NCU Magazine Fall 2019 Issue

Page 18

At 16,572 tons, Africa Mercy is currently the largest civilian hospital ship in the world. CEO Jamie McIntosh ’97 oversees Mercy Ships Canada, which “resources surgery related programs that bring hope and healing to those who have limited access to healthcare” (

Beauty in brokenness

Jamie McIntosh’s journey in humanitarian compassion By Nancy Cawley Zugschwert, ’19 M.A. To know the heart of a man, it may help to know a little bit about his mother. One of thirteen children, Nancy McIntosh, the mother of Mercy Ships Canada CEO Jamie McIntosh ’97, grew up in a desperately poor environment in a small town in southern Ontario. As a four-year-old she was taught to steal clothing to survive, tucking socks from the general store under her dress. The family who ran that same store had a heart for the poor in their community and invited McIntosh’s mother and her siblings to church, but their efforts met with serious resistance. When the store owners drove toward the house to pick up the children for church, “My grandfather would show up drunk with a loaded shotgun and wave them off,” Jamie McIntosh recounted. “Then the people would show up the next week, farther down the lane, to pick up my mom and her sisters and share God’s love with them.” The family even provided clothing for the children. Nancy eventually came to faith in Christ, and felt convicted by the Holy Spirit about stealing from the people who had shown such kindness. She sought to confess. McIntosh explained, “When my mom apologized for stealing from them—all the while they were taking them to church and providing for them—the store owner said, ‘That’s okay sweetie; we knew it all along. Jesus just told us to love you.’”

A legacy of compassion

The compassion his mother experienced became part of a new legacy in the home McIntosh grew up in. “I was raised by parents who were very real, humble, loving Christians who knew they were broken and needed Jesus,” McIntosh said. And his eyes were opened early in life to see himself and others who are broken and in need of a loving Savior.

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The Canadian-born McIntosh, a 2017 Alumni Award winner, came to North Central University after two years at a discipleship training school in California. The book “The Cross and the Switchblade” had touched his heart for ministry to at-risk youth, which drew him to NCU. After graduating from North Central in 1997, McIntosh found himself in youth ministry roles in California, but made his way back to Canada and his first humanitarian-focused role with the child development sponsorship organization Compassion, where he served in a role “traveling around the country raising awareness about God’s love for kids caught up in poverty.” In four years of traveling with Compassion, McIntosh also found himself in places like Haiti and Guatemala, where he was exposed to different forms of injustice that children experienced. “I was just becoming aware—we weren’t really using the term human trafficking yet—and stumbling across these injustices broke my heart and enflamed it at the same time. My wife, Elizabeth, and I wanted to do something more.”

‘I needed to get involved’

The organization he was working for was unable to expand their mission to address some of the issues McIntosh was seeing, and he was burdened that no one seemed to have a solution for every-day, street-level intimidation and violence at a systemic level—until through a providential encounter he learned about International Justice Mission (IJM). “I basically fell in love with what they were doing,” McIntosh recalled. “I knew I needed to get involved.” IJM sought to bring McIntosh on board at their headquarters in Washington, D.C., but instead he proposed a plan to engage Canadians in the mission. Under McIntosh’s leadership, IJM Canada became the first international