After Notre Dame, viral tweet helps raise $1.8 million for black churches burned down in Louisiana

Viral tweet helps raise $1.8M for La. churches

While the world pledged to rebuild a fire-ravaged Notre Dame Cathedral, worshipers thousands of miles away in Louisiana continued to pray for the rebuilding of three historically black churches destroyed in 10 days by an arsonist

As more than a billion dollars in donations poured in for Notre Dame, some on social media pointed to three smaller houses of worship in need. A viral tweet by journalist Yashar Ali inspired celebrities, politicians, and thousands of others to give to the Louisiana churches. GoFundMe donations skyrocketed from $159,000 to more than $1.8 million in less than 36 hours.

"Did you know that God was going to provide like this?" CBS News correspondent Omar Villafranca asked.

"No. I just waved from the shore, and he did," said Pastor Freddie Jack, president of the Seventh District Missionary Baptist Association. Jack started the GoFundMe for the churches burned in his district. He said he never lost faith in humanity after so much pain.

Pastor Harry Richard's church was one of those burned to the ground. His grandfather helped start Greater Union Baptist more than 100 years ago. Richard said he plans to build the church "bigger and better." "God is in control," Richard said.

"When you see a response like this from strangers helping complete strangers, does it renew your faith?" Villafranca asked.

"We can't let circumstances or difficulties change us. We have to change them," Jack said.

"But it did change. You had three churches burn down."

"It changed our dwelling, but it didn't change our faith," Jack said.

All the money raised will be split among the three destroyed churches. While they wont host Easter services this year, one pastor said the donations will help resurrect these churches.