Ray Norman had spent years as a development worker in Muslim countries without incident, until one day while out with his 10 year old daughter they came face to face with a gunman.

The gunman fired multiple shots at Ray and his daughter, Hannah, at point-blank range. Even though both suffered bullet wounds, all Ray could think about was saving his daughter’s life. He recalls his desperate prayers,

“I really cried out to the Lord, I said ‘Lord, when we came to this country, my wife and I, we had laid our lives on the altar, and if you require our lives then so be it,’ but I did say that I didn’t think that should include by daughter.”

“I said, ‘Lord my daughter has her own life to live out, her own calling to follow,’ and I just said, ‘Lord please spare my daughter.’ That was my plea.”

Miraculously, they both survived and the results of Hannah’s X-rays were shocking.

“We were able to get her to a functioning X-ray machine in the town and when the X-ray came out, Hannah was still cognizant, she was still alert. Amazingly, there were no bullets lodged in her lungs or her chest, but we saw a bullet down by her waist. As we rummaged around on the folds of her dress we found a bullet.

“What had happened was that when the bullet had gone through the window, then my arm, it had slowed down sufficiently so that when it hit her chest, the bullet actually then bounced off of her sternum and slid across her rib cage and came out in her armpit. So she was not, mortally wounded; she was seriously wounded, but the bullet had not penetrated her lungs or her heart.”

Relieved that his daughter was going to survive, they still needed to travel to a safer location.

“You can just imagine my relief. But she was still seriously wounded; there was the chance of hemorrhaging in her lungs from the bullet’s impact, and they still needed to evacuate her, so an ambulatory plane was flown in that night and we were both airlifted to France, to Paris late that night.”

He tells about reuniting with his wife in Paris,

“My wife is French, and she was visiting her parents, taking care of some business in France, so when we arrived in France, she took the train to Paris and met up with us at the Children’s Hospital where my daughter was admitted. Hannah underwent some reconstructive surgery and was kept there for about a week, and then discharged.”

Ray and his wife knew that sharing the gospel in an Islamic republic would be dangerous, but they remained obedient to the call on their lives. Ray expresses the condition of his heart after the incident,

“What weighed on my heart was we knew that God and called us there, and World Vision‘s work was very unique. While you cannot witness openly in an Islamic republic, we were there working with the most vulnerable communities, trying to live out our lives in some quiet way, that would provoke the questions for which ‘Jesus is the answer.’

Ray shares more details in his book,  .

Highlight: Brush with terror

A dangerous calling

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