By Mark Ellis
Pioneering radio broadcaster Norm Nelson, whose huge heart took him to some of the most troubled places on earth, passed to his reward on the morning of April 10th, due to complications of dementia.
His beloved wife, Cher, posted the sad news on Facebook immediately after his home going: “And another warrior is welcomed home. At 9:31 PDT our Savior opened his loving arms and took The Rev. Dr. Norman Clark Nelson from his broken body and tortured mind to be forever in the presence of his Lord. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Norm’s resonant voice, as host of Compassion Radio’s distinctive boots-on-the-ground activist ministry, was heard daily across the United States, Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East. Their humanitarian projects have been carried out in 30 countries.
Norm followed another pioneering radio broadcaster, his father, Dr. Wilbur E. Nelson, who founded the Morning Chapel Hour in 1944, “a daily program of songs and thoughts that lift the heart.”
After Wilbur retired, Norm wanted to take the radio program in a new direction, “to involve listeners in responsible servant outreach to the neediest people in the toughest places on earth.”
In keeping with Norm’s adventurous vision, Norm and Cher traveled to over 150 countries, including such “hot spots” as Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Afghanistan, Sudan, Pakistan, Kosovo, Bosnia, Lebanon, Syria and Colombia.
They did on-site reporting during the Kosovo conflict, Pakistan in 2001, the Palestinian Territories during the second Intifada, Afghanistan in 2002 and Iraq in 2003.
Norm became a Christian media ambassador of sorts, interviewing leaders from Hamas and the European Union, and government officials throughout the Middle East.