A Bell Ringer’s Testimony

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We will intentionally reach out in service and ministry to people of every generation, within all races and cultures.

by Russell T. Leuck, –
Chula Vista Corps, Calif.

In 1978, needing some extra money for gifts, I applied at the Chula Vista Corps to be a bell-ringer. Hearing a version of the “Drummer Boy” with a jazz beat, I got an idea to work up a routine to go with that song. Eventually I included several other songs and sometimes danced as I rang the bell.

Crowds began gathering to see the Salvation Army bell ringer. Year after year it was a success. I improved my routine, and the sound of the coins in the red kettle grew louder as people donated more and more.

I wasn’t interested in fame or fortune. My only desire was to glorify God and Jesus, and to help The Salvation Army. Music and dancing were not enough to express my true feelings, however. I began distributing candy canes to the children– a big hit with the kids and their families. Additionally, I decorated my uniform in what I felt the true spirit of what Christmas ought to be. I wore a pin showing Santa Claus kneeling beside the Christ Child in the manger. On the pin were the words, “Jesus is the Reason for the Season.” I feel that sums it up accurately, for Jesus truly is the reason for the season, no matter what other reason may exist.

Along the way I became an adherent and later a Salvationist. After more than 20 years of service with the Army, the bell in my hand could never ring as loudly as the bell in my heart does for Jesus Christ.

The secret of success in all things must come from God. As he alone leads those who love and trust him, so it is with The Salvation Army, the bell ringers, and myself.

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