In the Presence of My Enemies {Giveaway}

by Angie Washington on February 19, 2013

I am excited to send these out!

You can win one of 3 hardcover books sent to ANYWHERE in the world!

How far does your forgiveness reach? That was the question pulsating in my heart as I read the harrowing true story of Gracia and Martin Burnham, ‘In the Presence of My Enemies’. During my first year in Bolivia, Gracia became a widow after 17 years of serving the Lord alongside her husband in the Philippines. He lost his life as a victim of brutal gunfire after a year in captivity at the hands of kidnappers.

Gracia tells the story of what that year was like, of her husband’s death, and of the redeeming grace of God that allows her to continue to minister to people who need Christ’s forgiveness. The following excerpt addresses the searing question: Why?

Because the Abu Sayyaf — and all of us — still retain the power of personal choice, the option of standing stubbornly against the will of God. And that obstinate stance is, apparently, something an almighty God is not willing to bulldoze. Of course, he could have fired heavenly lasers into the brains of Janjalani and Musab and Sabaya, forcing them to wake up one morning and say, “Okay, Martin and Gracia, this has been long enough. Feel free to hike off whenever you like.” But that would have made them puppets instead of independent human beings with free will of their own, for which they will be eternally responsible.

A bit of author background from the website ‘Martin and Gracia Burnham Foundation

Gracia Burnham is the widow of Martin Burnham and the mother of Jeff, Mindy and Zach.

For 17 years she and Martin served with New Tribes Mission in the Philippines where Martin was a jungle pilot delivering mail, supplies and encouragement to other missionaries and transporting sick and injured patients to medical facilities. Gracia served in various roles supporting the aviation program and also home-schooled their children–all of which were born in the Philippines.

While celebrating their 18th wedding anniversary at Dos Palmas Resort off Palawan Island, the Burnhams were kidnapped on May 27, 2001, by the Abu Sayyaf Group, a militant group of Muslims. They seized several more guests and took them to Basilan Island, an ASG stronghold.

In the ensuing months some of the hostages were killed, but most were set free. From November 2001, only the Burnhams and one other hostage remained in captivity.

During their 376 days of captivity, they faced near starvation, constant exhaustion, frequent gun battles, coldhearted murder-and intense soul-searching about a God who sometimes seemed to have forgotten them.

On June 7, 2002, in a firefight between the Philippine military and the Abu Sayyaf Group, Martin was killed. Gracia was wounded, but was freed.

Since that time Gracia has authored two books, In The Presence Of My Enemies, and To Fly Again. Her oldest son, Jeff, and his wife, Sarah, have accepted an assignment with Flying Mission Services in Botswana, Africa. Mindy is now married to Andy Hedvall, a “missionary kid” from South America. Mindy has completed her course of study at New Tribes Bible Institute in Waukesha, WI and Andy continues in his training there. Zachary is now attending Calvary Bible College in Kansas City. Gracia resides in Rose Hill, Kansas..

You can enter to win by referring someone you know to the A Life Overseas blog, twitter feed, or facebook page. Leave a comment to let us know your chosen method of communication:

  1. Sharing a link of the facebook page
  2. Tweeting something nice using our handle @alifeoverseas or hashtag #alifeoverseas
  3. Promoting A Life Overseas blog on your personal blog
  4. Sending a personal email
  5. Texting a message
  6. Making a phone / skype /Magic Jack /etc. call
  7. Talking about A Life Overseas in real life with a real person

A nice button for your linking leisure:

It will be my privilege to send you one of these books. I really wish everyone reading this could win one. This book is that good! I will pick a winner from the list of comments on this post on Monday evening, February 25th.

EDIT: The drawing is now closed. Congratulations to our winners: Laura Davis, Bonnie Schilling, and Nicky!

– Angie Washington, missionary living in Bolivia, South America

blog: twitter: @atangie work blog: House of Dreams Orphanage

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About Angie Washington

Co-Founder, Editor of this collaborative blog site: A Life Overseas
  • Laura Davis

    i would love to win that book. just reading this post has me teary this morning. thank you for sharing Gracia’s story. i will be sharing shating your blog with a group of women that i work with today at lunch. i think they will enjoy reading it as well.

    • Hi Laura. She has a powerful story. I hope your lunch went well. Thanks for sharing!

  • Joel

    I shared the concrete churches in a bamboo world post all over Facebook, where it got some positive attention. (Derran is a former classmate.) Would love to read the book! If I wasn’t blogging from a somewhat sensitive area, I’d love to promote a life overseas.

    • I am so glad you shared that post all over Facebook, Joel. I appreciate that. We understand the sensitivity. Bless you!

  • tony and amber elswick

    I have been looking at reading this book since it came out, what an amazing story. I have promoted this blog thru facebook, my own blog, twitter, and face to face. I tell anyone who is intersted.

    • Wow, you have really been a great promoter! I appreciate that. Good luck!

  • Bonnie Schilling

    I invited Lori Balam Smith to read your blog and like you on FB today before I even knew there was a contest! This is a great site. Both of our families are preparing to move to Ethiopia to serve the Lord there with different missions. I’d love to get one of these books. 🙂

    • Hi Bonnie. 🙂 How cool that you entered the contest without even knowing it! Ha! That is great. Blessings on all of you as you prepare to go to Ethiopia.

  • Sandy

    My heart goes out to Gracia. I don’t know if I would respond the same if those things had happened to me. My daughter age 25 just died of a heorin overdose on February 7th and I have, by God’s grace, been clinging to Jesus every single day. My heart goes out to all who suffer such loesses as this. 🙁

    • Dear Sandy, may you & your family know the peace of Heaven during this time! Our prayers are with you.

      • Sandy

        Oh thank you so deeply…

    • Nicky

      Sandy, I’m so sorry for your loss. I wish words were a balm. But, I know they are not. May God bring you comfort.

      • Sandy

        Words are a balm. Thank you. Every word ministers to my heart and I share with my other wonderful daughter Sarah, and she appreciates them.

    • Hello Sandy. Thank you for sharing such a tender part of your life here. I pray that you find solace in our Savior’s grace. May your family know peace during this very difficult time.

  • Dear sister Angie,

    As I read through the reference of the author background, I was gripped as I recalled just over 10 years ago of faithfully praying for the Burnham family. (It’s hard to believe it has been over 10 years – seems just like yesterday).

    I remember when I received word that Martin had been killed but Gracia had been “set free”. Initially I was saddened and maybe even questioned why he had not been saved as well. However, I soon found myself rejoicing because I realized that Martin, too, had been “set free”. In my human frailty I initially had failed to realize that “to die is to gain”.

    Although Gracia was “set free” from her captors that day, I can only imagine the journey that Gracia has had to travel to know true freedom through the power of forgiveness. Gracia & Martin (along with the many countless millions who have sacrificed for the Gospel to go forth) are my heroes!

    I have shared this blog on my facebook, twitter, pinterest and blog account and would be thrilled to receive a copy of Gracia’s amazing story. Thanks for sharing, reading our comments and considering me for this book.

    Many blessings,
    Jenn McDuffie

    • Dear Jenn,

      Yes, it does not feel like that long ago. Thank you for all the wonderful publicity! It is my pleasure to include you in the drawing. This is fun!

      Many blessings to you as well,

  • I remember praying a lot for them when it was all going on. Amazing how God has healed the kids to the point of going back overseas…glory to God.

    • Yes, Andrea! That is how I feel too. The heritage of their sweet children so very much involved in serving and reaching out in spite of all that transpired might be the greatest part of the whole story, in my opinion.

  • I read this book last year and loved it. I found myself asking over and over, “Could I have responded that way?” Gracia shares a brutally honest account of their struggles and some supernatural stuff that could only be the hand of God. Her strength is truly inspirational. The winners of these copies will not be disappointed!!

  • i would love to receive one of these..i will be tweeting to refer this site…as a missionary in nicaragua, it has been a blessing to me more than once.

    • Thanks for the tweet love Sarah 🙂 I am happy to know you have been blessed. ¡Que Dios les bendiga en la preciosa tierra de Nicaragua mis amigos!

  • tupela_damon

    I’ve recommended this site on my Facebook page…and not just because I’d like to win one of these books, but because I’ve really appreciated its relevance to the issues we face & struggle with every day. Thanks!

    • That is really wonderful to hear! I am glad that you are part of the conversation. Let’s keep growing together.

  • Jessica P

    I’ve recommended this to several ladies in the M Ministry or who are on the field. Thanks for a great blog! 🙂

    • Jessica, that is so great. I am glad to have you along here at A Life Overseas. Your recommendations are much appreciated.

  • Lori Smith

    Shared ya on Facebook! (And excitedly talked about this fantastic page to friends & family.)

    • Wohoo! Spreading the excitement. That is what we like to hear. 🙂

  • Nicky

    My deepest apologies if I shouldn’t have shared my blog address. I thought this was like a “link up”. I still happily share my recommendation of a life over seas and your give away. We were in Kansas city when this happened. It really shook the christian community because they were local. I think it’s easy for those who “stay” to forget that there is so much risk involved in missions. (At least I did) I think it’s why I appreciate so much that you keep it real.

    • You are welcome to share your blog address, Nicky. This is a community her so it is nice for people to have a place to find you if they would like to. It’s all good! 🙂

  • Kelly

    Talked about your blog with a friend over dinner. I appreciate you sharing your heart!

    • Thanks for doing that, Kelly. Face-to-face talks are my favorite kind.

  • I recommended you on FB.

  • Christy

    Recommended you to 2 friends preparing to move overseas via email. Living overseas ourselves, I’ve appreciated much of the conversation going on here. Thanks!

    • Super, Christy! I am glad you are a part of the conversation here. Thank you!

  • Kendal Privette

    i read this book over the summer – simply amazing. two other can’t-believe-this-forgiveness books that i recommend to all humans are: Left to Tell by Immacule Ilibagiza (1994 Rwandan genocide) and Amazing Grace by Grade Fabian (a Wycliffe couple in Papua New Guinea….the husband is killed by a New Guinean. the book is the wife’s journey to forgiveness….) i read a lot of missionary stories – i have them on a “shelf” at good reads….great post here, angie.

    • You are one of the most avid readers I know, Kendal. I love that about you! Thanks for recommending these other books.

  • Ang

    I’ve shared this blog with several of my friends, in person and by email. Thanks!

    • I appreciate you passing along the word about this blog, Ang! Thank you!

  • Bonnie Schilling

    So funny that my name was drawn! And here I am downsizing so we can get ready to leave sometime this year for Ethiopia. But this book looks fascinating, so … thank you! I sent you a Facebook PM.

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