Stories from the Global Church

Here you will find stories from the global church by ELCA global missionaries, scholars, and churchwide staff, brought to you by the ELCA Global Church Sponsorship team.

Breaking ground in Suriname

Posted on August 20, 2011 by Hand In Hand

The Rev. Kevin Jacobson is a parish pastor and leadership developer in the Evangelical Lutheran church in Suriname. To support him, or another of the ELCA’s nearly 250 missionaries, go to

Anna Marie Baal took the first shovel of dirt.

Anna Marie Baal took the first shovel of dirt.

I was very happy with the turn out at the ground-breaking ceremony of the new Paulus Church in Lelydorp,  Suriname, on Sunday, August 15. About 75 people were in attendance.

We were guided by St. Paul’s words to the Ephesians:

“In Christ the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling-place for God.”

Anna Marie Baal, 86, took the first shovel of dirt. She and her family donated the land about 40 years ago with the current existing building on it. That building has been renovated and will be used as a Sunday school and fellowship hall.  She is so excited to be having a new church built on the property.

Every family in attendance was given a red candle and asked to take it home, light it and say a prayer for the church every Sunday between now and when the building is completed.  Our hope and prayer is that it will be done this year by November 15, when the Evangelical Lutheran Church in
Suriname celebrates its 270th anniversary.

Pastor Kevin L. Jacobson
St. Jozefstraat #16
Paramaribo, Suriname

Signs of the resurrection in Suriname

Posted on May 31, 2011 by Hand In Hand

The Rev. Kevin Jacobson is an ELCA missionary in Paramaribo, Suriname.

The confirmation class of 2011

The confirmation class of 2011

May 2011
A Blessed Easter Season — it continues — to you!

Shortly before Easter I read an article by Tomas Munita on The New York Times website.  He described the colorful minibuses on the streets of Paramaribo, Suriname. The minibuses have hand-painted illustrations of the heroes, outlaws, religious temples and musical subcultures of this South American city.

On that same day I was sitting on the side of the road in Paramaribo waiting for a friend.  Of course I was watching the buses go by, but this time I was paying closer attention to what was written on each one.  I saw “Give God all the glory!” “Only God can move me — oh yeah and the mountains!”  “Give God a chance.”

Because it was Holy Week, after some moments my attention turned to another question.  I asked myself, “How might these buses relate to the resurrection?”  That seemed to be a stretch but it got me thinking about Easter.  And soon my question was “What are the signs of resurrection in Suriname?”  When growing up in Wisconsin the signs of spring were the symbols of Christ’s resurrection. But what about in the tropics, in Paramaribo where every day it is hot and humid?

Resurrection — perhaps it could mean the opportunity to sit by the road and observe closely what is passing by?  Could it be that newly painted bus? Could it be the excitement in the voices of the six travelers just getting their U.S. visas to travel with me for 16 days through the Florida-Bahamas Synod and visiting missionary sponsoring congregations and the synod assembly? Could it be in the African mother who wipes off the tears of her daughter after she has just fallen on the curb? Could it be in the bright-red fire lobi, hibiscus, frangipani, inpatients, buttercups that are everywhere all the time in Suriname? Could it be in the three children that were baptized and the 10 students that were confirmed in April in the Lutheran Church? Could it be in the rhythms and singing of the “Brothers in Christ” at our worship services? Could it be in the ice cream cone that I just consumed?

Well now I may be stretching the meaning of resurrection just a little bit. However, all these things bring a smile to my face, lighten up my day and bring freshness in the air I am breathing. It is in the everyday sights, sounds, smells and, yes, tastes that I often take for granted but are the signs of the story of Christ’s resurrection in Suriname.

Thank God for them, thank God for you.

Pr. Kevin L. Jacobson
ELCA missionary to Suriname

Glimpses of ministry in Suriname

Posted on November 16, 2010 by Hand In Hand

Hello friends of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Suriname!

Thank you for sharing your time, talents and gifts with us!  I created this video with local music for you.  Please enjoy these glimpses of our ministry, including Reformation Day activities. I look forward to continuing our work together in God’s mission.

The Rev. Kevin Jacobsen is an ELCA missionary in Suriname.

Fall 2010 Hand in Hand newsletter online and in print

Posted on July 26, 2010 by Hand In Hand

Find the issue and its related bulletin inserts online at E-mail to request distribution copies.

The Fall 2010 issue of the Hand in Hand newsletter is here!  Visit to find the issue and the related bulletin inserts, just right to reproduce in newsletters and bulletins.  To request a single copy for yourself or multiple copies to distribute, send your address to  

Side A 

Jesus said, “Let the little children come unto me,” is a reflection by ELCA missionary Mary Kuck (Jamaica).  Bulletin insert available

Meet Richard Young: ELCA Missionary, Pastor, Physician (Guyana). Bulletin insert available

Side B

“I need to polish the swan!”  Pastor Twila Shock’s column takes us to Suriname, introduces us to Helloues Aveloo’s congregation revitalization contribution, and invites us to “do one thing” that will make a world of difference:  become an ELCA missionary covenant sponsorBulletin insert available

Learn how to participate in Operation Thanks-Giving (OT-G2) and offer your own “random acts of thanks-giving.”  Two bulletin inserts are available, including a “handy”  thanks-giving card pattern.  Visit to find OT-G2 stories, pictures, and how-to information.

Report from the road

Posted on March 10, 2010 by Hand In Hand

Why did the cayman cross the road?

The Rev. Twila Schock, ELCA Global Mission Support director, shares this “on the road” experience while traveling with the Rev. Kevin Jacobson, ELCA missionary serving in Suriname:
“Kevin was driving me cross-country to the border between Suriname and Guyana, where I was to cross the river to meet missionary [Dr.] Dick Young. Enroute, we came across this cayman. Whatever reason the cayman had for crossing the road, s/he apparently didn’t cross quickly enough.”
Twila, now in Guyana, reports that she has collected great stories from the trip and can’t wait to begin sharing them with sponsors.

Giving thanks: Pr. Kevin Jacobson

Posted on November 7, 2009 by Twila Schock

This is the next in a series of “Give thanks!” moments offered by ELCA missionaries and sponsors. Learn more about Operation Thanks-Giving at–Pr. Twila Schock.

Kevin Jacobson (Suriname) writes: “My first Thanksgiving in Suriname was in 2008. The United States Ambassador invited all employees of the US Embassy, Peace Corps offices and other Americans to her home for a Thanksgiving feast.  She, with much assistance from others, cooked a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. It was a blessing to spend the day in her beautiful home along the Suriname River with 200 other people.  With the temperature soaring to nearly 100 degrees, the Ambassador’s pool offered its own refreshment. 

The Ambassador asked me if I would be willing to give grace before the meal. Knowing that the group gathering were people of many faiths and traditions I chose to read Chief Seattle’s prayer. Since that day I have been asked by people of many faiths who were in attendance to lead an opening prayer for various occasions around the city. I give thanks to all wonderful past leaders like Chief Seattle who through their vision and wisdom continue to open the doors for those of us and future generations.

I also give thanks to Any Inkt, the 18 year old son of the caretaker of Martin Luther Church in the center of Paramaribo, for driving me around the city and the streets so that I could learn how to safely navigate them. ”

JacobsonThe Rev. Kevin Jacobson (left) is an ELCA missionary serving in Suriname.  He works in parish ministry and leadership development. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Suriname has four congregations and about 4,000 members. With historical ties to the Netherlands, the people of this country in the northern part of South America speak Dutch.

Sunday in Suriname quiz

Posted on October 1, 2009 by Hand In Hand

Resurrection Lutheran Church (RLC), Chicago, Illinois, sponsors ELCA missionary Kevin Jacobson who serves in Suriname.  The quiz below was prepared for RLC’s Sunday in Suriname mission event.    Thanks to the Rev. Kim Beckman for sharing this quiz!–Sue Edison-Swift
Sunday in Suriname Quiz

Answers:  1) A (September);  2)B; 3)C; 4)A; 5)C; 6)D; 7)A; 8)C; 9)B; 10)D
Learn more about Suriname by visiting and then clicking on “Latin America and Caribbean” and “Suriname.”   Learn more about how you can sponsor an ELCA missionary by visiting or e-mail