[Mom Note: We are grateful for the outpouring of love and prayers for Elder Lott, our family, and the people of Belgium. Thank you for putting Elder Lott and Elder Reese's names on the temple prayer rolls. I know that the strength that comes from prayers has lifted and protected them during the aftermath of this week's terrorist attacks. Today's letter is the first time we have been able to hear from Elder Lott since those attacks. It was not the letter we expected. We didn't realize that the Belgium/Netherland and Paris France missionaries overlapped, and that Elder Lott knows the Brussels Elders. Our son's testimony of God's love only adds to our own experiences this week of the comfort and peace that can only come from a loving Heavenly Father and through the atonement of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Thank you again for your love and continued prayers. We have been strengthened by this experience. -Anastasia and Michael]
|Brussels Airport - picture from Google|
Click here for link to Mormon News Channel Article on the terriost attacks.
"And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities." (Alma 7:11-12)
"Now, there is a death which is called a temporal death; and the death of Christ shall loose the bands of this temporal death, that all shall be raised from this temporal death.The spirit and the body shall be reunited again in its perfect form; both limb and joint shall be restored to its proper frame, even as we now are at this time; and we shall be brought to stand before God, knowing even as we know now... Now, this restoration shall come to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, both the wicked and the righteous; and even there shall not so much as a hair of their heads be lost; but every thing shall be restored to its perfect frame, as it is now, or in the body, and shall be brought and be arraigned before the bar of Christ the Son, and God the Father, and the Holy Spirit, which is one Eternal God... Now, behold, I have spoken unto you concerning the death of the mortal body, and also concerning the resurrection of the mortal body. I say unto you that this mortal body is raised to an immortal body, that is from death, even from the first death unto life, that they can die no more; their spirits uniting with their bodies, never to be divided; thus the whole becoming spiritual and immortal, that they can no more see corruption." (selections from Alma 11:42-45)
My heart goes out to those who have been effected by the attacks in Brussels. I have seen firsthand some of the effects of those attacks, and although this is tragic, even horrific, it has proven to me even more that God is there, our loving Heavenly Father and that good does exist in the world and inside of each and every one of us. Just a month ago I was playing basketball in Brussels with Elder Wells and Empey. They are two wonderful missionaries, servants of God and I pray for them and their families.
|Elder Wells and Empey, picture from www.stgeorgeutah.com|
I won't share all the details from this week, but I will share some experiences that I've had that have touched quite deep. Here is my witness from this last week:
Tuesday: We received a call from some members in our zone that a bomb had gone off in the Brussels airport and that the Brussels zone leaders (from the Paris mission) had been at the airport. We drove down to the church and watched some news reports (side note here: if you know a local language, always listen to local news reports. CNN, BBC, CBS, and all the other big news stations were a joke and in reality knew less than we did. Only through the Flanders news station did we learn anything useful and get actual news and updates), then called President Bunnell to let him know what had happened. (He was in Schipol airport at the time so that was kind of crazy) We then called the members of the zone, and passed on travel restrictions to the members of the zone, and had the Brussels and Leuven Elders stay in their apartments. We spent the rest of the day going between working and keeping up on news reports and relaying information to President. At some point during the day we learned from news reports that the missionaries had been hurt in the attacks, then things really started to hit home. The borders of Belgium got locked down for a time, Brussles was also locked down, as well as parts of Antwerpen and other cities for a little bit.
Wednesday: Continued contact with president, keeping missionaries informed. We were able to start talking to people about the attacks because people recognized that we had friends in the attacks. We were able to share some of the scriptures I put at the beginning of the email. People's hearts were opened to hearing a little about the gospel and to praying with us because of the hashtag #prayforbelgium #bidvoorbelgie, #ikbenbrussel. Seeing the kind things people did for us and others was amazing, showing me that when it really comes down to it, people are good and desire to spread kindness and love.
Thursday: We tried to visit Elder Wells in the hospital in Gent, but were not admitted because he had just gotten out of surgery. We found out that Sister Fanny Clain had been moved to a hospital in Antwepen and had a member who speaks French go and visit her. In what were tender moments, the member later texted that she was an inspiration and a light to the world. She knew she had walked on holy ground, calling it 'Heilige momenten' (Sacred Moments). CNN came and interviewed Sister Clain.
|Sister Clain, picture from ksl.com|
Friday: We had the opportunity to visit Sister Clain, she had come out of a surgery to remove some shrapnel from her leg and side but was an inspiration, glowing and radiating the spirit. She told us of her experience with the bomb, saying that she was knocked out for a little bit and that when she woke up here first question was why she smelled like burned pig. She said she chooses to be happy instead of crying because it would do no good and just make her dehydrated anyways. The medical staff was so kind, and allowed us more time to see her in a side room because the senior couple from Liege and her former companion had come up to see her. (She had been serving here, waiting to go to Ohio on her mission) Had the chance along with the Elder from the Liege senior couple to give her a blessing.
Saturday: Members from the from both sides of Belgium continue to visit Sister Clain. The medical staff is super confused, and touched that she would receive so many visitors when isn't even from here! Heard from the Brussels Elders that Elder Empey is doing better, recovering well.
Sunday: During sacrament meeting Sister Clain's Father and Brother walked into church, in the middle of a talk being given by the first member we had visit Sister Clain. After her talk, they had the opportunity to address us, which was a truly moving story. After church Elder Reese and I had the chance to go and give the sacrament to Sister Clain. She was doing so much better! She was able to walk and she had the bandages off of her face and it was healing nicely! There were members that came up from France and the French part of Belgium there to give her gifts and visit her. We didn't talk with her much, let them chat in French but the spirit was so strong and I was almost crying.
Seeing the effects of the attacks, and searching for peace and understanding through prayer has given feelings that are undeniable. God truly loves all His children, and weeps when people use their freedom of choice to do evil things that hurt others. But He has provided a way through His son Jesus Christ that all losses can be made up, pains healed, and all sins forgiven. This life is only a small part of the spectrum of eternity, and it will all turn out.
I love you all!
-Elder Hayden Lott
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from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints