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After Tornado's Ruin, Van Buren Co. Church Rebuilds

Almost a year after a powerful tornado ripped through a church in Van Buren County, the congregation celebrated a new day Sunday. The Botkinburg Foursquare Church was left in shambles when the storm hit.
BOTKINBURG, AR -- Almost a year after a powerful tornado ripped through a church in Van Buren County, the congregation celebrated a new day Sunday.

The Botkinburg Foursquare Church was left in shambles when the storm hit. 

"The tornado hit right in this corner and just took everything," explained Pastor Ester Pass. 

On April 10th of last year, mangled metal and drywall was strewn everywhere.  Pastor Pass says he arrived to disaster.

"I didn't know what to think," Pass said.  "I literally got sick."

Elsie McMulty also remembers the day well.  She's been a member of the church for 25 years.

"I cried," she said, thinking about all the years of hard work building up the church.

But thanks to an outpouring of support from the community and an insurance claim, the church cobbled together $800,000 to rebuild.

There's a new sanctuary, youth room and nursery.

"It's just wonderful," McMulty said.   "That's all I can say.  It's fantastic."

Sunday, the congregation gathered for a pot luck to celebrate the new digs.

But first, the pastor took to the pulpit for this first sermon in the rebuilt church.

"The message was for all of us that regardless of what life deals you, there is hope," Pastor Pass said.

As we rode around the small community of Botkinburg, we noticed there are still some damaged homes and downed trees.
   
Community members say the cleanup is a process, one they're still working on.  But today was definitely a big step.


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