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They came to preach a gospel of peace only to become casualties in a war of terror.

Four Mormon missionaries, including three from Utah, were injured in Tuesday's deadly attacks in Brussels.

Richard Norby, 66, of Lehi; Joseph Dresden Empey, 20, of Santa Clara; Mason Wells, 19, of Sandy; and Fanny Rachel Clain, 20, of Montélimar, France, were hurt when bombs rocked the Belgian capital's airport.

All four were hospitalized with various wounds and are recovering.

The Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said Norby, Empey and Wells were serving in the faith's Paris Mission and suffered serious injuries. Clain, who had cleared airport security when a blast occurred, was en route to serve an LDS mission in Ohio and had minor injuries.

Frederic J. Babin, president of the Paris Mission, said in an interview on the church's website that the four "are doing OK" and that he looks forward to them being released "soon" from the hospital.

Empey's parents said in a statement released by the LDS Church that their son had been treated for second-degree burns to his hands, face and head, and that he had undergone surgery for shrapnel injuries to his legs.

"This has been a difficult day for our family," Court and Amber Empey said. "And our hearts are broken for those injured or killed by the attacks in Belgium. ... We have been in touch with [Joseph] and he is grateful and in good spirits."

Empey's mission has coincided with multiple European security crises since it began in July 2014.

On Jan. 7, 2015, while Empey was living in a Paris suburb, terrorists shot and killed 11 people in the offices of the satirical publication Charlie Hebdo.

"There was a terrorist attack up in Paris," Empey wrote in his weekly blog post. "We've been totally safe and haven't seen anything sketchy. We got on the train to head to [Brittany] yesterday and all of the 'Je suis Charlie' protesters were on the train heading home."

On Nov. 13, Empey was living in Rennes, France, when terrorist attacks broke out in and around Paris, killing 130 people.

"Kinda felt the same as last winter when the Charlie Hebdo thing happened," he wrote, "except this one is even more tragic."

The next week, Empey was transferred to Liege.

His missionary companion, Wells, who played football and lacrosse and served on the student council at Lone Peak High before his family moved from American Fork to Sandy, is receiving "quality medical care," his parents, Chad and Kymberly Wells, wrote in a news release. "We have spoken to him briefly and he feels blessed that he wasn't injured more, given his close proximity to the bomb."

The couple said their son underwent surgery to repair his Achilles heel and has been treated for burns and shrapnel injuries.

A family spokesman, Lloyd Coleman, said the 19-year-old has had several close encounters with terrorism. He was at the Boston Marathon, for instance, with his father — watching his mother run the race — during the 2013 bombing.

"They heard and felt the blast," Coleman said, adding that the father and son were a block away from the blast. Neither he nor his parents were injured.

Wells was also in France — about two hours away — during the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris.

"It's been an ongoing back-burner concern about him," Coleman said. "… There's been a concern [from his parents] with a son that far away in an area known for terrorism."

Lone Peak football coach Mike Mower said Wells has a great spirit and was loved by his teammates.

"He loved the game of football, but he also had a great perspective on other things in life that were more important: his friends and family, his religion," the coach said. "That's the thing that was impressive about him, is he had a great perspective on life."

Norby retired in August 2014 as a teacher and administrator of the LDS Church Educational System in Tooele, Salt Lake and Utah counties, after nearly four decades with that program, according to Provo's Daily Herald.

He also served as a Mormon mission president in the faith's Ivory Coast Abidjan Mission from 2003 to 2005.

Brandan Motiuk, 18, got to know Norby while serving with him in Brussels. He describes Norby as being "like a grandfather to me and to all the missionaries he is around."

Motiuk called Norby one of the wisest men he has ever met.

"I remember in Brussels, we went to a McDonald's, where we just ate and talked about the church and some new policies they just released," Motiuk said. "He is very good at explaining things in a way that is so clear. Somehow when he talks, you just feel good inside.

Motiuk said he was supposed to have been with his fellow missionaries at the time of the attacks Tuesday, but he left Brussels on Saturday to return to his home in the United Arab Emirates to have surgery on a tumor.

"Elder Norby's wife, Pam, even offered — jokingly, but with good intentions — that they would take care of me in Utah after my surgery," Motiuk said. "That is how thoughtful the Norbys are."

A statement from the LDS Church's governing First Presidency noted that all missionaries in the Paris Mission had been asked to remain in their apartments in the wake of Tuesday's attacks.

"With much of the world, we awoke this morning to the heartbreaking news of the bombings in Belgium. Our prayers are with the families of the deceased and injured, including four of our missionaries who were injured and hospitalized," the statement read. "We also pray for the people of Belgium and France as they continue to deal with the uncertainty and devastation caused by the recent terrorist attacks."

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said that he and his wife, Jeanette, "along with the 3 million residents of Utah, are absolutely heartbroken to learn of this tragedy."

"We are again reminded that the world we live in is a dangerous place, a place where the war on terror has never ceased," Herbert stated. "We join with the rest of the world at this time in mourning for the people of Belgium."

— Tribune reporters Peggy Fletcher Stack, Rich Kane and Trevor Phibbs contributed to this story.

Twitter: @remims