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Rural church ruined in fire, faith getting pastor through hard time

Posted at 6:19 PM, Dec 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-04 19:19:53-05

SALINA, Okla. -- A church in Salina was ruined in an electrical fire. 

Salina Homeward Bound Ministries went up in flames early Saturday morning. The fire was believed to be electrical. 

The sanctuary, Sunday School classes and food pantry, used for community outreach, are a complete loss for the congregation of 50. 

Pastor Tim Mahurin and his son built the church together with the help of members of the congregation. They broke ground almost exactly eight years ago. It took five months to build. 

He said watching it burn was indescribable.

"It's hard when you see all of your labor and your work and everything just go up in smoke," Pastor Mahurin said. "It is something I never thought I would see and something I could live without but we can't control." 

Just about everything inside is ruined.

"We had a drum set over there," Pastor Mahurin said pointing to the front of the church. "I see a hi-hat symbol over here. We had a bass guitar over here." 

Several Hymnals, Bibles and instruments lay burned outside of the building. The pastor said it was hard to look at. 

As Pastor Mahurin walked through the church, he looked for the case holding his Mandolin. He pulled the case out from under a burned pew. The handle was burned off and the zipper was melted, but when he opened it, his Mandolin was in perfect condition.

"Look at that," Pastor Mahurin said with excitement in his voice. "Look at that. Well, I'm thankful for that." 

The light in the dark and destroyed sanctuary for Pastor Mahurin are the few things that made it. 

A cross still hangs on the wall and the pages inside of several charred Bibles are still bright white. 

He does not believe it is a coincidence. 

"If you read your Bible, the Bible says that one of these days everything is going to burn on this earth, but He said 'My Word shall not pass away,'"  Mahurin said. 

The pastor told several stories about people who were led to Christ in his church. He said all the memories like those will never fade away. 

"Lots of memories," Pastor Mahurin said. "From baby dedications to elders rededicating their life." 

Because the fire was electrical, the dining room and kitchen, the two parts of the ministry that survived, do not have electricity. That did not stop the congregation of 50 from piling inside to worship just 24 hours after the fire. The pastor and his wife, Barbara, wanted to continue on as normal in hopes of uplifting the people who were questioning what was next. 

"We just wish that everyone who hears our story would pray for us," Pastor Mahurin said. "Remember us in prayer. That is what what we need today." 

The church has every intention of rebuilding. Pastor Mahurin has faith that the Lord will provide a way so they can. 

He said there have been several people already reaching out to him wanting to volunteer their time to rebuild. 

Click here to donate to the ministry's rebuilding fund. 

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