Reverend Gerald Toussaint of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church went inside the destroyed building for the first time Thursday evening.
Rev. Toussaint has been saying over the past week, “From the darkness will come the light,” and he says he has finally felt that light because he and his congregation now have closure.
“Wow. It’s aggravating to see all the work put into this, to see how deep the history went,” said Toussaint as he walked through what was left of the building.
A suspect is now in custody in connection with this fire and two other church fires, but the reverend is still left with questions.
“Why would you do this? What do you get out of this?”
However, he says it’s time to move forward.
“I’m just glad it’s over. Now, we can rebuild. I feel good. I can rest,” said Toussaint.
His main concern was to recover photographs of former pastors that stood in the entry way of the church, including one of his father, Rev. J. V. Toussaint. He was the pastor before his son for 21 years.
“Oh, it’d break his heart. It’d break his heart because when we bricked this church, he laid the last brick,” lamented Toussaint when asked how his father would feel.
Despite the major damages, some things, even 100-years-old, still stand.
Toussaint says the rubble, broken pews and burned bibles are not enough to stop the church from rebuilding.
“When it happened, it was a dark, rainy day. Look how bright it is,” Toussaint commented about Thursday’s weather.
He says they have a long road, but the only way to get through this is to keep their faith stronger than before. That’s one thing the suspect can’t take away from them.