By Associated Press - Saturday, April 17, 2021

LAUREL, Miss. (AP) - Congregants in south Mississippi carved a cross in the soil where they will build a new church to replace one damaged by an Easter tornado last year.

WDAM-TV reported that the groundbreaking ceremony took place on Easter this year for Pleasant Home Baptist Church. It is in the Matthews community of Jones County.

“We just had a desire for this community to have an opportunity to come and encounter Jesus, and so that’s what this is all about,” pastor Caleb Rawls said. “And so, we hope that Pleasant Home can continue to just have a presence.”

He said the congregation had been saving for a new building.

“When the tornado came through, the whole church was just distraught but also saw an opportunity from the generosity of decades worth of people giving in this community for a new church,” Rawls said.

The new building will be on the current site of the church softball field, a short distance from the old building.

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