Linda Wicker was a preacher’s wife for 55 years. She had a lifetime of good memories and possibly two lifetimes of collectibles, odds and ends.
As she spent her last months in hospice care, she fully understood the saying “you can’t take it with you." But she also felt a mountain of stuff can make a big impact. Three months after her June 23 death, that impact was the Linda Wicker Legacy for Missions.
The Rev. Basil Wicker, longtime pastor of Slaughter First Baptist Church, listened to his wife’s last wishes and did all in his power to see that those wishes were granted. First, the celebration of the Wickers' 50-year tenure planned for September was moved up to June 9 so she would be able to attend. The celebration drew many family, friends and people who have entered the ministry under Basil Wicker's guidance.
Then, the Wickers turned to finding a place for all the household items, collectibles and antiques. “It was her wish,” Basil Wicker said. “Before she passed, I talked to her, ‘What am I going to do with all this stuff?’ ”
“We agreed that let’s support Corey and Amanda in their mission work,” he said. “I told her I will do a large garage sale, or I’ll dig a big hole and put it all in there and bury you with it. And she chose the garage sale.”
Linda Wicker requested a rummage sale of items be held in her memory and the money would support Corey and Amanda Spinks. The sale was held over several weekends in August, September and early October.
Amanda Spinks’ mother, Debbie Wallace, coordinated the event with the help of area churches and local officials. The sheriff and the district attorney both donated large tents. The sale was so successful this past weekend that the dates set for Oct. 10-12 have been canceled.
The Spinks both grew up in Slaughter First Baptist, and Amanda Spinks, a relative, calls the pastor “Uncle Basil.” Corey Spinks was licensed and ordained by Basil Wicker. Amanda Spinks graduated from Zachary High School, and Corey graduated from Centerville Academy in Mississippi.
The Spinks, along with their three children, Keller, Kyndall and Houston, are missionaries to England with the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. They are not career missionaries. They will be serving for a shorter period of time as church planters in London. The family was in London for six months and came back to get their visas in order. They will be in London for two years.
“A big part of what we do is that we partner with local English churches to see them multiply and expand as quickly as possible,” Corey Spinks said.
"Since we are self-funded missionaries, we raise our own support,” he said. “Miss Linda’s dying wish was for all of this was to be sold and given to us to help our work.”
“We have asked God to do it so big that no one can claim it and only he gets the glory,” Amanda Spinks said. “And he has done it over and over; it’s so amazing.”
Basil Wicker said the Legacy Sale reflects the life and passions of his wife.
“She believes in missions and I believe in missions, and we are 100 percent behind them,” Basil Wicker said. “She spent her whole life standing beside me doing the Lord’s work as the pianist, and she was involved in mission work in the church. She spent 50 years doing that.”