Father of Injured Sister Missionary Offers Thanks

Contributed By Jason Swensen, Church News staff writer

  • 28 March 2016

ANTWERP, BELGIUM

The father of Sister Fanny Rachel Clain, the sister missionary injured in a March 22 Belgium terrorist attack, is offering thanks to all who have demonstrated love and concern for his daughter.

“I have been extremely touched by the concern and goodness expressed by others in regards to Fanny,” said Thierry Clain in a Church statement.

He also provided an update on Sister Clain’s injuries and treatment.

“Fanny is doing well,” he said. “She was operated on to remove shrapnel from her body and is resting. She also received second-degree burns to her hands and face and is receiving treatment. … I look forward to visiting her Saturday and staying a few days with her.”

Sister Clain, 20, of Montelimar, France, was on her way to a missionary assignment in Cleveland, Ohio, when the first of two bombs detonated inside the Brussels Airport.

“There was just an enormous noise, like the end of the world in a second,” she told France TV Pluzz in an interview from the burn unit at Stuivenberg Hospital in Antwerp, Belgium. “I found myself on the ground and debris was everywhere. I was covered in gray stuff; it smelled like burning pork.“

Sister Clain said she was able to stand and make her way outside the airport.

Sister Fanny Rachel Clain

“Then people told me I was burned, and I caught site of myself in a mirror and I saw some of my burns, but I didn’t look very long.”

The missionary suffered shrapnel wounds from the blast along with burns to her head, hands, fingers, and legs.

“It burned,” she said of her injuries. “My leg didn’t hurt too bad; it was the burns that really hurt.”

Sister Clain said she witnessed compassion amidst the sinister horror of the terrorist attack. “I wasn’t afraid; people around me were very nice.”

Three other missionaries who dropped Sister Clain off at the airport were also wounded.

Elder Richard Norby, 66, of Lehi, Utah; Elder Joseph Dresden Empey, 20, of Santa Clara, Utah; and Elder Mason Wells, 19, of Sandy, Utah, all suffered burns and shrapnel injuries.

Doctors performed surgery on the three elders. Elder Norby has awoken from a medically induced coma and, according to his family, faces a lengthy recovery.

The plight of the injured missionaries has gleaned media attention on both sides of the Atlantic. Three days after the bombings, Elder Wells gave multiple interviews from his hospital bed with several national television stations, including CNN and NBC.

”I was looking down and all of a sudden a huge blast came from my right,“ he told CNN. ”I believe my body was actually lifted off the ground for a moment. My iPad that was in my hands, I don't know what happened. It just disappeared. I think it actually might have hit me in the head when it got blasted out of my hands. My watch on my left hand just disappeared. My left shoe just was blown off.“

Elder Mason Wells, left, of Sandy, Utah, and Elder Joseph Dresden Empey, of Santa Clara, Utah, became companions in the France Paris Mission on February 17, 2016. Photo courtesy of Empey family.

Elder Wells also spoke of the sustaining power of his testimony of the gospel.

”Everything I've lived up to this point has fortified my personal faith that God is there,“ he told Fox News. ”I know that I've felt His love several times. I know that if I can feel His love sitting on a sidewalk sitting next to a destroyed sidewalk, God will talk to His other children too. I know that He does listen to prayers and that the prayers the people are [giving] now, they make a difference, because I've felt them.“