Thursday, January 18, 2007

Clouds of Witness:In the Presence of My Enemies

In an earlier post, I described a few features that will appear regularly at "The Hand." One of these features is entitled Clouds of Witnesses. This feature will focus on the lives of Saints past and present. The first book to be appearing here is In the Presence of My Enemies by Gracia Burnham with Dean Merrill. This is the true story of an American Missionary couple kidnapped in the Philipines by Muslim terrorists linked to Osama Bin Laden. The first chapter covers the first hours of their ordeal, which lasted a year. A brief passage from the book reveals the mindset of the kidnappers.

'Solaiman" (one of the kidnappers) 'wanted us to know that we were in an atmoshere of high morals. "Would we ever lie to you. No. Would we ever steal from you? No. Would we ever touch the women? Never. The Koran forbids all these things." He began to rhapsodize about how great it is when Allah is the ruler and the Koran is the guidebook--as in Afganistan, their cherished model. "Afganistan will show the world how great the truly Islamic state can be. You know, in Islam, if you're a thief, they cut off your hand. Thats how things ought to be."

'I thought to myself, Wait a minute--didn't you guys just steal Martin's wedding ring?!' ( Martin Burnham was the husband of the author; he did not survive the ordeal.)

' "In Islam, all the women are dressed properly, with nothing showing but their eyes. If a ladies eyes are causing a scandal, even they will be covered. There are no enticements to sin, no Western movies, no drinking, no smoking, no drugs."

'Our captor's greatest goal it seemed, was to get to Afganistan. What a utopia that would be, they said. But if that didn't work out, they would settle for their second choice: to go to America and get a good job!

The following chapters cover the Burhams life growing up, getting married, and working with a Missions agency in the Philippines. This is as far as I have read so far. Next week I will review the rest of the book.

For this feature, I have also started a book on Wesley and his relations with the Church of England. While interesting, this is a slow-read, so reviews may be a few weeks in coming.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Burnham and her helpers do a striking job telling of the ordeal and the aftermath. I read this book during summer 04. Definitely a worthwhile read.