In the Presence of My Enemies

I just finished reading Gracia Burnham’s book, “In the Presence of My Enemies.” She and her husband, Martin, were New Tribes missionaries serving in the Philippines. The Burnhams were spending a much needed holiday away for their anniversary in May 2001.  In the middle of the night, they were kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf, a Muslim terrorist organization with connections to Al Qaida.  They spent the next year as captives in the jungle, as their captors hoped to get a large ransom for their reward.

The book tells the riveting story of the hardships of living on the run in the jungle with no bed or hot water or electricity or many of the basics of life.  Furthermore, they were constantly lacking food and ducking for cover in the crossfire of many gun battles between the terrorists and Armed Forces of the Philippines.   I really couldn’t put it down.

The Burnhams are a great illustration of leaving all for the sake of Christ. They had left all behind to serve those in the Philippines. In their captivity, they were forced to leave all behind, including their three children. One of my favorite quotes is this:  “I realized that when everything is stripped away from you and you have nothing, you find out what you really are down deep inside. What I was starting to see was not pretty.”  That’s why we need Christ.

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