We won another victory over the tornado of 2012.
Almost four years after a horrible tornado took our 102-year old building from us, we moved into our new church building.
Previous to this, we worshiped at another church. I know it was a great sacrifice on their part but they graciously provided their building to us for about a year. This was a wonderful act of kindness to a reeling church body after taking a devastating blow. Luckily we were able to stagger back to our corner and get our wits about us.
We were at this time able to go through the difficult stages of shock and grief over our building. Also the healing started as we dealt with the emotional attachment to a building that was so meaningful to many of us. Seeing our children coming to accept the Lord Jesus and go through the act of baptism, walking some of those same children down the sloped aisle to their awaiting spouse, saying good-bye to those who meant so much to us at their funerals was on all our minds as we started planning for a new building. We all knew how hard it would be, for we had not planned on bidding adieu to our old friend on the corner of Prestonsburg and Broadway.
We then worshiped in a mobile unit for another eighteen months or so back on our lot. As we stared at a vacant lot where the old building stood, a constant reminder of what was taken and how much work lay ahead of us as we tried to fill that same lot.
We then built a metal building on the back of our property and praised God there. We shared this building with the food pantry. On some Sundays we could smell rotten potatoes or onions or other produce.
Eventually God’s grace and mercy brought us through the storm as He promised. We had our first service on the first Sunday of 2016. We were so excited. We moved in before the building would be finished and we are still waiting for the downstairs and kitchen to be completed.
I am very grateful to our congregation for their perseverance and their faith in the one and only Creator.
I took this photo during the construction of our new church building and loved the shadows on a late afternoon. You can see the domes of two buildings in the background, the dome on the right is atop our old, 109-year old court house. The tornado weakened the roof and the dome collapsed into the courtroom. The dome on the left is our new judicial building that was close to completion when the tornado hit. It had to have major reconstruction.
Through it all, when our faith was struggling and our strength seemed to be fading, God answered our prayers and reminded us that His Grace is sufficient for us.
As I write this, I am listening to a song by Jeremy Camp called “Same Power”. He sings about “the same power that rose Jesus from the grave, the same power that commands the dead to wake, the same power that moves mountains when He speaks, the same power that can calm a raging sea, lives in us. He lives in us.”
I know we have a long way to go. We still have to pay for this building. But we have already had one to commit her life to the Lord Jesus and was baptized. There will be more. There will be weddings and funerals and memories for the next generations of God’s people, if He permits. He has blessed His people since the beginning of time and will continue till the end of time. Then Jesus will usher in His Kingdom and I will see some of those I said good-bye to in that old building.
After the tornado, I was interviewed by CBS reporter Anna Werner as we looked at the pile of rubble that was the old building and she asked me what it would mean to see a new building standing here. I replied, “God always wins.”
He has won another victory for our small town.
If you like this photo, you can see more of my pictures here.