Doug Burnham, brother of slain missionary Martin Burnham, served with New Tribes Mission in the Philippines from 1988 to 1998. He now lives with his family in Rose Hill, Kansas.
Could you tell me a little bit about Martin and his faith journey?
I don't remember exactly when it was he was saved. I remember he was baptized the first year we were in the Philippines, which was in 1970, so sometime before that is when he accepted Christ as his savior.
He loved outdoors. We had pellet guns and we'd go out. We didn't ever catch much, but we'd go shoot at stuff. Loved to hike. Loved to go through the woods. Explore. He loved a lot of different things. He excelled a lot in whatever he did. He liked to read, too. Even though he wasn't real good academically, he read a lot.
I do remember when he was in sixth grade, which would have been about 12, that was our first year in the Philippines as a family, and on our first ride in the plane, he said, "I'm going to be a missionary pilot when I grow up." From that point on, anything having to do with airplanes he loved. But I think at that point, it was more the thrill of flying than that he saw this as a ministry. He just immediately had a love for flying.
At that stage, did you know a lot of other missionary pilots?
Well, New Tribes had its own missionary pilots. The Wycliffe Bible Translators flight base was not real far away from the New Tribes flight base. Pilots were our lifeline. It was either go in and out by air or else it was hike in and out. That was the only way. There wasn't a road going in there.
What was the college he went to?
When he first came [back to the U.S.] after high school he went for a year at New Tribes Bible Institute in Jackson, Michigan. And he knew he wanted to be a ...1