The humanitarian group Free Burma Rangers started by American couple David and Karen Eubank to provide aid and share the Gospel in war-torn regions of the world is the subject of a new documentary that hit theaters this week.
“Free Burma Rangers” was released in theaters for two days on Feb. 24-25 in partnership with LifeWay Films and Deidox Films and follows the valiant Eubank family and the rangers/missionaries they’ve rallied to help rescue and provide aid to people whose homelands have become war zones. The raw and inspiring movie is an illustration of Christianity in action.
David Eubank, who grew up as a missionary child, is a former U.S. Army Special Forces and Ranger officer. Just weeks after marrying his wife, Karen, over 20 years ago, they moved to Burma to take on a life-risking mission to offer aid to those in need. David carries the words of the Bible in his heart and a rifle in his hand when he’s out on rescue missions. Karen has been by his side every step of the way and along with their three children, they strive to deliver the Gospel and food and medicine in some of the most dangerous locations in the world: Burma (Myanmar), Iraq and Syria.
According to the Free Burma Rangers website, their team has helped 1.5 million displaced persons to date who would have otherwise died.
The following is an edited transcript of The Christian Post’s interview with Karen Eubank who spoke about the instructions she received from God that enables her and her family to continue to live in war zones where they share the love of God with others.
The Christian Post: You are an encouragement to wives and women. Can you talk about where you get your strength to support your husband and the many people you come in contact with while out on the mission field?
Karen Eubank: I remember when my parents gave me a Ryrie Study Bible in high school and I started pouring through the Gospel of John. The first few chapters of John were almost completely highlighted with color as I devoured the depth of meaning and purpose for my life.
In my mind’s eye I can still see other significant passages that sustained me then, and still carry my burdens to this day. That personal devotional time as well as consistent discipleship through the Bible with my youth group leader and friends cemented Jesus’ love and plan for my life that established a bedrock of courage and trust in His guidance.
Relying on His leading and direction through college and into adulthood, including marriage and family, have been the central source of strength. Marriage and mission life came hand-in-hand.
Although my new life was completely unfamiliar and, at times, overwhelming, I knew God had offered me the gift of an amazing life, and at the same time knew that I was inadequate and unprepared for the task. Confidence in God’s leading in my life to join Dave in his vision was the only strength that could weather the storms of doubt and discouragement.
Throughout the most trying times, I’m thankful that God has shown me clearly the steps (of decision) all along the way that brought me to that point, always a path pursuing His love and faithfulness and therefore without regret. Believing in the vision that God has given us as a couple, and family helps carry my focus above my own fears and selfishness to the great things God can do through me.
As with my church family in high school, the fellowship of our FBR team has added strength to the vision and work of our ministry. All along the way, God has given me the love and prayers and help of great friends who came alongside for each phase of the journey.
CP: You have seen first-hand that there is safety in obedience even in the midst of danger. Can you share some encouragement for others who might see the film but are afraid to step into their own mission fields in life?
Eubank: My mission life is nothing that I had planned or experienced before jumping into it. Although I grew up in the church the only missionary biography I read was Corrie Ten Boom. As I began life overseas, I really didn’t have any scaffolding for what we were building in our mission life.
Thankfully, Dave’s family, the amazing community in Chiang Mai, and Amy Carmichael’s writings illuminated a way to a new normal. Still, the vision Dave had for ministering in war zones, and our desire to stay together in mission as a family, meant that we were breaking trail even in the “new normal.”
In these times I felt God reminding me to keep my focus on Him, as comparing my life to others would only scatter that beam of light that was my guide.
I remember, in my mind’s eye, seeing a wagon path of two tracks through a waving field of grass. Only two tracks existed in the picture and I felt him saying, “stay in the path I have for you, my provision for you is in this path no matter how unfamiliar or unconventional it is.”
Practically this has led us into unconventional situations such as staying in homes that were destroyed or under threat of being destroyed and in close proximity to drug warlords, terrorists, disease, rioting, and arrest. Yet, in all these situations the local people, as well as our team, we’re committed to Jesus’ command to not be overcome by evil but to overcome evil with good.
We were never alone in our steps of obedience toward pursuing God’s love for healing of fear and injustice in each of these situations.
During these occasions, honestly, I knew I had no guarantee of our safety through it. But I knew that to give up or turn back would be worse … that God’s promises for us, as called in that path for that moment, were straight through that door of obedience.
Every time a situation was terrible, after catching my breath and regaining my strength, I was thankful with every cell in my body, but I also never wanted to walk through that situation again. That is my honest human response.
I don’t claim to be bulletproof in my body or faith. But at the same time, when I’ve come face to face with each of these situations the answer and strength to follow Jesus through that door of obedience has been with me. I’m overwhelmingly thankful for that grace and mercy and pray that it will always be with me.
CP: There’s a powerful moment in the film where you are sharing with a group of people about the “good life.” Can you explain what good life means?
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Jeannie Law