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St. Landry Parish congregations thankful for visit from Vice President Pence

Posted at 11:04 PM, May 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-04 00:14:22-04

The congregants of the three burned churches are grateful for Vice President Mike Pence’s trip to Opelousas on Friday.

Pence met with pastors and members of those congregations and toured the charred remains of Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church.

“He’s a gracious man. He’s a believer. The show of support from the White House and our nation’s leaders has been overwhelming,” Sancha Smith said.

Pence hugged and shook hands of the members affected in the tragedy.

“I was so excited to be here, to know that he cared enough and that our nation cares enough to come down here to our little town and to be with us in our time of grieving and rebuilding,” Shannon Bernard said.

In a previous interview with KATC, Pastor Gerald Toussaint asked why there hadn’t been any word from the White House about the fires. On Friday, those questions were erased.

“I didn’t think that they were thinking about us. You can’t judge people. [The Bible] says, ‘Judge not, that ye be not judged.’ I thank God it has reached. I never thought when I came out here on that rainy day and saw the fire that it would reach to this capacity,” Toussaint said.

Toussaint tells KATC’s Justice Henderson he’s just a small town pastor whose life was changed by the hateful acts.

“I’m just a little country boy from Opelousas, and the vice president came here? Nobody can do that but the almighty God,” he said.

The pastors and members of their congregations are working to rebuild and spread messages of love and unity.

“Love is the most important thing. We could go out and be angry or maybe reach out and try and hurt someone or say negative things, but we want to keep things positive. We are faith-based, and this is what its all about,” Bernard said.