Gulfport Church Rebuilding Bigger and Better

The rebuilding process has been a slow and painful one for many here in South Mississippi, but many people are making a comeback--including the congregation at one Gulfport church with a history of dealing with severe weather.

Mother Nature has dealt Temple Baptist Church two devastating blows over the past year-and-a-half, but church leaders say there's a silver lining in the midst of it all.

Despite personal losses and tragedies since Katrina, church members filled the pews of Temple Baptist Church in Gulfport.

Pastor Stephen Crane says only two services have been cancelled since the hurricane despite damage to the church property.

"We had about $300,000 worth of damage in the hurricane, so on top of the tornado which was almost a million," Pastor Crane said.

The church property took a direct hit in November of 2004 when a tornado ripped through the area, tearing the roof off Temple Christian Academy and leveling a new sanctuary the church had begun building.

Despite these two blows from Mother Nature, the church has begun laying the foundation for yet another new sanctuary.

"You just really have to dig down deep when these things happen, and I think when the going gets tough, the tough get going, and we just have to dig down into our innermost self, and that real grit comes out," Pastor Crane said.

Pastor Crane hopes others in the community will be encouraged by the visible signs of progress at the church site.

"There' s better things, there's better days ahead, but if you give up and quit and leave our area, how will you ever know. I just want to encourage everyone to keep on keeping on." he said.

Pastor Crane and his congregation say they look forward to the days ahead.

To them, it's a matter of biblical truth.

"If we know Christ as our savior, we have to know all things work together for good for them that love the Lord, and we just look at it as God's way of giving us new buildings and a new congregation." Pastor Crane said.