LANCASTER — One year ago Wednesday, 17 tornadoes ripped through North Texas, causing millions of dollars in damage — but amazingly not killing anyone.
The storm damaged and destroyed 800 homes. Lancaster was one of the hardest-hit communities.
Senior Pastor Glenn T. Young of Cedar Valley Christian Center remembers the moment he saw the horror dropping from the clouds.
"I ran to the front door of the buildings here and I looked out and I could see the actual tornado coming," he said.
But Young couldn't have known what was coming next.
The twister mangled his church building, damaging its front and ripping through the roof. In those fleeting moments, he and his staff gathered their nearly 80 preschoolers into a windowless room to safely ride out the storm.
Over the last year, the roof and walls have been repaired. Carpet has replaced the wood floor that buckled from water in the sanctuary. Young says the Bible guided him and his parishioners.
"There's a scripture in the Bible that says what the devil, what they actually use, what the devil meant for harm, we call him the enemy, God will turn around for our good," he said. "And so we have continued to move in that direction to let everybody know that we are moving forward."
Just a few blocks away, Gwen Edwards recalls she wasn't sure if she could look forward to staying in the neighborhood. The twister whisked away her roof and sliced off nearly half of her house.
But she rebuilt instead of buying new elsewhere, even though she and her family lived in a hotel and then an apartment for nearly a year.
She's glad they stayed.
"I have to be thankful for my house, I have to be thankful for my neighbors because I have some very good neighbors," Edwards said. "Everybody has been kind of bonding, and this tornado made us bond more."
And, as testimony that the community is still hurting, prayer teams visit three days a week, praying for the city and residents still rebuilding. The church will have a rededication for its rebuilding on May 5.