The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that New Tribes Mission has imposed a media blackout on their operations in the Philippines, "citing security concerns for the rest of the group's 179 missionaries." Guy Sier, an international crisis and emergency coordinator working for New Tribes, says media attention has become a "mini crisis" in itself within the larger crisis of its two kidnapped missionaries, Martin and Gracia Burnham. "The whole media thing became a distraction that was siphoning off from our focus at a crucial time," Sier said.
Fortunately, The Orlando Sentinel got its reporter to the Philippines before the media blackout. On Wednesday, it ran a wonderful profile of the Burnhams and New Tribes' work in the country. "Two wall calendars in Martin and Gracia Burnham's home never made it past the month of May," Sentinel staff writer Pedro Ruz Gutierrez began.
The chatter from a ham radio Gracia Burnham used to communicate with other missionaries around the Philippines has gone quiet. But family pictures and portraits are intact. Books are neatly stacked on shelves. A Nintendo video game sits abandoned beside a TV cart filled with videotapes. Skateboards, bicycles and a custom-made drum set wait to be used again. The May 27 abduction of the Burnhams by Muslim extremists in the southern reaches of this nation of islands has left their home eerily silent, and their village of U.S. missionaries 160 miles north of Manila under a haunting pall.
The article, with several online supplements, is one of the few Weblog has seen to note the Burnham's children, and Gutierrez introduces them at the momemt they found out about their parents' kidnapping:
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more