Jessica MacKenzie looked at herself in the mirror and wondered what her future held in store. A graduate of Booth University College in Winnipeg, her plans to be a Bible director at The Salvation Army’s Scotian Glen Camp in Nova Scotia for the summer of 2020 were derailed due to COVID-19.
“God,” she prayed, “how am I going to prepare myself for training college?” And then she received the answer to her question.
Jessica grew up in The Salvation Army and both of her parents are officers.
“I became who I am thanks to them,” she says. “It was a great family to grow up in.”
Despite being born into an Army family, Jessica didn’t see officership in her future at first.
“When I got to highschool, I decided I wanted to open a coffee shop,” she smiles.“I had this whole vision for it and everything!”
But during her time at Booth UC, she realized God was leading her to a life of ministry.
“I was back home in Regina one year listening to my mother preach, as I had a thousand times before,” Jessica says, “and as I watched her, it hit me: This is what I want to do. That was the moment when I knew that God was leading me to ministry.”
As soon as she accepted that, ministry opportunities started to show up in her student life. The small Bible study groups she led morphed into larger ones until she ended up leading the student worship team at Booth UC and teaching Sunday school at the College for Officer Training (CFOT).
“It just kept on snowballing!” she says.
But Jessica’s plans had been derailed by the pandemic and so she was staying with her parents, looking for work and staring at the mirror, wondering what she was going to do next.
“In the back of my mind, I heard God say, ‘Don’t worry about that. I’ve got you. You don’t need to do anything. I’ll prepare you,’ ” she remembers.
Not two minutes later, her mother called her upstairs to tell Jessica that she’d just received a phone call from Prairie Divisional Headquarters (DHQ), offering her a position.
“And this is where I am now!”
Jessica is the divisional coordinator of women’s ministries at DHQ in Winnipeg.
“The bulk of my duties include resourcing, supporting and encouraging officers and ministry units in their own women’s ministries,” she explains. “I also support the youth department because our programs and events sometimes overlap.”
“My Roots Are Here”
Jessica is hoping to enter CFOT in 2023. While she loves her work in women’s ministries, she does not know what form her officership will take.
“My heart is for ministry, not just for women’s ministry,” she explains. “It’s been great and I’ve loved it, but I think there’s more work to be done.”
In any event, her future lies with The Salvation Army.
“My roots are here,” Jessica says proudly. “I love that the Army helps people in real ways, in the mess and the dirtiness of where they are. I’ve prayed about it a lot and I know that The Salvation Army is the best place for me to be, where my skills and talents will be used in a way they wouldn’t be used otherwise.”
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