35: “Let Every Thing That Hath Breath Praise the Lord” (Psalms 102–103; 110; 116–119; 127–128; 135–139; 146–150)
We’ve talked a lot about trusting in the Lord this year. And in this week’s lesson of Psalms 102–103; 110; 116–119; 127–128; 135–139; 146–150, that trust is an important theme. To help us dive deeper into this topic, we invited Chad and Kymberly Wells to talk with us. The Wells' are the parents of Mason Wells, who was severely injured as a missionary in the 2016 Brussels attacks. Their perspective on those harrowing events is anchored in trusting the Lord even through days of great distress and heartache. Their story, along with these chapters in Psalms, will teach us what trust in the Lord can do in our darkest moments.
Psalm 102:1–2 (Pleading for God to hear prayers)
Psalm 1116:17–18 (Prayer of thanksgiving)
Psalm 102:17 (God regards the prayer of the destitute)
Psalm 118:5 (The Lord answers us in our distress)
Psalm 103:13 (Heavenly Father loves His children)
Pity = Love or compassion
Fever = Reverence
“As part of our Heavenly Father’s plan, He allowed sorrow to be woven into our mortal experience. While it seems that painful trials fall unevenly on us, we can be assured that to one degree or another, we all suffer and struggle.
“Everyone listening today is acquainted with some measure of loneliness, despair, grief, pain, or sorrow.
“Many of us have pleaded with God to remove the cause of our suffering, and when the relief we seek has not come, we have been tempted to think He is not listening. I testify that, even in those moments, He hears our prayers, has a reason for allowing our afflictions to continue, and will help us bear them” (Elder Evan A Schmutz, “God Shall Wipe Away All Tears,” Ensign, Nov. 2016, 116-18).
Psalm 118:6 (The Lord is on our side)
Psalm 118:8–9 (It is better to trust the Lord than man)
Psalm 118:14 (The Lord is our strength)
Psalm 119:105 (The word of God is a light to us)
CR: John 1:1 (The word is Jesus Christ)
Psalms 136:1–26 (God’s mercy endures forever)
CR: Exodus 34:6 (Hesed is translated as abounding in goodness)
Other words for hesed in different translations of the Bible:
NIV = Abounding in love
ESV = Abounding in steadfast love
NLV = Unfailing love
Psalm 103:8 (The Lord is merciful)
Hesed = Mercy
“While it is an act predominantly done by God, his expectation is that those who experience his hesed should do so as well. This in turn suggests that hesed is ultimately revealed to teach us how to act like a God. In other words, as we perform hesed we find ourselves doing the same things God does, of course not necessarily to the same degree or magnitude.
“Thus we too engage in the work of deliverance. Whether those works are big or small, each one instructs us on our obligations as Gods-in-training to our fellow men and God. We may begin these obligations in covenantal relationships, but these relationships allow us to learn how to “delight” in performing hesed. If salvation is becoming like God, then the doctrine of hesed, as presented in the Old Testament, revealing his divine nature and illuminating ours, may be one of the most important principles we can learn. (Dan Belnap, “‘How Excellent is Thy Lovingkindness’: The Gospel Principle of Hesed,” in The Gospel of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament, The 38th Annual BYU Sidney B. Sperry Symposium (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2009)).
We have covered Trusting in the LORD quite a bit this year. So when this topic came up again, immediately the names of my guests popped into my head. My guests today have a deeply personal experience with trusting in the Lord. And our study of Psalms, chapters 102-150 will have us believing that we really can trust in the Lord and that He can comfort us in our suffering. Welcome to the Sunday on Monday study group, a Deseret Bookshelf Plus original brought to you by LDS Living, where we take the Come, Follow Me lesson for the week and we really dig into the scriptures together. I'm your host, Tammy Uzelac Hall. Now if you're new to our study group, I just want to make sure you know how to use this podcast, so follow the link in our description that will explain how you can best use this podcast to enhance our Come, Follow Me study, just like our friend Mary Beth Garrett. Hey, sis.
Here we are! Wanna say hi, Kim?
Hi, M. V.
M. V. Oh, we're so excited. Oh, there's, all right. Those are our guests. So this is my favorite part about the podcast is each week I get to invite two friends to join me. And these two people. Oh my gosh, we became fast friends. We served together in a youth conference committee and I got to meet Chad and Kim Wells. Hi, guys.
Here we are. Okay, my favorite part of our story is that we had a whole evening where the kids were having testimony meeting and there sat Chad. And he just told us story after story after story. And it is so good, that I was like, I have to have them on the podcast.
I'm still going, I'm still going through my own therapy; by telling the story helps me get through the process, I guess.
I do think that's part of the process, right?
Just talkin’ about it. Everyone's like on pins and needles. What are they going to talk about today? How you feeling about it, Kim?
I don't know if you remember when we first met. So I think I need to share it. So you came and did a Gospel Doctrine lesson for our Ward Conference because you're in our stake. And after that lesson, I was so blown away with all that I learned, I went up to you afterward. I introduced myself and I just said, Where can I listen to your podcasts? Where can I learn more? And I was emotional, a little embarrassing, and you were so sweet. And literally the next morning, I went to Deseret Book, I bought the workbook. And since then I have been such a fan. So I am really humbled to even be on this podcast because I'm such a big fan of the podcast.
You're so nice. I do remember you coming up to me. I didn't know you were married to Chad though, because then Chad stayed after for a while and we talked about a ton of stuff. And then he brought his book over to my house, which is about what you're gonna talk about today. And so then when we made that connection up at Youth Conference, oh, this makes me so happy. I love it. How did you two meet though? Just, I'm just curious.
A blind date through the bishop's wife at my old ward back my, in California years ago. So we met, didn't know each other, kind of a blind situation. And we went out on a date after that and took off from there and 29 years later and five kids later, here we are. Blind dates do work.
I'm a blind date story. They totally work. Absolutely.
I was his little service project. And little did he know he was going to save his wife.
But we don't have time for that today. We'll have to do that another time.
I'm like, Yeah, you look like a service project, Kim. Give me a break. Everybody, just go check out their bios so you can see her. She's like, yeah, she's a service project. You're beautiful. Oh, that's funny. Yeah. Now I'm gonna have to hear that story later, we'll go to dinner. That's awesome.
That'd be fun.
Okay, well, if you want to know more about my guests, you can read their bios, which are in our show notes. And you can find those at LDSliving.com/sundayonmonday. So there is no one, there is no one. I honestly believe that there is nobody else better to discuss this topic than you two. And I am just so grateful that you agreed to be on our podcast today. And so we are just going to dive into our story. So everyone, grab your scriptures, grab your scripture journals and something to write with, and we are going to dig into what it really means to trust unto the Lord. Here we go. I'm just gonna let Kim start the story out. And we're gonna just find out why we're all here together.
Okay, so it was 2016. We had only about four months left of Mason being on his mission, our oldest son was on his mission serving - he was in the Paris France mission. And he had just been assigned to serve in Brussels, and he was super excited. He was really excited to be in Brussels, and he was really excited about his companion. And he'd been there about a month and things were going great. And you know, we were on the countdown to go pick him up. We had our tickets, and we're like, this is so awesome. And so anyway, great experience, you know, to watch his growth during that time. And one morning, early morning, yeah,
So March 22, 2016, our lives changed. I had to jump in and put that in there. Life was cruising, the mission was cruising. And then that Tuesday morning, Tammy, I can remember this, 5:03 a.m., our home phone rings and we're in bed, obviously here in Utah and we just kind of rolled over and said, "Who would be calling my phone at this time? If it's important they'll call my cell phone which is next to the bed. Twenty, thirty seconds later, there's my cell phone ringing and it's my father-in-law, Kim's dad, Steve. And I figured, oh, shoot. Grandpa, her grandpa was ailing with his sickness. And I figured oh, maybe grandpa had passed. And so I answered, and Steve said, "Chad, are you watching the news?" in kind of a frantic voice? And I said, "No, Steve, it's 5:03am." "Oh, yeah, you're in Utah", because they were living on the east coast at the time, in Ohio. So to them, he was up trying to get ready for his day.
And he goes, "Well, there's been a terrorist attack in Brussels. Is Mason okay?" And I said, "I'm not sure, I haven't heard anything." He goes, "Well, you better call the mission home." I said, "Yeah, I'll get on it", as I'm wiping the sleep out of my eyes and trying to wake up the process. And so we stumbled over to my office, we actually turn on the TV. And sure enough there on Fox News and on CNN was this huge terrorist attack both at the airport and the metro, and we're like, Oh, goodness. And I kind of had a feeling like, this isn't good, and so-called church headquarters. No one answered. So. So I called the mission home.
Okay, pause for a second. So you said you had a feeling that it wasn't very good. What about you, Kim? Did you have any feelings at 5:03am?
So there's a lot of interesting things about this experience. But one thing, the reason I didn't run that morning is because I had been up all night. I just kept waking up. It was so bizarre, like, why am I awake? I'd fall back to sleep and wake up again.
Well, to add to that, I think that's mother's intuition, Tammy, because her not being able to sleep. And you gotta remember, the bombing - they're eight hours ahead in Brussels, this time of year. So the bombing actually occurred at midnight, Utah time, so 11:58pm. So in that five hours, it was you kept waking up every hour, Mason was going through this traumatic event, hour by hour horrible experience, where he was three hours stranded at the airport, waiting for first responders to get him to a hospital.
Oh my gosh
in the triage process.
Okay, I can't even imagine what that experience was like, like knowing that your son was in danger, but not knowing where he was or how badly he was hurt. You guys, that must have been terrifying! And then having to wait? That had been so difficult. Okay, but here's what I want us to do. I just want us to pause in this moment. Because in the next segment, we're going to talk about how you got through this moment of complete uncertainty. And what happened next to Mason.
Segment 2 7:27
Let's jump into Psalms Chapter 102. And we're going to mark verses 1 and 2, because I feel like this verse is so applicable to your experience. Kim, will you please read verses 1 and 2 for us?
102:1 "Hear my prayer, O Lord, and let my cry come unto thee
2 "Hide not thy face from me in the day when I am in trouble; incline thine ear unto me: in the day when I call answer me speedily."
How does that apply to you? Or did it apply to you at this time?
Well, you know, by the time we got a hold of the mission office and the secretary answered the phone, and she, you know, Chad said who he was introduced himself, that our son was serving in Brussels, just wanted to get an update. And she said, "Oh, President was just about to call you." That's when I knew that he was involved. And I remember falling on the ground in my husband's office, just falling on the ground like, this, this is for real this time. Like, hear my prayer. my prayer.
I love this verse where it says, "when I am in trouble; incline thine ear unto me." Like you guys were in a serious, this moment of trouble. And it doesn't have to be like a kid like, you're in trouble. It's TROUBLE. Whatever your stress is, whatever your spirit. Chad, tell us your experience when you made the phone call.
So we hadn't heard anything. And I called and my phone, I remember my cell phone, I couldn't go through and so I went old school and just hit zero. They actually have operators still and she patched us through to the mission home. And I'll never forget. Sister Salido answered, was a senior missionary serving in the mission home, blah-blah-blah. And I said this is Brother Chad Wells and his wife Kimberly in Sandy, Utah. Our son is Elder Mason Wells serving in the, in the Brussels area. I saw there's been a terrorist attack. is my son okay? And she said, this is the first word out of her mouth was, "Oh, Brother Wells. We were just getting ready to call you." And I said, "Oh, okay, so Is my son, okay?" and she said, "The mission president would like to speak with you." And I tried to get, well is he okay, was he hurt? And she said, "He wants to speak to you. Please hold." And she clicked us on hold for about 30 seconds.
Oh my gosh, my heart. My heart is racing for you.
And then he came on and said, " Brother Wells, this is President Babin and your son and his companion were at the airport,- pause - "There was a bombing - pause - The missionaries, all four were injured and hurt and, but they're all alive." And I said, "Well, how do you know this?" And he said, "Well, Elder Empey, Mason's comp used their cell phone they had on them before cell phone lines went down, called right away and said, "Hey, we're alive, but we're injured. I can see down the walkway, Elder Norby’s there, he's injured, and Sister Clan. I'm with Elder Wells and we're hurt. And he's got a leg injury that's pretty bad. But he's giving somebody a blessing." Well, actually, he was getting a blessing from his comp. But we knew, Okay, if he's conscious, and he's able to think and give someone a blessing, then he's gonna live. And so that brought immediate peace and relief to some extent.
But that's all we knew for about an hour and a half until the next phone call from the mission president. It was funny, the church called a few minutes later, after I got off the phone with the President and said, "Brother Wells, do you understand there's been a bombing in Brussels?" And I said, "Yes." And he says, "So what do you know about your son?" I said, " know hardly anything. What do you know? I said, he's your missionary. Like, do you guys have any intel?" And they said, "No, we're just trying to figure this out, and piece it together." So it was a lot of communication back and forth that day, and a lot of sharing of information. I was on the phone with the church, or the mission president probably 10 or 15 times that day, you know, piecing things together.
And while Chad's piecing things together, Kim, you're trying to - I can only imagine - you're trying to hold things together for your other children, and family members and everyone calling. Is that right?
That was really tricky. Because I did wake up my other children and tell them what had happened. And that was really hard.
Tell me why.
So I think it was hard for them to understand why that happened when their brother's serving a mission, right? We kind of think, oh, missionaries are always safe, and they're out serving the Lord. And, well, life is life. And we just have trials. And sometimes those trials can be on our missions, right? But trying to explain, I mean, I have a three-year-old, and then all the way to a 16-year-old. And so I'm waking them up, telling them what's happening at the same exact time we're already dealing with the media. We were really blessed though; our poor stake president was on vacation in Hawaii. And he started getting calls immediately, right? And the church kind of gave us a heads-up very early that morning and said, "Listen, we're gonna have to release their names, you know, and just be prepared. The media, you know, will be involved very quickly" and boy, we couldn't believe it.
But the very, well, there were so many tender mercies. But one of the one of the first thing that happened was a counselor in the stake presidency, who was also in our ward, and our Bishop came to our home and gave us blessings very early in the morning. And I can't imagine doing that day now, if we did not have those, because you cannot imagine the chaos that day. They couldn't find the missionaries, they were all separated, different hospitals. No one was allowed to go in and see them because of the security risks. It was absolutely crazy for hours, and we have the media by 8am at our home. So we're balancing our young children, the media, trying to find our son in a hospital, and extended family that didn't live by us. You know, I had no family in Utah at the time. I have seven siblings, you know, they're calling. My parents, everyone wants to try and help - what do we do? - but it's chaotic. It's chaotic.
So when you're in that situation, Tammy, just like, just like Psalms 102 and through Psalms 150, you have to rely on the Lord and trust the Lord because you have nowhere else to turn. I mean, we were in a situation, extremely difficult circumstances, you feel like you're pushed to the limit. And when your child is in a foreign country and injured and there's no one to attend to him, and you can't get out, you don't even know where he's at? All you can do is turn to the Lord and trust the Lord and trust that He'll provide.
So talk to me about that because now as a parent, and anyone listening is like, I'd be on the next plane out, like I'm already packed and ready to go to the airport. What was it like to finally get to him and get word about him and you're trusting in the Lord. But how are you getting information? Tell us about that part of your story.
Unknown Speaker 13:50
So we, what was interesting is the next phone call from the mission president about an hour and a half later was, "Well, I got a message from your son - who he had called his former companionship, that's the only number he could remember - and told that companion to call me, the president, and relay the information that Mason was at the hospital, going into surgery and he thought he would keep his left leg but he wasn't sure if he would keep it or lose it from the damage. So now all we knew is he was going to lose his leg. Now what happened at the airport, you know, it's a scene of pure chaos. There's over 200 and some people injured. There were two suitcase suicide bombers that that detonated those bombs. There's roughly 20 People that are dead and so plus all those injuries. So first responders are just triaging people. They're grabbing them and trying to move them to here, to there, and they have these Frisbees, different colors: black, red, yellow, and green. And because Mason's was urgent but not life threatening at that point, he was a yellow. So it was three hours before they got him in an ambulance and to the hospital, believe it or not.
So what happened though is the first responders were just grabbing people and triaging them and, which is normal, most situations. All missionaries got split up, they went to different medical centers, and the church, they literally lost track of the missionaries for five hours - did not know where they're at or where they were taken to. They just know that first responders had grabbed them, threw in an ambulance, and off they went. So what do you do? A foreign country, the borders closed, there's no communication, you lose four missionaries. The church is the family. And what they did is they went to the stake president in Brussels, and he called his bishops and members and the members went door to door, the bishops, to each hospital and tracked down all four missionaries. Took about five hours, but they found them.
Wow. I want to know during that five-hour period, from you, Chad, because I know you and you're a businessman and you probably went into business mode. Is that right, Kim? Like, let's just get the job done. Let's find our son. That's just how you operate. Was there ever a moment where you just were the dad and you just stopped for a minute and said a quiet prayer or anything like that, that you could share?
Yeah, there were a few times I went in my bedroom and just shut the door and kneeled down and prayed multiple times, and always had a prayer in my heart. What was amazing is tender mercies or miracles you want to call it, during this time period that the missionaries were missing. My phone, our cell phones had just been going crazy or text messages and emails. I had like 700 text messages, hundreds of emails from people, just concerned friends. We gave our cell phones to a friend of Kim's that does media. And she looked through and found this really unique email, says "Chad, I think you might want to look at this." It was from a Doctor Flouber in Brussels. And that was a miracle email that came through all because of my son.
What was in the email.?
Unknown Speaker 16:49
So it was an email from the anesthesiologist, and as he was wheeling Mason up to his first surgery on his ankle - because he had this hole on his ankle that shredded his Achilles and broke his foot in six places from the shrapnel. Mason said, “Do you speak English?” He said yes. He said, "Okay, here's my dad's email; please email my parents and let them know what's going on. They're going to be worried to death." I mean, that's the kind of Eagle Scout kid he was, just very smart thinking. And so here was this email from Dr. Flouber. And he said, two paragraphs, every, detailed everything that was going on with Mason's medical condition. He wasn't going to lose his leg, he is going to survive, and just went through the whole list and then said, "If you'll call me in about an hour, here's my cell phone number, why don't you FaceTime me, and I'll be in Mason's, I'll make sure I'm in Mason's bedroom after surgery, after recovery - because he was coming out of surgery at that point - I'll make sure that you can FaceTime with your son." And so because of Dr. Flouber and Mason asking him to email us, we got to FaceTime him, for the first time.
That's awesome. What was that like for you, Kim?
Oh, it was really, it was a really tender moment, you know, because at this point we had amazing ward members and neighbors showing up with coolers of food, and just people were amazing. But my house was like Grand Central Station. And we found out this call was coming through and we tried to find a private place, but it wasn't really that private. But to hear him and hear his calmness - it changed us. There was like a section that happened before that. And then there was the mood in the house after we saw Mason, because Mason, bless his heart, was saying, "Mom, it's okay, you guys don't need to come over, I'll probably be able to finish my mission. It's not a big deal", which is comical. now, when we showed up and saw how bad it is. Like, we can't even believe that he thought he was going to finish this mission, but he just really wanted to, you know. He was still, that he was calm. And he had had some very sweet, tender experiences, that he was okay. And, and seeing him okay, I'm like, we're all going to be okay. Like very early on it felt like we're going to be okay, he's going to be okay. And so it was, I still have that video on my phone. I'll look at it every now and then. It was, I can't even tell you how wonderful it was.
Wow. So in the next segment, we are going to talk about where you got the confidence to even ask the Lord to help you in this trial. And I want to know if your prayers changed from your first moment that you prayed, and then throughout the rest of this whole experience with Mason.
Segment 3 19:29
Okay, so we're gonna go into Psalms, chapters 102, 103 and 116. And I gave these chapters to Kim and Chad ahead of time and asked them to look for any verse that stands out to them, that makes them feel confident in their ability to ask the Lord for help. And I want to know what you guys thought about this.
Psalms is all about affliction to me. It's a suffering of mortality, and it's difficult, and it's real life. I love Psalms because it just expresses how people really feel deep down inside as to the, to the journey of mortality.
And you feel for the guy writing it, whether it be David or anybody else, because you just, your heart breaks for some of their wording. They're just so sad.
They're afflicted; they're going through challenges.
Okay, so as I was reading through this, there were a few scriptures that really stuck out to me, but one of them is in Psalms 116: 17 & 18. It says, "I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and I will call upon the name of the Lord. 18 I will pay my vows unto the Lord now in the presence of all his people,"
It was really interesting, the first night when I was going to bed it's where the day had started really early. And it's now nighttime, I know I need to go to bed. But we don't even know when we're gonna get to Mason yet, there was just a lot of logistics: who's gonna be with my four children? Do we both go, do one of us go? And so I didn't go to bed knowing that when I was exactly getting to him, and I knew he'd already had a couple surgeries, and there would be more required. And so obviously, we're like, we just need to get there. One of us, both of us, we just need to get there. It was so, I'll share, we'll never forget getting ready to get into bed. And for some reason, I recalled, I had read an article, where Elder Bednar and his wife had been hosting a General Authority. And Sister Bednar was asked to give the prayer when they were with them. And she was told to only give a prayer of thanks. And for a second she was like, Oh, there's some people need to pray for and she kind of, you know, "Oh, just thanks? Okay."
I don't know why that came into my head that night, Tammy, it was so intriguing. And I remember thinking, Right now, give a prayer of thanks. Everything you saw today, that was a tender mercy - everyone that helped Mason on the streets of Brussels, in the hospital. And I remember kneeling down, and I was pretty wound up, didn't think I could sleep. And I don't know how long that prayer was. But I thought of everything that went right that day, every blessing, every tender mercy. It was like, I mean, it felt like I was down there forever. And I didn't ask for thing. I mean, I've been praying for him all day, right? But I just felt really strongly: give the Lord gratitude, thanksgiving for every little tender mercy today, just recall every single tiny one. I remember I finished my prayer. And I got up and it was almost like something was lifted off of me. And I lay down, and I slept for like six or seven hours it was, and to this day when I'm going through a hard trial, and there's been some hard trials in our family, I give prayers of gratitude.
When I'm really feeling overwhelmed, It's like I'm turning it all over to the Lord. I'm just going to recognize all You've done for me, right now. I'm not going to ask for one thing. And it does something for me. It strengthens me and it reminds me that the Lord is aware. When we turn to Him, He is so aware and He will bless us with peace.
Just putting your name right by that Scripture, and today's date. I don't ever want to forget the feeling that I'm feeling right now. The principle you just taught us is true. That weight that you felt lifted - that's amazing, through a simple prayer of thanksgiving and asking for nothing. Thank you for teaching us the truth of that, Kim. That was incredible. Gosh, and I didn't even have those verses marked in Psalms 116. That was so cool. Thank you for pointing those out. So good. Wow! What about you Chad, what stood out to you?
I want to add what stood out to me was Psalm 102:17, which says "He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer." And to me I was spiritually destitute at that moment. I think we both were and we could feel the Lord hearing our prayers, so to speak, because it was interesting. We had so many people say, Oh, we prayed for you, we prayed for you, prayed for you during this experience. We could feel a shift as the day went on, of strength, of calmness of peace. And like Kim said, just pure gratitude. I, we didn't have a feeling of anger towards that terrorist that tried to kill our son. We had a feeling of gratitude that the Lord had preserved our son. And like in Psalms 121:7, it talks about the Lord will preserve us, and He will hear us and He will help us in our struggles in our times of trial.
And I think that's what, that's the essence of Psalms is, telling everyone this mortality is challenging. It's a life of affliction, so to speak, and affliction hurts, and it's painful. And it's painful because it causes growth, just like lifting weights in a gym. It hurts when you're lifting, but there's growth because of the pain. Affliction equals growth to me, and that's what I've learned through this, is none of us are going to avoid it in this life. But in our times of crisis, we can call upon the name of the Lord and He will hear us and He will come and help us according to what we're in need of at that time. And that's what I learned more than anything.
Chad, you just did an amazing job of setting up this quote that I have. You didn't even know I have this quote, I put it in later. Chad, will you please read this for us? It is by Elder Evan A Schmutz. I already love him because of his last name. That's, that's the greatest name, Elder Evan A Schmutz gave a talk called "God Shall Wipe Away All Tears", and it was in the October 2016 conference. Isn't that interesting, the same year of your experience. And this is what he had to say about trials and life. So Chad, will you read this, please.
"As part of our Heavenly Father's plan, He allowed sorrow to be woven into our mortal experience. While it seems that painful trials fall unevenly on us, we can be assured that to one degree or another, we all suffer and struggle. Everyone listening today is acquainted with some measure of loneliness, despair, grief, pain, or sorrow. Many of us have pleaded with God to remove the cause of our suffering, and when the relief we seek has not come, we have been tempted to think He is not listening. I testify that, even in those moments, He hears our prayers, has a reason for allowing our afflictions to continue, and will help us bear them."
Boy, there's power in those words, huh?
That's profound, a profound statement.
It just goes with what you said, Chad with yours, that the Lord, He regards the prayer of the destitute. Because how many of us haven't felt, we all have felt destitute in our life. Just this. Augh. Jump in with any thoughts you have., if there's anything you're thinking from that quote.
Well, I think verse one, Psalm 118:5, I called upon the Lord in distress, And the Lord answered me. And that was our, I felt like that was our experience. Kim, you could probably say the same is, we were distressed. we were afflicted, we were challenged. And we had nowhere to turn but to the Lord. And we felt this peace and this strength that I can't even explain. The only place it could come from was from God.
Yeah, I agree. And the more we would talk to Mason and hear about some of the sweet experiences he had, and there was no doubt in his mind that the Lord was very mindful of him. And it really calmed us. I mean, yes, we were worried, we knew he had very serious energy, or injuries. And if you know our son, you know, he's always wanted a career in the military. He's always wanted to go to the US Naval Academy. And so in the back of our mind we're thinking, this could change the whole trajectory of his life. But that's okay, if that's that, if this is what is supposed to happen.
And the more we would talk to Mason and hear his experiences, promptings that he got immediately after the bombing, we, there was no doubt in our mind that the Lord was mindful of him, had prepared him for this, and had prepared our family and that we were going to be okay. It was going to be hard, and we were gonna have to make some hard medical decisions and, and figure out logistics, but he was going to be okay. And he didn't harbor any resentment or anger. And that, again, I think if he would have struggled maybe with some of that, maybe it wouldn't have been as calm for us. But it's almost like we were kind of following his, his attitude, his outlook on it. Because he was like, "I'm gonna get through this, I'm going to be okay, you know, it's not that bad. I, you know, Mom, I had so many miracles happen, and this happened, and this lady, and, and I can't believe this." And I remembered this so we could see that the Lord I mean, literally, with every minute,
I mean, isn't it ironic that here's some Muslim terrorist bombers tried to blow up people at the airport, missionaries included. And the one person that comforted my son on the sidewalk was a Muslim gal named Isabel, a young - in her early 20s. And she knelt down with him and held his hand for half an hour and talked to him while he was waiting for first responders so he wouldn't go into shock. Because that human touch, he knew if she holds my hand and talks to me, it'll keep me from going into shock. And he said he sat there on the sidewalk, bleeding with his companion, and he taught the first discussion to this lady, this girl named Isabel who he was never able to reconnect with her or get any other information. He said he would always love to connect with her someday, but just little tender mercies like that occurred, one after another after another. And it was amazing how the Lord opened doors, even in times of tragedy or disaster. Things happen if you stop, stand back and look; there were miracles all over the place.
Well, and you know, he also even physically he had a man who tried to tie a tourniquet on his - because he was bleeding very bad, and Mason's like, Mom, I just remembered in my like, scouting like if he put that tourniquet on my leg, I was gonna lose my leg and the man I was getting a little frustrated and tried three times. And Mase said, No, I am not getting that tourniquet. He just knew, he felt very strongly. And it's little experiences like that, that he could see the Lord blessing him. And so it kind of kept him going through the pain and the process of what medically he was starting to endure.
Wow! I mean, how much do I love everything you shared, this is so cool, because all I'm going to do is end it with an Amen. And the verse I chose - this is so crazy - it's in 103:13. And it says, "Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him." Let's mark a couple of words in this verse. First of all, the word PITIETH, in Hebrew, it is not pitieth, it is 'love' or 'compassion'. So like as a father loves, or has compassion for his children, so the Lord loves and has compassion for them that fear Him. And the word FEAR there actually means 'respect' or 'reverence.' Those that believe in Him and have reverence for Him, not a scary fear. And I think this is beautiful in light of this father-child relationship.
I love any scripture that makes Heavenly Father like a father. And it just reminds us how of His goodness and His love for us with little things. Just quick little, and you said this word several times, little tender mercies, little answers to prayers. And so it's been awesome. And I asked you last, at the very end of the last segment, I want to know, did your prayers change? Like you clearly have the confidence to ask God for help. Did they change from the first prayer you said, up until the end?
Yeah, I would say so. I remember being on the flight. Within about 20, about 30 hours from the bombing, the church had us on a flight to Europe, to Paris and then driven up to Brussels. And I remember sitting on the plane and thinking, and my prayers went from, "please save my son, please get my son to, Okay, Lord, how do we get through this? What are we supposed to learn from this? What is the purpose of this experience?" I remember, and just having gratitude, like, "I'm thankful You spared my son's life, we can get through this as a family. And what, what is the purpose of this? What am I supposed to learn as a dad? And I remember praying like, Okay, how do I lead my family and my son? How, please direct me on how to what to say to them in the, in each moment how to manage the crisis or the situation?" Because I went very much in the survival mode, you know.
Well, and I'm sure your very first prayer that you probably uttered was, let my son be alive. Would that be fair to say?
And then Kim, your prayers changed with, yes, praying for your son's well-being, to that beautiful experience with just a prayer of thanksgiving. That's a major evolution of prayer, so, awesome. Thank you. Thank you, both of you. Okay, so here's what I want to do in the next segment, then because Kim, you mentioned this, and I want to come back to it. You said that the Lord had prepared you and your family for this experience. And so in the next segment, I want you to tell us more about that.
Segment 4 33:00
K, so let's turn to Psalms 118. That's where we're going to start. And I just want us to read verse 6. And I'll read it, I love it. It says,
118:6 "The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?"
Okay, the Lord is on my side. I want you to talk to me. Kim, tell me about how the Lord prepared you and your family for this experience, because that might seem crazy to some people.
Right? So prior to this, to this happening in March, for about a year, I'd had one of my children struggling in the Gospel. And you know, when you have a child is struggling, you do anything to seek guidance, and peace, and strength. And so I've always loved the temple, you know, I just feel such a peace and a strength being at the temple. But this was a time in my life prior to this bombing happening, I was in the temple a lot, because I was so worried about this other child. And it was a priority, it was pretty much a weekly priority. And I truly think that because that was what I was focusing on at that time, that when this all happened, there was a peace and a strength that I felt because I had been spending more time than I usually do, unfortunately. You know life gets busy, and you just don't.
Sure, yeah, 5 kids.
But I was really seeking the Lord's help with this child. But it was interesting because over time it had gone from praying for this child, to: remember those spiritual experiences and strengthen his testimony, to, how do I continue to show love unconditionally? I would stop asking for my son to receive a testimony or remember, and I changed to how do I as his mother love unconditionally? How do I get rid of the contention, right? I took it away from being on him, to what do I need to change in my life? What do I need to do? And I think because I was kind of trying to do a little bit of that self-evaluation and get rid of contention in my home, I really think it helped prepare me for all the unknowns that were about to happen. Because when, you know, when I see people ever since, and I still, you know, run into people, "Oh, my gosh, that was so, did you just die, was that great?"
Yeah, it was a stressful time, but I wasn't falling apart. I don't know how explain to you like, I feel like I just deep down had this peace and strength that he was going to be okay. That the things that mattered, were going to be okay No, maybe he wouldn't be able to be in the military. Maybe he wouldn't get into a service academy. He ended up, those things did happen, but I didn't know. But it's like the things that really mattered. I had peace with and I truly think that's because the Lord was helping to prepare me, you know, helping me to prioritize my life a little better.
That's a beautiful example. And incredible that you would have that thought to go to the temple. I love how the Lord prepares us that way. And when you said, "I hadn't been to the temple in a while", I can remember. Yeah. I don't think I went to the temple, really, for 10 years when I was in the thick of little kids and babies. And when was I going to find time, maybe once a year. And I had a similar experience where the Spirit was like, "You need to go". And Ellery, who we've had on the podcast before, she was serving a mission. And she wrote an email and told us, Holly and all my friends, "You should be going to the temple once a week." And I was like, Well, who do you think you are? You're a missionary. That's all you got time to do. You don’t know what it's like being a mom with kids. And then I did a self-evaluation and the Spirit was like, 'get your butt to the temple. You've got time now.' My youngest was finally in first grade and I went on a weekly basis, and it changed my life. And it it's what I needed at that time, and it prepared me for what was coming.
And so God is so good that way. He really does, He loves us so much. And He gives us little promptings and little thoughts. And I, I love that because then with your son, your son's still your son, like you didn't see the miracle that you were expecting, but it was a different miracle that came from you. Right?
Right. Yeah, I felt like the Lord. And you know, when this all happened, that that son was a little like, 'Oh my gosh! What, why is this happening? How, this isn't right, you know?' But even he to this day, I mean, like, he was okay with, you know, he was okay. He knew we were all gonna be okay, he knew his brother was going to be okay. And yeah, the Lord, the Lord brought great blessings to our, to our home.
That's incredible. Chad, did you have an experience where you felt the Lord prepared you?
Yeoh, you know, I'm, I'm a normal dad. I'm a church-going guy. I don't feel like I'm super spiritual or anything. But, you know, I get these promptings now and then and the day that he went in the MTC, he had left us a letter with his testimony on our bed the day we dropped him off at the MTC in Provo. We got back home and I was worse of a train wreck than Kim dropping Mason off. I was pretty close to him, I was a little blubbery. You know, cry baby. Dad, first missionary, didn't know what to expect, but went in and Kim goes, 'Oh, Mason left his testimony, go read it.' So I walked in the bedroom and I picked up his letter and I started reading it. And I get hit really hard with the Spirit like, something is going to happen to your son on his mission. And I had this feeling like he might even pass away on his mission. And I couldn't shake it. And it bothered me so bad. Kim knows I was struggling and she's like, 'I don't know, what, buck up. What's wrong with you? Like, why are you this blubbering idiot?'
You know, and so I called the bishop and I had him come over that night and give me a blessing. I was that emotionally bothered by this feeling, this impression. And then after the blessing, I felt better and it kind of went away. And it was always in the back of my mind for 19 months. So every now and then it would kind of rear up and I thought, Oh, he's a year out, everything's going good. Oh, he's made 18 months, everything's great. Well, 19 1/2 months comes along, this news of the bombing. And I immediately had this feeling that morning, even before we got on the mission home, that something had happened to my son. I didn't know what but I had that feeling and I couldn't shake it. And I think that's how the Lord prepared me so I just wasn't a train wreck, you know, where I could just go in, Okay, what do we got to do to get him back? How do we help him get out of there and get back and get the proper medical care?
Isn't that fascinating how the Lord in each of your individual ways, He couldn't have given Kim the same impression. And, like, I just think it's amazing how you each were prepared and your, God and God reaches Chad in a very pragmatic way. Like, give him, He gives Chad the facts because that's what Chad, he's a facts man. He just gives him the facts and Chad's able to process it and do it. And then when it came around, you're like, Oh, yeah, okay. All right. I knew that I can handle this. I was being prepared. So, that's pretty amazing. And so you have this ability to just put your trust in the Lord and both of you have shared that experience. In Psalms 118:8 & 9, it talks about who to put our trust in. Kim, will you read 8 & 9.
118:8 "It Is better to put trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.
9 "It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes."
So tell me, in your experience, was there any moment or time where you could have put your trust in man versus the church or the Lord?
Well, you know it's interesting. So when we got over to Brussels to Mason, he was getting very, very good care at a large hospital there.
I want to know how bad were Mason's injuries?
He had secondary burns on his face on the right side; the bomb blast came from the right side. He had small little shrapnel wounds all over his body, he had a couple pieces of shrapnel in the side of his right head. Luckily, they did not penetrate a skull, so they were more superficial. His right hand was burned badly where it was third degree where he had to have it grafted off his thigh. And then other big injury was his left ankle. His Achilles was severed in the blast, and his heel, left heel bone was broken. His foot was broken in six places. And he hobbled, managed to hobble out of the airport on a broken foot with no Achilles.
That was a miracle itself. So multiple injuries, seven surgeries plus other follow-up small surgeries ,but seven major surgeries and a year of rehabilitation.
And what were they doing at the airport?
So their job that day was to pick up Sister Clan, she was a French national, she was a missionary. But they were, he and Elder Empey were zone leaders and Elder Norby joined them the Senior Missionary so they wouldn't be alone with this Sister. Their job that day, they picked her up, they take her to the airport, her visa that she had been waiting for had shown up. She actually was coming to serve in the Kirtland, Ohio Mission. So their job that day was to pick her up, take her to the airport, get her checked in at Delta, through the security line, and then go back to work. And while they were standing in the security line, the ISIS suicide bomber came to the front of the line and detonated his bomb.
Wow. Uh, yeah.
We had to make a really hard decision, because they wanted to keep treating Mason, they knew he would need multiple surgeries. And so it was a very well-respected surgeon that was there, world-renowned. And, you know, he, you know, he kept saying, you know, Mase, he needs to stay here, we'll keep treating him. And after praying about it we knew he was supposed to come to Utah. We felt very strongly that the Lord wanted us to bring our son back here, that the University of Utah burn unit could handle his situation and that we need to be with our children. Because we knew this would be weeks, he would, this is not like a few surgeries and you go home. He would be in the hospital for weeks. And we have four children at home. And, but we felt, you know, there was a little bit of pressure like, No, you need to stay here. And even Mason had been kind of convinced, you know, they kept working on him that you need to stay here, da-duh. He's like, "Mom you should just stay here", maybe we, we're already here, and we had to go with that prompting that we felt: go home as a family. Everything is there that you need and you need to be together as a family.
And I think that's one time we had to really had to trust the Lord because you have to understand, we couldn't put him on a regular airplane. We had to go on a very special medical flight with a doctor, a nurse and only one of us could go. And so it was a big deal to transport our son. He had lots of open wounds that were, that could be infected and have problems. But we trusted that the Lord had told us: "Go home to Utah, be with your family, be treated at the University of Utah. That is the right choice." But it would have been easy to say there. I mean, we had Delta Airlines who said we'll bring anyone you need here. You want us to fly your family? We'll fly 'em here; this happened in our terminal, we'll take care of you and no, we knew go home.
The other thing is the church before even going over there, the church was telling us, trust the process. Trust the Lord. Elder Becerra came to our house and prayed with us the night before and said, "Cancel this, just sit back and trust the Lord and let the process work. Because the next day, if you remember, Kim, NBC News offered a private jet and to fly us immediately to Brussels to see our son while the church is working on logistics. And we could have done that. But we would have been at the whims of them and their media and how they told the story and what they wanted to say about these Mormon missionaries. And we didn't. We sat back and said, Okay, as badly as you want to jump on a plane right now, we need to trust the process of the Lord and to go with what the church brethren tell us to do.
That must have been hard, cuz you wanted to get on the plane like we talked about. You were on a plane yesterday. Like how fast can I get there?
It was very hard because we had passports, we were ready to go. And we had to put a lot of faith in trusting the Lord because even our son, his younger brother just kind of said, "Why aren't you there? Go. Why aren't you there?" I'm like, "We, we'll know. We'll know how and when it's supposed to happen, and I'm so grateful that we were guided through that.
Hold on like I'm writing that in my scriptures, "Just trust the process." And who said that to you, Chad?
Elder Becerra told us. He was the area authority at the time and he just said, he came to our house and visited with us and said, "Look. You just need to trust the process, trust the Lord."
And he also said, "You will see miracles." Remember Chad?
Yeah he did. Sit back and you will see miracles happen.
Wow. And all of this. It makes me think of Psalms 118:14. Chad, will you read verse 14, in 118. Everything you both have shared is the summation of this verse.
118:14 "The Lord is my strength and song and is become my salvation."
And there it is, trust the process, you will see miracles. The Lord is your strength and your song. I just think that's incredible. Go ahead, Chad.
And my salvation, at the end. I mean, by trusting in it, it was amazing how things did happen, how the doors opened, how the transition was so smooth going over there with the church and everything worked pretty much like clockwork. It was pretty amazing once we got going, and we put our trust in the Lord. Things happened very well and pretty rapidly, for the, for the most part. Church members stepping it up. I mean, the list of church members was amazing that stepped up to be there with Mason. Lee Kumar played BYU basketball and he was over there in Ghent, playing for a pro team. He went and sat in the hospital a few times with Mason just to keep him company and talk with him. So there's another fellow LDS American, while he was waiting for us to get to Europe.
And Kim, wasn't there a Relief Society President you were telling me about?
Oh, you know, so we get over there. And you know, by now, it's been a few days and I don't realize it, but I haven't eaten a meal. I couldn't eat on the airplane. I was just, I just couldn't. And I remember specifically sitting in his room and I was getting lightheaded. Like, why? I can't even stand up, I'm like, Oh, my goodness, I have not had like food. I've had crackers maybe in 3, by I'm like, what am I thinking? I haven't left, I haven't had food. And it wasn't minutes later that they told us there was someone at the ICU that wanted to see us.
And here comes this amazing Relief Society President with a bag full of food. Like I'm talking nutrient food I needed. Like carrots and other vegetables and cheese and she literally, I think she could see I was exhausted. And I will never forget her sitting down with me and saying, Okay, open up. Because I'd felt prompted, I'm not a good journal keeper, but I felt very prompted day 1 to start writing these things down as they were happening. And she said, "Okay, let's make a list of contacts here. And, and I want you to know where you are. And I'm going to walk you to your hotel room tonight and help you find it." I mean, she just was such a blessing to me because she could sit down with me and say, Okay, what do you need? What, what can I do?
She needs a shout-out - Sister Barbie Curtis. Amazing woman, Barbie was amazing.
That's awesome. Shout-out to Barbie Curtis.
And there were so many people like that. It was Easter Sunday that first weekend. And I of course, we really wanted to go to church and take the Sacrament. And so we said to Mason, are you okay if we're gone for just a couple hours, we really feel like we need to go take the Sacrament on this Easter Sunday. And it was really powerful experience. They gave us headphones because it wasn't in English. But we had someone that was translating, and just feeling the strength of the members there.
Well, Lika, Lika Martin, his wife, their family took us with him to church that day in Ghent. And then we went back to the hospital and had Sacrament. The mission president with his wife when we got there. And we had Sacrament with the Mission President and Mason, which was really a special experience on Easter Sunday in the hospital.
And it just boosted all of our spirits. And we knew we were getting ready to transport him in a couple of days. And it was just a wonderful, wonderful experience to be around/among fellow saints that even though we couldn't even speak the same language and thank them properly, we could feel their love, they could feel ours, and it was just a really tender experience.
It was a shift like Kim said that, you know, we went from this over overly difficult traumatic experience, to being enveloped like a warm blanket by the members in Europe and other American families like Jeff Franks and his family. He worked for the International Monetary Fund and stationed in Brussels and he took me to Mason's apartment to get his belongings and he drove me to Amsterdam to catch my flight home because I couldn't fit on, they didn't have enough space on the medical jet. And these members
How long of a drive was that?
Three and a half hours for him up there, it means it's quite a sacrifice. And so the sacrifice that people like Brother Franks went through and others was just, I can't even repay them and let them know how much it meant to us because it was truly a family experience at that point. It had been a shift in our emotions and in our, our journey.
Oh my gosh, you two. Well the cool thing about everything that you've shared in this segment is when we go back to verse 14, "The Lord is my strength and my song and is become my salvation." I really love how it says He is my song because psalms are songs. And I think it's really powerful. And we sing of Him, it's when we share our stories of trust and strength, and that strengthens each other. And so my challenge to everyone listening, is to sing your song. Find your story of when the Lord has been your strength and your salvation and share those stories. Sing your song, that is what the Lord does for us when He, and I just think, I love that verse 6, that the Lord is on your side and He 100% is. And we have seen that as we have talked to Chad and Kim, but we're not done. So in the next segment, we are going to share more stories. And we're going to talk about how they were able to find their way with the help of the Lord.
Segment 5 51:05
Okay, I'm gonna ask you guys a question to start this segment out: What are some things you use that keep you from getting lost, or help you when you need to find your way? Just some obvious everyday things, what do you use?
I, for me, there's two important things that need to be in every day of my life. And they are personal prayer and finding quiet time. I really felt like, especially after this experience, we all live such busy lives. And I felt a real need to have more quiet time. I'm kind of one of those people that wakes up early morning, goes from thing to thing all day long, you know, busy is good. But sometimes busy can take over opportunities for reflection and getting revelation, and just listening to our thoughts. And so I think for me, I'm really at a place where I'm trying to have my prayers be more thoughtful. No, no timestamp on them, and just looking for quiet time, to kind of renew where I'm at, what I'm doing, who I need to be there for. And I love the temple, I just, there's a strength that I have felt in my life in the temple that I don't feel anywhere else.
Tell me about that a little bit more. How do you feel?
Um, you know when the temples were closed during COVID It was really hard for me. And we were going through a particularly difficult trial in our family and I just had to go to the temple grounds one night and just sit there and be near the temple because the temple, to me, the Lord is very aware of our needs. And when I think when we go to the temple, we renew those covenants. And it's, I mean, I don't know about you, but I feel like there's still so much to learn. I feel like I'm, you know, I love the temple but I still don't know probably half the things I really should know, when after being there. But I do feel like when I go there, and I renew those covenants, and I seek strength. That He gives it to me, He doesn't, doesn't take away my trials. They're not gone. But he reminds me that I can do this. And I can do hard things. I'm constantly telling my kids we can do hard things. I
kind of changed my mantra that we can do really hard things. I say that in my head sometimes when I'm going through hard trials, or I'm running up a really steep hill. I say, I can do really hard things. You just used to be like, oh, yeah, it'll be too hard. And no, I can do really hard things and I have to convince myself sometimes - I can do really hard things with the Lord's help. And going to the temple is one of those ways that I deal with really hard things.
Wow. I appreciate that you just gave your spiritual GPS answers: temple, scripture study, and quiet time. Those are great answers of ways that you keep from getting lost. What about you, Chad?
Um, similar: scripture study, prayer, and reflection. I tend to reflect a lot and look at things. I think I get a little bit quieter, believe it or not, as I get older. I like to spend some times out in the yard watering the lawn thinking or mowing the lawn. Sometimes it's just my quiet space, believe it or not, because I can't hear anything else around me. but this humming motor. And I think it's just reflection and I, the one thing that's come out of this for me is living a life of gratitude, trying to live a life of gratitude and being focused more on gratitude.
And then another goal of mine is, we had a sister missionary in our ward leave. She's been home now a little bit but on her mission, it'll be two years in October, she challenged us to read at least a chapter a day in the Book of Mormon. And so I've read every day, but one day I missed on vacation. I made up the next day, a chapter a day, every single day for almost two years. And that just when I read the book of Mormon, it just seems to make the day go better for whatever reason, it just things seem to flow just a little bit smoother. Or maybe my perception on things is a little bit smoother, but definitely just diving into the stories of the Book of Mormon, and how they overcame their challenges and trials. Just like Psalms, right? The afflictions, you're going to have these afflictions, how do you face them? How do you look past them and keep a longer perspective, an eternal perspective?
When do you find time, when you find time to do that?
All different times of the day.
He's a night owl, and I'm a morning person. That's just the blunt truth. He reads at night, and we all go to bed.
She'll be sitting there and she'll go, "You're on the couch on your phone. What are you doing? Quit looking at social media.” And I'm like, “I'm reading the Book of Mormon every night,” because I have to, I feel like I have to read it. If I don't, I don't feel completed that day, for whatever reason.
Wow. Well, let's go to Psalm 119. We just have to read this because it's what you both shared. And this is so cool, because one of the things you've probably noticed is it's broken up into eight verses in each section. And each section has a letter. It's, or a word. You're like, What is this? It says Aleph, Beth, Gimel, Daleth, He. Now those are all Hebrew letters. It's the Hebrew alphabet in order and it goes Aleph Beth Gimel, He. You turn the page, you've got Vav, Zain, Cheth, Teth. It's so cool. So if you ever want to know the Hebrew alphabet, there it is, all 22 letters. And so we are going to go to the Hebrew letter Nun, or verse 105. And Chad, will you read 105, because it is exactly what you guys both described for when you get lost or when you need to find your way, what your spiritual GPS is.
119:105 "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."
It reminds me of that Amy Grant song; I used to listen to it on my mission all the time.
So it's like a light, it lights your pathway in life, so to speak. It absolutely is a light.
So when you were going through this experience, it must have been pretty dark. Did you ever have moments that were lit, any moments where you felt the way ahead was lit a step or two for you just to take that leap of faith where His word was a lamp, or a light unto your path?
Yeah, absolutely. You know, we had so many wonderful experiences of people serving our family. And you know, it was really sweet. Mason got pictures and cards from Primary kids all over. And when he was staying up in the Burn Unit at the University of Utah, we hung those in his room. Well, he ended up changing rooms, let's see 1,2,3 times. And every time, we would take down every one of those Primary pictures. I mean dozens, and tape 'em up in the next room.
Pictures, stick figures of everything
And yes, it just got him so much joy to know that little kids were thinking and praying about him, you know, and just, you know, just cheering him on, you're gonna get better and you're gonna win.
We had a young woman that made a quilt for him that's the French flag
and showed up to our house somehow
and brought it to our home and dropped it off. Made him a homemade quilt. Yes, we still have the quilt
Oh, we love it. Yes
Just amazing offerings from people.
We would hear from a lot of non-members. I mean, people literally all over the world contacted us. And like Chad said, when we tell people, when I tell someone I'm going to pray for them, Tammy, I mean that I'm going to pray for them. Because I know what it feels like when people have prayed for me, and like Chad said, it literally lifted us. Like I can't even tell you what it what it did for us. And so I am a huge believer in prayer and fasting. And that if people are praying for you, you feel it. You'll feel it. It may not take away the pain, but you will feel that strength and that is our Heavenly Father using His children to bless other children. That is what is so awesome about the gospel and the church, per se, is we bless and strengthen each other through those promptings.
100%. Kim, that was beautiful. Thank you for sharing that. I just, I'm imagining all those cute primary pictures on the wall.
It was hard to ever get rid of them. I gotta be honest, it was so hard because you can't keep everything forever, but oh, it was hard.
Well, I'm thinking of this verse 105. And I'm reminded of a story, Chad that you told me. This is kind of cool because where it says, "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet., you can put a cross reference above the word 'word', John chapter 1 where it says that "the Word was with God," and the word is Christ. And so now instead of Thy Word is a lamp, it would be CHRIST is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path, is the person speaking. Christ is a lamp unto my feet, and your son - missionaries, they represent Jesus Christ. And it's amazing how Mason's experience ended up on a talk show with a Catholic priest, isn't that right? Where his story was a lamp to other, like you said, Kim, other people from other faiths. But this was kind of a cool story that you'd shared with me.
I thought it was interesting that while he was in the hospital in Ghent, over and outside of Brussels, he was still a missionary, he hadn't been set apart, he still had that mantle to teach and preach. And so the media wanted, they wanted some interviews from these American missionaries. They wanted a piece of something and I guess Mason was in the best locale and condition to do that. And so he gave an interview and with, for the AP and CNN and Fox and NBC and CBS. The major networks came in and they did an interview for, of Mason, and he shared the experience and, and basically was just showing gratitude, and being a missionary, and trying to show the light of Christ. Like okay, this is a terrible event, but goodness can still come from this. And God comforted me when I was hurting on the sidewalk.
And so later that day on Fox News, Cardinal Archbishop Dolan of the Catholic Church was, it was neat. He gave Mason props and kind of praised him and said, Hey, it's great to see this young, young kid, this missionary, despite of all this evil and horrible things going on in the world, he's professing his belief in Christ. And he's, he's trying to share his light. And, you know, what can we learn from that? We can learn that we can all be a light for Christ and for good in the world, despite some of the darkness that's out there.
Well, cuz this was Easter Sunday. What a great Easter Sunday message.
Yeah, he said what a great Easter Sunday message. And so, we're grateful to Cardinal Dolan for his kindness and his remarks, but it just showed that, you know, as members of the Church, whether on a mission or not on a mission, we can always be an enlightened example for those around us, like the psalms, say, and turn to the Christ, and then He will be our light of our, and He will light our pathway.
Absolutely. And you can still see that interview, if you just Google Cardinal Dolan and Mason Wells, or missionary. Whatever, that's such a good interview, I highly recommend. Wow, thank you, both of you. Great examples, great stories. So this is what I love about this whole conversation today is that every story you've shared, everything we've talked about, has led us up to the final last point in the book of Psalms, and it is just so perfect for your experience. So we're going to talk about that in the next segment.
Segment 6 1:02:45
There is a powerful principle that is taught to us in Psalms 136:1-26. So just turn there, go to Psalms 136. And it is so interesting, because I met with Chad and Kim before we decided to do the podcast. I wanted to talk to them about their experience and I had them look at 136. I asked them just look at Psalms 136:1-26, and how does each verse end? And what did you guys notice?
Endure, endureth forever,
What endureth forever?
His mercy, that it is not a coincidence. I want everyone to mark that. "His mercy endureth forever", because here's something so cool. We have talked about the word 'mercy', a lot. And we especially did as we've talked about Psalms, but the word mercy and all of these verses is not the mercy we have been discussing. And we need to highlight mercy. And in verses 1-26, the word in Hebrew is HESED. Now we've talked about HESED this year, but in light of the Wells' experience, there is an aspect of this Hebrew word that we have not talked about. And it is so powerful. So in big letters on the top of your page of Psalms 136, put HESED. You can spell it H E S, E, D, it's pronounced with like a guttural kh at the beginning. That's why it's pronounced 'khesed' but just, yeah, very good, Chad. khesed. Okay, so this is kind of cool. Here's some facts about this word. The word in the King James Version of the Bible, it has not less than 15 different terms that define it. It's a very big word. There's a lot that goes into it. It appears 245 times in the Hebrew Bible, and that's a lot of hesed.
Now we're gonna go back to Exodus chapter 34. So turn there. In Exodus chapter 34. I'm gonna remind you what this story was when we studied it. Moses had gone back up to Mount Sinai, he had broken the tablets and he was going back to get a new set of tablets. And when he's up there getting the new set of tablets and the higher priesthood, the Melchizedek priesthood, the Lord gives Moses sort of his new name. He says, I am the Lord. But here's everything that my name means. And so we're going to look in Exodus chapter 34 and I want us to look at verse 6. And I'll read it says,
EXO 34:6 "And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, [The Lord]The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth."
I want you to underline 'abundant in goodness', because in Hebrew that abundant and goodness actually translates, Hesed. So it'd be the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and hesed, and truth. Now this is cool. In different translations in the NIV, which is the New International Version of the Bible, they translated as 'abounding in love'. In the English Standard Version, they translate it as 'abounding in steadfast love'. And then in another version, they translate that as 'unfailing love', which hesed is all three of those, but there's something unique about hesed. And it is this deep-rooted love, and it is reciprocal.
Now, this is so cool, because the word hesed appears many times in the book of Ruth. Hesed is what Ruth showed to Naomi, and hesed is what Boaz showed to Ruth. And there's so many cool things about hesed, and I asked our guests today to tell us a little bit about their experience with hesed, because the Lord will show us this love through our covenants. But being covenant keepers is all about taking care of other people. Right? Would we all agree? That's kind of what this boils down to, right? It's so cool. It's reciprocal that the Lord will show you hesed when you show it to other people. Here's what BYU Professor Daniel L. Belnap has to teach us about the word hesed. I'm gonna have Chad read the first paragraph and then Kim read the second.
Well, "it is an act predominantly done by God; His expectation is that those who experience His hesed, should do as, do so as well. This in turn suggests that hesed, is ultimately revealed to teach us how to act like a God. In other words, as we perform hesed, we find ourselves doing the same thing God does. Of course, not necessarily to the same degree or magnitude.
"Thus we, too engage in the work of deliverance. Whether those works are big or small, each one instructs us on our obligations as gods-in-training to our fellow men and God. We may begin these obligations in covenantal relationships, but these relationships allow us to learn, how to delight in performing hesed. If salvation is becoming like God, then the doctrine of hesed, as presented in the Old Testament revealing His divine nature and illuminating ours, may be one of the most important principles we can learn."
I get chills. So tell me some stories of hesed, Were there moments where people were engaged in the work of deliverance for you, or when they were acting as God would if He were here?
I think of the Franks in Brussels just being there driving me around, being available to serve me, when I was in great need of help. And I think being available to serve others when they're in need is hesed, being able to engage in the work of deliverance, delivering people out of their affliction or out of their trouble or out of their trial.
Yeah. You know, I've told people, I've said this so many times, but it's, it's really true. I've said it will take my whole life, serving people to give back what was given to us during this time. Not just Chad and I, not just Mason, but our other four children, you know. People just reaching out and supporting us. And sometimes that support was giving us privacy. You know, it got really overwhelming with the media sometimes. And I was grateful for people in the media that said, Listen, we're gonna leave you alone. We know that, you know, you guys have given us a lot, and we're just gonna let you be. And there were just so many people that served our family and some members, some not members, it was wonderful to feel love from people all over the world.
And again, when you know you have people praying for you, and you start to feel that it just changes how you look at things, I think it's given us a lot more compassion. When you're in, when you're in traumatic, chaotic situations, you do the best you can. And we learned that. You know, we look back like, why didn't we do this and why didn't we call this person? We were just trying to survive a lot of the time. But we were able to get through it because so many people reached out to us and strengthened us and fasted with us and prayed with us and supported our kids when we were living at a hospital every day. I mean, I was taking a three-year-old to the hospital every day. And we would go and just be with Mason and until she needed a nap, and we would come home and then Chad would go up. And you know, there were some really painful surgeries, that people fasted and prayed.
He was five additional weeks in Utah and the Burn Unit in the hospital. So he didn't even get home to our house for six weeks post-bombing or on his mission. So even though he's in Utah, he wasn't home. So I would like to expand the definition of hesed, which is, it was you know, abounding in love. It's abounding and service. Service is love; service is what we try to do in the kingdom, right? as ministers to our brothers and sisters. And that's performing hesed, and I think there's delight in performing it because you feel good when you serve someone else. And like the old adage, like, I'd also often tell Mase on a mission when he, whenever he had a down time or a tough time, Get out and serve and you'll feel better. Get out serve the people. And people served us through our trials and hesed is taking, it's taking that love or that you know, the abounding in love or steadfastness in love to the next level in service and the ultimate charity for mankind, like our Heavenly Father says.
You're absolutely right. You're absolutely right, Chad. And I appreciate, Kim when you said people fasted with us and prayed with us. Because sometimes you do feel like, what could I do? I'm not close by. Like you didn't have family with you. And sometimes the most beautiful acts of hesed is fasting and praying with people who are struggling. And you know, when the pandemic happened, boy, how awesome was that call to fast by our Prophet for all of us to join together as a world? That is hesed; that is asking the Lord, and we're all joined together for a whole united cause for the world to be healed. I mean, that's just amazing. And so yeah, God is abounding in love. He loves us as only a father could love us. So tell us now, I want to know, what ended up happening to Mason?
So Mason, you know, went through a lot of physical healing. The bombing happened the end of March. By fall, I think, he was on crutches. And as we mentioned earlier, Mason has always wanted to go to the US Naval Academy. And if we go back right before he graduated high school, he found out he didn't get into the Naval Academy and it was very devastating. He had decided at 14 that's where he was going to school and he had done a very strict path in high school to get there. So he decided within about 48 hours, that he was going to start do his mission first. Before he said he'd go to the Academy for a year or two and then go on a mission. So he did a complete change. And so then when the bombing happened, we thought, Well, probably not gonna be going to the academy again. Well, you know, he's in the hospital telling his mom, I'm going to still try and you know, we're kind of out in the hall going, Well, let's let him think he can. But you know, he's still learning to walk again so it's probably not going to happen.
Long story short, that kid started making huge leaps and bounds in his physical recovery. He got sent to the University of Utah, went there for a year to recover, to reapply to all the military academies. And we just were really happy he got accepted. He ended up going to Washington DC in the spring of 2017, doing an internship there. And when he was there, he got notice that he was being accepted to the Naval Academy. He got accepted to the Air Force Academy also but Navy was always his first choice. So he was, I mean, I can't even tell you how exciting that was for our family because the work he did to get there was nothing short of miraculous. I mean,
Miracle after miracle.
We didn't think even the doctor like, his wounds weren't closing, he did not heal quickly, you know. That is a whole ‘nother part of his story, that it was really hard, because for some reason he did not heal quickly and his body really struggled to close up wounds and and heal. And so, in the summer 2017 we were dropping him off for basically boot camp, and we knew it was going to be hard. They take away their phones. They live a very regimented, strict physical summer. And you know, I remember saying to the doctor in the hall when Mason wasn't in earshot, Can he even do this? Like, is this physically possible? His wound isn't even closed. And they said, You know, let him go try. And we just were waiting for the phone call all summer saying, My, I can't stay; my wounds won't close. That kid
They closed up and he stayed.
He'd get mad if I told you how well he did physically, so I won't, because Mason's very, he doesn't like us bragging at all, but I'm just gonna say: people were, got blisters, were injured, and he excelled amazingly and started his career at the Naval Academy. He ended up meeting his wife who was not a member; he ended up baptizing her. We have a wonderful daughter-in-law Cassidy. They got married right after graduation and they're both serving in the Navy and he's in flight school right now. And we're just, we're just so grateful. So grateful.
So from bombing missionary to Naval aviator
Because, of the tender mercies, yeah, Top Gun, because of the tender mercies of the Lord.
Oh my goodness, that is incredible. His story IS Psalms. Both of your stories - Psalms 100%, I love it. This has been so cool. So just take a minute, gather your thoughts, and share a quick takeaway.
My takeaway is the Lord is full of abundant goodness. And He's there for us if we will draw near unto Him, He'll draw near uno us. He's just waiting for us to take that first step. And through this whole experience in this journey with my son in the mission, on his mission, it was all about taking that step and just trusting God. And so my takeaway is, if you're struggling, just trust the Lord. Give Him, turn it over to Him and say, Okay, Lord, I need Your help. I trust You, direct me, what do I do? Help me, help me take baby steps. Sometimes you just gotta take baby steps and then the bigger steps come, and then you can leap, and then you can run. And that's kind of how it was for us, day by day. And they got better as the days went on.
Great takeaway, thank you.
My takeaway, I just I kept going back to Psalm 103:8 that says, "The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and plenteous in mercy." And I think I liked that one so much because I just feel like no matter what we are going through, no matter how far away we may feel, we are from Him, He is plenteous in mercy, He is going to be there and He's going to continue to love and guide you if you will just turn to Him through those afflictions and keep His commandments and stay on the course. He will walk next to you and help you get through. His mercy will not end; we cannot take that away.
Yep, it is everlasting.
But we can seek it and we need to seek it.
Thank you, Kim. Oh, my gosh, those are wonderful takeaways, you two. So good. Mine came from what you both said, I loved "trust the process." Chad, thank you so much for teaching us about that, that was awesome. Just trust the process. And then Kim, when you taught us the truth about the prayer of thanksgiving, that was incredible. Both times I felt the Spirit today when you shared both of those stories. So thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Boy, I love you two.
You're welcome, we love you, too.
You were supposed to be on today's episode, this, no doubt. So
Thanks, you guys. Have a good rest of your evening.
Thank you so much.
See you later, friends.
You're the best. Bye-bye
Well, we would love to hear what your big takeaway was from this episode. So if you haven't already joined our discussion group on Facebook or Instagram, go do it. It is such a fun place where you can read what people are studying throughout the week. People ask questions, you can answer questions. And then at the end of the week, on a Saturday, we post a call asking for your big takeaway. So comment on the post that relates to this lesson today and let us know what you learned. I love reading everything you guys are learning, it's so fun. You can get to both our Facebook and Instagram by going to the show notes for this episode on LDS living.com/sundayonmonday and it's not a bad idea to go there anyway, because that's where we're gonna have the links to all of the references that we used as well as a complete transcript of this whole discussion. So go check it out.
The Sunday on Monday Study Group is a Deseret Bookshelf Plus original brought to you by LDS Living. It's written and hosted by me Tammy Uzelac Hall and today our so fabulous study your participants were Chad and Kimberly Wells. And you can find more information about these friends at LDS living.com/sundayonmonday, and we'll also have a link to their son's book, "Left Standing" by Mason Wells if you want to read more about his story. Our podcast is produced by Katie Lambert and me; it is edited by Hayley Higham and recorded and mixed by Mix at Six Studios. And our executive producer is Erin Hallstrom. Thanks for being here. We'll see you next week.
And please remember that God is your Father, and He loves you because you're His favorite.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai