After quietly serving God as missionaries in the Philippines for 17 years, suddenly in 2001 a terrorist group kidnapped the Burnhams along with several other people. By November 2001, only the Burnhams and one other hostage remained in captivity. For 376 days Martin and Gracia experienced frequent gun battles, near starvation, and constant exhaustion. They also experienced God's sustaining grace. On June 7, 2002, Gracia was wounded, but set free through a firefight between the Philippine military and the Burnham's captors. But in the same gun battle, Martin was killed. The world expected Gracia to be emotionally destroyed by all she suffered. Instead, she chose to trust God and forgive those who took her captive and caused the death of her husband. God has used her testimony to give hope and encouragement to many experiencing life's difficulties. An able communicator, Gracia's passion for missions shines through each time she talks about her experiences.
There were 20 people taken by the terrorist group and held for ransom. The wealthy were able to pay for their ransom and leave. One by one people left until it was down to Garcia, her husband and one other person. Gracia and Martin were waiting to leave.
"That first day on the speedboat I said to Martin, how long do you think this will last? I gave God six weeks to figure this out and get us out of there" says Gracia.
Gracia had a crisis of faith thinking if God loved her, she would not be where she was. He was not hearing her prayer, He was not answering. It led to depression, crying all the time, and being difficult to deal with,
"Martin said to me one day that it was really hard for him to see me giving up my faith" says Gracia, I said I am not giving up my faith, I just don't think God loves me because here I am in this fix. Martin said to me, either you believe it all or you do not believe it all."
Gracia and Marin started to go through the scriptures and hung on to the promises of God. Gracia noticed her heart starting to change.
The military was moving closer to them, there was a gun battle. Gracia was shot in the leg and Marin was shot in the chest.
"I felt the weight of death, it just got heavy. I was not even sure what that meant but looking back that is when he died" says Gracia.
The same God that kept her going for a year, Gracia knew that He was going to keep her moving on through life, and He has