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Archive for October 11th, 2013

In the Presence of my Enemies Gracia Burnham

 Available on Amazon

As we see the increase of Islamic terrorism worldwide, this story needs to be heard more than ever. It is a powerful story of forgiveness and of God’s grace and mercy. The book is an account of Martin and Gracia Burnham, who were missionaries in the Philippines that were captured by Muslim radicals in 2001 and held as hostages in the jungle for over a year. The story is told by Gracia, who survived the ordeal. Her husband was killed during the raid by the Armed Forces of the Philippines that finally freed (and for some, killed) the hostages. Between the time of her capture and the final liberation by the military, the Burnham has gone through seventeen firefights and countless other artillery shelling and terrible ordeals with the jungle. I was drawn by Gracia’s honesty of her shortcomings and struggle during her journey. She was honest in the book of how she felt, including her feeling that God has betrayed her and how she finally coped with the kidnapping. She was also honest about how she felt about the terrorist, and quite understandably. But perhaps most disturbing was her honest portrayal of what drove Abu Sayyaf, the terrorist group that kidnapped her and her husband. It is a frightening ideology of hate and readers but this will come at no surprise for those familiar with the ideology of Al Qaeda and jihad. Although the topic is sobering, the book is by no means hopeless, for as the book progresses you will see the faith of Martin and Gracia grow and being lived out of what it means to bless your enemies. The book also manages to have some funny moments with Gracia’s sense of humor coming out in the book and at times her sarcasm towards the irony around her. You will laugh—and you will cry. Readers will likely be tearful of the moment in the book when her husband is killed—and her final rescue. The book also has a lengthy account of her time after the hostage situation, and how the Lord has worked through this event. An excellent book that I totally recommend, a beautiful testimony of the Gospel applied and a moving account of what it means to be a Christian—even in the presence of one’s enemy.

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