Remembering Hsi Hsi, a fallen Ranger
8 June 2022
Karenni State, Burma
We are very sad to inform you we lost a Ranger last week. Hsi Hsi, also known as Saw Ler Moo Gey and Good Living Stone, a Karenni Ranger who just graduated from training, died of an unknown illness while on a mission to help people in need. Hsi Hsi was one of the key young people helping Karenni people under attack after the coup d’état. His organizational skills enabled FBR to provide assistance to thousands of people in hiding, even before he was a Ranger himself. Earlier this year, from January to March, we worked together with him as he helped coordinate and facilitate relief in Karenni State. During some of the heaviest fighting and attacks, he was by my side with a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye. He would move back and forth between the front line and a casualty collection point, helping transfer wounded people and comforting them on the way. He would then come right back into the heaviest fighting, ready to help again. When people began to flee their homes he also helped to coordinate their escape and helped them move their belongings to a safer place. His humility and ability increased the effectiveness of everything we did. Karen says, “I remember Hsi Hsi fondly for his bright eyes and big smile. He was our driver for the GLC programs on the February Karenni mission and was eager to help with all the coordinations, from loading a truck full with supplies to driving a truck full of Rangers to and from the programs. He was willing to run errands and help with anything that needed to be done…always with bright eyes and a big smile. I’m so thankful for sharing in his life during that time.”
Hsi Hsi was single and loved by all and looked forward to being married one day. He was a great influence on the other students and was a leader during the training. After the training, he went with us on a mission in Karen State. One of the photos below shows him leading a mule across a Burma Army-controlled road to deliver aid. It was shortly after this photo that he became sick. He was treated by our medics as we divided our teams and went in two different directions. The day before he died he was unable to walk and so the team carried him to a nearby village where they did their best to take care of him, giving him antibiotics and treating his symptoms of high fever, vomiting, and pain. He died suddenly in the night on Saturday, 4 June.
It was a shock to everyone. He was so strong and so cheerful and so able; we cannot believe he’s gone. We have no idea why he died and even the experienced medics with him were not able to identify the cause with certainty. We sent a message to his family, who asked that he be buried in the village where he died. The team gave him a service that honored him and how he gave his life for others and for God. Hsi Hsi did not have to go into the battlefield and risk being killed. He did not have to come to the training and go on a difficult relief mission. He could’ve tried to protect himself. But he gave his life fully for others. It is a mystery to us why he died and how he died of this unexpected sickness. We wonder why he died. I believe he lived his life as well as he could and made a tremendous difference to all those around him. His was a life of love, self-sacrifice, and service. He gave hope, care, and needed assistance to those who are suffering. Hsi Hsi lived his life in faithfulness to God and I believe God has received him and will bring good even from his death. Thank you so much for praying for us and caring for us and please pray for Hsi Hsi’s family
Thanks and God bless you,
Dave, family and FBR
A Personal Reflection from a FBR Staff Member:
One of FBR’s principles of leadership is, “When people are in danger, stay with them.” When I teach this to our students, I often reference 1 Thessalonians 5:11, where Paul says we must therefore “encourage one another and build each other up.” I often think about the word “encourage” and I like to think that, when broken down, it means we can “enter-courage” into each other, just by staying with each other. Hsi Hsi, on numerous occasions, “entered-courage” into me when I was in danger and afraid.
The first time I met Hsi Hsi he wasn’t one of our Rangers, he was just a friend of our Ranger team and was helping — and when I say helping, I mean he was doing any job, big or small, dangerous or mundane, to support our mission. My first memory of being with Hsi Hsi was during the battle of Moe Bye. It was the second day of a heavy offensive from the Burma Army, with many casualties, heavy shelling all day and attacks and strafing runs from Burma Army jets. I was afraid. At one point during the day I was called to go up to the front line to help remove some casualties – this meant driving our truck, very exposed, along a train track to the back edge of the front line. I didn’t want to do it – but it needed to be done and I reluctantly agreed. Hsi Hsi saw my discomfort and knew the risks and said he would come with me. He jumped in the passenger seat of the truck with a big smile on his face and calmed my nerves as he chatted away as if we were making a casual drive to the store. Mortar rounds were impacting all around us, but Hsi Hsi just kept on smiling and talking and asking questions. His love for me, and for his people, gave me courage to keep going and do my job.
I encouraged Hsi Hsi to attend our Ranger training this spring. He didn’t really want to come; he was comfortable in his role as an “FBR friend.” He reluctantly agreed on the condition that I “look out for him during the training.” During the month-long training there were numerous times when I had the opportunity to repay him for the courage he gave me, to encourage him to keep going in the training
To say that everyone loved Hsi Hsi is an understatement. Everyone who met Hsi Hsi treated him like their younger brother. He was brave, humble, and had a smile that gave hope and courage. Hsi Hsi was awarded the FBR Achievement Medal with Valor and the FBR Silver Star for Bravery, even before officially becoming a Ranger. He will be missed dearly.
Thanks and God bless you,
The Free Burma Rangers