"" Writer's Wanderings: Books for the Road -- In the Presence of My Enemies

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Books for the Road -- In the Presence of My Enemies

"Sabaya then explained his interpretation, . . . 'There are four options that can be pursued with people who are the booty of war: (1) kill them; (2) make them our slaves; (3) have them convert to Islam and live with us in peace; or (4) collect taxes from them while they continue to practice their religion in secret."

Gracia and Martin Burnham's anniversary weekend was interrupted abruptly by members of the Abu Sayyaf on the night of May 27, 2001, when they and several others were kidnapped from a resort area in the Phillipines. The Burnham's were missionaries. Martin flew supplies to missionaries in outer islands. Their captivity was to last over a year with the Abu Sayyaf, a militant Muslim group, trekking through jungle, scavaging for food, and waiting for ransom to be paid. In the end, Gracia would be rescued but Martin would find his release in God's loving hands.

I remember this story from the news although it was overshadowed by the events of September 11, 2001. In In The Presence Of My Enemies, Gracia Burnham along with Dean Merrill have told the Burnhams' story with depth and character and truth. The time in captivity tested the faith the couple had built. The journey is told with painful honesty but also with the assurance of God's love and care in the most difficult of times.

This was a five star plus read. I was so involved in the story that I wanted to get it finished just to get them out of the situation. And it was refreshing to read a Christian perspective that didn't sugar-coat the human elements of faith.

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