By Aaron Earls
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — From the bright lights of a New York City film festival to a river running through the jungles of Burma in Southeast Asia, David Eubank and the Free Burma Rangers continue to change lives.
The documentary named after the group, made in association with Lifeway Films and Deidox Films, won Best Feature Film at The Justice Film Festival in New York City in November 2019.
“Free Burma Rangers,” which will show in select theaters across the U.S. as a Fathom Event on Feb. 24 and 25, 2020, follows the Eubank family, their work with the Free Burma Rangers, and the more than 1.5 million displaced individuals they have assisted around the world.
“We are equal parts thrilled and humbled to have ‘Free Burma Rangers’ recognized in this way,” said director Chris Sinclair. “It was a personal privilege to help capture the compelling story of the Eubank family and their bravery in going on rescue missions throughout the Middle East.”
Sinclair said he was “glad those in attendance at the festival were just as moved by the raw compassion and lived-out love that is displayed in the movie.”
Lifeway Film’s Trent Myers said winning Best Feature Film at The Justice Film Festival “is an honor for our team and Lifeway as a whole. We believe it is a great indicator of the film’s potential Kingdom impact.”
Brent Gudgel, the director and producer of “Free Burma Rangers” said it was a timely recognition for the film. “In these dark times in the Middle East, the Eubanks model real compassion, which knows no limits or bounds, by helping whoever is hurting, no matter their culture, color or creed.”
In 1993, after 10 years in the U.S. Special Forces, David Eubank answered a call from his father, serving on the mission field in Thailand, to help the people caught in the middle of a civil war.
After Eubank married, instead of a traditional honeymoon, he and his wife Karen went to Burma to help free the oppressed and rescue victims there.
As they went on relief missions into the height of conflict, more locals joined in. Eventually, indigenous leaders asked Eubank to train teams. In 1997, the Eubanks founded the Free Burma Rangers.
Today, David, Karen and their three children continue to provide humanitarian aid to some of the most difficult areas in the world. They’ve trained more than 4,500 members of the Free Burma Rangers.
In April, the group will receive the 2020 Foley Humanitarian Award at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. from the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation.
U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham, a member of Alto Baptist Church in Rayville, La., attended the graduation.
The congressman, who served as a First Lieutenant in the Army National Guard, encouraged the graduates with stories from U.S. history of individuals displaying bravery and standing for freedom.
After the graduation, four rangers—one staff member and three new students—were also baptized after professing faith in Christ.
One of those baptized, Ray Khin, came from an animist family, but said he knew in his heart he wanted to follow Jesus.
“To follow Jesus is free for everyone. You only have to believe,” he said. “With animist beliefs, every time I have to go back to my home village and do something. I feel like when you believe in Jesus you are free. You can pray and worship Him anytime, anywhere.”
In addition to baptizing the new Christians, the Free Burma Rangers held a memorial ceremony at the river for Zau Seng, a videographer of the group who was killed in November on a mission in Syria.
Seng, who also served as an assistant medic, was killed when the team’s position was hit by a Turkish munition.
“We still mourn his loss but know he is in a better place with Jesus,” David Eubank said.
In addition to their relief work, the Eubanks say their mission is to share the love of Jesus Christ and help free people from oppression.
“Everywhere, every person in the world has something good and wonderful we can love, learn from and build up,” said Eubank. “When we stand together in Christ and love others, we form the antidote to evil. That is the story I want to be told.”
It’s because of that story that Lifeway Films wanted to get involved, said Myers.
“When we began the work of producing and distributing faith-inspired documentaries in 2016, it started with a mission to deliver stories with a real and raw message that ultimately would have an eternal impact. As we came across the Eubank family’s story and began to understand the depth of their journey, we knew this was a film that could have a massive impact on the Kingdom,” he said.
“The things they walked through as a family were unlike anything we had seen before. Dave and Karen Eubank are living testimonies of how Christ calls us to live in Matthew 16:24-26; to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him with complete faith and trust. We truly feel the message of this family’s journey will influence the Christian walk of all those who experience the film.”
“Free Burma Rangers” will release in theaters across the nation for a two-day Fathom Event on Feb. 24 and 25, 2020. To learn more about the film and view the official trailer, visit FBRmovie.com.
Aaron Earls is a writer for Lifeway Christian Resources.
About Lifeway Films
Lifeway Christian Resources is one of the world’s largest providers of Christian resources. Lifeway Films exists to empower churches and Christians to engage faith-based films as a tool for discipleship and growing their faith.
About Deidox Films
Deidox Films is a non-profit documentary production company creating content from a Christian perspective. Their documentaries serve churches and organizations around the globe.