Missionary who was kidnapped calls for continued missionary work

Posted: Friday, June 13, 2003

LIBERTY, Mo. (AP) Gracia Burnham continues to preach the value of missionary work despite being kidnapped in the Philippines along with her husband, who died in a rescue effort a year ago.

Burnham and her husband, Martin, were kidnapped by the radical Muslim Abu Sayyaf group in 2001. They spent 376 days in captivity before the soldiers tried to free them, leading to a firefight that left her wounded and killed him.

About 1,800 people gathered last Friday night at a Liberty church where Burnham, now living in her hometown of Rose Hill, Kan., thanked them for their prayers. The event marked the one-year anniversary of Martin Burnham's death.

She said she has grappled with Martin's death and the meanings that people have attached to their ordeal.

''People call Martin a martyr, and I'm not sure what to think about that,'' said Burnham, who recounted her story in the book ''In the Presence of My Enemies.'' ''I think we were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.''

Burnham appeared in Liberty as part of a fund-raising event for Calvary Bible College in Kansas City.

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