In the Presence of My Enemies


For American missionaries Martin and Gracia Burnham, what started out as a relaxing, once-in-a-lifetime anniversary getaway at an exotic island resort turned into one of the most horrific nightmares imaginable.

Kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf, a terrorist group with ties to Osama bin Laden, the Burnhams were snatched away from friends and family and thrust into a life on the run in the Philippine jungle. During a perilous year in 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.

In this gripping firsthand account of faith, love, and struggle in the face of unnervingly casual brutality, you’ll go behind the scenes of a real-life drama, told in gritty detail by the least likely survivor. You’ll learn about the methods and motives of a radical terrorist group whose members are determined to meet their objectives, no matter what the cost. You’ll be inspired by the ultimately triumphant faith and enduring love of an ordinary couple thrown into extraordinarily difficult circumstances.

Whatever the struggles of your life, you’ll find encouragement and hope in this refreshingly honest story of a yearlong struggle with the darkness that inhabits the human heart.

The issue…is not why an all-powerful God might choose to subject a man to evil, but how a man, with God’s help, responds to evil…The Burnhams, under torturous conditions, befriended their guards, comforted their fellow hostages and kept their faith in a God who seemed to have abandoned them.” USA TODAY

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Gary E. Gilley

This frank, honest account of the kidnapping of missionaries, Martin and Gracia Burnham and Martin’s subsequent death, will break your heart and strengthen your faith. I greatly appreciate Gracia’s willingness to admit her depression and doubt during their ordeal. Yet, through it all the hand of God was evident in their lives. She looks back today with understandable sadness, but without bitterness. To Gracia the Lord is still good although her life has been forever changed. Her example, and that of Martin’s is encouragement to all.

On the last day of Martin’s life he turned to Gracia and said, “I really don’t know why this has happened to us. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Psalm 100 – what it says about serving the Lord with gladness. This may not seem much like serving the Lord, but that’s what we’re doing, you know? We may not leave this jungle alive, but we can leave this world serving the Lord `with gladness’; we can `come before His presence with singing’ (Psalm 100:2).” What a remarkable testimony.

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