TEMPLE, Texas (KWTX) On Jan. 19th, 2010, a fire destroyed the First Baptist Church in downtown Temple.
Photo by Alex Gibbs
Ten years later, the sights and sounds of the fire still have an impact on many witnesses, including Pastor Gary Anthony.
"When I smell something burning that isn't just firewood, it triggers all of those memories," he said.
"They all come rushing back very quickly."
He says the hardest part was losing personal items from his office, including the scrub shirt from the day his twin daughters were born.
While many others like him lost close belongings, the church rebounded with a new location in 2014.
Now, their attendance is better than ever, with over one thousand people attending each Sunday.
Church member Cheryl Jones says the growth is a testament to God's will, the perseverance of the church and the help of the entire community.
"God used what was a really horrible moment to grow our church," she said.
While church members have no idea what's in store for the future, they'll use their experiences as a reminder to never stop growing in their faith.