Soldier of Karen people became soldier of Christ


By Mark Ellis —

Enormous Ehtoo
Enormous Ehtoo

God miraculously protected him in his battle against the Burmese government, but still he refused to turn from his sinful ways, until alcohol provoked a crisis in his life.

“Before I received Christ my life was meaningless,” says Enormous Ehtoo, a former officer in the Karen Army, one of the tribal minority armies at odds with the Burmese government for many years. “I was so wicked. I drank a lot of alcohol.”

In late 1986 Ehtoo survived an ambush by the Burmese government. Ehtoo had been the officer in charge of laying landmines to kill Burmese troops, but the government had tracked him down and were prepared to finish him off.

With bullets flying all around him, only small stones kicked up in the dirt hit his legs. His walkie-talkie took a direct hit. Amazingly, his body did not have a scratch and he survived the assault, ready to fight another day.

Even though he felt God’s miraculous protection, he refused to turn his life over to the lordship of Jesus Christ. He was raised in a Christian family, but he didn’t know Jesus personally.

“My life was so hopeless because I drank a lot,” he recalls. “I was an officer, so people gave me alcohol.”

But his alcohol abuse brought health consequences, primarily to his stomach. Heavy drinking often results in inflammation of the stomach lining, stomach and esophageal ulcers, and inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis), according to the Mayo Clinic.

In 2010, desperate for change after his retirement from the army, he began to study the Bible with Pastor Ponee. “He was a very gentle and humble soul,” Ehtoo notes. “I saw the light and love of Christ in him.”

One day, Pastor Ponee issued a challenge to the former military man. “Before you were a soldier of the nation and now you must become a soldier of Christ.”

Ehtoo pondered his words for a moment. The study of God’s Word had greatly impacted his thinking and softened his heart. He knew it was a time for change, a time to surrender to Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.

“I accepted his challenge,” Ehtoo affirms. A blessing of unsurpassed joy flowed immediately into his life and God supernaturally removed his hunger for alcohol.

Ehtoo with author
Ehtoo with author

“I couldn’t even stand the smell of alcohol,” Ehtoo marvels. “I threw away all my cigarettes and alcohol.”

After two years of Bible study with Pastor Ponee, Ehtoo launched a house church, which he currently pastors along the Thai-Burma border, among the Karen refugee population.


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  1. Sometimes the stories of Christian changing lives from abroad are so compelling, and it reminds us American Christians to continue to press for the evangelization of the world. Thanks for this story!

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