Rescued From Death
For 17 years Gracia and Martin Burnham served with New Tribes Mission in the Philippines where Martin was a jungle pilot delivering mail, supplies and encouragement to other missionaries and transporting sick and injured patients to medical facilities. Gracia served in various roles supporting the aviation program and also home-schooled their children–all of which were born in the Philippines.
While celebrating their 18th wedding anniversary at Dos Palmas Resort off Palawan Island, the Burnhams were kidnapped on May 27, 2001, by the Abu Sayyaf Group, a militant group of Muslims. They seized several more guests and took them to Basilan Island, an ASG stronghold.
In the ensuing months some of the hostages were killed, but most were set free. From November 2001, only the Burnhams and one other hostage remained in captivity.
During their 376 days of 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.
On June 7, 2002, in a firefight between the Philippine military and the Abu Sayyaf Group, Martin was killed. Gracia was wounded, but was freed.
In like manner, the Apostles had the same stern ordeal.
Heb 11:37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheep-skins, and goat-skins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
Heb 11:38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
Heb 11:39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:
Heb 11:40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
While all nation rejoiced when Gracia Burnham was freed from 376 days of captivity, likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner which was lost, repenteth and found his way home.
Lk 15:4 What man of you having a hundred sheep, if he loseth one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he findeth it?
Lk 15:5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
Lk 15:6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.
Lk 15:7 I say to you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, who need no repentance.
For the others killed by Abu Sayyaf, God is true, and will not put away from him the memory of their work and love for his name inside or even outside the Church of God.
Mk 9:38 And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out demons in thy name, and he followeth not us; and we forbad him, because he followeth not us.
Mk 9:39 But Jesus said, Forbid him not; for there is no man who shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.
Mk 9:40 For he that is not against us, is on our part.
And God is not the God of the dead but of the living.
Mt 22:32 I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.