Small Schools Make Big Impacts
The Bethel Seventh-day Adventist School values its students and continuously seeks avenues where they may share the love of Jesus. In alignment with the mission of the school, I set out to find opportunities for our students to serve those who are less fortunate. In collaboration with local community organizations, we partnered with the Texarkana Friendship Center, a non-profit care provider rendering life sustaining assistance to the indigent and job training and placement for able-bodied clients without regard to religious preference, political affiliation, sex, race, handicap or other classification. TFCI feeds an average of 180 people and provides groceries for 14 families on a daily basis.
We have visited the Texarkana Friendship Center a few times and sharing this experience with my students is one of the most rewarding and humbling activities we can do with them. On one particular visit in December, we arrived at the center in time to set out the meal. Our students were humbled seeing people who were utterly destitute: men, women, and even little children. When the doors swung open, there was a sea of TFCI clients already waiting to get inside. I stood quietly at the door, eagerly watching to see the bedlam that might take place.
“Teacher, would you offer the blessing?” I heard someone behind me say in a calm voice. I happily agreed and was taken back by what happened next. As I said, “Let us pray,” instantly all the men, in one graceful movement as if perfectly choreographed, removed their hats and bowed their heads. It had been quite a while since I had seen such grace displayed among a hungry crowd. The TFCI clients entered the center and enjoyed a delicious meal.
Our staff and students visited with the individuals as they ate. We shared time together and offered kind and encouraging words. Bethel Church pastor, Kenneth Edwards, joined us and his contribution brought cheer to all.
The visit to the Texarkana Friendship Center reminded us of the important and relevant directive Jesus gave us in Matthew 25:40, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
Another celebratory note I would like to share is about our students’ commitment to Christ. The Bethel Seventh-day Adventist School always wants to encourage its students to nurture their love for Jesus and as part of our Bible class curriculum, we incorporated Bible studies. I began by taking the students through the Fundamental Beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and Pastor Edwards concluded the studies inviting our students to be baptized.
After months of in-depth Bible studies, two eighth grade students, Brooke Brandenberger and Savannah McGowen, gave their hearts to Jesus and were baptized on April 8, 2017. Incidentally, Savannah’s sister, Mykayla McGowen, who had graduated from our school two years ago, was also baptized that day. We felt heaven rejoice with our school, the family, and friends of these committed young people. Although our school may be a bit small it is full of love, energy and a growing desire to teach and live as Christ did.
Glasmine Ellis is the principal and teacher of the Bethel Seventh-day Adventist School. The Kindergarten through eighth-grade school in Texarkana, Texas, has 13 energetic and helpful students.