The Morning After a Tornado Leveled Their Church, This Mississippi Congregation Baptized 9 New Members
"We will rebuild. We've got a good church here. It'll be a testimony of God."
A tornado that swept through eastern Mississippi over the weekend might have leveled their church, but in the emotional aftermath of the deadly storm, the congregants of the First Pentecostal Church of Columbus found that they don't need four walls to worship.
According to the National Weather Service, nine tornadoes were reported Saturday across Alabama, northwestern Georgia, and Mississippi. One person died as a result of a tornado that touched down in Columbus. Luckily, nobody was inside the First Pentecostal Church when winds tore it to shreds.
The Rev. Steve Blaylock told CBS News that the building was "a total loss," with a wall pushed in, holes in the roof, and substantial water damage. On the morning after the storm, he and a few congregants tried to salvage what they could of the church. There were, of course, baptisms to be done.
"We had about four or five baptisms planned," Blaylock told The Dispatch. "After we got out here Saturday night and saw how bad it was, I asked the people who were wanting to be baptized if they wanted to wait or if we could use a portable baptismal. They said, 'Let's go ahead and do it because we feel like we need to have a prayer service or something to pull us together so we're not just all broken-hearted.' So, we said OK."
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With the help of a borrowed baptismal pool and some folding chairs, nine people were baptized in a makeshift outdoor service Sunday morning. Blaylock guessed around 100 people showed up.
"I'm so humbled by the help and support," he told CNN.
"I don't know what God's plan is, I always know it's gonna work together for our good," Blaylock, who came to the church more than 20 years ago, told his congregation.
Speaking with Fox, the 61-year-old said he's certain of one thing: "We will rebuild. We've got a good church here. It'll be a testimony of God."
You can donate to the First Pentecostal Church of Columbus' rebuilding efforts here.