FBR Profile: Doh Say
Karen State, Burma
24 October, 2008

On GLC mission, Karen State
Doh Say and Karen GLC
Doh Say prays in Shan State
Doh Say with White Monkey and brown monkey, Karen State

Dear friends,

In September we sent out a story about “The First Ranger”, Eliya Sampson, our chief medic and first FBR volunteer. Thank you for all the kind words you wrote about him and for your love. We would like to keep sharing about the lives of other people on the FBR relief teams, starting with Eliya and the headquarters group.

Doh Say is a Karenni who is part of the headquarters team. Doh Say is in charge of all the Karenni FBR teams as well as the Good Life Club program. His animal name is “Vulture” His nickname was given when he was seen paying attention to a young lady he hoped would be his girlfriend. The name stuck but it should be said that Doh Say is a very handsome, selfless, kind and strong type of Vulture!

We love and depend on him. He is a most wonderful uncle to my children and many others (including those of our Partners friend below).

The following is an article written about Doh Say by a friend from Partners Relief and Development. Partners works with us in the Good Life Club and relief programs.

God Bless you,

A Free Burma Ranger relief team leader

Story of Doh Say

by Partners

My daughter was sitting on a wooden bench looking over tall mountains in Shan State. “What is an animal that is kind, smart and strong?” she asked. “Why are you thinking about that?” “I want to compare Doh Say to an animal, and these are all the things Doh Say is,” was her answer. She was ten and during the last few days she had gotten to know a man who had become more than an uncle. He was almost everything she thought a good person should be.

My family has spent countless evenings praying for Doh Say since we first got to know this man with the smiling eyes. “Girls, we have to pray for Doh Say tonight,” says Daddy. “He just called from the jungle. Tonight he will cross a car road that is patrolled by the Burma Army and it is very dangerous.” Another night he might say, “I just got off the phone with Doh Say. He said he is with villagers who were attacked yesterday. He is trying to help them the best he and the team can, but it is dangerous to be where they are so we must pray for his safety and for the villagers’ too.”

Doh Say is a Karenni man who has given his life to serve God and the oppressed peoples of Burma. He is the only person I know who does not actually live anywhere. All his belongings can be found in his backpack. When we occasionally give him some extra money, he smiles and says: “Thank you. This is great because now I can help more IDPs.” “I really don’t need much,” he will say. “Just two poles so I can hang my hammock.”

He decided to serve his people by fighting for freedom. So he became a soldier, more dedicated to fight for what is right than to kill what is evil. He shares the story of a battle that lasted for several days—and that finally left him injured—with a mixture of awe and a little bit of humor, too. “I decided that God’s Word should be my protection,” he recalls. “So I wrote down all of Psalm 23 on a piece of paper twice. I put the psalm in each of my breast pockets, confident that God would protect me. And then I got shot.” He almost died when the bullet went through his chest and back. It took him a year to recover, and the scars from his injury are to me big and frightening. “I felt upset with God after this,” he said. “God, I even had your word in my breast pockets, and still you did not protect me.” Then he added that God used his time in recovery to teach him many valuable lessons.

Now Doh Say serves his people by being a full-time FBR relief team leader. Parts of the year are spent training new relief teams in the art of saving people who have been attacked by the enemy. Then he spends months in the jungle walking from village to village, and from hide site to hide site visiting the teachers that Partners support, and bringing them their salary for the next few months. There are no ATMs in the jungle. Bank transfers are out of the question. The only way to get money into the hands of teachers in Karen State is to physically hand it to them. The teachers are doing a heroic act by teaching children in a war-torn country. Doh Say is the hero who makes it possible for the teachers to teach. “When I go and hand them the money for their salary, their eyes light up because somebody cares about them. That makes my heart full of joy.”

But before he gets to experience the joy of seeing the smiles of the teachers, he has to wander through the valley of death—literally. One time he recounted, “The soldiers were so close I could hear them talk. If they had looked in my direction, they would have seen me. All I could say was, ‘Jesus, make me invisible.'” “I kept talking to Jesus while walking, reminding myself that He was there.” Later he said, “It’s not that I mind so much being killed by them. It is what they will do to me before they kill me that scares me.” “The hairs on my back stood up while I snuck by the soldiers,” he admits. “I was so afraid.”

I guess one of the things that have impressed me the most about Doh Say is his humanity. He is not a superhero who has no fear or worries about tomorrow. He feels fear, but chooses to do the right thing in spite of it. He is not afraid to talk about his weaknesses and shortcomings. “I wish I was a better person,” he has said. “I was selfish and thought about myself first,” he lamented after one of his trips when he had not wanted to help a family that was in need. It inspires me to meet a person who has struggles like me, but who consistently chooses to disregard his fears, his weaknesses and his limitations, and instead chooses to follow his Leader into territories that are neither safe nor comfortable, but are still the right place to be.

I wonder how he does it, and the only answer I can think of is this: He has his eyes fixed on heaven. He knows that life here is not the end. And I believe that when Doh Say meets Jesus face to face one day, he will know that all his sacrifices were worth it.

Written by a friend from Partners