It must seem like old times for Latter-day Saint apostles M. Russell Ballard, Jeffrey R. Holland and Quentin L. Cook.
All three served missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Great Britain (in fact, Holland and Cook were companions) and all three are back there this week, meeting with members and the present proselytizers.
“I hope they all feel about their mission the way I feel about mine,” Holland, with wife Pat, said of the batch of young elders and sisters he met with from the England Manchester Mission and those studying at the Preston Missionary Training Center. “I want them all to love it so much. I want them to have that kind of mission.”
The 81-year-old Cook — together with Holland, 80, in England for the first time since they were paired up as young men in 1962 — visited with missionaries from the England Leeds Mission, according to a news release. He, his wife, Mary, and Ballard also toured the docks at Liverpool, from which many early Latter-day Saints set sail for America.
“It’s a thrill to be here,” Cook said, “and to think about how significant Liverpool was in the restoration of the gospel and the history of the church.”
The 93-year-old Ballard, who first arrived in Britain as a missionary in 1948, ventured to Scotland in a trip that carried deep personal meaning. He went to Tranent (outside of Edinburgh) where his great-grandmother Margaret McNeil was born in 1846, the release noted. She lived there until she was 10, when she and her family crossed the Atlantic to settle in Utah. He also 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,” Ballard said in the release. “It is wonderful to see it.”
The three apostles will be seeing much more throughout the country this week, ending with a conference Sunday that will be broadcast to Latter-day Saints in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Meanwhile, farther east, fellow apostle David A. Bednar met last week with members and others in Jordan, extending his ministry to Muslim-majority nations.
“We have traveled halfway around the world to be with you,” Bednar told some 100 Latter-day Saints and friends at a devotional for the church’s multicultural Amman Branch, or congregation.
It was the apostle’s first trip to Jordan, a news release explained, and his first stop on a weeklong journey to the Middle East and North Africa.
In April 2020, the church announced plans to build a temple in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, the faith’s first in the Middle East.
In February 2020, Bednar became the first apostle to visit Sudan, holding multiple meetings with government officials and religious leaders in the capital of Khartoum, and vowing to return to the East African country.
During his recent address in Jordan, Bednar encouraged listeners to study the church’s foundational scripture and apply its teachings.
“The Book of Mormon is not a book of history,” he said. “The Book of Mormon is a book about the future … The writers of the record and especially the compilers of the record were inspired by the Lord to include the things that we would need for the world in which we live today.”
And, in North Africa, President Jean B. Bingham, who oversees the women’s Relief Society, and her first counselor, Sharon Eubank, met with Egypt’s government leaders and dozens of members in Cairo.
“That was my very first visit, and I just loved it,” Bingham said in a news release. “...As we met with the government officials in Cairo, they were very kind, very warm, good listeners, and we hope to be a good listener so that we can coordinate our efforts.”
Joined by general authority Seventy Elder Randy D. Funk, the church leaders said they also discussed the new temple coming to Dubai.
“The things that I remember about being in Cairo are the genuine love that the saints had for one another,” Bingham said in the release. “I was surprised at how many of them, particularly of the Arabic branch, were fairly new members less than two years. And yet they have strong testimonies.”