“Minot?? How do you pronounce that? Wait, where is Minot? North Dakota?!?! That’s like right up by Canada, right? You know it gets cold up there? Like super/don’t want to go outside for half the year/your eyelashes freeze together/plug your car in cold?!?!”
As I prepared to move from my last call at an inner-city church in Cincinnati, OH, these were the types of comments I heard from family, friends, acquaintances, etc. As much as I love snow and Christmastime and getting all cozy, the comments were a bit daunting. I love sunshine and frolicking outside in nature. Going from a city of close to 300,000 people to a city with around 50,000 people would be a decent adjustment, too!
However, I trusted that if this is something that God was calling me to do He would not only make it happen, but He would provide all that I need. Which He has provided in abundance already! So here I am!
You might be asking yourself— “What actually is a deaconess?” and “What is this call thing she talk about?” Let me tell you!
In the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS), we train women to administer mercy care. To quote from the official LCMS site, “LCMS deaconesses are women who are professional church-workers, trained to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ through works of mercy, spiritual care, and teaching the Christian faith.”
“Deaconess,” from the Greek word diakonos, means “servant.”” Phoebe is considered to be the first deaconess in Scripture. Deaconesses receive calls (or in other words—placements) at congregations, institutions (nursing homes, hospitals, etc.), and missions both stateside and overseas. These calls come from outside the deaconess, are believed to be Holy Spirit-led, and are extended to the deaconess by the congregation, institution, or mission. Through prayer and conversations, the deaconess determines whether or not this is where God is calling her to go. After accepting a call, the deaconess serves as long as she believes God is calling her to serve.
As deaconesses have different gifts and skills, the activities of a deaconess vary greatly. At my most recent call to a church in Cincinnati, a significant part of my ministry was to provide spiritual, emotional, and physical care to individuals experiencing homelessness and others in the community—through counseling, listening, teaching, and connecting people to resources. As I settle into my new call here at the Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch (Ranch), I’ve already experienced how vastly different my duties will be here. I will continue to teach and counsel individuals who have experienced some sort of trauma(s) in their lives, but with a whole different demographic and very different environment.
That being said, I am so excited for this new call and place to serve. I am so blessed and honored to be a part of this team that works to instill hope—both temporal and eternal—and provide healing in mind, body, and soul in the lives of these youth. As I continue in my deaconess call at the Ranch, I look forward to sharing some of our kids’ stories of hope and healing, as well as the challenges and joys of my new call. Watch for future Deaconess Diary entries!
Kelly Jacob is a psychology graduate of Concordia University, NE (2014). She graduated in May 2017 from a dual master’s program and has a Masters of Spiritual Care with a deaconess, Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, certification from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, and a Masters of Social Work from Saint Louis University. She completed her deaconess internship at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, an inner-city church whose primary ministry is serving the community, particularly individuals experiencing homelessness. After completing her internship, Deaconess Kelly served at Prince of Peace for another year.
Deaconess Kelly is passionate about assuring people that God has not abandoned them. "He loves all people, regardless of their life experiences, and desires for them to know and share His love," said Jacob. "I love sharing God's love, hope, and joy with others."