Ministry & Leadership - Spring 2017 - 25
died when Tial was 2 years old. "I said no, because that was not
my desire. But my mother knew that I didn't have a relationship
with Christ, and she prayed for me."
Tial's heart was changed that week: "My mother insisted I go
to that meeting. I sat there with a lot of pride inside, but the Lord
kept me there listening, and finally He spoke to me through His
Word. My spiritual life began through my mother's prayer and
the Lord's work. From 2 Corinthians 5:12-16, He showed me how
my pride was blocking me from having a relationship with Him.
That's when He made me a new person in the Lord Jesus Christ."
Today, the RTS-Jackson graduate and former schoolteacher
leads an effort to plant churches throughout Myanmar (known as
Burma until 1989), serving as an agent of spiritual revival in the
Southeast Asian nation.
"At the same time as my conversion, I began having a strong desire to serve the Lord all my life," says Tial, executive director of
the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Myanmar. "I wanted to go
to Bible school so I might correctly share the gospel. Also at the
same time, when I went back to Yangon, an interdenominational
group appointed me as one of its city leaders. From there I was
looking for a Bible school where I could strengthen my faith and
not go somewhere wandering, but at the time there was just one,
and it didn't accept born-again people. So I began looking abroad
to get equipped to serve the Lord Jesus Christ."
Enter RTS. "One of our local pastors knew I was eagerly looking
for a Bible school," Tial explains, "and said he knew a good school
for me, because a faculty member there had been praying for
Myanmar because it had been a closed country for missionaries
for many years." That faculty member happened to be Dr. Paul
Long Sr., then a professor of missions at RTS-Jackson (see sidebar
on right). When Tial met Dr. Long in Jackson, "I was happy, hap-
25 Ministry & Leadership
DR. PAUL LONG SR.:
CITIZEN SOLDIER IN BURMA
he ministry of Tial Thanga in Myanmar is the fruit of faithful prayer for the nation by people like Dr. Paul Long Sr. The
professor of missions emeritus at RTS-Jackson, now 93 years
young, served in the U.S. Army in Burma (the former name of
Myanmar) during World War II.
In 1994 Dr. Long published a book
about his war experiences, titled Citizen
Soldiers of World War II: Pacific Theater
of Operations. The book tells the true stories of the American soldiers (including
himself) who served with Merrill's Marauders in occupied Burma during the
war. Merrill's Marauders were a famed
jungle warfare unit specializing in missions deep behind enemy lines, with
each soldier earning the Bronze Star for
heroism in combat.
Dr. Long's experiences in Burma led him to also engage in spiritual warfare for the souls of the Burmese people. His later service
for nearly three decades as a missionary in Africa and Brazil inspired another book, The Man in the Leather Hat and Other Stories.
Both books can be purchased through the RTS online bookstore
at mindandheart.com by clicking on Faculty Publications and selecting View Publications next to Dr. Paul Long Sr.