Skip to comments.Burnhams' Story
Posted on 06/16/2002 9:55:15 AM PDT by rabidralph
Following is a testimony that Jody Crain, Field Chairman of New Tribes Missions (NTM) in the Philippines, shared in Manila at a local church, Christ Commission Fellowship:
"I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until Christ returns. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation--those good things that are produced in your life by Jesus Christ--for this will bring much glory and praise to God. And I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News, for everyone here, including all the soldiers in the palace guard, knows that I am in chains because of Christ. And because of my imprisonment, many of the Christians here have gained confindece and become more bold in telling other about Christ."
On Friday, God answered our prayers of one year: that Martin and Gracia Burnham would accomplish His purpose for their lives in captivity and that they would be released from the evil hands of the ASG (Abu Sayaf Guerillas), but on different travel schedules to their true home in heaven. Martin is now free, both in body and spirit, and has gone into the presence of the Lover and Savior of his soul. And Gracia is now free, to return to her children, family, friends and co-workers.
By God's amazing grace, Gracia is recovering well from her gunshot wound in her right thigh. She is also doing incredibly well spiritually and emotionally. She shared a little about how God worked miraculously in and through their lives this last year. She said that: Martin was highly respected by every one of the ASG. In the beginning they laughed in disbelief at how he responded to being a captive and their terror, but as time went on they were awed of his confident faith in the Lord Jesus.
Martin always graciously offered to carry things for the ASG and for the other hostages. Martin was chained to a tree at night by an ASG guard. Every night for the whole year, Martin would thank the guard who chained him and wished him a good night. Martin showed the love and compassion of Christ throughout this year of terror, to both his captors and the other hostages.
Martin had lengthy discussions about the claims of Christ with all the ASG guards and hostages. On one occasion he was having a very serious talk with Abu Sabaya about God's judgment on sin and that one day God would judge his sin. Gracia said she was in the background motioning to Martin to "cool it" but Martin very gently continued to share the truth of Christ with Sabaya.
Gracia said that: God graciously sustained them through this difficult trial. One day they were very, very tired from hiking all day. They strung up their hammock, sat in it, and began to talk together. Martin said, "It's been a very hard year, but it has also been a very good year." They began to thank the Lord for everything they could think of. Gracia said, "We thanked the Lord for our hammock, our boots (Deborah [Yap] walked bare footed for the last two months), etc." They thanked God for every believer that they had ever met, that they could remember. God encouraged their hearts with the thought that that person, couple, family or church was probably praying for them.
the Lord brought Psalm 100:2 to Martin's mind, which reads, "Serve the Lord with gladness: come before His presence with singing." The other hostages said that Martin and Gracia sang often. Martin said, "We might not leave this jungle alive, but at least we can leave this world serving the Lord with GLADNESS. We can serve Him right here where we are, and with GLADNESS."
The last thing that they did before Martin's death was to pray together, thanking God for His faithfulness and then laid down for a nap. They were awakened by a firefight between the ASG and the Philippine Scout Rangers, and Martin was ushered into the presence of His loving Lord. Martin and Gracia's obedience and perseverance to the Lord's great commission through this fiery testing of their faith has captured the attention of the world. We thank God for their testimony and anticipate much fruit through their story.
The horrendous ordeal is over, but there are many new challenges that face Gracia, Jeff, Mindy, Zach and the rest of their extended family. We want to express our thanks for your faithful prayers for Martin and Gracia and their family. Please continue to pray for God's purpose to be fulfilled in and through Gracia's life. And, pray that thousands will hear of the wonderful love of Christ, and experience His saving grace through Gracia's testimony of God's faithfulness.
And directly from NTM:
A Martin Burnham Memorial Fund has been established for the benefit of Gracia and their three children. If you wish to contribute, make checks payable to New Tribes Missions with the designation "Martin Burnham Memorial Fund." Mail checks to:
1000 E. First Street
Sanford, FL 32771-1487
Any cards and letters for Gracia should be sent to Gracia Burnham c/o NTM at the same address.