The Christmas Necktie

Bro Randy J. Zinn(The Legacy of Missionary Baptist Pastor W.S. Gordon Lives On )
by Melissia Zinn

A small band of Missionary Baptists gathered in Fifty-Six, AR, in August, 1935, and organized the Fifty-Six Missionary Baptist Church where years later an eleven-year-old boy, Randy J. Zinn (named for his two Godly grandfathers) would walk the aisle of the church and accept Jesus as his Savior. In September, 1935, one month after the organization of the church at Fifty-Six, another group of Missionary Baptists, led by Bro. W. S. Gordon, a preacher from Beebe, AR, convened in the small town of Kewanee, MO, to organize the Kewanee Missionary Baptist Church where years later an eight-year-old girl, Melissia Frances McVay (named for her two Godly grandmothers) would be led to Christ by her pastor during a revival service at the church.

Melissia ministered in the Batesville church for eight years before they were married. Over the years, Bro. Zinn has been privileged to return to Fifty-Six on many occasions to preach and he has been honored, also, to preach at Melissia’s home church in Kewanee numerous times. Both churches continue to minister passionately and effectively in their communities.

In 1998, the Zinns moved to Houston, MO, where Randy pastored Houston Baptist Church and worked at an elementary school to supplement his income. While at the school, he met a teacher introduced as Mr. Gordon. Christmas, 1999, Mr. Gordon, knowing that Randy was a pastor, graciously presented him with a Looney Tunes cartoon, Christmas necktie he proudly wears every Christmas.

This gesture sparked an in depth conversation between them and Bro. Zinn shared how his wife was from Kewanee. which piqued Mr. Gordon’s interest. He excitedly related how his father, Bro. W. S. Gordon, was the founding pastor of Kewanee Missionary Baptist Church, to which Bro. Zinn responded that Melissia’s grandfather, Joseph McVay, was a charter member and one of the first deacons of the church. Not only that, in addition to Melissia, her mother and all six of her siblings were saved at the church, her father already a member and the music director. Naturally, from this exchange, a warm friendship developed between them – an astounding 64 years after the organization of the Kewanee church.

The Zinns moved to Dustin, OK, in July, 2000, where he was pastor of the First Baptist Church for over twelve years. One day in the early 2000’s, they received their copy of The Missouri Missionary Baptist and immediately their attention was captured and their hearts saddened by the article announcing the home going of Pastor W. S. Gordon and listing, most fittingly, one of the musical presentations at his service as “Thank You for Giving to the Lord” written by Ray Boltz.

From 2013 to 2015, Bro. Zinn was privileged to pastor the Lighthouse Missionary Baptist Church of Malden, MO, a church started by their beloved Kewanee Missionary Baptist Church–and the legacy of Pastor W. S. Gordon continued to live on.

Today, Bro. Zinn and his wife, Melissia, live in Russell, AR. He pastors the Russell Missionary Baptist Church, just 33 miles from Beebe where the body of Pastor Gordon was laid to rest. The Zinns have only one thing to say, “Bro. Gordon, thank you so much for giving to the Lord, and thank you, Lord, for giving Bro. Gordon to our world for over 90 years.”

Fast-forward to 2018. Our very own BMAA’s current Executive Director of Missions and and long-time Missionary, Dr. John David Smith, is the son of Bro. Arthur Smith who was a two-time pastor of the Kewanee church. His mother, Shirlene, graduated valedictorian from Kewanee High. Dr. Smith’s grandmother, Ethel Hall, was a long-time, Godly and faithful member of Kewanee until her passing and his uncle, Danny Hall, is still an active and faithful member there. And–Pastor W. S. Gordon’s influence continues to touch lives ALL OVER THE WORLD. Praise the Lord! Dr. Smith has been the revival speaker at the church on several occasions.

(Dr. Smith’s aunt, Mary Lou Hall Edwards, was my closest friend throughout high school and still my dear friend today. Bro.Arthur Smith was my pastor during his first term at Kewanee.)

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