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Restoration a Year Later


Restoration a Year Later

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When Faith Way Assembly of God held its first worship service in a renovated sanctuary June 7, the gathering didn’t just commemorate a homecoming. It marked the one-year anniversary of a flash food that damaged the LaFollette, Tennessee, church so badly that members initially thought it would have to be demolished.

With no money for repairs because the church didn’t carry flood insurance, pastor Steve L. Bruce never expected to be meeting in a more modern, well-equipped sanctuary so soon after the disaster.

The renovation funds included $25,000 from the AG disaster relief fund, plus a special offering taken at last year’s General Council in Orlando, Florida. Area churches, businesses, and residents, as well as individuals from other states have donated over $200,000 more.

The pastor says costs thus far have totaled $200,000. He estimates another $50,000 to $75,000 will be needed for furniture, appliances, classroom seating, other furnishings, and landscaping.

“Everything we received lifted our spirits,” says Bruce, 63, who followed his father, Carlo, as pastor in 2001. “It didn’t matter where it came from. It lifted our spirits to know that people cared enough to help a church in another state.”

One of the rays of hope that appeared soon after the disaster came in the form of an email from retired architect Frank Hawk, representing U.S. Missions Mission America Placement Service.

“I can’t wait to help you get back in your building,” Hawk, a member of and a member of Glad Tidings Assembly of God in Pocomoke City, Maryland.

“It was such a relief to hear from him,” Bruce recalls. “The words he said were like food for the soul. We used Frank’s building plans. He was a big help. He talked with city officials and afterward, they said we could build back.”

In the new sanctuary, about 100 people attended the first service, which also featured one person receiving Jesus as Savior and three others rededicating their lives to Christ.

Church leaders hope to have the baptistery area, classrooms, fellowship hall, and kitchen completed by early August, when Faith Way will hold a rededication service.

Faith Way’s experience has taught Bruce no matter what kind of setback people deal with, they must truly believe in God.

“You’re not always going to find help from outside sources,” the pastor says. “You won’t always be able to depend on insurance and government sources. But God will always be there so you can depend on Him — and God’s people, who always come through in a time of need.”

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