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On Saturday evening, December 30, 1995, Dan Donaldson got the news that the church where he grew up and had served as pastor for 14 years was in flames. "It was hard to believe," Donaldson says. "Even at that point I couldn't imagine that the entire church was destroyed."
The following morning when the almost 125-year-old congregation of Salem Baptist Church in Fruitland, Tennessee, would have been gathering to worship, they were instead facing the devastating reality that their church was gone. The authorities determined it was arson.
"Just to lose the church was bad enough," says Donaldson, "then to find out someone deliberately wanted to destroy it. We still don't understand why."
But Donaldson did not give in to speculation, nor did he let his congregation dwell on the situation. As they stood under a large shade tree and looked at the ashes, the Lord reminded Donaldson that the building that had been destroyed ...