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During the ten year partnership we were invited on several occasions to share what God was doing in Zimbabwe, especially in the area where our BSBC partners had ministered. On one occasion, they even flew us back to attend their associational wide evangelism conference. We loved the folks at BSBC and found it easy to relate to them. One summer they even sent two young men out to help do menial type work and to interact with the kids at the orphan caring center. In Sept. 2015, we were surprised to hear that Paul Rummage, the pastor of BSBC (and Gregg’s missionary kid friend) had resigned and moved to another church. In Dec. 2015 Gregg was invited to participate in a “missions weekend” and preach at BSBC. While he was there, several folks mentioned that he would be a good pastor for their church. One was bold enough to ask Gregg to consider it.
In Sept. 2015 the IMB offered the Voluntary Retirement Incentive (VRI) to encourage older missionaries to get off the field, so younger ones could be appointed. . . Several churches requested our resume, but in the end, we were always “too old” and “inexperienced” to lead an American Church. We prayed seriously about taking the VRI, but felt the only way we could say yes was if God sent us back to the U.S. to a particular ministry. Since we had not heard from God in that manner, we chose to remain on the field. We were grateful we had done this when over a thousand missionaries returned to the U.S. Many went home without ministry related jobs and are still not involved in ministry positions. Most work minimum wage jobs (or just above), trying to “make it” till they are truly old enough to retire and claim their social security. We feel God kept us in ministry at that time for a reason. Gregg and I had been trained in 2014 and had been asked to take on a training role for missionaries and nationals in Sub-Saharan Africa. The training involved more effective use of evangelism, discipleship, and church planting to help speed up the multiplication process so more people could have the opportunity to hear and respond to the gospel. We were fulfilled in this role, though it was only a small part of our ministry timewise. (About 9 -10 weeks intensive weeks per year.) Also during this time, some long term goals Gregg had for our Convention and Seminary came to completion in Zimbabwe and he was able to see that completion. Our times truly are in God’s hands! (Psalm 31:15a)
Donna & Gregg Fort – Daughter and son-in-law of Cliff Hobbs