Odessa pastor Ernest Florez received a rude awakening to start the final week of July.
At around 2 a.m. July 27, Florez was notified that an alarm had gone off at Casa De Mi Padre located at the intersection of Clifford Street and Crane Avenue.
Florez said the Odessa Police Department called him to tell him that a 16-year-old had driven a single cab pickup into his church. Florez said when he arrived at the church that half of the pickup was in the church.
“I thought maybe it’s not that bad,” Florez said. “When I got here, half the truck was inside.”
Florez admitted it hurt to see half of the teenager’s truck inside his church.
“I didn’t know what to think,” Florez said. “We’ve been in this location for about four years. We’ve fixed it inside and out. We’ve made a lot of renovations and spent a lot of money.
“It was a little down.”
Florez said neither him nor the driver of the pickup had insurance.
The Odessa pastor said that he estimates the damage totals $15,000. Florez said he has collected donations totaling $5,800. He said in addition to donations the church also has two raffles, the current raffle is for a 75-inch smart TV, while the other a handcrafted cake and piñata from an artist in New Mexico.
Florez said he plans on collecting donations until he can pay for the renovations.
“Once we get all of this funded, we are going to stop (doing raffles),” Florez said. “There’s no other reason to do it. I don’t like to do stuff like that, but because this happened we have to do it to fix the church.”
Though the 16-year-old collided with his church, Florez said he doesn’t harbor any negative feelings. Florez said he has made it a point to pray for the teenager and his family.
As of Wednesday afternoon, construction was being completed on the exterior of the church. The collision happened near the staircase to the basement where children and youth services are held. Florez said while the renovations take place the children and youth attend service in the main area.
Casa De Mi Padre has services at 7 p.m. Wednesday and 10 a.m. Sunday, Bible study at 7 p.m. Monday and youth meetings at 7 p.m. Friday.
Florez said he doesn’t have an exact date when children and youth services can continue in the basement of the church.
“It could be two weeks. It could be up to a month,” Florez said. “We really just don’t know. It just depends if we can find someone to do the job and get the funds.”
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