New Rangers Baptized and Zau Seng Honored at Ranger Training Camp
10 January 2020
Karen State, Burma
As Free Burma Ranger training came to an end and the new Rangers prepared to leave camp and head out on the first mission, four of them asked to be baptized. Their stories are below. As they prepared to start a new life of following Jesus, we also wanted to remember a life lost: Zau Seng, our Kachin videographer who was killed on a mission in Syria in November. And so, as graduation ceremonies ended, Rangers and instructors walked down to the riverside for two ceremonies, one of joy and hope, and one of remembrance.
On Nov. 3, 2019, in Syria, Zau Seng, our Kachin videographer and assistant medic, was killed when the team position was hit by a Turkish munition. He died instantly in the attack and his death was a great loss for his family, the Kachin people, the Rangers, and many more around the world. We held a cremation ceremony in Syria, and he was honored by the people there, who considered him one of their own. We also wanted to remember him here, at this camp he loved and where he spent so much time as both a student and an instructor.
At the riverside, we prayed, his fellow Kachin rangers sang a Kachin song, and we spread his ashes in the river that he loved. Around camp, we’ve hung photos of our times with him and we renamed our large classroom Zau Seng Memorial Hall. We still mourn his loss but know he is in a better place with Jesus.
After honoring Zau, four Rangers – one staff member and three new students – were baptized into a new life of walking with Jesus. Below, they briefly tell their reasons for deciding to be baptized.
Sein Hla, a 25-year-old Chin Ranger from Chin State, grew up in a Christian family and had wanted to be baptized for a long time. He came to camp because he knew the Ranger way was built on godly principles and based on love, the same love he has for helping his people.
But, a couple months before arriving at camp, Sein Hla was in a bad motorcycle accident. His head and face were seriously lacerated and he had to receive many stitches. He shared how, without God’s help, he wouldn’t have healed enough to attend training or have the opportunity to be baptized at camp.
“There are many people who know the Bible a lot but haven’t experienced the blessing of God. When you are facing many problems, just call on God. Then you will know he is real. Jesus is the best. He is the best of everything on this earth. You can rely on him,” he said.
Bah Shwe, a 20-year-old Chin Ranger who grew up in a Christian family, came to camp with a desire to help his people in Chin State. Heavy fighting between the Burma Army and Arakan Army continues to disrupt daily life for him and others, with many villagers afraid to farm or travel because of landmines.
He chose to be baptized at camp because there is no baptism system in his home village and so few opportunities to be baptized. Usually, the pastor just prays over those who want to be baptized. At camp, though, Bah Shwe heard about the opportunity for a water baptism and knew he wanted to be baptized in the river there.
Aung Zaw is a 25-year-old Naga Ranger who came to training because he wants to help his Naga people.
His decision to be baptized came from knowing Jesus is real. He shared how every time he has traveled to dangerous places, Jesus has kept him safe and he has traveled without any problems. For Aung Zaw, being baptized was a way for him to show his commitment to following and walking with Jesus. He wanted to encourage others to do the same because Jesus is the truth.
Ray Khin, a 30-year-old medic from Karen State, comes from an animist family but has known for a long time that he wanted to be baptized.
“I wanted to be baptized when I grew up. I told my parents… I don’t know how to explain this but in my heart, I felt a touch that I need to be baptized and follow Jesus,” he said.
“To follow Jesus is free for everyone. You only have to believe. You can pray everywhere you go, no matter where you are. With animist belief, every time, I have to go back to my home village and do something. So, I feel like when you believe in Jesus you are free – you can pray and worship him any time, anywhere.”
Please join us in thanking God for the new life he gives and for these Rangers who have given their lives to him.
Thank you and God bless you,
Dave Eubank, family, and the Free Burma Rangers