Posted by: Elder and Sister Hambelton | March 3, 2012

Coming Home

Sister Hambelton’s Post “Since we received our assignment to come to Scotland on our mission I have felt like I was coming home. That feeling has increased over the last few months as we have been here and worked with the people of Scotland. We did not ask for a particular kind of mission or to go to any particular place. Both my parents’ ancestors are from Scotland and many of my relatives have served missions in Scotland. We were very thrilled and surprised to be assigned to Scotland.

Since we have arrived, I have met several people in the Edinburgh Stake with the same last name as my maiden name- McKay; one gentleman in our home ward comes from William McKay, which is also my line. We will soon get together to share our genealogy.

The McKay tartan is the official tartan of the mission and every missionary gets a McKay tartan tie and scarf.

Mission Tie Tartan

The mission has a motto, which comes from President McKay’s experience on his mission “Where ere thou art, Act well thy part”. We have seen replicas of this plaque in the Provo MTC, in the Scotland/Ireland Mission home, and in the Alloa Ward meeting house. The area where President McKay saw the stone in the arch of the building is in the Alloa Ward boundaries. This is the story behind the saying.

Act Well Thy Part - MTC

“ ‘Whate’er Thou Art, Act Well Thy Part.’

“I was homesick and a little discouraged on this day. … I had just left school. I loved school and I loved young people. … I was with Peter G. Johnston, one of the truest friends in all the world. … As we were coming back into town, I saw on my right an unfinished dwelling, over the front door of which was a stone on which there was a carving. That was most unusual, so I said to Elder Johnston, ‘I’m going to see what that is.’ I was half way up the graveled walk when there came to my eyesight a striking motto as follows, carved in stone: “ ‘Whate’er Thou Art, Act Well Thy Part.’

“I repeated it to Elder Johnston. … We walked quietly, but I said to myself, or the Spirit within me, ‘You are a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. More than that, you are here as a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ. You accepted the responsibility as a representative of the Church.’ …

“That afternoon, by the time we found our lodgings, I accepted the message given to me on that stone, and from that moment we tried to do our part as missionaries in Scotland” (“Pres. McKay Speaks to Pioneer Stake Youth,” Church News, 21 Sept. 1957, p. 4).

As a struggling young missionary in Scotland, Elder McKay did learn to “act well his part” and became a leader in that mission. A counselor in his mission presidency was led to prophesy: “Let me say to you, Brother David, Satan has desired you that he may sift you as wheat, but God is mindful of you, and if you will keep the faith, you will yet sit in the leading councils of the Church”

I wanted to share one more story that happened to President McKay while he was on his mission in Scotland. It is at the heart of why we are here and how important employment is to each individual so they can grow spiritually and can contribute to the growth of the church.

David McKay as a Young Missionary

In 1897 a young David O. McKay stood at a door with a tract in his hand. As a missionary in Stirling, Scotland, he had done this many times before. But on that day a very haggard woman opened the door and stood before him. She was poorly dressed and had sunken cheeks and unkempt hair.

She took the tract Elder McKay offered to her and spoke six words that he subsequently would never forget: “Will this buy me any bread?”

This encounter left a lasting impression on the young missionary. He later wrote: “From that moment I had a deeper realization that the Church of Christ should be and is interested in the temporal salvation of man. I walked away from the door feeling that that [woman], with … bitterness in [her heart] toward man and God, [was] in no position to receive the message of the gospel. [She was] in need of temporal help, and there was no organization, so far as I could learn, in Stirling that could give it to [her].”

A few decades later the world groaned under the burden of the Great Depression. It was during that time, on April 6, 1936, that President Heber J. Grant and his counselors, J. Reuben Clark and David O. McKay, announced what would later become known as the welfare program of the Church.

President Harold B Lee mentioned on several occasions that President McKay provided tremendous leadership in getting things organized and moving with the Welfare Program.  Many people are not aware of this important contribution by President McKay.

Act Well Thy Part - Mission Home

We feel very blessed to be here in beautiful Scotland and we pray everyday that we might accomplish what we have been sent here to do. So far we are working with 38 clients with employment needs, 12 have completed the Career Workshop, we have administered and interpreted 12 Work Choice Profiles. We have traveled 600 miles to meet and visit with every ward and branch in the Edinburgh Stake. Last weekend we were asked to travel to every Stake in Scotland, and work with the Stake Presidencies and train Stake and ward specialists. This will be in addition to our work here in Edinburgh. We have felt the hand of the Lord in our work. We feel peace, calmness and His guidance everyday as we work with so many with employment needs. We pray that when we return to our home we will have accomplished the motto of the mission, ‘Whate’er Thou Art, Act Well Thy Part’ and been instrumental in helping many saints improve their employment situation.”

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Responses

  1. I had the feeling that I had come home when I was in the temple last time. Such a nice feeling!
    But…when visiting the UK…Lee thought he was at home in England, but I definitely thought every granny in Ireland was mine!!
    Love you both!
    K

  2. That’s so neat about the tartan! Love to you both!

  3. So glad you are feeling the same types of emotions we had when we lived there even though the situations and circumstances are uniquely your own. We loved the people and and the entire place. It truly did feel like “coming home” back to our roots! We know you are thrilled to be there and I know you will have the opportunity to bless the lives of many people as they enrich and bless yours. It is neat now life works that way. May the Lord continue to bless you individually as you bless and uplift those whom you will have the opportunity to serve. I’ve discovered in life that through my service I seem to be blessed and receive much more than I am ever able to give–regardless of the hours or type of service. It is very strange how it works that way. We send our love to both of you.

    Love Keith & Mary Ann

  4. So glad you shared the photos and words… what a wonderful heritage you have and what a great work you are doing there on your mission.
    Love you, Renae & family

  5. I would like to know how the person is related to William McKay. I was not aware any of his desendents went back to Scotland.
    What a wonderful opportunity to be there helping the people of Scotland.

  6. Great post! wonderful to hear about our connections there. Your plate gets more and more full!


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