Lily's Reviews > In the Presence of My Enemies

In the Presence of My Enemies by Gracia Burnham
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's review
Apr 17, 2010

it was amazing

I had this book sitting on my bookshelf for over a year after I had bought it.
The reason it took me so long to open its pages was that the day these people were kidnapped I was in Mindanao an island not far away. The same island that was the Burnham's mission post.
Just a few days earlier I had travelled through their township, not even aware that they had been stationed there for some time.

I remember that I was told about their kidnapping in the morning by the local Christian community I was visiting. They seemed a little tense and my husband and some others had just earlier taken off on motorbikes into a remote area for the day. It wasn't totally safe to go there and they had many rivers to cross as well. Everyone was a little nervous and tried to talk about other things and they insisted that I should stay inside for the rest of the day, it was an incredible hot day.
I guess nobody knew many of the details of their kidnapping and if they may have been plans of other attacks and that's why the decision to keep me away from the public eye was good decision.
We did arrive home safe and sound a week or so later.

So the day I opened the book, I had prayed that fear was not going to take a grip of me while reading it, and it didn't, even though I realized that what had happened to them could be happening to myself or my family one day when we went back.

I found this book very gripping and obviously related very well to everything in it but it also gave me a better understanding of her kidnappers and how they were treated as their hostage.
It's something that many missionaries pray will never happen to them and yet it does. To read a real encounter has possibly helped me get to have some form of understanding of how it may be like, what things you will possibly face even in the worst circumstances.
This book is not suitable to read if you are not ready to read the reality of a kidnapping. Many times I had to leave the book for a day or so since it got intense, but I do think I was more effected than most as I know the people and the area she is describing so well (since it is MY mission field as well I am natuarlly more sensitive to it).
Gracia describes how she met her husband and how they ended up in the Philippines and their mission work before their kidnapping happens, how they struggled through their time in captivity in the jungle until the they were freed and the tragic circumstances that happened during this time and how she was later taken back home to the USA.

I admire Gracia for sharing her incredible story in all its realness and pain and I will always have a special respect for her and her family.
The Burnham's are always a very real reminder of the sacrifice for Christ we sometimes face every time I pass by their old mission post on the dusty highway through Malaybalay.

May God bless Gracia and her family beyond their wildest dreams.

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