by God.  He used Sports Camp to help ready the soil of her heart for what He intended to plant. Crystal is now a part of Discovery, a part of the family of God, and it all started on a warm summer night at Sports Camp.  Here is her story of faith…


Since I was 9 I knew who God was.  I knew that He was powerful.  I knew He was the ‘man in the sky’.  I knew that if I wasn’t bad I would go to heaven.  The idea of believing in God came easily to me, or so I thought.  Ultimately my mindset of not believing in what I could not see caused me to question.  This led to a period of not knowing which side I was on, although I searched for a position.  I wanted to feel like I belonged.

Every year I attend Sports Camp and listen to children, ages 5-12 give their heart to Jesus.  This inspired me and caused me to ask,  why hadn’t I given my heart to Jesus?

Persecution and Humanity

The following story is both timely and moving — and came from some of Discovery’s friends in service abroad. Many of you have directly participated in one of their translation projects through your designated giving. We have permission to share this with all of you, as long as we avoid certain words for the security of those involved. And when you are finished reading, take a moment to pray for them…


Dear friends and family,

I don’t know if you’ve ever gotten a chance to meet someone who has actually tried to kill one of your loved ones, but a couple weeks ago I did.

If you’ve followed our updates, you are familiar with a man we’ve called Alvin – the only totally open local believer we have ever met on our island.  Just to recap, Alvin and I met to pray regularly for about two years.  During those two years, I witnessed the difficulty of Alvin’s life – abuse, threats, homelessness, rejection.  One day Alvin was gone.  Just gone.  A few weeks later we heard he had left for another country.

A few months ago, I had my first conversation with Alvin in over 2 years, and he told me the story about how M, a local cleric, had asked permission from the president to have him executed.  The president had refused, and Alvin (remarkably calm about the incident) stayed on the island.  But one night the police came to Alvin, and warning him of threat, helped him board a fishing boat that same night and flee to a neighboring country; apparently, M was still at work.

The Day That Saved My Marriage

I remember the day well.

Chad and I had only been married a few years. We just had our first baby, and were still recovering from a major remodel on our first house. I had recently left my job to stay home with our daughter and Chad was preparing to leaving his job so we could pursue college ministry and raise support for our income. We had also started seminary and moved churches – all to position ourselves for a certain ministry job.

That’s a lot of change, a lot of stress, and not enough sleep for this young couple!

Because we changed churches, our small group had also changed. We left our comfort zone of old friends and were now meeting with a brand new circle of “future friends” – other newlyweds  from seminary who were also in ministry. We had a good feeling about them, but none of us had gotten “real” with each other yet.

And then our marriage got tough. Heartbreakingly, gut-wrenchingly tough.

From A Christmas Story to The Christmas Story

“You’ve never seen A Christmas Story?  You have to see it!”

Every year, sometime post recovery from tryptophan overdose (aka too-much-turkey) and pre pine-needle-fire-hazard-prevention clean-up (aka taking down the tree), I hear this phrase.  You’d think after 37 years I’d have done something to remedy my Christmas film deficiency.  Oddly, however, while most people have fond memories of this movie, and nearly everyone thinks my life is lacking without the ability to understand significant pop culture references related to its characters and scenes, no one really gets all that excited about the idea of watching it with me.  It’s more an experience to have had, not one to keep having, it seems.

Despite managing to get through over 3 decades since its release without watching this movie, I haven’t completely escaped knowledge of its contents.  Images from the movie are prominently displayed every year at this time.  There’s the leg-shaped lamp stand, the pink bunny suit, the tongue on the frozen telephone pole. If you’ve seen the movie, you know what these are, and you know why they’re funny, or meant to be. I, however, am missing the context.  Without the full story, I don’t know what any of these things actually mean.  Sure, I get the basic humor behind the tongue stuck to the pole.  But why is the boy in a bunny suit at Christmas time?  And what’s the significance of a plastic leg in fishnet stockings attached to a light bulb and fringed shade?

So You Wanna Come With Us?

“They tied his good arm inside his sleeve,” she told me, “and they tied the sleeve to his opposite shoe. And they left him like that, all day. He couldn’t move, he couldn’t eat. And the teacher never noticed. He was in second grade.” I closed my eyes and caught my breath at the image. […]

Halloween & Jesus: 6 Ideas for Making Halloween Meaningful

Halloween is weird. Cute kids and large quantities of sugar. Yards strewn with synthetic spiderwebs and battery-powered cackling skeletons and gigantic inflatable witches. A background that includes remembering the dead, pacifying ancient Celtic gods, prayer and fasting… and smashed pumpkins. A mixture of influences Christian, pagan… and just plain strange. So I FULLY understand when […]

I Did a Strange Thing: Part Two

The half-naked young man before me lay stretched on a table, his lifeless limbs unnaturally awry. Long and lanky like many a twenty-year-old, his light-bronze skin, dark hair and angular facial features made him look the Arab that he was, while his clean-shaven face identified his Islam as moderate. He lay in Yemen, half a world away from me, but as my host held the screen and its image before me, the pain behind his eyes made death a palpable presence in the room. Adel, the youth in the image, was his little brother, killed two weeks ago.


Truth? Six months ago, I could have shown you Yemen on a map, and given you some basic cultural information — but while I may have had a nagging sense that things like human starvation, and violence, and oppression physical and spiritual should have prompted some kind of response in me — well, I may just have found it hard to care. I’ve heard this called “Compassion Fatigue”  — which sounds so much better than “self-centered callousness”, the phrase I suspect may be more apt.


The difference now? An unlikely friendship.


I am a Jesus-follower, a “person of the Cross”, one who believes that real, vibrant, forever-life is found only through the person of Jesus, who is God-in-flesh, full of inexplicable love… and power… and goodness. And my heart cries, “Glory!”


My faith is irreconcilable with that of my Yemeni friends. The divide between us as bloody today as at any time in history. And yet…


In early March of this year, not even two weeks before the country of Yemen would plunge into civil-war-turned-international-conflict (or is it international-conflict-turned-civil-war?), our family received a remarkable invitation from people we had not yet met in person. (You can read here for the story leading up to this invitation)

I Did A Strange Thing Last Week

  There is a mosque about a block away from the house where I grew up, the only mosque for miles. I remember Fridays, that Islamic holy day, watching our quiet neighborhood streets fill with cars that could not fit the small lot. Men with close-cropped beards and smart, professional clothes. Women in their colorful, […]