GREENSBORO, N.C. — Nearly one year ago, a massive EF2 tornado wiped out several East Greensboro neighborhoods; taking out dozens of houses, churches, and schools in its path.
While there are signs of progress, many of those same neighborhoods are still rebuilding.
We went back to the area hardest hit along East Bessemer Avenue near Erwin Montessori Elementary School. The House of Refuge Deliverance stood right in the twister's path.
The pastor believes the tornado formed right in his church's backyard; taking off the roof and tossing it hundreds of feet away as though it was a piece of paper.
The church hopes to rebuild and reopen within the next few months. And as they recover, Pastor Derrick Hawkins says they're also committed to helping the entire neighborhood get back on its feet.
"We just want to let people know that we're still here to serve our community, love on the community, let them know hey the church is still here, the city is still here, leaders are still here, to help bring restoration back to our community," said Hawkins.
The church was packed just a few hours before the tornado hit Sunday, April 15, 2018.
"Just the divine providence of God, nobody was killed in this area, so we are extremely grateful," said Hawkins.
The House of Refuge Deliverance has been holding 2 p.m. services at 507 Balboa Street since the tornado leveled the church and something amazing has happened.
"We grew about 20 to 25% since we've been in that location, and man We have been giving glory to God just for what he has been doing."
A February 2019 goal to get back inside is now looking more like summer; but the church is committed to not only rebuilding their building, but also the surrounding community.
"It's never been in my heart to move. This area needs hope," said Hawkins.