Founding Ranger Passes Away: Mucu Senior Ranger
19 September 2017
We have lost one of our original founding rangers- Mucu Bani. Mucu Bani passed away from cancer this summer on July 28th and his loss has left a hole in my heart and the heart of us Rangers and my family. Mucu was a Karenni and one of the first four rangers to found FBR in 1997. He was our teacher, older brother, mentor and brother in Christ. It took me a long time to write this because his passing made me so sad, to think of him gone. He died right after we came back form a mission in Iraq and his loss was on top of so many others. He was one of my closest friends and a older brother and adviser to me when we started FBR and taught me how to understand and love the people of Burma and how we could help.
Mucu’s father, Samuel Bani fought in the British Army in WWII and then started the Karenni National Progress Party and led the Karenni to stand against Burma Army oppression since 1949. His father also became a church leader and supported our efforts to share the love of Jesus on our missions. We named our son Peter Eliya Samuel after Samuel Bani. Mucu, his son, was a man of action and even as a boy was out front standing against the attacking Burma Army. In his early teens he acted as a scout for the Karenni Army. He did reconnaissance armed only with a bolt action .22 rifle and he would engage and singlehandedly hold off attacking Burma Army forces with this weapon alone. His bravery and jungle skills helped many Karenni villagers escape and he was known as a hard, brilliant, bold defender of the people. Through all this he gave his life to Jesus and tried to be His disciple. By his own words his commitment to following Jesus became weaker and as he became a man he took on more complex and difficult assignments including obtaining weapons for the Karenni resistance. During one of his resupply missions he killed a civilian and the guilt and shame that followed convinced him he could never be accepted by God again. When we first met he still felt that way but over time his heart softened. After one relief mission with us he told me, “I did wrong and am so sorry but Jesus has forgiven me. I am ready to serve Him full time and what I want to do most is study the Bible.” When we began to train FBR teams, Mucu was the person who developed and led the training. He acted as chief training officer and sergeant major and had a perfect mix of love and tough leading for the new rangers. He always led by example and had everyones respect. He set the standard for all future Ranger trainings and what we do now is built on his shoulders. On relief missions after the trainings he always led from the front and when we were attacked always took the rear guard to protect the team. As I write this memorial to Mucu I want to include my message to him.
“Mucu, my older brother, I miss you. You made me and the Free Burma Rangers what we are today. You taught us by example how to lead with love, mercy and truth. You were one of the toughest men I ever knew yet your gentleness to people in need, to children on the run, to our children, broke hard hearts and warmed and enlarged those who had grown small with fear or hate. You taught me how to lead but most of all how to serve and that without love and service, leadership alone would fail. I remember how you sold your Thai citizenship to pay for medical treatment for your wife and how you sacrificed all the things you loved for your family. Among many things ou taught me was how use our 4-wheel-drive trucks to their maximum capacity and got us across rivers and mountains that others could not cross. I remember your words too about sermons, ‘Remember to share the scriptures Dave, that is all I really remember from sermons anyway.’
I remember when I taught you how to play American football and how you promptly left all of us in the dust with your blazing speed and uncanny ability to tackle even the biggest opponent. Later we played some big Americans back in Thailand and you performed a play that had over six laterals and how this confused and frustrated the Americans and how you led our team to victory despite our opponents size and experience. I also remember how you took care of our children, Sahale, Suu and Peter- you were their special uncle from each of their births. You loved and trained them how to live in the jungle and how to be bold children of the wilds and how to love people and Jesus. After missions they would run to you first, yelling, “uncle, uncle,” as they jumped into your arms. You were a warrior who saved people and a humble man of God who knew forgiveness. Most of all you were my older brother, friend, teammate and fellow follower after Jesus.
Thank you, I love you,
Dave, family and all the Free Burma Rangers”