Eleven months after her release from a year in captivity by Islamic terrorists in the Philippines, American missionary Gracia Burnham's account of her ordeal has been released in print and audio book. The book is entitled In the Presence of My Enemies.
Burnham, whose parents live in Cherokee Village, will be at Highland High School for a book signing May 31 from 11 a.m. through the afternoon.
Burnham and her husband, Martin, were captured by the Abu Sayyaf ("Men of the Sword") May 27, 2001, at a Philippine resort where they were celebrating their 18th wedding anniversary. For the next 12 months the Burnhams were tormented by their captors, suffering hunger along with physical and emotional abuse. They saw other captives beheaded and hacked to death with machetes.
Other captives who were released told of the Burnhams' strong faith and loving spirits, of how they prayed for their captors and returned hatred with love.
Then, on June 7, 2002, U.S.-trained rangers from the Philippine Army attempted to rescue the Burnhams. The operation successfully freed Gracia Burnham, but her husband was killed. Gracia Burnham suffered a gunshot wound in her thigh.
Today Burnham and her three children live in Rose Hill, Kan., near Martin Burnham's parents. She occasionally visits Sharp and Fulton counties where she has spent many summers during her life. She also lived for a short time in Sharp County and worked as a substitute teacher for the Highland School District.
With the release of the book, Burnham has been in demand among national media outlets. The list of programs on which she has already appeared or is scheduled to appear includes: NBC's Today Show, Dateline NBC, CBN's 700 Club, Fox Television's Hannity and Colmes, CNN's American Morning, Good Morning America, John Walsh Show and At Home Live. Excerpts or reviews of the book have been published or are scheduled for publication in Good Housekeeping, People Magazine, Reader's Digest, Decision magazine, Christianity Today, Today's Christian Woman, Guideposts Magazine, New York Times, Los Angeles Time, USA Today, Parade magazine and London Daily Telegraph, as well as countless smaller newspapers.
In the Presence of My Enemies is available at Kay's Bread of Life Bookstore in Ash Flat. Bread of Life Bookstore in Melbourne has ordered copies. Bibles Books Gifts & Crafts in Hardy plans to have copies on hand following the May 31 book signing.