Reflections on Undergrad- Part 6: Jamie Strickland

Profile: Jamie Strickland is a happily married Canadian man with two kids, all of whom are living in Uganda, nearing the end of a two year mission stint. My first memory of Jamie was in Panama after my first year. He came to speak to our team at the end of the mission trip, delivering a four part talk titled “Living a Life that Matters.” The next time I saw him, he showed me very practically what that looks like. It was at a fall retreat in my second year. He came up and tearfully shared his decision to take his wife and two sons under the age of three to Uganda to help coordinate the partnership between the Canadian and Ugandan branches of Campus Crusade for Christ International. He didn’t have to. He could have done his job just as well from Canada, but his vision was to inspire Canadian students like myself to sacrifice their comfortable lives here to live intentionally for God’s kingdom. He wanted to lead by example, and so he went.

I went to Uganda after my second year. I went again after my third year, and this time Jamie was there as a project director. I loved working with Jamie. He’s a lot of fun, very chill and incredibly passionate. He loves Manchester United and the New England Patriots (this I appreciated very much). He loves Jesus and is passionate about challenging younger Christian men to make sacrifices in living radically. His message on living a life that matters isn’t only preached when he’s given a mic; it’s the message you get after spending any amount of time with him. I remember one evening in his living room in Uganda, our team decided to put him on the hot seat so he had to answer any question we threw at him. “What is your biggest pet peeve?” He talked for 45 minutes on what a travesty it was that thousands of young men who loved God were wasting their summers doing nothing when there was so much work to be done in exposing people to Jesus around the world. We also got a 35 minute talk on what he appreciates most about his wife. That’s the kinda guy Jamie is.

We had an opportunity to spend some time together on a car ride between two cities one evening. On that trip, we got to talking about what it would mean for me to give up a year after I graduate to come to Uganda and teach students about living a life that matters. I’d been considering it before that trip, but after talking to him for an hour, I knew exactly where I was going to be this coming fall.

What I learned from him: Jamie is great at vision casting. He inspires others to join him in fulfilling his vision because he gives himself totally to living out his vision. Jamie helped change my perspective on what really matters in life. I want to devote my life to a cause that matters eternally, because I realize that everyone lives for something. He showed me what it looks like to be completely sold out to a vision, not in the one decision he made to go to Uganda, but in the many decisions he makes daily about what he will give his time and his heart to.

Favorite memory: Every memory I have of him playing with his kids would qualify but there’s a different memory that stands out in my mind. We were ATV-ing with a couple of guys and two of us were kinda racing even though our guide had instructed us not to. Jamie just kinda sat near the back of the group watching us almost kill people. Suddenly on a straight stretch near the end of our ride, he shot up to the front, taking us by surprise and settled firmly in first place. From there he was able to hoard the lead till the end and was the first one back at the compound where we returned our vehicles. Well played…

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