On Sunday evening, April 23rd, Mason Wells, one of the missionaries that was in the Brussels Belgium airport terrorist attack, last year, spoke. He told about receiving a testimony of the Book of Mormon when he was 15 on a cold winter night hike with some other young men. They were having an activity and had taken their scriptures with them. When he graduated from high school he applied to the U.S. Naval Academy and was turned down. He was very disappointed. So, he prayed and knew he should go on a mission. He mentioned that he had had a previous experience with terrorist bombings. He and his Dad were at the Boston Marathon, his mother was running it in 2013, when two homemade bombs went off near the finish line. They knew she had finished and were trying to catch up to her and decided to take a short cut through a street and missed being bombed. His mom was not hurt.
So, he is twenty months into his French mission when he gets transferred to Brussels. He had been there a month and said it was really a good change for him and he was loving Brussels. He and his companion, and a senior missionary elder, were taking a sister missionary to the airport. They were at a ticket kiosk and couldn't get the machine to accept her passport. A side note, he said because he was wearing a suit, everyone thought he was an airport employee, and were asking him all sorts of questions, so he was helping a lot of folks. Finally, an airline employee tried to help and told them to just check in when they checked her baggage. So they are in the check in line when the first bomb went off about 10-15 feet away. He said he felt like he had died for just a moment. He gets up and gets outside, which was a miracle because he was in no shape to even walk and then a second bomb went off inside. He had 2nd & 3rd degree burns and a lot of shrapnel had hit his body. (they are called Nail bombs, because they are full of nails). His iPad, watch, and left shoe were blown off his body. Unbeknownst to him an Achilles heel had ruptured when hit by some shrapnel. He said he was covered in blood and in pretty bad shape, especially his foot.
But he said, once the bomb hit and he miraculously made it outside, an overwhelming sense of peace enveloped him and stayed with him until he got help. He also said he felt complete forgiveness for whomever had caused the death and destruction. His companion, who had been knocked out from the blast, came to and found him outside the airport doors, and gave him a blessing. He dropped the first vial of oil, and had to pull out a second one. Brother Wells asked him if he wanted him to give him a blessing and he said no, that Brother Wells was in no shape to give one. He said "The Lord tended me" , several times and I thought that was a lovely way to put it. He spent several months in the hospital at the University of Utah, while the doctors saved his right hand (which he still had a glove on), and his left foot. There were lots of skin grafting and he had to learn to walk again. But he said through it all, "the Lord tended me". He said when he was in the hospital he would sit in a sitting area overlooking the campus, wondering when he would get out. He now attends U of U in the engineering program (not sure which one). He said one day after he had gotten out of the hospital and was in school, he was walking up the hill on campus and he looked up at the hospital and saw himself looking down on him from the hospital window where he used to sit.
He said he believed because the Lord has always been there for him, tending him. A side note, he applied again to the Naval Academy and got accepted and enters in June.
The rule in the mission for the young missionaries is if you have an investigator you can bring to the devotionals you can come, but if you don't you can't come, but I think President Johnson told all the missionaries they could come. It was a packed house. They always have a special musical number by the missionaries. We had two elders sing Rock of Ages to a piano and violin accompaniment. It was outstanding. We love seeing to see who has the musical talents.
What is almost as amazing as the main speakers are the prayers and testimonies that are given by new converts. This time a sister prayed that had been baptized on Friday and received the Holy Ghost that day on Sunday. They are simple and pure prayers untouched by the repetitiveness that overcomes our prayers at times. The testimonies were given by a couple who had been baptized this month. They said their marriage was on the rocks, they had searched for a church that felt right and had given up. They were on their 2nd or 3rd set of missionaries when Elder McFarland said, "Look, give it a month. A month of praying, and reading the Book of Mormon, and if after a month you don't want to have us here anymore we will leave for good." And here they were sharing their testimonies. They were so grateful that is makes me ashamed of the times I take the gospel for granted.
The other testimony was born by Brother Fred Bloch, a school teacher, who said the scripture, "by their fruits, ye shall know them" was a constant during his investigation of the gospel. For him, everyone he met in the church were the best examples. He was baptized on Christmas Eve 2016 and thought it would be a simple affair, but in true Mormon fashion the members did it up right for him, food and all. He said it was the best Christmas.
I wanted to write this down before I forgot what I felt when I listened to Brother Wells and the new members and how it makes me feel about the gospel, Jesus Christ, and my testimony. So grateful to be tended by my Savior.