Love, forgiveness, reconciliation and bringing freedom and change to people’s hearts – this is hard work but we believe that with God’s help we can be part of it.
A group of almost 130 believe it too as they graduated from the Free Burma Ranger Leadership Development and Relief Team Training in December in Karen State. This training prepared them for mission work all over the world – to help free the oppressed and bring hope to those who need it most.
While these students came with different expectations, soon they were together doing pushups in the dirt, taking notes through the hot and drowsy afternoon, bushwhacking through dense jungle with a compass looking for elusive land navigation points or slithering across a rope strung up over a deep, cold river. They learned together that when the instructor cried out: “Easy way, hard way!” the correct answer was “HARD WAY!”
Before every meal of rice and curry shovelled down quickly before the next activity, the students stood at attention and recited the Ranger motto:
“Love each other. Unite and work for freedom, justice and peace. Forgive and don’t hate each other. Pray with faith, act with courage, never surrender. Ranger!”
This, too, is the hard way.
This year there were teams from Arakan (Arakan Army and Arakan Liberation Party), Kachin, Karen, Karenni, Lahu, Shan north and south, and Ta’ang organizations. As these teams go home, they will need all the training they have to do the hard work of reconciliation and service.
The rangers, from many different faiths, have all decided that this is their work too. We share with them that God wants to help them in it, that He loves them and wants to be part of all their lives.
Just before Christmas, 10 students and staff asked to be baptized. On Christmas Eve morning, after church, we sang “Amazing Grace” together on the bank of the river for the baptisms. Later, two medics were also baptized.
Immediately after graduation, the new Rangers began preparations for the next phase: a multi-week mission in Karen State. Afterwards they will return to their home areas, ready to bring help, hope and love to all corners of Burma.
As we enter our 20th year of the founding of the Free Burma Rangers, we thank God for this opportunity to serve and we are grateful for each of you and how you are in this with us, part of the movement of spiritual freedom, love and reconciliation here in Burma.
The Free Burma Rangers (FBR) mission is to provide hope, help and love to internally displaced people inside Burma, regardless of ethnicity or religion. Using a network of indigenous field teams, FBR reports on human rights abuses, casualties and the humanitarian needs of people who are under the oppression of the Burma Army. FBR provides medical, spiritual and educational resources for IDP communities as they struggle to survive Burmese military attacks.
David Eubank, a former U.S. Army Special Forces and Ranger officer, is the founder and leader of the Free Burma Rangers (FBR), a humanitarian service movement for oppressed ethnic minorities of all races and religions in the Burma, Kurdistan and Sudan war zones. Along with relief, his personal mission is to share the love of Jesus Christ and to help people be free from oppression. FBR teams are comprised of men and women of different ethnicities and faiths that are united for freedom by the bond of love and service.