Many Mississippians spent Easter Sunday reflecting on a tornado that killed 10 people in Mississippi a year ago.
Dale Thrasher was the only person in Hillcrest Baptist Church in Yazoo City when a tornado ripped it apart. He has spent the last year telling other church congregations about his ordeal.
“The Lord pulled me into the sanctuary, under the communion table,” Thrasher said Sunday after services. “The building broke up, and just said, ‘Lord save me.’ And he did.”
Hillcrest Baptist members now worship in a temporary building while construction continues on a new one at the old site.
The EF4 tornado ripped through parts of Mississippi on April 24, 2010. It killed 10 people and injured more than 150 others. Hundreds of homes and businesses were destroyed and a state of emergency was declared in 17 counties, including Yazoo.
Mississippi’s Choctaw County suffered the most confirmed deaths: five, including a baby and two other children.
The storm also decimated Ebenezer Baptist Church in Lexington, destroying the sanctuary of the 132-year-old landmark.
Members gathered in a partially rebuilt sanctuary to celebrate the church’s new beginning – its own resurrection of sorts – on Easter, a day that for Christians is the holiest of the year.
The Rev. Billy Barron felt a “sinking feeling” when he first saw the damaged church but became hopeful when volunteers showed support.
“We started in the very beginning wondering if we needed to do some fundraising,” Barron said. “I just felt that we needed to trust God for everything. God’s been our fundraiser.”
The National Weather Service said the tornado had winds of 160 miles an hour and left a path of destruction at least 50 miles long.
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