Two local churches combine after Caraway storm damage

BLACK OAK, AR (KAIT) - It's been a month since Halloween night storms ripped through Caraway damaging much of their town, but two churches in that area have now combined and are counting their blessings.

Peggy Williams has been a member of Black Oak Baptist for 46 years, and up until recently their church was fighting their own struggle.

"We had bad experiences with some past pastors and people left to other churches," said Williams. "I just couldn't find it in my heart to leave here."

When Williams visited Caraway to help the day after the storm, she ran into a friend whose church was now facing a struggle of their own.

"She said the tornado had hit their church and tore it up," said Williams. "I told her we only have ten members left in our church, why don't ya'll join us?"

New Hope Baptist Pastor, Heath Hawkins, has preached every Sunday since then at the Black Oak Baptist church.

"Here it was an easy transition and Black Oak has been very welcoming and very inviting," said Hawkins. "It's been incredible and we've had visitors all three weeks."

Pastor Hawkins said his prayer is that both churches will benefit.

"When we are able to move back and we have rebuilt, that we will leave this church stronger than when we found it," said Hawkins.

Pastor Hawkins said he anticipates it being a long time before they're back in their old Sanctuary. Until then, they'll continue to hold service at Black Oak Baptist.

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