"You can do it! Within 48 hours every one of you will be playing beautiful music,” said Ben Purvis, Gem State Adventist Academy's music director, to the more than 100 fifth- to eighth-graders assembled before him. “Here is God’s promise for you today, ‘I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.’”
This was how the fifth annual Cool Ringings Bells Festival at the academy started. And what a festival it was! Throughout the day Friday Gem State students patiently and encouragingly taught the younger students how to hold the bells/chimes, how to count, and the difference between whole and quarter notes. By Sabbath afternoon, the new ringers were making music to God’s glory, and they eagerly performed for parents and friends.
Not so long ago Purvis claimed that same promise for himself. When he was hired—just four weeks before the school year began—he had zero experience with handbells. With a willing heart and a prayer on his lips, Purvis went to work. By the time school began he was proficient enough that even well-trained students thought he was a pro.
Adventist teachers do much more than convey information. They interact in meaningful ways. They model spiritual values. Following the event a student wrote this: “Thank you for all the time you spent with us. I loved playing the chimes. Now that is the only thing I want to do all day. You are the best teacher!”