SALADO, Texas — Only a few days ago, the town of Salado, Texas, was rocked by an EF-3 tornado, destroying nearly everything in its path.
Amongst the rubble is the site of the Victory Baptist Church, which is essentially now nothing more than a concrete slab.
Billy Barlow has been a pastor in the community for 43 years and has never experienced the destruction he saw on Tuesday.
"We’re doing fine. We’re shocked at what happened. But that’s OK. God is still in control, and we’re doing great, and we’re just trying to rest up and prepare for Sunday to worship the Lord," Barlow said during an interview with FOX Weather.
The pastor said there is nothing left of the church that can be used or even fixed.
"We’re just going to go one step at a time, and we’re going to rebuild the church. Our people have to contend with the fact that everybody else in the community is suffering just like we are at the church, the church down the road and members of our church who’ve lost their homes," Barlow said.
The destruction happened less than a week before the Easter holiday that Barlow said will still be celebrated this Sunday.
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"We’re going to be just like we always do on Sunday. We’re going to meet here, and we’re going to have a service, especially this Sunday," Barlow said.
Parishioners from a nearby church stepped up to donate chairs and set up the audio system for Sunday’s services, which will take place where the auditorium once stood.
Beyond Sunday, the pastor is putting his trust in God and people’s generosity to help restore the church.
A GoFundMe has already raised more than $23,000 for recovery efforts, more than the initial goal.
"We know that we have a lot of friends and a lot of people that care and love and in the nation mourns over people experience these kinds of things," Barlow said.