Saturday, August 16, 2008

Incredible Forgiveness

Yesterday we had the delightful opportunity to meet Gladys Staines, widow of the Australian missionary, Graham Staines, who was brutally killed in 1999, along with sons Philip and Timothy, by a frenzied mob of anti-Christian extremists.

I was shocked by this tragic event and deeply inspired by how she and her daughter Esther were able to forgive the attackers. Could I have done the same, I’ve wondered?

I was quite excited when I learned that Gladys and a friend would be visiting our area and wanted to meet us (they attend a church in Australia that prays for us and our work). Before they arrived I rushed around like the proverbial chicken, crabbed at my husband for the dirty bathroom and worried that the lunch I had planned was too simple for such a great lady.

But her friendly unassuming manner soon set me at ease.

They wanted to hear about our work and Gladys told us about the leprosy mission that she is still involved with. Her late husband, Graham, began ministering to lepers and other outcasts in India in 1965. Gladys joined him in the work when they married in 1983. After Graham and their sons were killed, she and their daughter, Esther, continued living and ministering in India for several years. Currently they are living in Australia while Esther studies to be a doctor. Gladys still makes frequent trips to India to assist in the work. Their testimony of forgiveness has had a tremendous impact on many.

In the forward of the book “Burnt Alive” by Vishal Mangalwadi, et al, Gladys states:
“I have only one message for the people of India. I’m not bitter. Neither am I angry. But I have one great desire: that each citizen of this country should establish a personal relationship with Jesus Christ who gave His life for their sins. Every person should know that Jesus loves him or her, and in turn they should trust Him, and endeavor to love one another. Let us burn hatred…and spread the flame of Christ’s love.”
To order copies of the book "Burnt Alive" go to



Kate said...

oh, Wow! I just read the Staines' story a few weeks ago in a VOM book _Hearts of Fire_! What a testimony.

Elizabeth Prebble said...

Hi Sharon,
I'm so glad that you were able to meet up with Gladys. She is a lovely lady. She is so caring and such an encouragement.
With love to you and John,