Every Monday I stare at this blank white screen, with the intention of confining 7 days’ worth of emotions and experiences into a few typed words. I can tell you that this week won´t even be a fraction of the reality happening here overseas.
Because of that, I´m not going to say much or go into much detail about this last week regarding the attacks from Tuesday morning in Bruxelles. In essence, we started Tuesday studies with the call about the Zaventem airport bombs and that the Bruxelles Zone Leaders were unaccounted for after being in the airport. We called President and told him first, while he was in Schiphol. Then the second bomb went off and we heard that the missionaries were rushed to the hospital. We have visited Sister Clain here in Antwerpen twice, and she is a rock star. Such a stud through everything. We had the opportunity to give her a priesthood blessing and bring her the sacrament. The nurses in the hospital ended up asking Sis Clain how she gets so many visitors. After all, she´s not even from here. The Lord opens windows and doors for us to introduce people to the Gospel. Even on a hospital bed after trauma, surgeries, bandages covering her face, head, and arms, Sister Clain was fulfilling her missionary purpose and proclaiming the truths of the restored Church of Christ, together with the fact that followers of Christ are family, no matter the culture or distance.
Using that in contrast to the saddening events on Tuesday, you get a decently accurate range of the emotions going on in this beloved country right now. Let alone inside us as the missionaries. I know Elder Empey and Elder Wells personally. A month ago we went to Bruxelles to play basketball with them and spend Pday together. Elder Empey showed me what missionary work was like with an iPad (because we really do have no idea) and Elder Wells and I planned a couple school things together for the fall. I can tell you how strong those two are. Even after what has happened, I know the testimony and faith that grows inside of them to bring about good from this. To play it to their advantage. You have to do that a lot as a missionary, take weak, broken, bad things and make them good. And I know that is what they do every moment the lay in those hospitals. They are all over the news in the states, Belgium and France. People know us. They ask about our companions. They ask how we are all so closely interconnected. I testify that the Lord knows what he is doing. I don´t think there is any coincidence that Elder Wells has been around 3 terror attacks like this, wants to enlist in the US Armed Forces and is now inspiring others across the world. The Lord hastens His work. And before this life, we agreed to do all we can and go through all we could to make it happen. In perhaps their weakest state, they perform their strongest work.
Investigations have been done and the plan for the bombing was intended for today, Easter Monday in the airport, with twice the bomb material and crowds filling the halls. It´s a long explanation dealing with arrests, timing, torture, and logistics, but if one of those things hadn´t gone how it did last week, the missionaries would not be alive right now. I´m pretty sure of it. And so are the police forces.
The whole country feels the prayers from around the world. We feel them and give them through to those directly affected. It hits home being here and loving the guts out of these people.
Too many tremendous and terrible things have happened in the past week for me to be able to forget them. So I will tell you more when I´m home, if you would want. My second week in the MTC is when ISIS came about as an international threat. As of Tuesday, I was 30 minutes away from their actions. Every missionary in this mission travels through the metro halte Maelbeek to get to legal offices to verify our visas. We have all been there. Yet we are all still safe and doing better.
We may see Elder Empey this week. Elder Wells has limited visitors right now. Our investigators and less active members have been scattered but once again, our message of the restored Gospel has brought peace to their situations. You still wondering if this is truly the work of the Lord?
He is evident in every heart we touch.
Paying back the love from Belgium,
Elder Trevan Scott Reese