On Sunday, I learned that Brother U Tan passed away. I didn’t know him well, but I’m thankful that my life intersected with his. He was a disciple of Jesus in life and remains one in death. May I live up to his example.
I met Brother U Tan in Myanmar in February. He was 1 of 19 people who were baptized at the end of a Bible conference. A Buddhist in a nation of Buddhists, U Tan started following Jesus. His baptism was a public sign of that decision.
Anyone can get baptized, but it’s what you do after that matters. Shortly after he was baptized, U Tan’s neighbors burned his house down. They didn’t like his decision. Suddenly the gravity of following Jesus became real.
So we asked if anyone would help rebuild his house. Four readers responded with financial donations, and U Tan’s house was rebuilt. It was a powerful way to experience the body of Christ. U Tan had a new community in Myanmar. And now he had brothers and sisters in America who cared. In this way, the Church was demonstrated to U Tan unforgettably. I was proud of how we shined.
Months passed and I didn’t hear anything of U Tan. I wondered how he was, this man marked by water and by fire. This poor Burmese man, who was given every spiritual blessing. How was U Tan?
Then Sunday I got the news. U Tan was dead.
But how could he be dead? He just started in the Kingdom. He barely got to experience his new life.
Believers gathered at his home and they shared encouraging words. They ministered to U Tan’s family and his neighbors, perhaps the ones who burned his house down. These neighbors heard about the God of U Tan.
I asked how U Tan died that afternoon. No one knows. According to his son, U Tan came back to his house very tired. Then he took a nap, and when his family called him for dinner, he was gone, gone to his new house in eternity.
But here’s what we do know. U Tan had been at a widow’s house sharing the Gospel. As a disciple, he was making disciples. Then he went home, lay down, and died. Brother U Tan was a disciple of Jesus in life and remains one in death. His example speaks from the grave. Let us all follow Jesus like U Tan did.
Goodbye brother. I’ll see you again.