SMITHVILLE, Miss. (WTVA) - The Smithville Baptist Church opened the doors to its brand new facility Sunday.
It's a sense of normalcy for many after so much devastation more than two years ago from an EF-5 tornado.
It's events like this that help uplift the spirits of those who were deeply affected by the deadly twister.
The pastor at Smithville Baptist says the new facility was well worth the wait.
"It allowed us to be able to come back together in a church building and worship the Lord as a church family," Pastor Wes White said.
To help cover the cost of the $3.2 million dollar project throughout a 16-month construction phase, the new facilty was built in large part from donations and insurance.
"God, through his great grace, has provided nearly all the funds," adds White. "We will move into this facility with hardly any debt."
In addition to the construction company, a planning committee was formed and they relied on church members and countless volunteers throughout Monroe County to help with various aspects of construction on this project.
"The planning commitee had to make some decisions to move forward," Smithville Mayor Gregg Kennedy said. "We had to make sure the infrastructure [was] being rearranged because there used to be houses right here where this church is, and we have to make sure that the water and sewer facilities were ready to handle this."
With the new Smithville Baptist church now open and with the school scheduled to open in August, local residents say these are two major pieces of the town's recovery efforts.
"We know that once school starts this fall and with all the church back in place then the people will come back and start building houses," said Susan Harp, church member. "That's essential to building our town back."
Four churches in the town of Smithville sustained damage from the EF-5 tornado.
With Smithville Baptist Church's construction now finished, all four have now been rebuilt or repaired.