Church leaders reflect on progress after tornado destroyed their building a year ago

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FAYETTEVILLE, Tenn. (WHNT)-- A slab of concrete and stone is all that remains of the former Grace Falls Church in Fayetteville, Tennessee.

In a tornado on April 28, 2014, the church was destroyed. It was just a pile of rubble next to its foundation the next Sunday the congregation came together to worship there.

Today, the church is being rebuilt. It was a tough choice, but one the congregation wouldn't change.

"We just really felt that this is the community that God wants us to be in and minister to," said lead pastor Darrell Haney.

Haney also lost his house in that tornado. He remembers what it was like: "It got really bad," he said. "There were  30-40 seconds when you just didn't know if that would be it."

Thankfully, he and his family's lives were spared. WHNT News 19 met them inside the shell of the new church building Sunday. The walls are up, and the roof is not yet half done. It's a start that will take several more months to finish.

"I can not wait," said Associate Pastor Josh Caldwell. "It's amazing to see a new slab that's been formed and walls going up... we were able to start literally with a clean slate."

It's all about having a home again, Caldwell and Haney agree. They want a church in the community they serve, that will allow them to grow and continue ministry to their area.

In the year since that tornado took down the building, Haney says it's not just the lot that's changed. Their hearts have been shaped too.

"Like God's word says, sometimes we go through things just for his work to be displayed in our lives. And we think that's what has happened to us," he said.

"I hope people see... that we've been tested, but we've been proven faithful," added Caldwell.