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TV Towers
Just a pile of twisted steel and cables are all that remain of The Assembly's TV towers. (Photo courtesy of The Cross radio station, Facebook)

Pastor Shane Warren and his staff at The Assembly in West Monroe, Louisiana, feel blessed even though Warren estimates the church and student housing for its School of Urban Missions experienced as much as $200,000 (estimated) in damages and its television station suffered millions of dollars of damage when an EF2 tornado ripped through the city on Monday.

"We dodged a bullet," Warren says in obvious relief and thankfulness. "The tornado was right above us, we had 60 or 70 people in the church at that time - they easily could all have been killed. You look at all the damage [in the city], and it seems a lot of people should have been killed."

According to Gene Brown, the regional executive presbyter, the towers were completely torn down by the powerful winds that struck the area, twisting them around and dropping them to the ground. The tornado also tore the roof off of the station building located next to the towers.

"We had two towers, side by side; one 700 feet, the other 500 feet," Warren says. "It will cost about $1.5 million to replace the towers and another $1.5 million to replace the transmitter. We haven't been inside of the station yet — the roof was tore off and rain flooded the interior — and the equipment inside is pretty sensitive."

"The church had just finished quite a bit of repair work to the station due to some earlier flooding," Brown says. "Now, the two Christian stations they were managing, KWMS and KMCT, are off the air."

According to a Facebook report by the The Cross, a Christian radio station in neighboring Monroe, Louisiana, thousands of homes and downtown businesses in West Monroe are still without power, with numerous schools in the area being closed due to damage and power outages.

Brown observed many traffic lights down and trees uprooted in the area. But what's remarkable, he says, is that just last week international compassion ministry, Convoy of Hope, and its ministry, Rural Compassion, had stocked supplies and held a "first responders" training session at nearby Point Assembly of God, only a 20-mile drive northwest of West Monroe.

"Curtis Wilson, head of Rural Compassion in our area, has his men out right now going through the city," Brown says. "He's out there with his team, cleaning things up."

Warren says that the church's Wednesday evening services are cancelled, but if they can get a gas leak repaired, he hopes to have services on Sunday — even if only by candlelight.


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Pentecostal church wins big with 'Sin City' revival

Tue, 17 Apr 2001 - 12:00 AM CST

A Las Vegas church is on a roll. In the gambling capital of the world, hundreds of people have come to Christ through a dramatic move of God in a congregation where revival has been aggressively linked to evangelism.

Attendance at the International Church of Las Vegas A/G (ICLV) grew tenfold in just four years, with up to 50 people typically responding to the altar call during Sunday services. But the growth has not come without a price. Senior pastor Paul Goulet's family has faced a string of car accidents and two daughters' serious sickness.

"If I had known what it would take, I would have gone back to being a therapist," said Goulet, who arrived at ICLV--formerly West Valley Assembly of God--in 1992 with a background in pastoral counseling and psychology. "But at some point you are called to give your life to something, and we are called to give our lives to this city. People are getting saved and delivered. I really think we are a threat to the demonic powers here."

John Mazur is one of those whose life has been transformed by ICLV. A "die-hard drug user," the New Jersey native "would rather have been dead than alive." Then he met a man who gave him a card for the church and told him: "These people will love you."

Mazur attended the church, and God turned his life around. But then he discovered that his years of abuse had left him with liver disease and possibly cancer. After prayer for healing, further tests showed a completely healthy liver. "The Lord never gave up on me," Mazur said. "That's the love of Christ I found here. My whole family is saved now."

The church's impact on the city is anchored in its focus on prayer and evangelism. "Paul started preaching that it wasn't about blessings or falling down or goose bumps or manifestations, but about winning the lost," said his wife, Denise. "We were going to take what He had given us, the power of the Holy Spirit, out into the world and give it to people. That is what it's for."

Goulet himself said that "the more the power flows, the more I have to focus people on the lost. When we have a blowout service, I have to emphasize what it's for. That is the responsibility of pastors and leaders. We don't want to become introverted or people [will] get jealous of each other, and it becomes about going to the altar for the next experience, not winning people to the Lord."

In the midst of ICLV's growth, Goulet survived a snowmobile wreck that left him unable to walk for several months. One daughter came down with seizures and another was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease. Both girls were healed.

"This city will devour you unless you fast and pray," Goulet said. "If I want to take Las Vegas like God wants to take Las Vegas, and I partner with Jesus Christ, then I will partner in His sufferings. Most people want to know Him in power, but they don't want to walk through 'Door No. 3': the fellowship of His sufferings...But if you [do], you reap a rich harvest."


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