Paul, Montana (1940–2017)

By Kalumu Paul

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Kalumu Paul, M.A. in education, M.Min. and M.A. in religion with emphasis on Buddhism (Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies), is the director for the Buddhist ministry of Myanmar Union Mission. He is married to Khin Mar Lwin and has a son and two daughters.

First Published: January 29, 2020

Montana Paul was a teacher, pastor, principal, mission president, and union department director.

Early Life

Montana Paul was born on December 12, 1940, in a Baptist home in Kyaukgyi (or Kyaukkyi) in Shwegyin District, Bago Region, Burma (now Myanmar). His parents were Smile Paul and Daw Mya Yin. He was the second of nine children: Toe Mg Gyi, Montana Paul, Say Hae, Aw Kaw Paul, Pa Saw Htee, Boe Bo Gyi, Khu Htee, Timothy Muna Paul, and Lucrisha.1 His grandparents on his mother’s side were Ba Tin and Daw Mable, devoted Baptists. His grandparents on his father’s side were Thara Paul and Daw Ruby, Adventists who had been converted from the Baptist faith. Montana was greatly influenced by his grandparents through unfailing morning and evening worships. Thara Paul was one of the earliest converts in Burma and worked with Adventist missionaries from the USA in the church and schools.2

Montana Paul grew up during World War II, during the Japanese occupation of Burma. His father was a local insurgent leader who fought against foreign invaders, experienced a lot of difficulties, and witnessed brutalities and horrific incidents during wartime. When Montana was five years old, the family suffered a great tragedy. Six of the siblings, including Montana and his eldest brother, crossed a river on a small, wooden boat to go to a house for worship. On their way home, the boat sank, and three of the six drowned. Montana survived, but his eldest brother was among the three that died.3

Education and Marriage

Montana was baptized in 1955.4 He studied in Taungoo, Bago Region, and passed the government examination required to complete grade 10. After that, he went to Spicer Memorial College and studied agriculture. In 1962, the same year that General Ne Win’s military coup d’état abolished Burma’s civilian government, the Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League, and established the Union Revolutionary Council in its place, Montana returned home from Spicer Memorial College.5 His mission work started in 1964 at Ohndaw High School, Hpa-an, Karen State, where he taught and worked as a farm manager at the same time.6

In 1965, Montana Paul married Loretta.7 Soon after, Paul joined the Karen National Union (KNU), one of the biggest armed tribal military juntas. In 1969, after several years in the KNU, he surrendered and submitted his weapon to the military government.8 Montana and Loretta had five sons, Ka Lu Htoo, Ka Lu Say, Ka Lu Mu, Ka Lu Hser, and Ka Lu Moo (Alvin Paul); and nine grandchildren.9

Career

After completely surrendering to the government and after several years away from denominational service, Paul resumed mission work in January 1975. He was assigned to teach at the Bible seminary of Upper Myanmar Mission.10 The following year, he was transferred to Union Bible Seminary at Myaungmya, Ayeyarwady Region.11

After three years of service in Union Bible Seminary, Paul was transferred to Twantay as an evangelist.12 He was ordained on November 24, 1984, while serving as a pastor in the Twantay church.13 In 1987, Pastor Paul moved to Tharrawaddy and worked as a pastor until 1990. In 1991, he moved from Yangon to Central Myanmar to serve as a pastor at New Thandaung Church, Bago Region. In 1993, Pastor Paul became the principal of Mountain View Junior Bible Seminary, Taungngu Township, and served for five years.14 In 1997, he was elected president for Central Myanmar Mission.15 He served as the president for four years, until 2001. From 2002 until his retirement, Pastor Montana Paul served as a stewardship and philanthropic director for Myanmar Union Mission.16

Later Life and Legacy

Pastor Montana Paul served the Seventh-day Adventist Church for 30 years. He retired from the church organization on January 1, 2006,17 and settled in Taunggu. He passed away in 2017 and was buried in a mountain village, Shwe-nyaung-bin, the place he most loved.

Pastor Montana Paul wrote several books such as “Prevailing Prayer,” “Manual for Lay People,” and the “Book of Revelation” in both Karenic and Burmese languages.18 His books are widely distributed among and studied by Seventh-day Adventists and other religious denominations in Myanmar.

Sources

Burma Union Committee minutes, 1964. Myanmar Union Mission Archives.

Burma Union Committee minutes, 1976. Myanmar Union Mission Archives.

Burma Union Committee minutes, 1984. Myanmar Union Mission Archives.

Burma Union Committee minutes, 1996. Myanmar Union Mission Archives.

“Paul, Montana.” Employee Service Record: Far Eastern Division. Myanmar Union Mission Archives.

Personal Workers Service Record. Myanmar Union Mission Archives.

Notes

  1. Kalu Hser, interview by author, Yangon, August 30, 2018.

  2. Timothy Muna Paul, interview by author, Yangon, August 20, 2018.

  3. U Yaw Mu, interview by author, Myaungmya, September 2, 2018.

  4. Kalu Hser, interview by author, Yangon, August 30, 2018.

  5. Ibid.

  6. Burma Union Committee, 1964, action no. 64 – 138. Myanmar Union Mission Archives.

  7. “Paul, Montana,” Personal Workers Service Record, Myanmar Union Mission Archives.

  8. U Yaw Mu, interview by author, Myaungmya, September 2, 2018.

  9. “Paul, Montana,” Personal Workers Service Record, Myanmar Union Mission Archives.

  10. Ibid.

  11. Burma Union Committee, 1976, action no. 76 – 2. Myanmar Union Mission Archives.

  12. “Paul, Montana,” Personal Workers Service Record, Myanmar Union Mission Archives.

  13. Burma Union Committee, 1984, action no. 84 – 200. Myanmar Union Mission Archives.

  14. “Paul, Montana,” Personal Workers Service Record, Myanmar Union Mission Archives.

  15. Burma Union Committee, 1996, action no. 96 – 291. Myanmar Union Mission Archives.

  16. “Paul, Montana,” Employee Service Record: Far Eastern Division. Myanmar Union Mission Archives.

  17. “Paul, Montana,” Personal Workers Service Record, Myanmar Union Mission Archives.

  18. Kalu Hser, interview by author, Yangon, August 30, 2018.

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Paul, Kalumu. "Paul, Montana (1940–2017)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 29, 2020. Accessed April 16, 2024. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=AI2Z.

Paul, Kalumu. "Paul, Montana (1940–2017)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 29, 2020. Date of access April 16, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=AI2Z.

Paul, Kalumu (2020, January 29). Paul, Montana (1940–2017). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved April 16, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=AI2Z.