The Miracles That Kept This Latter-day Saint Missionary Alive After the Brussels Bombings

by | Mar. 22, 2018

Makes You Think

Shooting at a Fire Station

Before he was taken to the hospital, Wells was transported to the airport fire station less than 50 yards from where the bombs were detonated. 

After arriving, emergency personnel moved Wells into the building and situated him on a cot. Wells looked around the station; there were about 50 or so other wounded bombing survivors in the station. The garage of the station was empty; all the fire trucks were on the road. He settled in and waited for EMTs to see to his injuries before he was transported to a hospital.

He was at the station less than 10 minutes when he heard the first shots. 

Wells watched as a mass of people, including the EMTs seeing to Wells and the other wounded, ran past with their heads down to avoid stray bullets. 

From the shouts, Wells learned a man with a gun was shooting people near the fire station garage. 

Some of the wounded tried to escape, but with a ruptured Achilles tendon and a partially shattered heel, Wells knew he wouldn't make it far. 

Instead, he grabbed the blanket the man in the cot next to him had left as he crawled away and tried to cover himself, lying motionless in an attempt to hide from the shooter. 

All the while, Wells prayed. 

Then he heard more gunshots. 

People stopped running. 

Slowly the EMTs made it back into the garage. 

He learned from the medics who began treating his wounds that a man began shooting people nearby, but thankfully had been stopped. 

Eventually, Wells was loaded into an ambulance once again. This time, he was heading to a hospital.

Unusual Missionary Discussion

For 36 hours after arriving at the hospital in Aalst, Belgium, Wells vacillated between consciousness and unconsciousness. 

Surgeons had managed to save his right hand and left foot, but he would have to be transferred to another hospital in Ghent for burn treatment.  

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Mason with his dad at a hospital in Ghent, Belgium

With no TV, phone, or other welcome distractions, Wells's stay in Ghent provided him with ample time to stare at the wall and reflect on the horrific scenes he had just been a part of. 

It "wasn't the best thing" Wells admits, to have so much time to think about such a traumatic experience. And when he thought about what those men, those terrorists had taken from him —his mission, his flesh, his bone, his blood, and a portion of his mental health—Wells admits that, at times, he felt angry at these men for what they had done to him, to Empey, to Clain, to Norby, and to so many others. 

But those moments were fleeting. He had already made the decision to forgive those men while he sat in a puddle of his own blood outside the Brussels airport. He had prayed for those men even when he felt the pain of what they had done to him. And from that moment, from that day on, he decided to put aside the feelings of hate and move forward with his life. 

"When it comes to our lives, if we're going to let something affect [us] for the worst, if we are going to chose to let something dwell in our minds and in our hearts, if we are going to choose to let anger and frustration and emotion sit in our hearts that shouldn't be there, that's not good. That's on us," Wells says. 

Five days after the bombing, Wells's doctor began prepping him for a surgery to rid his right hand of burned skin and tissue. 

Unfortunately, this involved sticking a catheter in his right armpit to help numb his hand. With the help of a very large needle, the nurses at the hospital inserted the tube in Wells's armpit.

It was extremely painful.

And it didn't work.

After several more painful pokes with the needle in an attempt to get the tube in the right place, his doctor presented him with two choices: go ahead with the surgery without local anesthetic or risk permanently damaging his hand by waiting. 

Remembering the promise that he would be a "normal boy" from Elder Empey, Wells agreed to the surgery without local anesthetic. 

Less than a minute into the excruciating 30-minute procedure, doctors could tell Wells was almost in too much pain to continue. One doctor, who was only observing the surgery, sat next to Wells and offered to hold his left hand. Wells agreed, and the doctor began asking him questions to take Wells's mind off the pain. 

Between Wells's screams, the doctor learned Wells was a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and a brief missionary discussion ensued.

"If you take away that fact that I was in complete pain and my flesh was being scraped off my hand, it was a great discussion," Wells says. "We made a lot of progress. There were a lot of questions asked. I had some responses. I was able to teach him about the entire plan of salvation. It was fantastic. I do remember thinking, 'Wow, I never thought I would be teaching someone about the plan of salvation in a situation like this,' but I did."

After those painful 30 minutes of scraping flesh, Wells returned to his hospital room. But there were still other moments of pain and agony Wells would have to face. 

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After surviving three separate terrorist attacks, Mason Wells was left with third-degree burns, emotional scars, and a shaken belief in God. How could a merciful Father let evil prevail? Why had Mason been saved? What did God want from him? This miraculous true story will change how you see your own struggles and teach you the true power of forgiveness, perseverance, and faith.

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