Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Kevin Zimmerman

Interview by ~Mary as it appears in the February edition of The Wordsmith Journal.

After the long, arduous process of writing, editing, publishing and promoting a book, many authors are stats stalkers when it comes to monitoring the sales of their books. They want confirmation that their hard work paid off, and rightfully so. That is why Kevin Zimmerman stands out. Although not the author of the book that tells his story, A Time For Everything, he does have an invested interest in how well it does. But his interest is not tied to royalty checks or popularity.

He wants the book to sell, don’t get me wrong. But not for reasons you may envision. “I am an advocate of giving back. A portion of the proceeds I get from the book are donated to support our deployed soldiers, their families and our disabled American veterans. This past December, it seemed miraculous how a royalty check arrived 3 days prior to my departure for the holidays, permitting me the opportunity to arrange a donation to an organization called Operation Homefront here in San Antonio, TX. They were so grateful as they are gifted at taking any amount and making a major impact with it, especially right before Christmas.”

As if that feel good was not enough, he was thrilled when another opportunity was presented. “Just last week my fiance' Mary Ann and I were selected to volunteer on the television series Extreme Makeover, Home Edition where we helped to build a home for a local service member and his family. His vehicle hit a land mind while he served in Afghanistan and their home wasn’t adequate for his health conditions. To help build that home, and then see the families faces after we yelled "Move That Bus" was one of the most gratifying feelings I have ever felt in my lifetime.”

Zimmerman’s life has been overshadowed by miracles and opportunities, making him the perfect candidate to give back. Being impacted by not one, but two miracles while serving in the Army, gives him a unique perspective. Author Michael White believes Zimmerman’s life story speaks of his integrity and offers insight as to what makes this man a true leader, and it’s not just the miracles that make him stand out. Zimmerman is humble in spite of the clear presence of God in his life, and after reading our interview, you will understand why I believe White nails it when he writes “Through it all (the writing of the book) Kevin remained steadfast and patient with his conviction that God had chosen me to be the writer and that it would be completed in God’s Own good time. Looking back now, however, there is no mistaking God's touch upon Kevin, me, and the whole writing process. The finished product bears true witness and evidence that God was indeed involved every step of the way.”

MN-In what ways do military service and Christian service parallel?

KZ-I would have to say that both Christian service and military service require making sacrifices for the betterment of mankind.

MN-You were taught the lesson of racial equality and that God is no respecter of persons early in your life. A big step would be to see a worldwide attempt for all races to embrace this initiative. In the meantime, what are small steps individuals can take in achieving a racially balanced view?

KZ-I would encourage to be open-minded and to make an attempt to learn about the history of other races and cultures. God’s word tells us to “Fear Not” often. Racial inequality is often heighted by the fear of a race of people that one knows little to nothing about. If we trust God’s word, then we trust God. With that said, we would eventually come to understand that all races were created by Him, therefore we have nothing to fear.

MN-Bible studies are a central part of your spiritual journey. What is the difference in reading the Bible and studying the Bible.

KZ-I would have to say that “reading” the bible is for short
term memory use. It provides the spiritual nourishment to get us through the moment or the day.“Studying” on the other hand requires paying the necessary attention to detail. This allows us, with the aid of the Holy Spirit, to develop an understanding of what is being read and how it applies to the life that lies before us.

MN-After walking away from an abusive work situation, you
admitted that you understood why young men turn to a life of crime. What advice to you have for readers who may have hit rock bottom and are entertaining that possibility?

KZ-In this situation we are dealing with more than one issue. My recommendation would be that you pray first and seek God’s guidance. I am not an advocate of anyone accepting abuse under any circumstance. If it’s a matter of employment, I encourage that you first exercise the process regarding abuse in the workplace (if that is an option). After doing so, if you still do not get any resolution, exercise your faith and know that other opportunities await you. If you should ever hit rock bottom, it is understood that you can experience a tremendous amount of pressure. Just remember that nothing good can ever come from doing anything illegal.

MN-When I read the words your drill sergeant said to you,
“Because of your actions, you’re already standing in the right place”, I couldn’t help but wonder if God ever brings those words back to your remembrance periodically to encourage you?

KZ-The truth is, I often do not feel that I belong in places
where God has elevates me to. It is not that I feel inadequate, as I totally believe that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, but I know that I have been tremendously blessed to experience certain positions and encounters because of His favor. What is encouraging is knowing that as He
elevates me, He has always equipped me with the knowledge and the resources to do what is required.

MN-Leadership opportunities are attracted to you like magnet to steel. Do you think thisis God’s favor on your life, or just reward for living a life of excellence?

KZ-Definitely not the later (Big Smile). I, like every other believer of the gospel am an ordinary person who lives an ordinary life. I can’t explain God’s favor on my life; I just recognize that it’s there.

MN- White writes, “In truth, however, Kevin was more concerned with his actual example of Christian living before his children than with his teaching them what to believe.” Parents need to hear this. Their example speaks louder than any theological argument, but that places a burden of responsibility
to be authentic, and some don’t want that. How can we inspire each other to live up to a standard worthy of emulation?

KZ-This is one time I wish my father could answer this
question. I believe he would say, by being the best person that you can be. My father, though flawed like all of us, was a great man. He worked hard and took ownership of whatever he was responsible for. I never once heard him tell a lie, even if it meant taking the easy way out. Although he has passed in 2001, I still remember him often saying he would do things because he believed it was the right thing to do. He also would often quote “People do what they believe.”

MN-Your experience many years ago with church discrimination is something you still deal with. Many can relate to this as they have felt a sting or two by well-meaning church members. How can believers overcome that hurt so that their bitterness does not interfere with their relationship with

KZ-I would have to say that people are responsible for
their own actions. We cannot afford to allow their imperfections cloud our view of what God has done in our lives. I feel this is where it is very important to study the bible. It will definitely help us distinguishing what is God like and what is not.

MN-You believe strongly that each individual needs to be
accountable for their actions. How can parents teach their children to be accountable in a generation drowning in the idea of entitlement?

KZ-I don’t feel I am qualified to answer this question,
but I would consider encouraging parents to not worry about running their homes like the rest of the world. I believe if parents live accountable lives before their children, the children will eventually come understand that no one is automatically entitled to anything. They will come to know that they are to be
accountable themselves for all of their own actions once they reach an accountable age.

MN-You were awfully close to an incoming explosion during
Operation Desert Storm. Do you suffer from post traumatic syndrome related to your service during the war?

KZ-Unfortunately, I must say I possibly may have. Although
it’s not extreme, I haven’t sleep very well since my deployments. I am currently about to undergo getting the situation evaluated.

MN-When you were assigned to Germany in 1992, you admitted that it became a source of contention since it separated the family. Do you have any words of encouragement for military families experiencing separation right now?

KZ-This is easier said than done sometimes but I would
encourage that you for first trust that God will get you through it. Try to be understanding of the situation and why the separation was created. You don’t have to like the situation, just try and understand what created it. Last but not least, try not to view your family member or loved one as someone who does
not love, care or respect you because of the decision that may create a separation.

MN-You survived walking among mine infested areas twice.
Besides the obvious miracle, do you see any spiritual symbolism associated to these events?

KZ-I can only say the situation symbolizes that God is very
real. There is no logical answer to what happen. My successful navigation on two separate occasions cannot be credited to my personal ability or any man made intervention. In my opinion, it symbolizes that He does exist and he still works miracles like He did in biblical times.

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