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Walking Through Samaria

Aug 18, 2020

Meet Dr. Ray Norman, Global Sector Lead, WASH of World Vision International. The son of medical missionaries, Dr. Norman is married to Hélène, a French national, and they have two adult children, Nathaniel and Hannah. He has spent more than 20 years leading and managing water, agriculture and poverty-reduction programs in developing regions. 


An American raised in rural west Africa, Dr. Norman has spent his life committed to poor and vulnerable communities — and at no time was this more evident than in the aftermath of 9/11. He was living in Mauritania, a Muslim country with a foreboding climate and topography — spiritually and geographically — at the western end of the Sahara Desert. He and Hannah, then 10 years old, were shot at point-blank range by a Muslim extremist. While his pastor and friends advised him to flee and shut down operations, Dr. Norman thrust his Christian witness into overdrive.


“My question after I was shot and people were telling us to shut down was, ‘What kind of witness is this when, all of a sudden, we become vulnerable?’” Dr. Norman says. “Do we shut down our end of the deal? Do we pack our bags and go home, especially in a Muslim country?”


They went home, but just long enough to heal. Not only did they return to Mauritania, they forgave their gun-wielding assailant and advocated to get him freed from prison. Back in the United States now, Dr. Norman and his wife are members of Living Water Community Church in Harrisburg, PA, an inner city; multi-ethnic church that works to bring justice and hope to the urban communities it serves.