SOUTHAVEN, Miss. – A Southaven church is working to rebuild after a man reportedly broke in and set the building on fire.
“It was a little breathtaking, to walk in on the situation and see so much destruction,” said Jason Burton, executive pastor of SouthPoint Church.
Less than 24 hours after the fire was set, a suspect was arrested. Rafas Ligmaw, 36, is now behind bars, facing felony charges of burglary and arson.
We reached out to several numbers linked to Ligmaw to try to speak with someone who knows him, but we were unable to connect. Church officials are unsure if he’s ever attended any services, and it’s unclear why he might’ve wanted to set the church on fire.
But the SouthPoint community is still living by faith.
“We’re all about grace, we’re all about forgiveness, so here’s an opportunity,” Burton said. “Maybe he’s going to have the opportunity to hit reset. Make some changes in his own life.”
The physical rebuilding at SouthPoint began the very next day after the fire, and the leadership says the congregation won’t miss a single service.
“We’re set up for an outdoor service this Sunday,” Burton said.
They’re hoping to be back inside, with service as normal, before the end of the month.
“Hopefully we can get it to a place where we can have indoor services this next Sunday,” Burton said.
Ligmaw is being held on $75,000 bond. His first day in court has not been set, according to the county’s jail database.