June 21, 2009 - Christie Nelson

On its twentieth anniversary in 2000, Concordia Deaconess Conference—Lutheran Church-Missouri (CDC) presented the Phoebe Award to Deaconess Christie Nelson in recognition of her contribution to diaconal ministry.

Christie was born in Rushville, Indiana on February 27, 1957, and grew up in the small country town of Arlington, Indiana, but was blessed with a passion for bringing God’s love to the people of other nations.   Before training as a deaconess, Christie served as a lay missionary for LCMS World Mission, at Cristo El Salvador Lutheran Church and School, Puerto Barrios, Guatemala (1982-1987).   There her responsibilities included teaching correspondence school to missionary children, teaching K-3rd grade and Jr. Hi ESL, working weekly with the 60+ member youth group, teaching basic music skills, facilitating the women's ministry, and caring for the sick, shut-in, and dying.  And this ministry was all in Spanish!

After receiving her deaconess diploma with an M.A. in Theology and Christian Education from Concordia University Chicago, Christie was consecrated as a deaconess on December 2, 1990, at Zion Lutheran Church, Decatur, Indiana.  From 1991-2006, she served as an “Evangelistic Deaconess Missionary” for LCMS World Mission and Concordia Welfare and Education Foundation – Thailand in Bangkok, Thailand.

While in Thailand, Christie’s varied roles and positions included Field Coordinator  (2004-06); Tsunami Relief  (2005-06); Director of Christian Education (Concordia Day Care Center, Bangna Slum, 1998-2006); Director of Christian Outreach (Bangna Slum, 2001-05); Children’s Materials Translation Project Supervisor (2004-06); ESL Teacher (1993-2006); Bible Study leader/pre-baptism and confirmation preparation (1992-2006); Women’s Ministry Leader (1998-2004); Church Planting and Development Team (1998-2006); Director of House of Living Water (program for disadvantaged and troubled teens, 1992-2000); Board Member for Concordia Welfare and Education Foundation – Thailand, and Thailand Mission Planning and Decision-making Team (both 1997-2006).

Most recently, Christie worked for the Texas District (LCMS) as a Spiritual Care Director at Bokenkamp Children's Shelter, Corpus Christi, TX (2007-09).  Bokenkamp Children's Shelter is a program of Lutheran Social Services of the South, providing temporary shelter and medical, emotional, and spiritual care for unaccompanied alien teens who are caught in the border areas of the US.

When asked about her diaconal work, Christie told me, “The Lord always seems to have had me involved in human care ministries of one type or another.  He's used me as someone children and adults of all ages could lean on and count on for spiritual support and guidance.  Two Bible verses that I love to use in passing comfort on to people are Phil. 4:13 and Rom. 8:28:  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me and All things work together for the good of those who love Him and who are called according to His purpose.  These two passages have always brought comfort, peace, and strength to me personally. Another thing I like to say is, God never makes a mistake.  He is always with and for you whether you can make sense out of it or not, and one day when you look back, you will see that indeed God had you in mind and in His heart all the time.  It's a joy to see how God indeed works all things out for the good of those who love Him and who are called according to His purpose.  And it's a great joy, too, to watch people do, endure, and overcome things or situations that they never thought possible simply because they placed their trust in God's enabling power to strengthen them beyond their wildest imaginations!”