Three members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are ministering throughout Great Britain this week. President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, along with Elders Jeffrey R. Holland and Quentin L. Cook, are meeting with missionaries and members of the Church.
The leaders share a fondness for Great Britain, where they served as missionaries as young men. President Ballard arrived in 1948 and served for nearly two and a half years in what was then the British Isles Mission.
Elder Holland and Elder Cook served together as companions in 1962. This week, they are together in England for the first time since that service.
On Tuesday, President Ballard traveled to Scotland, making a stop in Tranent, outside of Edinburgh, which he said holds special meaning to him. It is where his great-grandmother, Margaret McNeil, was born in 1846 and lived until she was 10, when she and her family sailed the Atlantic and settled in Utah. He visited the cemetery where her grandparents are buried.
“When you come here, the footings of my foundation are here, the blessing of being who I am. It is wonderful to see it,” he said.
President Ballard also made a brief courtesy visit with Stephen Kerr, a Latter-day Saint and member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP). In the afternoon, President Ballard joined missionaries of the Scotland-Ireland Mission. He shared many of his personal experiences as a missionary in the British Isles and encouraged them to share the message of the Restoration everywhere they go.
Elder and Sister Holland spent the morning in the Chorley Stake Center with missionaries of the England Manchester Mission, along with new missionaries who are studying in the Preston Missionary Training Center.
“I hope they all feel about their mission the way I feel about mine,” Elder Holland said. “I want them all to love it so much. I want them to have that kind of mission. And as they realize that the scriptures are their principal missionary tool, and if they’ll combine the gifts of the Spirit with the scriptures, they can’t help but succeed.”
Elder and Sister Cook traveled to Leeds, meeting Tuesday afternoon with missionaries of the England Leeds Mission. He shared his experience of being with President Ballard on Monday at the docks in Liverpool, where many early Latter-day Saints set sail for America.
“It’s a thrill to be here and to think about how significant Liverpool was in the Restoration of the gospel and the history of the Church,” Elder Cook said.
Elder Cook also spoke about the significance of the area that now encompasses the Leeds mission in the early history of the Church in Great Britain. He specifically gave praise to people of faith from this region who were instrumental in the founding of America when they arrived on the Mayflower in 1620.
The three Apostles will continue their ministry visit throughout the country this week, ending with a special conference on Sunday that will be broadcast for all Latter-day Saints in the United Kingdom and Ireland.