The vision of the Asia Baptist Women’s Union, one of the regions of the Baptist World Alliance Women, gets right to the point.
Its website states its vision: “To see women in Asia empowered for leadership, to confidently engage in various traditional and creative ministries, to bring the gospel to the lost.”
ABWU’s president, Dr. Vernette Myint Myint San, goes into more detail about their work.
“ABWU has built up a very strong and close relationship through networking over the past four years and now has a huge platform supported by a large group of Baptist women in Asia.”
The ABWU consists of 19 countries and 34 member bodies.
“My role is to stay connected with all member countries, to build up networking and support, to inspire them through activities and to reach out and help the most vulnerable and weakest member,” San said. “Seeing them flourish and growing in their ministries is the best reward for ABWU.”
San serves with four other women, all volunteers. Though from different countries in the region, including Myanmar, Korea, Thailand and Malaysia, San said that they “work extremely well as a team.”
Along with ministering to women, San is passionate about humanitarian work. In fact, one of the programs that ABWU is involved in is Women Helping Women. It is a globally recognized humanitarian organization that works to curb climate change.
San has another route for this passion.
“I have been involved in medical missions along the Thai-Myanmar border since 1997,” she said. “Initially it was treatment and relief work, which was later followed by training nurse aides and medics along the borders and in cities with good infrastructures.”
She said training locals is so important because, “Instead of giving them fish to eat, we teach them how to fish.”
One of her biggest challenges is training and preparing new leadership both in ministry and in the secular world. She encourages ministry involvement starting at an early age and believes that children and youth should be involved in the primary church program and its activities while also being involved in Sunday School classes and Bible studies.
San said her calling is based on Matthew 25:35–36: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in. I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me … I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
San’s favorite aspect of being part of BWAW is the global networking and encouragement from the other leaders and members. Transparency is also an important part of the BWAW community.
“When there was a coup in Myanmar on the first of February 2021, BWA and BWAW leaders came together to support and pray for me and offered emergency humanitarian assistance without even asking,” San said. “[It was] something very memorable, knowing our global Baptist family is together with us in solidarity.”
‘Work in progress’
Not only does San help lead ABWU, but she is also a lay leader in her church and runs a hospital and takes care of other branches of their medical group.
“[The San family] helped found and build churches in Singapore and Chiang Mai, Thailand. God has blessed me with a medical career for over 40 years, and now I have a hospital with two branches in different parts of Myanmar,” she said.
Since becoming involved with BWAW, San has learned that “we are all a work in progress and will never stop learning. We don’t have regrets, but we just move on.”
ABWU asks for prayer for Asia, a vibrant continent with different cultural backgrounds but with people who still come together as one in serving Him.
To find out more about ABWU, go to bwawomen.org and find this region under “Continental Unions” in the “About Us” tab.