Love the Lord your God, listen to His voice and hold fast to Him, for the Lord is your life! Deut. 30:20

Friday, March 12, 2010


Last night I was privileged to listen to Gracia Burnam. Gracia Burnham and her husband Martin were missionaries in the Philippines with the New Tribes Mission for 17 years from 1986.

The couple was among a larger group kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf, an Islamist separatist and terrorist group operating in the southern Philippines, on May 27, 2001. While most of the group were freed after ransoms were paid and several beheaded, the Burnhams were in captivity for a year and a few days. The kidnappers demanded $1,000,000 for their release. A ransom of $330,000 was paid, yet the kidnappers refused to release them. During the eventual rescue attempt by the Philippine Army on June 7, 2002, Martin was killed by three gunshots in the chest and Gracia was wounded in her right leg. Since her release and the death of her husband, Gracia Burnham has returned to the United States with their three children. She has written two books about her experiences, In the Presence of my Enemies and To Fly Again, which I purchased last night.

I took my mom and a couple elderly ladies. They wanted to be there early and it was so neat that Gracia came over to talk to us. She is such a sweet and precious lady!

This was one of the outfits she had with her in the jungle for that year. She used it as a skirt (it cinches closely around the waist) and also to give herself privacy to go to the bathroom, or change. Or served as a blanket when it was chilly.

Often they were so very thirsty or hungry. She sang this song by Nichole Nordeman. She says it makes her cry every time she hears it.

"He tends His flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in His arms
and carries them close to His heart;
He gently leads those that have young."
Isaiah 40:11


Dawn Eshnaur said...

Gracia came to our church as well and spoke. She is friends with one of our members. What a wonderful testimony she gave. I bought both her books as well! I have been finding alot of connections to your church and town....what a small world!
Dawn Eshnaur
Siloam Springs, AR

Nate and Kristin Piston said...

Gracia came and told her story at JBU a few years ago... WOW. Her story really captivated me. glad you got to hear her speak!