Tuesday, October 23, 2007

In the Presence of My Enemies


I'm not sure how many of you are familiar with the story of Gracia and Martin Burnham. Here is a brief excerpt about what happened to them from a review of Gracia's book:
In The Presence of My Enemies tells the story of Martin and Gracia Burnham, a missionary couple who were kidnapped and held for over a year by the Abu Sayyaf, a terrorist group with ties to Osama Bin Laden.

While celebrating their anniversary at a small resort in the Philippines they were snatched away and spent the next year of their lives on the run, fighting to survive in the Philippine jungles. They were constantly faced with incredible hardship and often lacked even the most rudimentary comforts. They were held pending the payment of a large ransom, one which missionary groups will never pay. It was not until the aftermath of September 11 that real progress was made in trying to rescue the Burnhams.
This was an event that was very close to my heart and affected me in a personal way. The Burnhams both went to Calvary Bible College which is here in KC. There were people from my church that personally knew them and when they were abducted in the summer of 2001 it was talked about a lot here in KC. I prayed for them on a daily basis while they were missing for over a year. I will never forget hearing the news that Gracia had made it out alive while Martin had been killed during the rescue. It was a huge deal.

I think it was a year later that Gracia published her book and came and spoke here in KC. I was fortunate enough to get to hear her tell her story and she even autographed my copy of her book. The book is extremely compelling and very moving on so many different levels. It gives you a first hand glimpse of terrorists and what it is like to be a captive at their hands.

I was reminded of all of this Saturday night when the History channel aired a documentary entitled, Stalking Jihad. It was a great program telling the other side of the story of how the CIA was involved in helping the Philippine military rescue the Burnhams and the other innocent people the Abu Sayyaf had kidnapped. It is sad how much the Philippine government limited our involvement, otherwise I think they probably could've been rescued sooner and perhaps Martin would've escaped alive.

What I did find interesting was that 9/11 actually helped speed up their rescue rather than dampen the rescue efforts.

For so many different reasons I highly recommend that you read Gracia's book, In the Presence of My Enemies and watch the History channel's, Stalking Jihad. I'm hoping that the History Channel re-airs it because I didn't get to see the whole thing and Netflix doesn't have it.

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