Marianna prays together six months after Hurricane Michael

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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - Exactly six months after Hurricane Michael, and people are still acclimating to a new lifestyle in Marianna.

Sometimes that means things have got to get worse before they get better.

The children's choir at First Presbyterian of Marianna spent the afternoon rehearsing for Palm Sunday.

It may seem like a usual day at the church, but it's a very different usual than it was before Hurricane Michael.

"We've made a lot of progress, still a ways to go,” said First Presbyterian Pastor John Wamsley. “People have learned to be patient, know that some things are going to fall into place, and some things are just going to be frustrating and not work so well. It'll get done, one way or the other."

There were holes in the ceiling on several different floors and severe damage to the roof.

At that time, FEMA had just extended the opportunity for houses of worship to apply for federal assistance.

"We'll spend over a half a million dollars, $600,000,” said Wamsley. “When you think about it, you think, 'Wow. Where does all that money go?' Church roofs aren't like standard residential roofs, and it's just a lot of work."

Pastor Wamsley says that work includes a lot of reconstructing on the third floor, basement, fellowship hall and sanctuary, most of which they've started on already.

Over the months, mildew and mold has developed on the inside, making the receipt even longer.

Unfortunately, First Presbyterian didn't qualify for FEMA assistance, so they will have to handle those repairs out of pocket.

"We're not alone,” said Wamsley. “We're not alone spiritually, and we're not alone having these troubles."

With that in mind, Pastor Wamsley and several other ministers wanted to bring the community together for a night of prayer, six months after Hurricane Michael.

"I've seen the people of our community go through incredible pain and difficulty, but I've also seen the people come together in ways and help each other, and really show the character and backbone of our community,” said Kevin Yoder, Board Chairman of North Florida Inland Recovery.

Kevin Yoder says he expects it to take at least five years for Marianna to make a full recovery,

Until that time comes, they'll just have to take it one day at a time.

"It's another day’s journey, and we're living it,” said a member of Girl Scout Troop 3029. “We're living every day and learning how to live this way after the storm. You've always seen it in other places, but it's hit home right here in Jackson County."

If you're living in Jackson County and need any help, you can find information on North Florida Inland Recovery’s website:

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