Student Story: Jessica MacKenzie

One Sunday morning, Jessica MacKenzie was at church listening to her parents, Salvation Army Majors Bruce and Kristiana MacKenzie, speak. In their sermon, the pastors quoted inspirational Christian speaker Jefferson Bethke: “Love others so radically that they wonder why.”  

“The quote stuck with me,” Jessica says. “Now, I try to live my life in a way that it reflects that.”

Born in Swift Current, Sask., Jessica can’t remember a time in her life that she wasn’t a Christian. But when she turned 14, she decided she needed to be more intentional about her faith. “I spent three hours each day with my Bible, thinking about everything I read and what God was telling me,” she says. She attended the University of Regina but, halfway through her first year, Jessica realized she needed to be “somewhere else.”

That “somewhere else” was Booth University College.

Jessica thrived at Booth UC. As her parents were stationed in Regina, she lived in residence for the first two years. “It was as if I had a second family here,” she says. “I made a lot of good friends and I learned so much. The professors make themselves available and the small class size really was a godsend.” Jessica has always been “painfully shy” but the welcoming atmosphere at Booth UC encouraged her to push past her fears and love radically.

Jessica is on track to graduate from Booth UC this summer with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religion. From there, she plans to attend The Salvation Army’s College for Officer Training (CFOT) with the aim of becoming a Salvation Army pastor herself.

“I hear a lot about people struggling with their faith, not being comfortable enough in their space to spend time with God and to grow their relationship,” she says. “I’m happy that this was not the case for me, that I was allowed to, indeed, love radically.”

Read Jessica’s full story in our next edition of Connect Magazine, coming this summer!


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