Gregg and Donna Fort are two of 30 missionary candidates who will participate in an International Mission Board (IMB) Sending Celebration at Oklahoma City, Quail Springs, 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 12.
The Forts also are among six of these appointees who have Oklahoma connections. Gregg recently served as pastor of Bartlesville, Southern.
“We are excited,” Greggs said about the upcoming IMB Sending Celebration. “We are encouraging people to participate with us.”
Gregg said Donna’s mom and dad, as well as friends from Bartlesville, plan to be in attendance. The Sending Celebration will be observed in conjunction with the 2019 Annual Meeting of Oklahoma Baptists, Nov. 11-12, concluding the two-day event.
“The thing that has held Southern Baptists together, from our inception, is our cooperating together for the furtherance of the Kingdom for the glory of God,” Gregg said. “I think God’s blessing on our denomination is primarily linked to our seeking to be a denomination that intentionally engages in lostness around the world at great cost not only financial but in terms of the lives of those who have died on the field.”
The Forts will be serving in Durban, South Africa, which is the country’s third largest city with 3.5 million people. They plan to build relationships with pastors and churches with the intention of training others to evangelize and disciple Christians.
“We will be catalyzing churches to engage in the unfinished task of not only reaching Durban but taking advantage of a fairly substantial migrant population that lives in Durban,” Gregg said. “We want to see multiplying disciples of those populations because if they ever do get repatriated and go back home, they will be able to take the Gospel into some closed off areas.”
Durban is a coastal city in the eastern part of South Africa. Gregg described Durban as a major port city and considers living there as a great opportunity for the Gospel to flourish.
“We have no idea how many countries are represented with the ships that come in to port,” Gregg said. “What a great opportunity we may have to engage. It’s something that’s out there that we would love for people to pray about. Imagine the potential of the Gospel taking root in a port among those sailors.”
Though living in Durban will be new for the Forts, they are very familiar with doing international mission work. Gregg was born on the mission field, and he and Donna spent 30 years as missionaries in Zimbabwe before pastoring in Bartlesville.
“We were honestly overwhelmed and challenged by this opportunity,” Donna said. “In Zimbabwe, we primarily worked in rural areas. We don’t know for sure, but going into a first-world city is going to be like living in the center of Dallas. It blows my mind that we have been entrusted with this huge responsibility. We know it is in God’s hands, and He has equipped us for this opportunity.”
The Forts know that prayer will be instrumental in the work they do in South Africa.
“Obviously, prayer support is critical,” Gregg said. “In the past, we have relied on American churches to provide prayer covering. Donna and I have been convicted going in, that we want to challenge the churches in Durban to begin a very intentional prayer strategy for their own city. I envision a prayer ministry growing to where people will be before the Father interceding for the city of Durban 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
At the Nov. 12 IMB Sending Celebration, Oklahoma Baptists and others will be able to meet the Forts, along with 28 other missionary candidates, and can be a part of a special event that represents the great mission work of Southern Baptists.
“I think every opportunity we have to cast a vision, to share the (Gospel) message, to remind us of our (Southern Baptist) roots and who we are and to look at the unfinished task is critically important,” Gregg said.
For more information on the IMB Sending Celebration and other events happening at the Oklahoma Baptists’ 2019 Annual Meeting, visit the annual meeting website.