PEARLINGTON, MS (WLOX) - Members of a Hancock County church say they want their story of triumph over adversity to be a testament to the power of prayer. Hurricane Katrina damaged First Missionary Baptist Church beyond repair. On Sunday, the congregation dedicated a brand new building.
At the start of the service, church members walked together into their brand new sanctuary.
"Coming in together as one big family. That's unity," said Robert Preston, a church member. "We're together. It's just starting all over again, new beginning."
The Pearlington church joined friends to celebrate a new beginning after Katrina's devastation and thanked the people who made it possible. With the help of countless volunteers, First Missionary Baptist was rebuilt without the church having to take on any debt.
The Reverend Willie Rawls said, "We've made a friendship with people from around the world, God's sweet missionaries and angels. It's just amazing what God has done in rebuilding this church."
The congregation says the nearly four year journey has been difficult, but one that has taught them what it truly means to have faith.
Preston said, "It's been a tremendous test of faith and will with up days, down days. I guess if I had a quote it would be like the late, great Sam Cooke 'It's been a long time coming.' But I knew a change was going to come. Today we're walking in that change. "
"Knowing that prayer changes things,"said Church member Ed Clark, Sr. "When you pray, the Bible says let God have His way, and He'll fix it for you."
Members say in its 141 year history, First Missionary Baptist Church in Pearlington has had 15 pastors.