Central has been blessed through the years to have many dedicated friends. Four such people were honored as Dedicated Friends in 2016 at campus events: Myron Ray McCully, Karen Richardson, and Leon and Ruth Ralls.
Some have supported the college financially, while others have sent students to serve the Lord’s kingdom. This honoree was known for doing both. Tonight’s Dedicated Friend is Rodney Randall, one of Central’s earliest students and a faithful servant of Christ.
Rodney and his twin sister were the next-to-youngest of nine children. The Randall family lived on a farm, and after completing 8th grade, Rodney was needed to help work the family farm. Throughout his teenage years he worked on several farms in Missouri and Kansas, and even picked apples and peaches in Yakima, Washington, as a way to help support the family. Farming was an occupation Rodney would return to several times throughout his lifetime.
At the age of 24, Rodney met Lelah Bedford, and after a six-week courtship, they were married. Their marriage lasted 70 years, and they were blessed with four children, James (Jim), Linda, Janet, and Timothy.
Not long after they married, Rodney and Lelah attended a revival at Harmony Baptist Church, and Rodney was baptized into Christ.
This same year, Rodney was drafted into the US Army. He was originally selected to be a sharp shooter in a tank. Realizing the danger of the tank, Rodney requested to be transferred into the Army Air Corp. After receiving more training, Rodney was sent overseas and was stationed in India.
After the war, Rodney and Lelah returned to the Higginsville, MO, area where they farmed and later opened Randall’s Country Store and Gas Station. While attending Cedar Grove Christian Church, Rodney began to study the Bible and was asked to preach his first sermon at the age of 37.
After leaving the store, Rodney started working as a carpenter for a contractor in Kansas City. This was a skill he would use throughout his ministries.
When Rodney enrolled at CCCB at the age of 40, he was still working in Kansas City as a carpenter. He had also built two large barns on his farm, and was raising 4,500 chickens. On his days off, he would commute 200 miles round-trip to and from Moberly to take New Testament classes. Rodney saved one of his assignments from 1958, stating why he went into the ministry. In it he stated:
After being in the service three and one half years, and being so far from home, I read my Bible and felt God’s nearness. I felt I needed to study more, though it seemed so hard to understand. As time went by, I did study. I would find myself “preaching a sermon” while on the tractor. I believed many times I could preach, but would not mention it to anyone. I knew what a minister’s job was: to serve the congregation. I never thought at that time about the need of saving souls.
I had been preaching six months when I started to school at Moberly, which has helped me more than I can ever say. But in all of this passing experience, I can see only one thing. That is bringing the Gospel message to the lost and saving souls; that we all may rejoice in Jesus Christ- Praise His Holy Name and to reign with Him in Heaven! This is my desire, now. There is no stopping or turning back. May God bless all in His work.
In 1957, Rodney began serving at two churches: Valley Christian Church and Columbus Community Church in Warrensburg, MO. He was ordained into the ministry in June, 1960. In the winter of 1960 Rodney left the farm and accepted a full-time ministry at the Mitchell Church of Christ in Mitchell, South Dakota. Rodney would later serve at the First Christian Church in Unionville, MO; West Plains Christian Church in West Plains, Texas; Meadowbrook Christian Church in Kirksville, MO; and the Auxvasse Christian Church in Auxvasse, MO. During his ministries, Rodney often remodeled the parsonages and even helped build some of the church buildings.
In 1978 Rodney and Lelah bought two acres northeast of Unionville, built their retirement home near their daughters, and tried to retire. However, the Christian Church at Plano, Iowa, needed a minister, so Rodney served there for the next 10 years. He decided to retire again, and that lasted two years before he was called on to serve at the Eastside Church of Christ in Cincinnati, Iowa. He filled in for that congregation for the next seven years before he retired from weekly preaching. Rodney continued to teach Sunday school at the First Christian Church in Unionville until he was 90 years old.
As a youth, Rodney taught himself to play guitar, mandolin and harmonica. Music was something he and Lelah would enjoy all their lives. They would sing gospel songs together for their own entertainment.
Mr. Pelfrey noted that Rodney and Lelah were monthly supporters of the College for many years. Each gift was accompanied by a letter from Lelah surveying the weather, the Randall family, and other items of interest. He usually replied with a brief note.
Lelah died in December, 2012. Rodney lived on his own until he fell on the ice in December, 2013. He lived his last years at the Putnam County Care Center where he continued to minister to others, helped with Bible studies, and played his harmonica. He died August 26, 2016, at the age of 98. Even at 98, he still quoted scriptures and knew exactly where to find them in the Bible.
Rodney served the Lord for over 70 years in various capacities. He performed innumerable baptisms, weddings, and funerals. His interests and legacy are clearly seen in his children. Tim and Jim both attended CCCB, met their wives, and graduated. They have continued Rodney’s legacy of ministry through their service. Janet shares her parents’ love of music, and she and her husband are gospel music singers. Linda and her husband enjoy life on their family farm. Rodney also has several grandchildren and great-grandchildren serving in the ministry.
Four generations of Randalls have attended Central, and this began when Rodney enrolled at CCCB in 1957. We are pleased that his family agreed to allow us to honor Rodney Randall as a Dedicated Friend.
We ask you to consider two ways of continuing Rodney’s legacy of supporting this College. Your memorial gift will provide Full-Tuition Scholarship Funds for the students of Central Christian College of the Bible. In addition, Rodney was a Minuteman of the College for many years, and if you would like to become part of that program, that will multiply his legacy of supporting Central for many more years to come.
(If you are giving by credit card, the card information will be requested after completion of the form below. If you would prefer to give from a bank account, you may type the account information within the form. Secure payment processing by Bluepay Processing Services. To give by check, please make checks payable to Central Christian College of the Bible and mail to 911 E. Urbandale Drive, Moberly, Missouri 65270. Please write “Rodney Randall Memorial” in the memo line. Thank you for your tax-deductible gift.)