By Message Staff
NEW ORLEANS – Five months after a powerful tornado damaged several buildings of Suburban Baptist Church, the congregation is just hours away from getting back into its worship center.
Teams from First Baptist Church in Haughton and Grace Baptist Church in Springfield, Tenn., have spent the last two weekends performing a flurry of work to finish the flooring, ceiling, painting and plumbing it the worship center. They plan to hold their first service since before an EF-3 tornado touched down in the area Feb. 7 this morning (July 30).
More than 100 churches from across the U.S. have responded in the months following the tornado, helping rebuild the facilities. In the past week alone, teams from Metairie Baptist Church, Level Ground Church in New Orleans, First Baptist Church in Lockport and Vintage Church in New Orleans have provided food and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary provided housing. First Baptist Church in Rayville also donated funds to the rebuild.
“The journey has been more exciting than destination,” said Jeffery Friend, pastor of Suburban Baptist. “Since the tornado I’ve met so many wonderful people that I wouldn’t have had it not been for the storm. So, my list of friends increased significantly. These people have shown to be my neighbors and have helped me get back into my building quicker than I could ever have imagined.”
Spinney added how honored he was to see the level of cooperation among so many.
“It’s amazing to see the organizations that have come together to finish this up,” Spinney said. “Being here to witness how well it’s come together so quickly has been nothing short of miraculous.”
Steve Freeman, pastor of Grace Baptist, said responding to such disasters is nothing new for his church. Since 2010, a large group of its members have helped rebuild areas affected by tornados and flooding, including Faith Baptist Church in Baker in 2016.
“We believe this is our calling,” Freeman said. “This is what God enabled us to do. God has put together so many people in our church who are skilled with what’s needed to respond to situations such as this and it’s amazing how we use it for His glory.”