Dedication. This book is dedicated to you. If you prayed for Martin and me while we were in captivity—even once— then put your name here. It is because. In the Presence of My Enemies. Book Guide. Chapter 1: Seized at Dawn. How do you think you would react if you were kidnapped in the middle of the night as. In the Presence of My Enemies. Greg Carr. (Greg and Debra Carr served as missionaries in Kampala, Uganda. They now live in Witchita, Kansas.) Resources .
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Request PDF on ResearchGate | On Oct 6, , Fedinand C Paurom and others published Gracia Burnham In the Presence of My Enemies | Academic Article. In the Presence of My Enemies book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. Soon after September 11, the news media stepped up i. In the Presence of My Enemies, the gripping true story of American missionaries Martin and Gracia Burnham's year as hostages in the Philippine jungle.
Before he learned to wield a sling or a sword, he first learned to play a harp. So many of the individual psalms are attributed to him that Charles Spurgeon aptly titled his great devotional commentary on the Psalms, The Treasury of David.
The close connection between worship and warfare is hard to miss in many of them. Consider Psalm 27, for example. He sure sounds like a confident warrior here! Often that verse is quoted to underscore the centrality and the priority of worship. David was a great warrior because he is a great worshipper! He was able to subdue his enemies because his head was lifted up above them.
Because his eyes were focused on the Lord, while he was in the midst of his enemies he was looking down on them from above.
Like David, we too may find ourselves facing a wide array of enemies. As we pointed out earlier, they come at us in the form of circumstances, people, besetting sins, failures, infirmities, the world system, Satan and all his principalities and powers.
Seated with Christ at his right hand, the Lord invites us to rule in the midst of our enemies. God wants us to go on the offensive. But like David, to do that we must become worshippers.
Then we descend into battle against our enemies. Worship is essential because it causes Jesus to get bigger. Not literally, of course, but bigger in our eyes! We see him for who he always is and was and is to come.
And instead of complaining to God about how big our enemies are, we start proclaiming to our enemies how big our God is!
Ruling in the midst of our enemies begins in worship. We adore first, then attack; we worship as priests, then reign as kings.
The ascension means that Jesus is King and humanity is exalted. He is always personally present with us and gives us power to rule over our enemies. We have been called to join Him in his on-going ministry of intercession and in his mission to the world. By reading this book, it made the whole possibility real to me and not just something that happens in certain places and to specific people. In addition, I really liked how Gracia Burnham incorporated Philippine words in the text because it added to the authenticity and it was also fun to learn new words.
Nov 29, 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 I'm still drying my eyes after reading this book.
It makes the conclusion all the sadder to read. Ultimately, Gracia's ability to maintain her faith is amazing. She accepts the negative and tries to forge hope from it. In the final chapter she calls upon Christians to "find ways to defuse the raging resentment and hatred that fuels 'holy war' and introduce a God who does more than demand rituals - he truly loves us. This true story stays with the reader long after the book is finished, and drives us to love one another more.
Jul 23, Paul rated it really liked it. At first I was a bit reticent to get into this book, expecting "just another missionary story. 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 At first I was a bit reticent to get into this book, expecting "just another missionary story. Although compassion was shown for the captors' humanity, the missionary couple never lost sight of their own identity as God's people.
Gracia is very transparent about her struggles with God, but her resilience attests to the power of God to hold on to His children. It is a story that you cannot read without reflecting on the inscrutability and goodness of the purposes of God. Mar 17, Karensue rated it it was amazing Shelves: 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 Can faith, hope, and love survive a year of terror? During a perilous year in 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.
Fascinating read and hard to believe anyone could survive what she did. 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 '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 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 's. It is a remarkable of story of perserverance and faith in a hopeless situation. I would recommend In the Presence of My Enemies to any Christian or person interested in reading about a true hostage story. 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 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 really well told and the courage and grace of this couple just shine throughout - even when they are at their darkest moments and struggles.
A really inspiring read and plenty of food for thought. I have never been 'cool' with missionary work because I'm of the live and let live variety, but I wanted to read this book and figure out how in the world anyone could spend a year as a captive to terrorists.
This book did pretty well at outlaying the struggles of every sort: I do recommend it, despite not sharing the same faith as the writer. Their ordeal is something that needs to be recognized, if only to remind ourselves of our many daily blessings we I have never been 'cool' with missionary work because I'm of the live and let live variety, but I wanted to read this book and figure out how in the world anyone could spend a year as a captive to terrorists.
Their ordeal is something that needs to be recognized, if only to remind ourselves of our many daily blessings we take for granted and those suffering in the world.
This book was captivating and kept me reading hours longer than I should have. While I did enjoy the book, parts of it left me feeling like the emotions portrayed by the author were awkward for that specific trial. I did enjoy reading about an updated Burnham family an This book was captivating and kept me reading hours longer than I should have. I did enjoy reading about an updated Burnham family and they have given so much back to help teach those that caused so much pain in their lives.
Jul 15, Becky Hintz rated it really liked it Shelves: Fast-paced, engrossing, and uncomplicated, this is the perfect summer read or better yet, one to have on hand for the next time you're laid up in bed! Unflinchingly honest, Gracia refuses to paint herself as a hero. Her struggles to control her emotions, to keep faith in a seemingly-silent God, to maintain moral consistency are all open and laid bare. What reader could help but imagine his own sins amplified by such circumstances?
Aug 08, 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.
Mar 16, Rachel rated it it was amazing Shelves: This was my second time reading this excellent, detailed and transparent biography of the Burnham family. This fall, I shared it with my middle school daughters. The tragedy faced by Gracia would be overwhelming, but for the grace God gave both her and Martin throughout their captivity. She shares in such a real and vulnerable way that it convicts my heart anew. Jan 01, 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: Mar 12, Cynthia rated it it was amazing Shelves: It is my second time for this book. This book goes in the life-changing category. Aug 09, Allison rated it it was ok. For such an intriguing story, this book was quite a bore.
On an early morning in late May , an American missionary couple was kidnapped from a Philippine resort where they were celebrating their wedding anniversary. Their captors were the Abu Sayyaf, a pro-militant group that kidnaps unsuspecting tourists and Filipino nationals for ransom money in order to fund their cause--the formation of an Islamic nation in Southern Asia.
Though most of the Abu Sayyaf's hostages are released in a matter of days once the ransom money is obtained, the American cou On an early morning in late May , an American missionary couple was kidnapped from a Philippine resort where they were celebrating their wedding anniversary.
Though most of the Abu Sayyaf's hostages are released in a matter of days once the ransom money is obtained, the American couple, Martin and Gracia Burnham, was eventually held captive for more than a year.
With co-author Dean Merrill, who probably helped smooth over the rough parts of the narrative, Gracia recounts the suddenness by which she and her husband were taken from their hotel room, a hut on stilts above the ocean, along with others from the resort, and immediately held captive on a fishing boat that was used as the getaway.
From there she takes a step back to explain how she and Martin met at a Bible college in Kansas, how they dated and eventually married, Martin's training as a small-plane pilot, and their decision to become missionaries in the Philippines, where Martin had grown up as a child of American missionaries. She then recounts highlights of their first years in the Philippines, where they began a family, and the duties she and Martin performed as missionary aviators.
The rest of the book proceeds in chronological order from the night of their capture. Along the way, most of the hostages are ransomed, some more hostages get captured, several of the hostages manage to escape, and a few unfortunate hostages are killed, either intentionally by the Abu Sayyaf or as innocent victims in gunfights between the Abu Sayyaf and the Philippine National Army.
The Philippine Army is portrayed as sort of a corrupt version of the Keystone cops. On the one hand, they do not seem dedicated to hunting down the terrorists, as they would pursue the Abu Sayyaf into the jungle but just when they had the Abu Sayyaf cornered, they would retreat because, according to Gracia, their shift had ended.
Their idea of a rescue mission is to shoot first and ask questions later. On the other hand, members of the army could be easily bribed by the Abu Sayyaf and would even sell the Abu Sayyaf guns and ammunition. Much of In the Presence of My Enemies tells of the ordeals that the Burnhams faced during their year in captivity.
Constant marches in the jungle and island hopping to elude the army, the poor sanitary and sleeping conditions, and having to go days on end without any real food, are explained over and over again. At times, Gracia's account becomes monotonous until you realize that monotony was a big part of their lives.
For example, September 11, was just another day for them. Anything that was out of the ordinary, from getting a chocolate bar or a small bottle of shampoo from their captors, was treated with extreme delight. On rare occasions, they saw copies of Newsweek , and somehow even got mail from their children, who had by that time been evacuated to Kansas. As Christian missionaries, the Burnhams were instantly at odds with their Islamic captors, and Gracia captures these moments well in the book.
Though the Abu Sayyaf proclaimed to be true followers of the Islamic faith, what the Burnhams faced was the double standard and hypocrisy that their captors applied. Members of the Abu Sayyaf would act in a manner that contradicted their belief, like stealing.
The leaders of the Abu Sayyaf could not understand that the Burnhams thought of them as enemies, figuring that since they were feeding and otherwise "taking care" of their hostages, their cause should be seen through empathetic eyes. Some of the hostages were taught the Koran in an attempt to indoctrinate them to the Islamic religion, and those who converted were treated better than the other hostages.
The very thought of converting was anathema to the Burnhams, however, no matter what the results. Gracia in particular felt that as an American woman she would be subjected to humiliation from the all-male Abu Sayyaf, though based on the interactions in the book, she seemed to be respected.
What kept the Burnhams strong during their time in captivity was their solid Christian faith. Time and again Gracia tells of how she and Martin used prayer as a way of making it through the day, sometimes reciting memorized passages from the Bible, at other times singing hymns.
That makes parts of In the Presence of My Enemies very inspirational to read.
However, there are parts where Gracia sounds self-righteous, especially where she attempts to justify her Christian belief as being superior to the belief of her captors. Fortunately, Gracia also acknowledges her own shortcomings. She admits there were times in the jungle when she questioned why God allowed her and Martin to be captured and held for so long. She felt bad for thinking this and also for not always living up to her ideal as a Christian by becoming envious of the hostages who converted to Islam for living better than her and Martin.
Martin seemed to be her rock, pulling her out of her doubt and depression through his optimism and easy-going nature. After a time, they promised each other to strengthen their Christian faith through their present travail. One of the things they determined to do was to befriend their captors. Although this may look like a case of Stockholm Syndrome, the Burnhams believed they should take to heart Jesus' words to "love your enemy". Through friendly interaction with the Abu Sayyaf, they learned that most of the group were naive young men who did not necessarily agree with the cause for which they were fighting.
Many of them said that their goal was to fight and die in a holy war, which sounded like a pat answer to Gracia, but their second choice was to one day live and work in the United States! I won't say that In the Presence of My Enemies is enthralling reading from start to finish. Parts of the book drag on for me, like the pages of hymns that the authors chose to reprint or the umpteenth time Gracia tells of how they had to eat something like boiled tree bark or walk for miles during the night.
Plus, Gracia has a habit of interrupting her narrative for something trivial, like mentioning something from her childhood.
However, I learned to set aside any harsh critical judgment as I read and let the emotional story tell itself.
This is the first memoir I've read in a while. I don't want to be overly critical, because at times the telling is effective especially toward the end , but unfortunately there's a sense that it could have been much better. My focus here is on the way the story is presented rather than on the subject matter, which ought to be of universal interest. In the right hands, a mediocre subject can be fascinating, but the reverse is also true.
The beginning is certainly gripping: But then, to establish who these folks are, the narrative skips back more than two decades. The author introduces her younger self, describes how she and her husband met and married, and summarizes the next several years of their lives as missionaries in the Philippines. She gives facts but little or no drama, and consequently I had begun to tune out when she returns to their situation as captives of a ragtag band of nutty Islamists. I did rather admire the smooth transition back to the kidnapping.
And there were certainly engaging touches thereafter, such as the moment when Gracia and Martin observe a commercial jet passing overhead and wish they could be on that plane, no matter where it's headed.
But as an example of the kind of writing that hurts her presentation I offer this: Bring her on and let her scream.
The version I'd thought good was very similar to what we have in Gracia's story: It merely described things that happened, with the assumption that readers would react appropriately. My beta readers informed me that they wanted writing that pulled them into the story. Otherwise they likely would not actually experience the emotions involved.
I endeavored to respond to that advice, and assume that this author simply did not receive the same guidance.
On the other hand, she did have a cowriter, who ought to have known how to make this more dramatic. In response to the above quote, my beta readers would surely have asked for a specific instance, in which a sequence of specific thoughts prompted Gracia's tears, whereupon specific captors said or did— what?
And then what? I'm wondering if she said, or thought, something along the lines of "If you don't like me crying you don't have to keep me here. Just let us go, you creeps! Clearly, their captors have some screws loose. They recite the Koran in Arabic, even though they don't understand that language. Translating it into Tagalog would corrupt it, you see. And yet they not only act on their confident grasp of its message but also impose their actions on others.
Islam forbids theft, they assure Gracia, even as they steal Martin's wedding ring and eyeglasses, not to mention stealing the lives of innocent people. Yeah, but all those rules don't apply when you're dealing with infidels. I am stepping in here to supply my own outrage, but Gracia's feelings remain somewhat muted. Oh, she does feel bitterness and a variety of other negative emotions, she assures us, and no one would doubt that. Maybe the problem is that, at the point she is looking back to tell the story, she has gotten past those feelings.
Her faith made that possible. And so she hastens to assure us that the feelings were wrong. I too have dealt with bitterness and a sense of estrangement from God, and unlike Gracia may not have completely gotten past that. So for a story like hers to have maximum value to someone like me, perhaps more granularity in her process would help.
I actually relate to this story rather strongly, because in some respects it resembles my own. Like Martin and Gracia, my family was in what one reviewer called "a long slog," a grueling ordeal in which deliverance often seemed just around the corner and yet again and again hopes were dashed.
Also, in both stories available authority figures were a big disappointment. That's certainly the case here, when the Philippine army is a negotiating with the terrorists on how to divvy up any ransom that's paid and b firing indiscriminately at their group, despite pleas broadcast from the hostages, so that they end up shooting every hostage while allowing the leader and perhaps other terrorists to escape.
The voice actor of the audio version is, I think, a little over the top in injecting her own emotions. At times she adds feeling where it likely is not obvious in the author's words, and I suppose it's a matter of opinion as to whether she gets it right.
But if she's going to do more than just read, I think, given the many points at which the author gives the words to Christian hymns—which were very important in maintaining their courage—that she ought to have sung them.
As a good example of an audio book where this works, I can point to Pearl of China. As mentioned above, I liked the way the conclusion is told. Consequently, I'm leaving the book with a better view of it than I had while listening. The story needed to be told, and I'm glad it crossed my path. Dec 01, Melodie Pearse rated it it was amazing. I am heartbroken and have been struggling to synthesize how such horrible things can happen even though you know God has called you to that place.
This book is such an important story and it has certainly livened my faith. Aside, of course, from the news articles and broadcasts, this memoir is the most popular account of the Abu Sayaff kidnapping in the Philippines. I was barely four years old at that time. Re Aside, of course, from the news articles and broadcasts, this memoir is the most popular account of the Abu Sayaff kidnapping in the Philippines.
Reality is indeed stranger than fiction. After reading the first chapter of this memoir, I quite prepared myself to know how real-life hostage-taking takes place, i.
I learned several things in this memoir: Like many of us, the jihadists are sincere—even more sincere than most of us—about their worldview. Good-will fails without competence. My father and grandfathers, together with other men in our relatives and neighbors, served in the military. Growing up, I knew how dedicated these honorable men are, who vowed to sacrifice themselves in the name of serving others.
Like him, I believe all the bad things that happened are ultimately the fault of the Abu Sayaff.