Book Review: In The Presence of My Enemies by Gracia Burnham with Dean Merrill

In The Presence of My Enemies gripped my interest for 2 days. I received it in the mail and I became engrossed in the story until I was done--over 300 pages later. Gracia and Martin Burnham's story of being kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf, a terrorist group with ties to Osama Bin Laden, offers hope to anyone in difficult circumstances. I appreciated Gracia's honesty as she shared her tale of their year in captivity. Gracia shared part of her story at the Hope Ministries Tea that I attended in Des Moines Iowa on May 7. She was such an inspiring speaker, that I knew I had to read her whole book. Through this book, she shared how she learned to share God's love--even with her enemies and even in the most challenging of circumstances. Gracia and her husband Martin were missionaries in the Philippines when they were kidnapped and held for ransom monies along with other hostages. They held on through a year of captivity as they faced exhaustion, near starvation, and many other challenges.

Their story encourages me as I face struggles of my own. . .as I face learning to share Christ's love with unlovable people around me. And to forgive myself. I was struck by a time Gracia shared where she was forced to quickly leave and area and then left her backpack behind with the few things they were allowed to have in it. . .she wept and asked Martin to forgive her. He readily did and then told her she needed to forgive herself. . .Oh how I often need to hear those words. It is much easier for me to forgive others for their messes than to forgive myself.

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