“(Burnham) has a very powerful story. Everybody has experienced their own battles and you have to forgive. She has that story of God’s grace and love,” said FPC member Kathy Swinford, who helped organize the event.
Gracia Burnham and her husband, Martin, served as missionaries in the Philippines. While celebrating their 18th wedding anniversary in May 2001 at a resort in the Philippines, Abu Sayyaf Group — a militant group of Muslims — took the couple captive.
“For over a year, the Burnhams were held hostage. She and Martin were taken from jungle to jungle,” said Swinford, who works as adjunct professor at Kennesaw State University.
During their 376 days in captivity, the Burnhams endured horrific experiences such as starvation, constant exhaustion, frequent gun battles and murder.
“The day they were being rescued, Martin was killed by fire,” Swinford said.
After the ordeal, Gracia, who also authored “To Fly Again,” returned home to the U.S.
“The first thing she did was forgave the man that shot and killed her husband,” Swinford said.