Since an influx began in 2006, ABHMS has been working vigorously with the thousands of refugees of Karen, Chin, Kachin, Karenni, Mon, Shan, Lisu and other ethnicities settled in 30 American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA) regions.
Since 2007, ABHMS has taken a leading role in shaping and guiding the Burma Refugees Task Force, working alongside the Office of the General Secretary, ABCUSA; American Baptist Women’s Ministries; International Ministries; ABCUSA regions; and Burma pastoral leaders from around the nation. Recognizing the need to undergird the vision of the task force, ABHMS has assumed the costs for staff to serve as liaisons and to facilitate leadership development efforts, local church and regional ministries with refugees, and advocacy efforts around the nation.
Today, ABHMS once again affirms the ministry’s importance with the appointment of two home missionaries to serve refugee immigrants from Burma—the Rev. Saw Ler Htoo of Laurel, Md., and Pastor Ronald Charles Nunuk of West Allis, Wis. These appointments mark the first time that Burma pastoral leaders will serve as staff at the national level.
“These historic appointments confirm the Home Mission Societies’ longstanding commitment to refugee resettlement and advocacy on behalf of immigrant peoples in general and to the peoples of Myanmar in particular,” says ABHMS Executive Director Dr. Aidsand F. Wright-Riggins III. “We look forward to formally commissioning both the Rev. Saw Ler Htoo and Pastor Ronald Charles Nunuk as American Baptist Home Missionaries during the upcoming Mission Summit this summer.”
Widely respected, Htoo has an extensive resume that includes roles as pastor of Calvary Burmese Church, Washington, D.C., since 2001 and as executive secretary of Karen Baptist Churches USA since 2009. He also serves on the Burma Refugees Task Force.
Nunuk is also a well-known, gifted leader with a broad background, including roles as founding senior pastor at Carson Chin Baptist Church, West Allis, and trustee and youth coordinator of Chin Baptist Churches of USA. He has served as a board member of American Baptist Churches of Wisconsin.
ABHMS—the domestic mission arm of American Baptist Churches USA—ministers as the caring heart and serving hands of Jesus Christ across the United States and Puerto Rico through a multitude of initiatives that focus on discipleship, community and justice.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.