Alum Highlights

Kipp Zimmerman: Class of 2007

ALUM HIGHLIGHTS: KIPP ZIMMERMAN

(Pilot Kipp Zimmerman)

LFP Cohort Class: 2007

Alumni Kipp Zimmerman found himself at a crossroad when his season as a
Youth Pastor in Philadelphia came to an end. After over a decade of faithfully serving
the LORD, God was opening up a new door in a different direction.
Little did he know that door would lead him to the beautiful mountains of Denver,
Colorado.

Growing up, Kipp and his father shared a love for aviation that has carried on
over the years; it was no coincidence that the ATP Denver Flight school was only a few
miles away. God was turning his life-long passion into a career. He accelerated through
flight school and quickly moved onto certified flight instructor program expecting to
make this his career. However, when things didn't go as planned, he realized how tightly
he was clinging to his own plans rather than allowing God to take control. Through
confusion and what seemed like broken dreams, God was indeed faithful; His plans
were bigger than Kipp’s wildest dreams. “It has been out of the times of brokenness
God has opened up new avenues and provided new adventures. I can’t say any of this
has been mine, but the fruit of God’s purpose for our lives.” For Kipp, the waiting period
was tedious. It was a reflective time that reminded him to be patient and recall what God
had already done.

As if a weight was taken off his shoulders, Kipp found out there were other
options to become a pilot that he didn’t even know existed. At the very last moment, he
was hired as an aerial survey pilot for Aerial Imaging, the same company that provides
images for Google maps, countries, constructions, and others. This wasn’t the best
position for someone like Kipp, who is exceedingly outgoing and enjoys community,
because of the extended periods of time alone, but the Lord intimately met him in these
moments. Currently, Kipp is residing near Phoenix, Arizona, where he has been living
since last May. He has been a commercial pilot for nearly three years and loves his job.
For Kipp, every day is a new adventure when he’s flying private charter and tours over
the grandeur that is the Grand Canyon.

What seemed like small stepping stones over the years proved themselves to
be the walkway to the center of God’s will. Kipp’s title of Youth Pastor may have been
stripped away, but what was left was ever greater; his identity in the LORD. His father
spoke the wise words, “Ministry is not within four walls, but rather how you live out your
life.” Although his profession has changed, his heart and calling have stayed the same.
He has always enjoyed forming relationships and pouring life into others.
His ability to make those he encounters on his guided tours feel like family comes from
being a former youth pastor. It’s been a unique opportunity to share the love of Jesus
with those he would not normally have come in contact with.

This new season of Kipp’s life has been one of refining, a subtle reminder that no
matter what stage of life you walk, there are always lessons to be learned. For Kipp, this
was a revelation of perspective. Soaring above the seemingly small world below,
separates him from the distractions of life and allows him to focus upwards and inward.
These moments have brought insight to the bigger picture of God’s plan and the beauty
of his works.

Sometimes we go through life wondering if God is present in the midst of our
chaos or even simply our lives. Joshua 1:9 declares “Have I not commanded you? Be
strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your
God will be with you wherever you go.” For Kipp and his father, this life verse has
brought both comfort and boldness in the deep moments of loneliness and uncertainty.

How beautiful it is to put our faith in the God that fulfills the many promises He so freely
lavishes upon us. Take the courage to obey, you won’t be disappointed where He leads
you.


(Zimmerman with his father)


(Plane flown by Zimmerman)

Tyler Matthijssen: Class of 2015

ALUM HIGHLIGHTS: TYLER MATTHIJSSEN

(seen on the right)

LFP Cohort Class: 2015

LFP Alum Tyler Matthijssen certainly never would have imagined in her time here at Eastern that upon graduating, she would not be finding a middle school teaching job as expected, but instead would be fighting the battle of cancer. She recounts her journey through diagnosis and treatment in her open and blog posts. Tyler’s courageous steps to be raw, vulnerable and truthful about her experience has given others the privilege of taking a glimpse into her life and hearing about her daily battle. She credits her inspirational story to one of being surrounded by prayerful friends and family, and that through her battles with God, feelings of bitterness, and feeling pathetic, she believes that ultimately, somehow, she has come out stronger.

Tyler expresses a continued battle of feeling very alone at times, bitter that this illness has left a permanent imprint on her through side effects that will last for the rest of her life, and the wish of not losing a year of her life to this disease. She had been planning to move out, get her own apartment, many of these and other such expectations and dreams have not yet come through. Tyler has often stayed quiet about her story, due to fear of having such strong feelings resurface, and fear of people looking at her with sympathy.

Yet, despite these fears, she wonders if her extreme story may actually be relatable, such as to people who often feel stuck, and as though their life circumstances have doomed them to a life of constant struggle? She wonders if to such people, perhaps, her life and journey can speak to such experiences? She shares that everyone has their own hardships, and that this battle is hers, and will continue to be hers for now. Yet, in the midst of this hardship, she is learning how to talk about this battle, and she believes it is God’s goal for her to connect with others to share her story. Tyler recognizes the enemy’s goal to keep her from sharing this story, and perpetuating feelings of loneliness and a lack of desire to connect her story back to how God worked and continues to work in her life. Yet, she is taking the courageous steps to confront such lies of the enemy, no longer let them control her life, and instead take the bold step out into the freedom of sharing her story.

Tyler has experienced the reality that life is always going to be full of hardships, insecurities, and doubts. Yet, despite these, she has found beauty in so much that she used to just believe she deserved, thinking that life just randomly happened to bestow such provisions upon her. However, she has learned that God is so much more purposeful than this type of perspective on life, and there is so much purpose in everything that He puts in people’s lives. She says that while she is still learning the purpose of it all, it is very exciting!

With this new perspective on life, Tyler is currently searching for a full-time teaching job, so she can have a middle school classroom of her own. She hopes to continue to inspire others to recognize the beauty in the mundane, and help them to know there is so much more than meets the eye.

Tyler shares that her time in LFP was an amazing experience that allowed her to meet some of her best friends to this day. These friends have been ones she has seen get married, have children, and who visited her and sat with her in the hospital while she was loopy on medicine! Tyler says that LFP gave her the push she needed to lead a club, continue to have a social and academic life in addition to all of the schoolwork, and ultimately, taught her just how much strength she really possessed!

Previous12