Missionary, kidnapped by militants, to speak at Osage City – Osage County Online | Osage County News

Missionary, kidnapped by militants, to speak at Osage City

Osage County will have the opportunity to hear about the harrowing experience of a missionary from Rose Hill, Kan., who served for years in the Philippines until she and her husband were kidnapped on their 18th wedding anniversary, and held captive until a military rescue operation freed her but left her husband dead.

Gracia Burnham will speak at 7 p.m. Oct. 5, at the Osage City High School auditorium, 420 S. Fifth St. The event is hosted by the Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, in Osage City, which is inviting the community to attend. Freewill offerings will be accepted.

For 17 years, Gracia Burnham and her husband Martin served with New Tribes Mission in the Philippines, where Martin was a jungle pilot who delivered mail and supplies to other missionaries, and transported sick and injured patients to medical facilities, and Gracia supported the aviation program and home-schooled their children.

While celebrating their 18th wedding anniversary at Dos Palmas Resort, off Palawan Island, the Burnhams and several more guests were kidnapped on May 27, 2001, by the militant Muslim Abu Sayyaf Group. The militants took them to an ASG stronghold. In the ensuing months some of the hostages were killed, but most were set free. From November 2001, only the Burnhams and one other hostage remained in captivity. On June 7, 2002, in a firefight between the Philippine military and the Abu Sayyaf Group, Martin was killed. Gracia was wounded, but was freed.

During their 376 days of 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.

In the years since her ordeal, Gracia Burnham has authored two books, one the New York Times bestseller In The Presence Of My Enemies, and To Fly Again. She has also started the Martin and Gracia Burnham Foundation, which offers ministry in missionary aviation, to Muslims, the persecuted church, and tribal missions. More information is available at www.graciaburnham.org.

After the presentation, Burnham will be signing and selling her books. The day after the Osage City speaking engagement, Burnham will be speaking at the Bethel Baptist Church, 4011 N. Kansas Ave., Topeka, as part of the Bethel Baptist Missions Conference.

For more information about the Osage City event, contact the Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church at 785-528-4785.

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