Martin Burnham and Gracia biography, were missionaries who served for 17 years in the Philippines. After their marriage, they underwent hard training in the jungle to prepare themselves to serve in jungle parts. Martin, being a pilot missionary, supported other missionaries who were working among the tribals in jungles. He delivered groceries and medicines to missionaries and tribals and transported sick people to medical facilities. He always had a big heart for tribals and missionaries. Gracia supported him well in the work.
On May 29, 2001, while relaxing at a resort after Martin’s one overseas mission, a Muslim militant group called the Abu Sayyaf Group attacked the resort and abducted the missionary couple and few others for ransom. The missionaries were kept captive for more than a year.
During that one year, the couple went through terrible experiences. They suffered starvation, sleeplessness and sickness, witnessed atrocities of militants and experienced gun battles between militants and the military. Amidst suffering, God was their only hope and strength.
At some point, Gracia was so depressed that although she believed that Christ died for her, she felt God doesn’t love her anymore. Martin said to her “either you believe it all or don’t believe it at all.” They encouraged one another to stand firm in the faith.
Martin Burnham and Gracia ministry in Philippines
Finally, on June 7, 2002, in a rescue operation by the Philippine military, wounded Gracia was rescued. But 42 years old Martin died in the gunfight during the rescue. Later, Gracia went back to America and joined her children.
Gracia did not let her painful experiences depress her and move her away from God. But she used those experiences to encourage others who are going through hardships. She founded the Martin and Gracia Burnham Foundation, which supports missionary aviation and tribal mission work around the world. It also focuses on ministries among Muslims. She forgave who abducted them, visited them in jail and shared Christ’s love. Some of them accepted Christ. Gracia believes that this may be God’s great purpose behind their suffering.
Beloved, are you able to see the great purposes of God behind your sufferings?Take away from the article
“Lord, help me not to let my sufferings overcome my faith. Amen!”Word of Prayer
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