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Gracia Burnham Makes Surprise Visit to Cedarville University

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Gracia Burnham Makes Surprise Visit to Cedarville University

Missionary and former hostage Gracia Burnham made a surprise chapel appearance at Cedarville University on October 28. Behind Burnham are University President Dr. Paul Dixon and Professor of International Studies Dr. Frank Jenista. Jenista, a former U.S. diplomat, was at the American embassy in Manila when Burnham arrived there following her captivity. Photo Credit: Scott L. Huck/Cedarville University

by Public Relations Office

November 13, 2002

Cedarville, Ohio-Missionary and former hostage Gracia Burnham made a surprise appearance at Cedarville University chapel on October 28. Burnham and her husband, Martin, were held hostage in the Philippines by the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf for more than a year. On June 7, 2002, a firefight between the terrorists and Philippine troops freed them, but Martin died in the shoot-out. Burnham survived with a gunshot wound. Burnham was introduced in chapel by Cedarville graduate Dr. Frank Jenista, a former diplomat who now serves as professor of international studies at the University. Jenista was at the American embassy in Manila when Burnham arrived safely following her captivity. Following a standing ovation from the University family, Burnham expressed her gratitude for the prayers offered on her and her husband's behalf, and she asked for continued prayer as she takes hold of her many opportunities to speak with people about her ordeal. She commented that her hostage experience taught her that blaming God and blaming others for our circumstances brings nothing but sadness, conviction, and depression. She exhorted everyone to accept God's will rather than playing the blame game. She also challenged students to use their God-given gifts to further the Kingdom. Burnham was in the Cedarville area to help her sister, Mary Jones, with Jones' new baby. More information about Burnham is available on the Web site of New Tribes Mission, her missionary agency, at www.ntm.org. -30-