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ELIZABETHTOWN, NC (WWAY) — One year ago tomorrow marks the anniversary of a string of deadly tornadoes that tore through Bladen County. Those storms heavily damaged the Elizabethtown Baptist Church. Since then the church has rebuilt and is now rejoicing.

“We simply lost buildings,” said Pastor Chris Carroll. “Those buildings are easily replaced but the hopes and the memories of those that lost their lives, those are things we truly want to remember.”

Through the disaster the church never missed a service. They met for a year inside one of their other buildings.

Edd Nye, who’s been a member for the past 50 years, says the experience is a blessing in disguise.

“I was here when the church started, ” said Nye. “We’re back now and we’re just so pleased to be here where we can worship in style.”

As you look around the church complex you can still see the damage from one year ago.

Members both young and old say it has united the church more than ever.

“Can’t hardly talk about it without getting emotional but it means everything,” said David Clark. “When we went back in this church last Sunday it was a good experience.”

Pastor Carroll not only agrees with his congregation, but takes it one step further saying the church has grown both in numbers and spirit.

“Everyday I wake up and I tell God thank you,” said Carroll. “I tell him thank you for the events of the tornado because it changed me personally, it changed our church, and I truly believe it’s changed our community. I believe that this community is a stronger community, we’re more united, and we truly believe that God has great things in store for the people of Elizabethtown.”

Today was the second Sunday service in the church’s new sanctuary. The first was last Sunday on Easter.

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