Damaged Dallas church remembers 2019 tornado outbreak

The First Spanish Assembly of God Church lost three of its four buildings when at least nine twisters danced in the Dallas area.

Dallas, Texas — Whenever bad weather is expected in North Texas, Pastor Kathy Lara turns to her faith. She and her congregation know firsthand what it’s like to experience storm devastation that can turn a dime on.

On October 20, 2019, the first Spanish Assembly of God Church in Walnut Hill was attacked shortly after Sunday night services. 1 of at least 9 tornadoes We danced through the Dallas area that night.

The Twister wreaks havoc around the church, destroying three of the four buildings on the property where Lara’s father has pastored for decades.

Chapels, mobile buildings, and multipurpose buildings were leveled.

Tornadoes have caused approximately $1.5 billion in damage to buildings and property across North Texas.

“It was like a war zone,” said Lara.

The only building with a fighting chance was the church sanctuary.

“When we were here that night, lightning was lighting up all the damage,” said Lara. “I was pretty shocked. There was debris everywhere.”

Lara said she had been thinking the whole time that no one was in the building when the tornado hit.

“The Lord has been very kind to us. We are here. We are alive. Thank you,” said Lara.

A rough patch soon followed for her congregation during the pandemic. Being a tornado victim was no easy task.

“We lost about 30% of our congregation, but most of them are back now,” Lara said.

Meanwhile, the church had to hold services elsewhere while the sanctuary was being remodeled.

A multipurpose building adjacent to the sanctuary had to be demolished.

“We just cried as we stood and watched them tear down the building in two hours,” Lara said. “It took almost two years to build it.”

In the summer of 2022, the sanctuary was finally completed and the church was returned to its original location.

“We just made it with what we had,” Lara said. “We had our own building, but we couldn’t get close to it until it was finished.”

The church plans to rebuild a multi-purpose building adjacent to the sanctuary, pending approval from the city of Dallas.

Delays have been a problem for developers and construction projects in the city for quite some time and have been widely reported.

But while Lara remains grateful that the church is back, she’s still praying before a bad weather day like the one expected Thursday in North Texas.

“Especially tomorrow,” said Lara.

“I pray God be with all the families and protect them. Please reach out to our city.”

https://www.wfaa.com/article/news/local/possible-dfw-severe-storms-remind-dallas-church-damage-from-2019-tornadoes/287-477116a1-3a67-4610-90b5-c650bc68e721 Damaged Dallas church remembers 2019 tornado outbreak

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