Tun Sein (1910–1973)

By Wesley Doe

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Wesley Doe

First Published: February 18, 2022

Tun Sein was a pioneer teacher and administrator in Burma (now Myanmar).

Early Life, Education, and Marriage

Tun Sein was born on November 3, 1910 at Asai Village, Ayeyarwaddy Region to U Po Lwin and Daw Hla Kywae. He had four brothers named U Tun Maung, U San Che, U Dallah, U Apo, and a sister named Daw Nan Khin.1

Tun Sein grew up in Asai Village and graduated at Meiktila Seventh-day Adventist Training School, and after that he went to Bangalore, India, and completed his first-year college at South India Training School (SIT). In addition to that, he obtained bookkeeping and typing certificates from BSC College, Rangoon (Yangon).2 He married Naw Pan Myaing on February 28, 1936. The couple were blessed with four children, namely: Hilda, Herbert, Matilda, and Juanita. Naw Pan Myaing died in 1949. He remarried to Daw Yee Yee on April 2, 1950, and they were blessed with four children again: Sophia, Wingate, Wesley, and Sohila.3

Ministry

Tun Sein’s service was started in the denomination as a teacher at Myaungmya School in Ayeyarwaddy Section of Seventh-day Adventists from 1930 to 1931. After serving at Myaungmya School, he went to South India Training School (SIT), Bangalore, India to study from the year of 1931-1934. From 1932 to 1934, he worked for the Oriental Watchman Printing Publishing House, Pune, India.4 In October 1932 the first issue of the Burmese Magazine Kin Saung printed 6,000 copies in Pune. Tun Sein was a proofreader and a typesetter.5

Tun Sein came back from India to Myanmar and worked as a teacher at Meiktila Seventh-day Adventist High School from 1934 to 1936. In the years of 1936 and 1937, he went to Ohn Daw village and worked as a teacher. Again, in the years of 1937-1941, he went to Meiktila School as a teacher.6

During the outbreak of the Second World War, Tun Sein was working as an evangelist at Minzee Village, in Hpa-An Township, Tenasserim Region Section from 1945 to 1947. In 1947 and 1948 he was working as a teacher at Hpa-An, South East Section Mission. And then he moved to Ohn Daw and continued as a teacher from 1948 to 1955. While at Ohn Daw, Tun Sein had an opportunity to work together with Pastor Eric B. Hare (also affectionately known as “Dr. Rabbit”), a missionary from Australia. That period was also the time when the Karen ethnic armed group had a revolutionary war against the Myanmar Government. As the government military was trying to capture the Karen armed revolutionary group, Tun Sein and his five other colleagues were also included in that capture by the government. Including Tun Sein, they were Tun Maung, Elijah Bwint, Ohn Bwint, Maung Thein I, and Maung Thein II. Later they were sent to Mawlamyine central prison.7 After being released from the Mawlamyine central prison from 1955 to 1956, Tun Sein worked as an evangelist at Mawlamyine for the South East Adventist Section Mission.8

From the South East Section Mission, Tun Sein was transferred to Myaungmya, Ayeyarwaddy Region as a teacher at Myaungmya Seventh-day Adventist School, and he worked there from 1956 to 1957. Being a teacher, he was promoted as a secretary-treasurer for Ayayarwaddy Section Mission and worked during the years of 1957-1960. Later he was promoted as president at the same local mission, and worked during the years of 1961 and1962.9

Tun Sein was ordained to the ministry during the time of workers’ retreat. The ordination service was held in the Sabbath afternoon on September 30, 1961 at Yangon Central Church.10 It was in 1962 that he received a call from Myanmar Union to serve as treasurer in the union office. As such, he worked as union treasurer in Yangon from 1962 to 1965. Later he was promoted as union secretary of the Burma Union Mission from 1965 to 1972.11

In January 1968 the Burma Union Secretary Tun Sein gave the ministerial report to the Southern Asia Division that 336 people were baptized in 1967. He continued by saying that the government did not conduct school classes on Sabbath days as there were five working days in a week. So there were no classes on Sabbath and Sunday.12 And it was on December 12-27, 1967 that the Burma (Myanmar) Union Mission Secretary Tun Sein and U Kay Paw were ministers visiting isolated members of the Central Burma Section; as a result the believers were blessed by their visitation.13

In 1968 Tun Sein was reappointed as secretary of the Burma Union Mission.14 As four people got baptized during the Delta Annual Meeting at Taungbawzu village on March 13-18, 1968, Tun Sein met the church members at that occasion,15 and the church members were encouraged and spiritually nourished by that meeting with Tun Sein.

Later Life

Although Tun Sein applied for his retirement in December 1972, the Southern Asia Division requested him to serve as field secretary for Myanmar Union Mission and as a counselor for the new administration.16 Tun Sein served as a field secretary at Hpa-An, Karen State, Myanmar for approximately two months. His service was ended on February 19, 1973 when he passed away. And he was survived by his wife Daw Yee Yee, three sons, five daughters, and twelve grandchildren.17

Legacy

Tun Sein left the legacy of fearlessness for the mission of the Lord. He was the one who risked his life for the mission of the Lord in the midst of Karen Armed Militants and Myanmar Government Military armed conflicts on the battlefield.

Sources

Burma Union Committee Minutes, Action No. 61-23. Southern Asia-Pacific Division Archives, Silang, Cavite, Philippines.

Craven, J. C. “Kin Suang.” Eastern Tidings Southern Asia Division, November 1932.

Guild, Nora. “Burma.” Southern Asia Tidings, June 1968.

Guild, Nora. “Poona Log-Book.” Southern Asia Tidings, March 1968.

Lange, Sylvia. “December 14.” Southern Asia Tidings, January 1968.

Paw, U Kay. “Leaders Circle: Central Myanmar.” Southern Asia Tidings, March 1968.

Worker Service Record of Tun Sein. Southern Asia-Pacific Division Archives, Silang, Cavite, Philippines.

Notes

  1. Sophia, daughter of Tun Sein, interview by the author, August 14, 2017.

  2. Juanita, daughter of Tun Sein, interview by the author, August 14, 2017.

  3. Sophia, daughter of Tun Sein, interview by the author, August 14, 2017.

  4. Juanita, daughter of Tun Sein, interview by the author, August 14, 2017.

  5. J. C. Craven, “Kin Suang,” Eastern Tidings Southern Asia Division, November 1932, 1.

  6. Juanita, daughter of Tun Sein, interview by the author, August 14, 2017.

  7. Ibid.

  8. Worker Service Record of Tun Sein, Retained in the File of the Employing Organization, Southern Asia-Pacific Division Archives, Silang, Cavite, Philippines.

  9. Ibid.

  10. Burma Union Committee Minutes, Action No. 61-23. Southern Asia-Pacific Division Archives, Silang, Cavite, Philippines.

  11. Workers Service Record of Tun Sein.

  12. Sylvia Lange, “December 14,” Southern Asia Tidings, January 1968, 13.

  13. U Kay Paw, “Leaders Circle: Central Burma,” Southern Asia Tidings, March 1968, 18.

  14. Nora Guild, “Poona Log-Book,” Southern Asia Tidings, March 1968, 9.

  15. Nora Guild, “Burma” Southern Asia Tidings, June 1968, 8.

  16. Workers Service Record of Tun Sein.

  17. Wesley Doe, personal knowledge as son of Tun Sein.

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Doe, Wesley. "Tun Sein (1910–1973)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. February 18, 2022. Accessed August 03, 2022. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=BJDT.

Doe, Wesley. "Tun Sein (1910–1973)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. February 18, 2022. Date of access August 03, 2022, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=BJDT.

Doe, Wesley (2022, February 18). Tun Sein (1910–1973). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved August 03, 2022, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=BJDT.