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“It’s Not Over Until It’s Over”

(Source: VOM Radio. Condensed and edited.)

The previous post told about Gracia and Martin Burnham who were kidnapped and held captive by Muslim radicals in the jungles of the Philippines. The jungle had no beds, bathrooms, stores, or air conditioning.

The captors made fun of the Burnhams, didn’t provide them with enough food, and often made their lives miserable. Sadly, after about a year, Martin died in a gun battle between soldiers from the Philippine military and the kidnappers.

Gracia could have been angry with the kidnappers. She did have trouble forgiving them during her captivity. Over time, God helped her become more forgiving.

But she has done more than forgiving the kidnappers. Some of them are still in prison for their crimes. Read below what Gracia told VOM Radio’s host, Todd Nettleton, about trying to reach the kidnappers with the Good News of Jesus.

“Through a series of events, I found out there was an American couple working in a maximum security prison in Manila with some of the very men who held us captive,” Gracia said on VOM Radio. “So I started asking them who is there, maybe I know them.

“Probably about 23 of them are in maximum security and this couple works with them and with other people, of course, in the prison. Every other summer we get together and we plan projects that we can do for these men in the prison, and ways to show the love of Christ to them. Some of them are going to Bible studies and asking for the Scriptures in their own dialect.

“Word is that so far four of them have come to know the Lord Jesus as their Savior. You know, it is not over until it is over. We just keep praying and I don’t know, if the listening audience thinks about me every once in a while, pray for those guys in prison.

“Their day of grace isn’t over. They have today, and that is what Martin used to tell me when I would say,’Why is this going on for so long? Why are we still here in the presence of our enemies?’ Martin would say, ‘You know, I think God is giving these guys one more day of grace. One more day to do it right, to turn to Him. To hear the gospel and maybe that is what our job is right here. Their day of grace isn’t over and I just have to hope and think that I am going to see some of them in heaven one day and it is not going to matter what happens here on earth. God is going to get the victory and I am just praying they are with me in heaven.’”

To Talk About
What is Gracia’s prayer request for the kidnappers in prison? Will you pray for them today?

“I Don’t Think God Loves Me”

(Source: VOM Radio. Condensed and edited.)

Almost 20 years ago, missionary pilot Martin Burnham died in a gun battle. The battle was between men who had kidnapped him, and soldiers who were trying to rescue him and his wife, Gracia, and other hostages.

Before Martin died, the kidnappers had forced Gracia and Martin to live with them in harsh conditions in the jungles of the Philippines. Friends and relatives in the United States took care of their children Mindy, Zach, and Jeff. Gracia struggled to forgive their captors, but it was very difficult. Read about her struggle here.

During their captivity, Gracia also worried that God might not love her anymore. In a recent interview on VOM Radio, she told host Todd Nettleton how God, the Bible, and Martin helped her understand God’s love.

“There were days when I thought God had forgotten us,” Gracia told Todd. “There was one day about 10 weeks into our captivity, I decided God didn’t love me anymore. Because if God loved me I wouldn’t still be here, because we had been begging Him to get us out of there. That led to depression and being hard to get along with and crying all the time.

“I was sitting by the river one day, and Martin came and sat down and said, ‘Gracia, it is so sad to see you giving up your faith.’ I said, ‘Oh, I’m not giving up my faith. I still believe that God made everything and Jesus died for our sins. I just don’t think God loves me.’ Martin very gently, as always, said, ‘Oh it seems to me that you believe it all, or you don’t believe it all. You need to decide what you believe.’

“I sat there and thought, okay, Scripture tells me that God loves me, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; with lovingkindness I have drawn you to myself’ [Jeremiah 31:3]. I started thinking all those verses about love, and I thought, okay, maybe I am not feeling it right now, it is not working for me, but God’s Word says that He loves me. I am going to take God’s Word for what it is, and I am going to believe it. I am going to hang on to it with everything I’ve got, because I am in a bad place and I can’t help myself. I may as well let God do it, right? I looked up and sought the Lord and came to know Him in a whole new way.”

To Do
Memorize three Bible verses (or parts of the verses) about God’s love. Here are some suggestions.

*Jeremiah 31:3
*1 John 4:8
*Psalm 36:7
*John 3:16
*Romans 5:8
*Psalm 86:15

Learning to Forgive

The Philippines

Eighteen years ago this Sunday, missionary pilot Martin Burnham died in a gun battle. The battle was between men who had kidnapped him, and soldiers who were trying to rescue him, his wife, Gracia, and other hostages.

Read the following story about the Burnhams from the Kids of Courage archives.

Gracia Burnham was angry. A gang of violent Muslims had kidnapped her. Gracia did not even like to go camping. But the group forced Gracia and her husband Martin to live with them in the jungle. The jungle had no beds, bathrooms, stores, or air conditioning.

Gracia and Martin were missionaries in the Philippines. Before the men kidnapped them, Gracia homeschooled their three kids: Mindy, Zach, and Jeff. Martin, a pilot, flew mail and supplies to other missionaries in hard-to-reach places.

Read the rest of this entry »

Count in Filipino

Filipino and English are official languages of the Philippines. Filipino is said to have come from Tagalog, a language of the Philippines. Sometimes people call Filipino “Tagalog.” Filipino may also be referred to as “Pilipino.”

Learn to Count in Filipino
(Pronunciations are approximate.)

The first word in each group below is the English word, and the second is the Filipino word. The third part tells how to pronounce the Filipino word.

One. Isa. ee-SAH
Two. Dalawa. dah-lah-WAH
Three. Tatlo. taht-LOH
Four. Apat. ah-PAHT
Five. Lima. lee-MAH
Six. Anim. AH-neem
Seven. Pito. pee-TOH
Eight. Walo. wah-LOH
Nine. Siyam. shahm
Ten. Sampu. sahm-POO

(Source: Bold Believers in the Philippines. Read or download the book here.)

To Do
Count the number of Filipino children in the photo above using Filipino numbers.

The Philippines: A Missionary at School

Bold Believers in the Philippines, the newest book in the Bold Believers series, includes the story below.

Ruth, a 14-year-old Christian in the Philippines, wants to be a missionary someday. But she isn’t waiting until “someday” to share the gospel with others. Ruth already talks about her faith with girls at her school.

One day, Ruth’s father gave her a book about brave Christians who were persecuted for their faith in Christ. “It made me cry,” Ruth said. But it also inspired her. She took the book to school and told her friends about it. Soon other girls borrowed the book and read it.

Ruth and her family prayed that God would use the book to change the hearts of girls who were not following Jesus. God answered their prayers!

“There have been changes in two classrooms,” Ruth’s father said. “In the past, students in some classes were wild and troublesome. There has been a change in the attitude and behavior of many students. It even surprised the teachers. Even the principal says there is a difference.”

Some of the teachers have asked Ruth if they can read her book, too!

Note: In parts of the Philippines, radical Muslims have attacked Christians and their homes. They want to force all Christians to leave the areas.

Share a book or DVD about courageous Christians with others. Pray that the book or DVD will encourage them to serve Him.