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SAN GABRIEL, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) – Community members of the San Gabriel Christian Church cleaned up the damage left behind by Saturday’s severe thunderstorms.
Storm spotters and residents report a tornado touched down in the area tearing through the town. Preacher Billy Bob Cox helped carry out pieces of wet carpet to the front steps of the church.
“Nobody was killed, lots of property damage,” Cox said. “We can replace property, we surely can’t replace members because we have too small a congregation for it.”
The ceiling from the church caved in, flooding everything inside. Once the congregation got news of the destruction, people drove in from Williamson County to lend a hand.
San Gabriel resident Jackie Stevenson, who lives next door, was in Williamson County when she received word about the destruction. She rushed to find her home in place. Stevenson said her home sustained minimum damage. Her roof will need to be fixed and her kids have no idea where their trampoline ended up.
“The church has been here a long time,” Stevenson said. “I grew up in this church and I’m trying to raise my girls here too now and it’s a piece of history.”
Stevenson and her two daughters rolled up their sleeves and pants and gathered broken pieces of the ceiling from the floor.
Just down the road, Pastor Tim Cheatham assessed the damage done to the San Gabriel Baptist Church. A few broken windows and the church’s parsonage saw the bulk of the damage.
“We are fixing to have a time for prayer and thanksgiving for God sparing us,” Cheatham said. “We just thank the good Lord for watching over us and it could’ve been a lot worse.”
Both congregations have been in San Gabriel since the 1850’s. Cox’s biggest concern is keeping up wit the fickle Texas weather.
“When the rain comes, it’s going to start flooding in here again,” Cox said, “so we are doing everything we can to mitigate the damage and share our faith with the community, show them that when things happen, we’ll never doubt that God is going to sustain us through it.”
Despite the wreckage and the work that needs to be done, both churches will have service next Sunday, rain or shine.
Both churches are waiting to hear back from their insurance companies to see what the estimated damage is.