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..
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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