Missionary Martin Burnham

by | Jul 31, 2002 | Charisma Archive

The American missionary died, but his wife survived after being held in the Philippine jungle for a year
An American missionary couple’s yearlong kidnapping ordeal ended in tragedy June 7 with one of them killed and the other wounded in a failed rescue attempt.


Martin Burnham, 42, was fatally shot in circumstances that remain unclear when Filipino troops moved in to try to free him and his wife, Gracia, from a Muslim extremist group. She was shot in the leg, while a third hostage also died in the clash near Siraway in the Philippines’ southern Zamboango province.


The Burnhams and Ediborah Yap, a Filipino nurse, were the last of a string of hostages taken by the Abu Sayyaf, an Islamic group with links to Osama bin Laden, in raids that began on May 27 last year.


New Tribes Mission (NTM), with whom the Burnhams had served in the Philippines for 16 years, said their “hearts are heavy” over the deaths and that they “ache” for the Burnhams’ three children who were reunited with their mother when she returned to her Kansas home June 10.


Martin Burnham was “executed by the Abu Sayyaf rebels” when they realized that a rescue effort was under way, Philippine Army Scout Ranger Col. Renato Padua said, reported The Philippine Star. Gracia Burnham, 43, was shot in the right thigh but taken to a military hospital where she underwent surgery before returning to the United States. She is now recovering at her home in Rose Hill, Kan.


President Bush phoned Burnham June 11 to express his condolences. The president said afterward that she was “a pillar of strength.”


Doug Burnham, Martin’s brother, said that “it hasn’t turned out the way we hoped,” CNN reported. “But we are grateful Gracia is alive. Our faith in the Lord is still the same.”


Upon her return, Gracia Burnham praised her husband as a “source of strength for all the hostages. He was a good man and he died well,” she said.


The Burnhams were pitched into the hostage crisis when the Abu Sayyaf raided a beach resort where the couple were spending a night to celebrate their anniversary. Thousands of Christians around the world prayed for the Burnhams’ safe release, with NTM issuing regular updates on efforts to win the pair’s freedom.


Although NTM has a policy of not paying ransoms, Martin Burnham’s parents arranged a payment in March, and later accused the rebels of reneging on the deal. In late May the U.S. government offered a $5 million reward for information leading to the capture of the Abu Sayyaf leaders.


It is not the first time Sanford, Fla.-based NTM has been in the media spotlight over the death of its workers. The mission spent eight years trying to find out what happened to three staff kidnapped by armed guerrillas in Panama in 1993. Leaders eventually learned last year that the trio had been killed in 1996, ending years of painful uncertainty for the men’s wives and children.


At its Web site, NTM said that it “constantly evaluates the safety of our missionaries in each country where we serve.” Trained contingency coordinators monitor the placement and relocation of personnel.


“However, the Great Commission is not voided by risk. Rather, we are called to accept risk for the sake of the gospel.”


Burnham, who during his captivity had premonitions of his death, wrote a goodbye letter to his three children just days before his death. He gave the letter to his wife. It was lost in the firefight, but soldiers later found it.


The premonitions also inspired Burnham to ask his wife for a funeral sermon and a special song. Those requests were honored at a June 14 public memorial in Wichita.
Andy Butcher

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

Charisma Highlights: Is Serial Killer Jeffrey Dahmer in Heaven?

Charisma Highlights: Is Serial Killer Jeffrey Dahmer in Heaven?

Following are snippets of the top stories posted on charismamag.com over the past week. We encourage you to visit the links to read the stories in full. Is Serial Killer Jeffrey Dahmer in Heaven? Is it possible that behind the pearly gates of heaven there are...

10 Ways to Practice Gratitude With Your family This Thanksgiving

10 Ways to Practice Gratitude With Your family This Thanksgiving

This month we are entering a season which, in the United States, has been devoted to gratitude and thanksgiving for 400 years! While the Thanksgiving holiday has had a long and varied history within the United States, the practice of devoting sacrificial offerings,...

Don’t Let Ungratefulness Turn You Into a Spoiled American

Don’t Let Ungratefulness Turn You Into a Spoiled American

My frequent trips to developing nations always help me adjust my attitude. Just when I start to feel spoiled and entitled, I meet people from places like Congo, India and Honduras—and I realize just how blessed I am. This happened to me again last week during a trip...

The Power of Being Thankful

The Power of Being Thankful

One of the best ways to show God we love Him is to be thankful. When we express our deep gratitude to Him, it actually invites His presence onto our lives. Being thankful also neutralizes the enemy and brings victory into our situations no matter what the outcome....

Get Off Your Pew!

Get Off Your Pew!

As God’s clock inches closer to the final hour before His return, many people find themselves filled with angst, anxiety and despair. People are not sleeping well, many have fallen into depression and are feeling hopeless. These are the very days that we have been...

The Great Commission Can Set Us Free from Responsibility

The Great Commission Can Set Us Free from Responsibility

Read Time: 4 Minutes 28 Seconds While all of the stories we read in the Torah are meaningful, sometimes the events we read about can seem to hold more relevance, especially for those of us who are followers of Yeshua (Jesus) as Messiah. One such event is the calling...

RECENT ARTICLES

The Church’s Role in Preserving Freedom of Speech in America

Read Time: 3 Minutes 17 Seconds The controversy surrounding Kyrie Irving and his post of a tweet that claims the Jews in Israel are not the real Jews—that Black Africans are the real Jews—raises...
Count Your Blessings, For God Indeed is Good

Count Your Blessings, For God Indeed is Good

Read Time: 4 Minutes 42 Seconds Thanksgiving Day is just a few days away for U.S. Americans. It is a favorite holiday—perhaps only exceeded by Christmas—to gather with family and friends to watch parades, play (American) “football” and eat delicious food—often from...

Is Serial Killer Jeffrey Dahmer in Heaven?

Is Serial Killer Jeffrey Dahmer in Heaven?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFbfS03JkKY&t=1s Read Time: 3 Minutes, 10 Seconds Is it possible that behind the pearly gates of heaven there are murderers, pedophiles and cannibals walking along the streets of gold? We are taught in the book of Romans, "That if...

Pin It on Pinterest