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.

Family Matters

Prayer & Praise

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.

Your missionaries,

John, Paula, Nicholas, Joy, Hannah, and Baby Oliver J

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
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