Christian missionary speaks about being held hostage
Jennifer Auh reports on Christian missionary speaks about being held hostage in Boise. Video by IdahoOnYourSide.comvideo
Gracia Burnham, a missionary, who was once kidnapped in a foreign country, came to the Treasure Valley to share her life changing experience.
She spoke at the Ustick Baptist Church about her ordeal. She also talked to us about Saeed Abedini, the Boise pastor, who is currently imprisoned in Iran because of his faith.
It’s been more than 10 years, since a Philippine terrorist group kidnapped Gracia and her husband Martin Burnham.
In 2002, millions of people around the world followed their captivity. Now, after overcoming many hardships, Gracia said she hopes to help others overcome obstacles in their life.
In 2001, Gracia and her husband Martin Burnham were missionaries working in the Philippines.
They celebrated their wedding anniversary on a secluded island resort, when they were kidnapped by Muslim terrorists.
"They would come to a village and to gain control or prove a point, they would separate a few guys and chop their heads off. Often, I would think this cannot get any worse, and it would," said Gracia.
They were held hostage for more than a year. Even after the terrorists received a $15 million ransom, they did not let Gracia and her husband go.
"We didn't think either of us would live through our ordeal, but we were begging God that one of us could come home," she said. That prayer came true.
During a rescue attempt, Gracia's husband Martin was killed, but at least Gracia survived and was able to reunite with her children.
Gracia said she has heard about Boise Pastor Saeed Abedini being arrested in Iran, because of his Christian faith.
"A lot of people are probably thinking, well, he shouldn't have gone there anyways, and that's what a lot of people said about us, but there have always been those people, God just puts it in our hearts," she said.
Gracia said at first she was angry at the terrorists who held her captive, but through God, she learned to forgive them. She has even reached out to some of them, who are in prison, by helping them and introducing them to Christ.
She believes Pastor Saeed will also make a difference. "I think God’s got a huge plan. We hate to see it happen to Pastor Saeed, but he's the one God's using," said Gracia.
Right now, Gracia said she is praying for Pastor Abedini, as if she is in the Iranian prison with him.
"What does he need today? He needs something to eat, so that’s what I’m praying. He needs people to stop beating up on him, so pray as if you were bound with them," she said.
Gracia currently lives in Rose Hill, Kansas, and tours around the country speaking at schools, churches and conferences. She is also an author and runs the Martin and Gracia Burnham Foundation, which supports Ministries to Muslims, Missionary Aviation, Tribal Missions and the Persecuted Church.