The Assembly of Praise church in Pascagoula had more than one reason to sing praises on Sunday.
"Everything you see in here, it was from God using them to replace everything. It was almost a total loss," Assembly of Praise Evangelist Chantel Borden says.
Everything from the chairs to the ceiling fans have been replaced after Katrina devasted this church. Assembly of Praise members aren't the only ones celebrating on this Sunday. Volunteers who put their time and energy into rebuilding the church say the experience has given them plenty of reason to smile.
"Just coming down a week, a weekend whatever I could do. This was the best missions experience of my life, it was amazing," Indiana volunteer Nic Carrullo says.
Chantel Borden says that a higher power helped turned strangers from Indiana into near-family.
"God took these men and these women who live thousands of miles away to come down here. These people didn't even know we existed. But God did. And we're so grateful," Borden says.
But volunteers say it is them who owe the members of this newly rebuilt church a debt of gratitude.
"I want to thank them for teaching me. We learned so much more about ourselves. We can reach out," Indiana volunteer John Tilford says.
"What these people were doing with their hands, their prayers, their love. It's because they were dedicated to God to make this sacrifice to help us," Borden says.
Though the rebuilding reunion marked the culmination of a year long process. Volunteers say helping this Pascagoula congregation build back was a group effort. An effort that could not have been accomplished, without teamwork.
"This is one of the most selfless acts I've ever seen in my life, and that's probably been the most rewarding thing," Carrullo says.
Volunteers from Indiana were just some of the people who spent time and money rebuilding the Pascagoula church. Other major contributors included First Baptist of Robertsdale, Alabama, and the Marlow United Methodist Church, whose volunteers visited the church on Friday and Saturday to see the finished sanctuary.