Thursday, March 24, 2016

Brussells Bombing ATTACK

(March 22, 2016, at 8:00 a.m. MDT)  
Three Mormon missionaries serving in the Paris, France mission were seriously injured in Tuesday's explosion at the Brussels airport, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reported this morning.
The three had been accompanying a fourth missionary who was on her way to a mission assignment in Ohio, and who had already passed through airport security.
While detailed, accurate information is difficult to obtain because of limited communications in Brussels, mission president Frederic J. Babin has reported that three of the missionaries were in the proximity of the explosion when it occurred and have been hospitalized.
The injured missionaries, whose families have been notified, are:
    Elder Richard Norby (66) of Lehi, Utah.
    Elder Joseph Empey (20) of Santa Clara, Utah.
    Elder Mason Wells (19) of Sandy, Utah.
The missionaries were taking Sister Fanny Rachel Clain (20) of Montélimar, France, to the airport. Sister Clain had been serving in that mission while awaiting a permanent visa for the United States.
All missionaries in the France Paris Mission have been asked to remain in their apartments.
The First Presidency of the Church promptly issued a statement this morning in response to the bombings:
With much of the world, we awoke this morning to the heartbreaking news of the bombings in Belgium. Our prayers are with the families of the deceased and injured, including four of our missionaries who were injured and hospitalized. We also pray for the people of Belgium and France as they continue to deal with the uncertainty and devastation caused by the recent terrorist attacks.

Court and Amber Empey of Santa Clara, Utah, didn’t know that if their cellphones hadn't been set to Do Not Disturb, they would have been ringing for hours. Later, when they woke up with the sky and the home phone began to ring, they assumed it was just the beginning of another endless day of political surveys and robocalls.
Shortly after 6 a.m., with their smartphones awake, an international number popped up that they instantly recognized as European. It was their son, Elder Joseph Empey, calling from a hospital in Brussels. In his trademark all-is-well way, the young man announced what the world was also discovering — terrorists had struck at the Brussels Airport.
“He was so positive,” Empey’s mother, Amber, said during a phone call from Salt Lake Airport’s International terminal. Empey and her husband will arrive in Brussels Friday afternoon. “He said he was calling from a hospital with burns on his face, head and hands. He had shrapnel in his feet and potentially a fractured ankle. But he was so optimistic.”
As widely reported, Elder Empey, Elder Mason Wells, Elder Richard Norby and Sister Fanny Rachel Clain, who are serving as missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, were all injured during the blast that killed 31 and injured more than 300 others.
Although the Empeys believe nothing prepares missionary parents for that kind of phone call, it wasn’t until the call ended that they understood the scope and magnitude of the morning. “As soon as we hung up, we went online and that’s when it hit us. We couldn’t believe what we read," Amber Empey said.
Later in the morning, a nurse emailed the Empeys photos of their son in his hospital bed. “I was scared,” his mother said. “And yet as I’m realizing more and more how serious this was, hearing about burns, surgeries and at least a 10-day hospital stay, there he was in photos with a smile on his face.”
Over a series of calls, the young missionary with just three months remaining before his mission concludes shared his firsthand account of the moments before and after the blast.
“He told us he was there with Elder Wells and Elder Norby to drop off the sister coming to America," she said. "They had wanted to use the electronic ticket station but it wasn’t working, so they went to wait in a long line that snaked back and forth. Then after a few minutes, it happened and (Empey) blacked out. He doesn’t know how long he was unconscious but when he came to, he just started running to find the others. He found Elder Wells first and he was bleeding quite a bit. He gave him a blessing on the spot.”
Empey moved on and when he reunited with Norby, his parents said he gave him a blessing, too. By the time they found Clain, Empey reported to his parents that the adrenaline was gone and the pain set in.
"He could tell the foot was worse than he thought and he couldn’t walk," Amber Empey said. "So he calmed down and waited for the ambulance.”
Choking on emotion, Empey’s father expressed the family’s gratitude for the survival of all four missionaries, and the heartbreak at the many other families having very different conversations in the aftermath of the blast. “We know how fortunate they are," Court Empey said. "He said that they estimated they were about 30 feet away from the explosion. Yes there will probably be more surgeries and time in the hospital, but he’s alive.”
Court Empey paused when asked to describe how it felt to have people of all faiths around the world praying for his son and others injured in the attacks.
“It’s overwhelming," he said. "To see how much love there is in the world, it reminds us that God truly is our Heavenly Father. It’s why strangers feel sympathy and empathy for one another. It’s because we really are brothers and sisters with eternal relationships.”
According to Empey, this example of extraordinary love in the world outweighs all the evil. “It’s interesting, isn’t it? From this horrible act comes so much goodness.” The family believes no amount of hate will ever defeat the will of the Lord.
As they began to board the first of three flights to their son’s bedside, Empey expressed gratitude for his son’s missionary service. “He said on the phone that he would not change it," Court Empey said. "This has been a great time in his life to serve, forget himself and learn more about the Savior. His mission has enhanced everything about him and he is so grateful for every day.”
His father added that over his final three months, he believes his son will continue to grow from every experience, including that tragic Tuesday morning moment.
“Also, please tell your readers we are so thankful for their prayers and support," Court Empey said. "We pray for you, too, especially all missionaries everywhere as they spread Christ’s message of joy and peace.”
BRUSSELS -- Parents of a Utah missionary hurt in the terrorist attacks in Brussels on March 22 shared their thoughts after seeing their son in the hospital.
Elder Joseph Empey, 20, is wrapped in bandages as he recovers from burns and surgery.
But through the gauze dressings, and his wounds, the Empey family said what struck them the most about seeing their son was, "His eyes and his smile."
“He's got bandages all around his face, but he's got these pretty blue eyes,” said Amber Empey, Joseph's mother. “He was thankful and excited to see us."
His father, Court Empey, said despite the injuries, their son's countenance still shines through.
“You could see through all the burns and all of his injuries, that it’s still his same soul and heart in there," he said.
The couple flew from Santa Clara, Utah to Belgium after Tuesday’s terrorist bombing in Brussels that nearly killed Elder Empey. He was at the airport check in, where the bomb went off.
Elder Empey has relived those moments to his parents.
"It was horrifying what he went through,” Court Empey said. “He remembers the blast. It knocked him out. He was very scared and hiding, and then he went into helping those around him, looking for his three missionary colleagues to help them."
Two other Utah LDS missionaries also got caught in the blast and remain hospitalized—19-year-old Elder Mason Wells of Sandy, and 66-year-old Elder Richard Norby of Lehi. A 20-year-old sister missionary from France, Fanny Clain, was also wounded.
Elder Empey told his parents: “‘I don't understand it, I just know that there's so much more good and love in the world that it'll always win,’" Court Empey said, quoting his son.
The couple said his brothers and sisters are anxious to see him heal and return home. Elder Empey was just a few months shy of finishing his mission when he got caught in the blast.
"He's the oldest of five kids, and he’s just been my buddy since he was born,” Amber Empey said, tearfully. “From the time he was a little boy he's just stepped up and taken care of all of us. He's responsible, and kind, and loving."
The family knows they have a long road ahead.
“He's going to need some time to rehabilitate and heal on the outside, and I'm sure with his emotions as well," Court Empey said.
But through the second degree burns, Elder Empey appears to show a thumbs up while he smiles for a photo and forges forward in his recovery.
The first explosion lifted Elder Mason Wells off the ground. Seconds later, as he ran for an exit at the Brussels airport, the second blast detonated.
Sitting in a hospital bed with his head wrapped in gauze, Elder Mason Wells gave TV interviews Friday, describing a chaotic, gruesome scene from the terrorist attack that left him covered in blood and caused shrapnel wounds and burns to him and three other Mormon missionaries serious enough that all four have required surgery.
Elder Wells, 19, of Sandy, Utah, who was reunited with his parents on Friday, also told interviewers that despite the attack, his faith in God is intact.
Elder Wells and two other missionaries were at the airport just before 8 a.m. on Tuesday to drop off Sister Fanny Clain, 20, of Montélimar, France, who was scheduled to board a flight to the United States to serve in the Ohio Cleveland Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Elder Wells said he was trying to help Sister Clain get her plane tickets to the United States out of a small machine at the airport before the first of two suicide bombs detonated. That was part of his responsibility in the France Paris Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Paris Mission includes Belgium, and Elder Wells had moved to Brussels five weeks earlier.
The machine didn't work, so an airport attendant directed the four missionaries to the back of the line at the checkout desk. Elder Wells pulled out his iPad to check on the tickets and was looking at it when the first blast went off.
"It was really loud. It was really loud," he told CNN, shaking his head with a far-off look. "I was looking down and all of a sudden a huge blast came from my right. I believe my body was actually lifted off the ground for a moment. My iPad that was in my hands, I don’t know what happened, it just disappeared. I think it actually might have hit me in the head when it got blasted out of my hands. My watch on my left hand just disappeared. My left shoe just was blown off. A large part of the right side of my body got really hot and then really cold, and I was covered in a lot of fluids, a lot of blood. A lot of that blood wasn’t mine."
Elder Wells told Matt Lauer of NBC's Today Show that after the first blast he saw fire in front of his face and on the ground and that those flames caused his burns. He suffered second-degree burns to his head and arms and shrapnel wounds to his legs. Doctors performed surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles' tendon.
"My body was lifted off the ground during the first blast — very loud," he said. "And I started running toward the exit. A lot of people started to run toward the exit. I’d taken a couple steps, about three seconds later the second blast went off."
During the interviews, Elder Wells' head was covered in gauze from the middle of his neck to the top of his head, where only a tuft of hair was visible. The only holes in the gauze were for his eyes, the tip of his nostrils, his mouth and his left ear.
"Everything I've lived up to this point has fortified my personal faith that God is there," Elder Wells, 19, of Sandy, Utah, told Fox News. "I know that I've felt his love several times. I know that if I can feel his love sitting on a sidewalk next to a destroyed airport, God will talk to his other children, too. I know that he does listen to prayers, and that the prayers the people are (giving) now, they make a difference, because I've felt them."

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