Vilonia Church reopens after being destroyed by tornado almost three years ago

The Valley Church grand opening

VILONIA, Ark. (KTHV) -- Twice in three years, members of The Valley Church in Vilonia found themselves in rebuilding mode.

The most recent tornado tore through the city in April of 2014, destroying everything in its path including this place of worship. But Sunday, they sang a new song in a new home.

“It leveled our space, took everything out.”  Matt Rothacher, Pastor at The Valley Church, recalls what he saw the second time around. “A little less than a month after our first year, the massive tornado came through town.”

What started out as a time of celebration, quickly turned into devastation.

"I remember getting the phone call. They told me there was nothing there. And I’m like, there’s got to be something. It took the back wall down, the front ones out, and everything that was inside,” said Rothacher.

Everything inside, but their spirit and strength. Fast forward to March 5th, 2017 and here they stand, all together and stronger than before. The Valley Church is doing whatever it takes, at any costs, to continue its purpose.

"This is not a place to hide, but a place to launch out from,” he said.

Pastor Rothacher is excited about launching into a new season, in a new permanent home.

“Years of porta church and dragging chairs in and out. And loading my drum set in and out of the trailer week after week after week,” Fisher Lee said.

Lee is thankful to finally have a home for his church family, and his new set of drums. Each week the church would set up and tear down, unloading and reloading their service.

"We've met in fire stations, and public schools. Here, there, everywhere.” Savannah Myers sings in the choir. “The building process has been very lengthy because we've chosen to do a lot of the work ourselves.”

She said the congregation now sees themselves in each inch of their new space. Through generosity from people all over the country, they’re no longer a mission on the move.

“I’m so grateful things turned out the way they did and every step of the way just seeing God provide over and over again. It’s humbling to be here and be a part of it,” said Myers.

The Valley Church is looking forward to hosting other gatherings in its new space. It's also planning on having worship services during the week now that it has a permanent home.

© 2017 KTHV-TV


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