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IMB Elects New Overseas VP, Appoints 76 Missionaries

( [email protected] ) May 04, 2004 09:24 AM EDT

The board members of the Southern Baptist Convention’s International Mission Board elected a new vice president for overseas operations, voted to consolidate eight of the board’s regions of work into four and appointed 76 new long-term missionaries for overseas service during an April 26-28 meeting in Nashville, Tenn.

"Those of whom the world is not worthy are those who put the risks and dangers of following Christ into eternal perspective," IMB president Jerry Rankin said to the newly appointed missionaries, reminding them of their dangerous but worthy work.

To the newly elected vice president for overseas operations R. Gordon Fort, Vines offered words of encouragement.

"God brings certain gifts into these positions for certain times," Rankin said. "The task of selecting someone for this position really challenged us. Where do we go in the future? What is the need?

"We needed someone who would keep us focused and keep us on pace, someone who clearly reflected a heart for lostness, for completing our task of reaching all peoples," Rankin said. "If we are going to continue to be used of God in moving forward, we needed someone who could nurture our missionaries, who has reflected a pattern of mentoring, of training our leadership spiritually, and of nurturing our families.

After a unanimous vote, Fort pledged to do his best to communicate with the board members as they exercised their "tremendous responsibility" as trustees. He expressed gratitude for the board's other regional leaders, saying his seven years of working with them has been "the best season" of his life.

"There are many very qualified people who can do this job. There have been days that my wife, Leigh Ann, and I have wondered why God was calling us to this task," Fort said. "We ask you to pray for us, that we would keep a balance in our lives and our relationship with God in perspective, for our relationship with our family, and for the days ahead as we wrap up 20 years of ministry on the field and come back to live and work in the United States."