Preparing for Victory
The Burnham's Testimony
"This came from good friends of ours who are serving as New Tribes missionaries -- thought you would be glad to have this also." William Plenge
Gracia shared how God worked miraculously in and through their lives this last year:
Martin was highly respected by every one of the Abu Sayyaf members. 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 Abu Sayyaf and other hostages. Martin was chained to a tree at night by an Abu Sayyaf 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 Abu Sayyaf 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 shared the truth of Christ with Sabaya.
God graciously sustained both of 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 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 Ps. 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, thank God for His faithfulness and then laid down for a nap. They were awakened by a fire fight 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 the 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.
"I will give you the treasures of darkness
And hidden riches of secret places,
That you may know that I, the Lord,
Who call you by your name,
Am the God of Israel."
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