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In the Presence of My Enemies

4.23  ·  Rating Details ·  4,782 Ratings  ·  289 Reviews
Soon after September 11, the news media stepped up its coverage of the plight of Martin and Gracia Burnham, the missionary couple captured and held hostage in the Philippine jungle by terrorists with ties to Osama Bin Laden. After a year of captivity, and a violent rescue that resulted in Martin's death, the world watched Gracia Burnham return home in June 2002 with a bull ...more
Paperback, 340 pages
Published March 22nd 2004 by Living Books (first published 2003)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Nancy Kennedy
Feb 03, 2012 Nancy Kennedy rated it it was amazing
I picked up this book after reading the story of a missionary kidnapping of 100 years ago, The Miss Stone Affair: America's First Modern Hostage Crisis. The central question at the heart of both crises is this: Should a ransom be paid for a hostage's release?

It's a shame that this is the central theme of Gracia Burnham's book. From the outset, she knew that her mission's policy was not to pay a ransom, as it might only encourage more kidnappings and finance terrorism. She mentions this in the fi
Feb 25, 2015 Northpapers rated it it was ok
I have quite a few reasons to like this book. I grew up in the Philippines, and I had seen the Burnhams and stayed at Aritao where they worked. My mom went to boarding school with Martin Burnham, and our family was actually evacuated from the Philippines due to threats from the terrorist groups in the book. I followed their captivity with quite a bit of interest, and I felt brokenhearted for the family both during and after the events chronicled in their book.

I also did PR for Dean Merrill, who
Jul 12, 2012 Kaishauna rated it really liked it
A story about missionaries being captured, tortured and/or killed is not new. There are many missionaries who live this day in and day out, but it doesn't at all detract from the purpose of God's plan in why it happens. The Burnham's story is incredible, but more than that is the conviction that set in as I read. If all my life's luxuries were stripped away, everything I take for granted and everything I didn't even know I took for granted was stripped away, what kind of person would I be? Would ...more
Tim Byron
Mar 09, 2012 Tim Byron rated it it was ok
The story of the kidnapped Protestant Missionary Couple who were held captive on a Filippino Island for a year should be dynamite. But a cloying pietism and a lack of theological depth manage to take a lot of the drama and potential out of this book. Living in the Philippines when I read this, could have turned it into a page turning thriller for me - but it was a damp squip. Which is quite an achievement since there is ample scope for a fascinating story to be told with important discussions ab ...more
Joel Arnold
Oct 04, 2012 Joel Arnold rated it liked it
Excellent book. My wife read it to me while we traveled and it was hard to stop reading when we arrived. You won't have trouble staying motivated to keep reading. At the end when they are "rescued" you will be crying. A lot.

I also appreciated her honestly throughout—she didn't present herself as a hero or perfectly Christlike all the time. You got an honest window into her struggles and the challenges she grappled with.

My only complaint came in the last chapter. She talks about the fact that so
Jul 26, 2008 Dionne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
This is a compelling true story. Martin and Gracia Burnham were from the KC area so we were constantly paying attention to their plight while they were gone. I got to hear Gracia speak after she published her book and got my book autographed.
Nov 29, 2013 Steph1s rated it it was amazing
I'm still drying my eyes after reading this book.

Gracia provides an honest account of her conflicting emotions, and her frustrations with God during her time as hostage in Philippines jungles. While I can't relate to her experience, I can definitely understand the doubts she experienced. It is wonderful to read how her husband would spiritually bolster her during her darkest days.

The love and respect for her husband shines through her record of their endurance as hostages. It makes the conclusi
May 12, 2013 Shania rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed reading the riveting and inspiring book In the Presence of My Enemies. I decided to read this book because I heard a lot about their experience from my parents, peers, and other adults. My favorite part of this book was when Mrs. Gracia Burnham was rescued and reunited with her family. I was also inspired that Mrs. Burnham kept on going with her life despite all the hardships she endured and desired to continue to serve God. In the Presence of My Enemies, has had a huge impact o ...more
Jun 24, 2012 Melanie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this book as a freebie for my Kindle and thought it would be interesting. I was partially wrong. I was riveted. When Gracia and Martin Burnham were going through this experience (kidnapping by an Islamic terrorist sect), I was graduating from college and starting veterinary school: I was blissfully unaware of what they were going through. The only real exposure I had to the world outside of my small corner was the tragedy of 9/11/01 where I joined in grieving with the rest of America and ...more
Aug 22, 2012 Paul rated it really liked it
At first I was a bit reticent to get into this book, expecting "just another missionary story." But as the hostage situation went on and on, I could not help but to be drawn into the drama. When I thought they surely could go no further, the plot thickened. Something far deeper and more significant that the "Stockholm syndrome" developed as the Burnhams displayed a godly love for their captors as well as clear perspectives with respect to the evil of their actions. Although compassion was shown ...more
Mar 17, 2012 Karensue rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Can faith, hope, and love survive a year of terror?

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 fa
Eric Holmlund
In the Presence of My Enemies is Gracia Burnham's heatbreaking yet uplifting memoir reflecting on her time as an Abu Sayyaf hostage in the Philippines in the early 2000's. Gracia and her husband Martin were taken as hostages in the name of jihad. As Americans, they are kept as the prime bargaining chip in ransom negotiations between the Islamic extreamist known as the Abu Sayyaf. The Burnham's rely on their faith to carry them during their time in captivity. It is a remarkable of story of perser ...more
Faith Spinks
This is the sort of book where it feels a little strange to say you enjoyed reading it since it is the real life story of a couple taken hostage in the Phillippines and held hostage for a year. The story is told by Gracia Burnham of not just the time of their captivity but also their life leading up to it and then a return to 'normal' life.

I knew it was likely to be a harrowing read in places when I picked it up but decided it was well worth it. The story is really well told and the courage and
Aug 09, 2016 Allison rated it it was ok
For such an intriguing story, this book was quite a bore.
Aug 14, 2016 Nellie rated it it was amazing
I started reading t his book after my daughter's bought a copy. I found it depressing. I would pick it up over the years. I would read a page or two and set it down.

Garcia spoke at Liberty University's Convocation when my daughter was a student. I would wake up to watch it via live streaming. I was riveted by her account. I tried to read the book again but set it down.

it was after I was able to hear her speak at a church in Oshkosh on 7/27 was I motivated to finish reading the book. Garcia had s
Greg Dill
Sep 19, 2015 Greg Dill rated it liked it
Overall this was a good read. Tells of the harrowing story of Martin and Gracia Burnham's kidnapping in the jungles of The Philippines by the Abu Sayaaf, an al Quaeda terrorist cell. Told from the perspective of Gracia Burnham who survived the hostage-for-ransom ordeal. Through all the tough times the Burnhams kept their faith and relied on God's daily provisions. On numerous occasions their lives were in limbo in firefights between the Abu Sayaaf and the Philippine Army. Gracia tells of her man ...more
Dane Cramer
I listened to the audio book. I felt the narrator did a good job with the book - providing no distraction from the story itself.

I've read and listened to many missionary stories. They are a favorite genre of mine. For some reason I skipped over downloading this book several times - though I never knew why. Eventually, I needed something to listen to and so I bought it.

In this book, Martin and Gracia Burnham are Christian missionaries who get kidnapped and held for ransom. For about a year they a
Aug 18, 2008 Robin rated it liked it
Although not exquisitely written, this is an amazing story of one woman's missionary life, thwarted by Muslim extremists who kidnapped her and her husband in the Philippines. In the end, Gracia is rescued but her husband is killed. I appreciated the author's honesty and strength, not to mention her faithfulness in the face of trial. The book also offers insight into the minds of Islamic terrorists, which I found both fascinating and disturbing.
Feb 28, 2016 Victoria rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-ve-read
Gracia Burnham gives an exclusively detailed look on what life alongside her husband Martin as captives for over a year by the Filipino Muslims was like. She shares about the training received as a New Tribes Missions missionary with her pilot husband. She talks about how they met and became a couple. She shares about homeschooling their children while on the mission field and how much they enjoyed living in the Philippines for fifteen years.

I was never bored while reading this and enjoyed learn
Jan 18, 2013 Amanda rated it it was amazing
Such a gripping and real story. I was struck by the strength of their marriage, the way they saw their own sin while in captivity and let the LORD change their hearts in the midst of deep suffering. At the end, I sobbed and sobbed: partly for what was lost, but more for what was gained for the Kingdom of God.
Jul 14, 2015 Keith rated it liked it
In the Presence of My Enemies is generally well written and an easy read. It is a narrative story of the Burnham's struggles as captives of Islamic guerrillas in the Philippine jungles while waiting for their ransom to be paid. Some of the story is high adventure and other parts are quite slow but the plot as a whole paints a complete picture. My biggest complaint about the story is the recurring emotionalism of Gracia. I can certainly see that the conditions would be emotionally trying but, as ...more
Aug 10, 2014 Donna rated it really liked it
This is the true story of Gracia & Martin Burnham as told by Gracia of their capture by terrorists tied to Osama Bin Ladin. They were held in captivity for over a year before finally being rescued. The Burnams were missionaries in the Phillipines and were captured while on vacation. Their story is an amazing testimony of how even in the most horrific circumstances, they held on to their faith as they fought to survive. Having said that, there were times that I felt so angry I had to take a b ...more
May 28, 2016 Jessica rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2016
This was painful to read. All she did was whine and then give thanks, then whine some more.
I guess I wasn't really swayed by her preaching since I'm not a believer and don't attribute everything that happens to a divine being.
I'm sorry they went through what they went through, especially about what happened to her husband, but I felt like this book could've been written a little better so it touches not just the Christians, but also non believers like me.
All it did was point out how insuffera
May 22, 2014 Danielle rated it really liked it
A range of emotions reading this story. I cried. I got mad. And everything in between. I'm not sure how people can do the terrible things they do in the name of religion. Anyhow, I admired the faith the Burnhams had to get them through their year of captivity. I was so disappointed that Martin didn't make it out alive. I can't imagine going through all that with your husband only to have him killed just moments before reaching freedom. I would've gone on and on more about my devastation in losin ...more
Mar 23, 2014 Sherri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography-ish
This harrowing situation for Martin and Gracia Burnham was riveting. It's told from her memory about their over year-long captivity by the rebel jihadist Phillipine sect. They were New Tribes Missions missionaries with Martin being a pilot.

I felt the ending went a little too fast and am waiting to read her next Learn to Fly Again.

The faith this couple had throughout is amazing and a lesson to us. Could we keep the faith through all they went through.

Spoiler alert

I'm hoping in her follow up book
Mar 12, 2012 Cynthia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
It is my second time for this book. This book goes in the life-changing category.
May 23, 2015 SAP rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An amazing true story that will teach you about God's grace and mercy

God brings joy from sorrow. He uses the tough times in our lives to purge the dross from us and make us shine for Him. Martin and Gracias testimony extends far beyond their ministry in the Philippines, it extends to each and every person who takes the time to read this book. It's an amazing story and one we can all learn a lot from. Enjoyed the update section as well. God is good...all the time. I enjoyed the audio book as well
Plot: A
Writing: A
Vocabulary: B
Level: Easy
Rating: R (kidnapping, terrorism, torture, neglect, shoot-outs, tropical illnesses, rape, theft, cronyism, corruption, military incompetence, death)
Worldview: Jesus is good, and because He's good He allows people to make their own decisions rather than forcing them to do what He wants, which leads to bad things happening to people He loves. Every person is separated from God by sin. When you commit your life to Jesus, you might die for that commitment.

Oct 09, 2013 Jimmy added it
As we see the increase of Islamic terrorism worldwide, this story needs to be heard more than ever. It is a powerful story of forgiveness and of God’s grace and mercy. The book is an account of Martin and Gracia Burnham, who were missionaries in the Philippines that were captured by Muslim radicals in 2001 and held as hostages in the jungle for over a year. The story is told by Gracia, who survived the ordeal. Her husband was killed during the raid by the Armed Forces of the Philippines that fin ...more
Jul 10, 2013 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Martin and Gracia (she says Gray-sha) Burnham were serving as missionaries in the Philippines with New Tribes Mission from 1987 to 2001. Martin was a pilot and Gracia spent much of the time at the radio controls. In May 2001, Gracia planned an overnight get-away for their anniversary at a resort on one of the other islands. In the pre-dawn hours of May 27, men connected with the terror group Abu-Sayyaf stormed into their room and others taking hostages. The Burnhams spent the next year wanderin ...more
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“We learned that the fruit of the Spirit could not be drummed up by ourselves. We couldn’t force joyfulness or loving action or a peaceful mind. The Holy Spirit had to grow those things within us.” 1 likes
“People in today’s world, whether Muslim or not, will not pay attention to Christians because we can explain our theology in crystal-clear terms. They will not esteem us because we give to charity or maintain a positive outlook on life. What will impress them is genuine love in our hearts.” 0 likes
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