Sole Survivor Tells Her Story of Being Kidnapped


On Martin and Gracia Burnham's 18th wedding anniversary, they wanted to enjoy time in the Philippines. The trip that was supposed to last only 24 hours, but it lasted more than a year.

It was May 27, 2001 when their vacation turned into a real life horror story.

"There was pounding on the door and these three guys with M16s broke the door in," Gracia Burnham said.

Twenty people were taken by the Abu Sayyaf group. It is a militant group of Muslims.

"The other American, there were three of us taken, they beheaded him about ten days into our captivity," Burnham added.

Day after day, they walked through the jungle, trying to stay alive.

"I would think this can not get any worse and it would get worse," Burnham said.

"It was first a little bit of disbelief and waiting to see how the Lord was going to show himself faithful this whole time," Brian Minott told WAND.

Her friend Brian Minott was waiting in Decatur for his friends to safe return, but on June 7, 2002 that's when the last shoot off occurred.

"They came over the hill and just opened fire on us like they did so many times before and all three of us hostages were shot. . . I was trying to look dead," Burnham said.

Her husband and another captive died on that hillside. However, Burnham was rescued by the Philippine military.

"Martin had always told me the kids need their mother back. Not a bitter mother. . . Their fun loving mother back and Martin's wise words are what I carried with me home," Burnham said.

Out of 20 people, Burnham is the only survivor. She said it could have been much worse, but God taught her things like forgiveness, kindness toward your enemies and just waiting when you're not in control.

Burnham has speaking engagements all over the United States. Next week she will in London speaking at Parliament.

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