The Oliver Family Newsletter
John & Paula Oliver - Missionaries with New Tribes Mission
Serving at NTM International Headquarters in Sanford, Florida
Newsletter 32 - August 2002
Martin & Gracia Burnham – Free At Last
We want to thank you for praying for NTM missionaries Martin & Gracia Burnham this past year. As you may recall, on May 27, 2001, while celebrating their 18th wedding anniversary at the Dos Palmas resort in the Philippines, Martin & Gracia were taken captive (along with another American and a number of Philippine nationals) by Abu Sayyaf guerrillas.
Our prayers have been answered, although not exactly as we, in our limited understanding and perspective, had hoped and desired. After tracking the guerillas for some time, on June 7, 2002, the Philippine military caught up with the guerillas and, in the ensuing battle, Martin Burnham was shot and killed. Gracia was also wounded (in her right thigh), but was rescued and is doing well. Their fellow hostage, Filipina nurse Deborah Yap, was also fatally shot. It is not clear whether Martin was caught in the crossfire or was executed by the guerillas when they realized that a rescue attempt was in progress.
We don’t understand why God allowed Martin to die, but we do know that He also allowed His Son, Jesus, to die. He allowed Stephen to die (Acts 7:59) and the hall of faith in Hebrews 11 speaks of others who were stoned, sawn asunder, or slain with the sword – folks of whom the world was not worthy. These all, including Martin, obtained a good report through their faith, and bring honor and glory to God.
- First of all, our big news: We found out recently that we’re expecting another baby, due to arrive, God willing, around the beginning of March! Nicholas and I are hoping for a boy to fill the other half of his bunk bed. Joy, not wanting to quench our hopes, but liking the idea of another little sister, is hoping for twins - a boy and a girl!
- Hannah turned three on April 18. She is no longer eligible for the one-on-one speech/language therapy she had been receiving, but we plan to continue helping her at home and can consult with a speech therapist as needed. She has made excellent progress over the past year, and we are looking to the Lord for continued good progress.
- Joy had her fifth birthday on June 28 and continues to be a real joy to us. Her main birthday request was for a fish (not to eat, though, but the kind that you put in a bowl and watch swim around).
- Nicholas has been participating in a special Fast Forward computerized program at a local school to help with his special needs in the area of auditory processing (processing and remembering what you have heard); he is doing well.
- Because of Nicholas’ perfect attendance during summer school, he and Dad were able to participate in a special all-day field trip to Sea World. Meanwhile, the young ladies (Mom, Joy, and Hannah) had a girls’ day out for lunch, shopping, and a visit to the local library. Everyone had a fun day!
Prayer & Praise
- We would appreciate your prayers for Paula and our baby - for a healthy pregnancy, rest for Paula, a safe delivery, and a normal, healthy baby.
- Praise for Hannah’s good progress in her development. Pray for continued progress, especially that her speech will continue to become clearer.
Thanks for being part of our team through your prayers, encouragement, and support. Thanks too for your letters, cards, and emails.
We appreciate your prayers on our behalf. Let us know how we can be praying for you as well.
John, Paula, Nicholas, Joy, Hannah, and Baby Oliver
John & Paula Oliver, New Tribes Mission, 1000 East First Street, Sanford FL 32771-1487
Home Phone: 407-547-2512, Office Phone: 407-547-2378, Fax: 443-264-2593
Email: JPOliver@mail.com Web site: www.JPOliver.com