Martin and Grecia Bernham were celebrating their wedding anniversary in 2001 when they were abruptly taken captive by the militant Abu Sayyaf. For 17 years Martin had been a missionary jungle pilot in the area, but for the next more than a year, the two were held as hostages under the most miserable of circumstances.
Finally, during a rescue attempt, Martin was accidentally shot and killed. Near a village that Martin also serviced, lived a man named Pic Pic – a gambler, heavy drinker, and frequent fighter known for his hot temper.
“Why do you get so excited when the plane comes in?” Pic Pic smeared to the other villagers. “You don’t even get to talk to the pilot! Why would he ever want to talk to you?” he said.
“No, no, you’re wrong,” his friends said. “The pilot’s name is Martin and he is our brother.” One day Pic Pic decided to walk over to the airstrip and stand in the middle of the runway so that Martin would barely miss him as he landed the plane.
Martin got out of the cockpit and greeted everyone warmly. He explained to Pic Pic with a laugh the importance of keeping the runway clear when the plane was landing. Pic Pic was surprised not to be chewed out and actually began to show up for Bible studies.
By the next year, he made a personal commitment to Christ and later began an outreach himself. He continues to impact lives, a chain that started when Martin treated him with kindness.
Scripture says “all were amazed at the gracious words that came from his [Jesus’] lips.” God, help us to be careful with our words and show the love of Christ to those we speak with each day.
Have you made a personal commitment to Christ?