Destructive Fire Helps Bring East Texas Church Closer Together - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Destructive Fire Helps Bring East Texas Church Closer Together

The seats were a little cold.  The building was not as familiar, but the spirits were still high.

"Things happen all the time to people," said Church Crawford Jane Crawford.  "You just have to bounce back because God is always there."  One week ago, members of Ambassador Baptist Church worshipped in their building located just off Highway 110, a building now charred with ashes.  They are now in a new building, the YMCA of Whitehouse.  They've only had one week to adjust and cope with their losses.

"He takes us through trials, so we can honor and glorify him," said Crawford.  "So, we just hope that through this, we honor and glorify him."  Some said it was a lesson in faith that, despite the circumstances, needed to be learned.

"I think God has brought us down to a point of bare bones," said Ambassador Baptist Church Pastor Tony Godfrey.  "We don't have anything right now, and that's fine.  That's a place where God can move."  Right now, some are taking comfort in one thing.

"Whenever the church was persecuted the most, the church grew the most," said church deacon Lace Browning.  "That's been my consolation, that maybe this is God's way of focusing us on him."  A focus, which some said, is at the heart of a message preached for years, and now, really understood on a personal level.  

"A building's nothing," said Godfrey.  "It's all about the people.  It's always been about the people.  We can build churches and we can build great buildings, but if we're not reaching people, we're not building the kingdom."  It's a church united and determined to grow stronger, even in the wake of disaster.

The church's insurance company is offering a $10,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest.  If you have information call the Smith County Fire Marshal's Office.

Layron Livingston, Reporting.


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