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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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