Well answering your first question the trip was very nice all the way up until the explosions. We were only 2 streets away from the blasts and we were even closer to the blast area 15 minutes prior to the explosions. After the explosions I wanted to run and help in the moment but decided it would probably be best if I stayed with Elder Metcalf and the rest of the district. We had started walking away from the finish area of the marathon when the explosion happened. When we the first bomb exploded we felt the ground shake and saw all of the smoke rise up into the air. We were 2 streets away from the finish line at that point. Then we heard people screaming and crying and we saw people running away. Seconds later cops ran to the scene with their guns drawn. Our district wasn't sure where we should go because no one other than me had really served in the city. I decided that it would be safe for us to go to Boston Common, because it's a big, open area and it was a short distance away from the city. As we quickly made our way to Boston Common we saw helicopters circling the city and a continuous never-ending fleet of militia, ambulances, fire fighters, police, and government vehicles speed into the city. I've never seen so many emergency personnel in my life on one scene. When we got to Boston Common we found other missionaries there who had taken refuge. Several minutes after talking to our Zone Leaders and Sister Packard, we decided as a whole that it would be best if we just went home. However a lot of the subway stations were locked down so we took a 30 minute journey to the Charles MGH Station where we boarded the red line subway and safely road to Kendall Square where we had parked our cars. When we got to our cars we offered a prayer of gratitude, thanking our Heavenly Father for not having such harm befall us and we asked that all of the individuals and families that were in harms way might be lifted up. That they may be comforted and that they may recover from their injuries. We also prayed that through such incidents that happen like this that people might open their hearts and may be receptive to the gospel so that they may be at peace, even though a world of chaos and destruction now surrounds them. After we said a prayer we embarked on our journey back home which was a little tricky because police officers had blocked some of the roads and there were still swarms of law enforcement vehicles entering the city, keep in mind this was almost an hour after the blasts. When we were almost home we received a mission-wide text from the Packards telling us to take refuge in our apartments for the remainder of the day. Then we heard from the members of our ward that the another bomb had gone off at the JFK Library and that law enforcement personnel found more bombs throughout the Boston region before they had actually detonated. I don't know if any of these other bombs were close to where we were at any part of the day on Monday. But I know that we were being watched over by our Heavenly Father and were ushered safely home by the Master's hand. My heart goes out to all those whom lost or have injured loved ones and I hope they will one day feel of their Savior's love and come to know of His atoning sacrifice and resurrection.
Anyways, it was a long day, I'm not traumatized or nervous by it all. But I definitely was on an adrenaline rush and on the alert and cautious about myself and the district when I was there and in the moment.
So transitioning to this week; it was good. We gained 2 new investigators after Elder Metcalf had recovered from his illness. It's good to hear that Aaron's Eagle Project is coming along and that it comes through smoothly. Please tell Aaron congratulations on receiving his Patriarchal Blessing. When he does receive his copy, he should read over it often but don't be obsessive about it and take everything literally and for face value. Because sometimes your interpretation of the blessing may be incorrect. Just live worthily of the blessing and let it unfold before your eyes, don't try to make the blessing happen when and where you want it to. Anyways, I'm about to be booted off of the computer so, I hope that you all have a great day and a great week.
Elder Everett Alan Escobar