Monday, August 14, 2017

Tea with Tunisianians

Hey everyone! It's been another canny week up here in North Shields. I had tea with Tunisians, The Premier League started, I saw some friends from across the pond, went on a couple of exchanges and someone passed their baptismal interview!!
     
Hey again peeps! Last Monday something pretty cool happened. The North Shields Sisters brought their investigator to a member's family home evening. They are from Tunisia (Northern Africa) and they're super nice. They are Muslim by faith but they seem pretty open to learning more. It's always cool learning about other people's cultures and backgrounds. They asked a lot of really interesting questions about the church too. They'll be moving to Arizona this coming month, so we're hoping to be able to pass them on to the missionaries there.
     
The Premier League (professional English football) started this week. People definitely talk more about it up here, being so close to the NUFC stadium. In the corridor after Sacrament meeting people are going around talking about the Newcastle and Tottenham game. It's a pretty easy way to start a conversation talking about football with strangers, so it's a win win situation for me haha.
     
On Tuesday, I had a smashing lunch with someone.........the Conway's! It's always really special seeing someone from back home for a little and catching up. Shout out to Dana and Mike, you guys really are awesome and I hope that you enjoy your trip over here. Something that I realized when I met up with them is how fast a mission really goes by. So I'm gonna make the most of this short experience while I have it!
     
I was able to go on 2 exchanges this week. One with Elder Watson, who is one of our Zone Lords, and Elder Rodrígues, one of the Alnwick blokes in my district. When I went with Elder Watson, we had loads of fun over in Newcastle. Us and the other 2 blokes got these hilarious circle glasses from H&M and we went finding with them. Nobody said naught about it though. We went to a village outside of Newcastle called Byker. It sure was a hoot and a holler and a half. On Friday, I went with the one and only Elder Rodrígues from Barcelona. We had a lot of fun as well, doing some finding around North Shields in the dumping rain.
     
Justin passed his baptismal interview!! We've had to change the baptismal date a lot, but we're really confident that it will be on the 20th this coming Sunday. Elder Anderson was really happy because that's the night of transfer calls. And I don't know about you, but someone staying in an area for 7 months is on the hot seat of leaving (Elder Anderson, that is). But yes it's super exciting to be having a baptism this Sunday. Justin is such a good kid and the parents are ecstatic too. The Daft Elder Anderson thinks that I'm training next transfer, but we'll see. We've got another really large group leaving the mission next week so it should be another big transition. 

Well, I hope that you all take care. I'll talk to yous later! Cheers!
-Elder Holyoak

Mike and Dana Conway met me in Newcastle

Exchanges with Elder Watson and Elder Rodríques

Elder Anderson and I in our circle glasses

P-Day craziness


Monday, August 7, 2017

Cheeky Ballard

Hey hey hey, here's another weekly update from England. I shook another Apostle's hand, helped with a musical item at a baptism in Newcastle and I went to New York(picture below).
     
Weeks full of meetings always fly by. Wednesday was the biggest one of course. We had our ELM Mission Conference and were able to hear Elder M. Russell Ballard speak. The Alnwick Elders drove us to Newcastle, we took a coach to Billingham and then picked up that entire zone, then went all the way down to Huddersfield for the conference. We had an hour before the General Authorities came and were able to chat and catch up with other missionaries. Comparing the last Mission Conference to this one, I actually knew a lot of people! My MTC group took a picture together too. It was amazing seeing all 202 missionaries in one room and catching up with the other missionaries that I've served around. I love being a part of this work! 
     
The conference overall was mint! My favorite General Authorities that spoke before Elder Ballard were Elder Kearon (THE BOSS) and Elder Nelson (Head of the missionary department). They were all pumping us up and telling us what good missionaries we are. When Elder Ballard finally took the stand his opening statement was, "Well, you're good, but you're not all translated yet." Haha... He's a super cheeky bloke! He mainly talked about making sure that we're teaching by the Spirit and allowing others to really feel the truth of the Gospel. He's just a normal 89 year old man, but I could tell that there was something special about him and that he was an Apostle. His exiting statement was, "Hasta Lavista baby!" and he was gone before we knew it! Haha... what a guy. 
     
On Thursday, I was invited to a baptism in Newcastle to play a musical item. I played, "Come Follow Me" on the guitar. I was a bit nervous initially going up, but it was a really cool to play a role in helping make it a spiritual experience for the man getting baptized. I'm really hoping to play for more people in the future.
     
The work has been a bit the same lately. We're hoping to help Justin to get interviewed for baptism this Saturday, so pray for us! I love talking to people in public transportation and in the streets. There's so many different life stories that I've heard from people and so many different ways that the Gospel can bless their lives. This work is true, the Book is blue, and Jesus was a Mormon too. Cheers!

-Elder Holyoak


New York, right.....

St. James Park - home of Newcastle United Football (soccer) 

MTC Reunion at our Mission Conference 




Monday, July 31, 2017

Teaching on the beach

How's it going ladies and gents?! It's been another mint week here in the ELM. I taught my first lesson on the beach, chilled in a convertible with my ward mission leader and l found a loophole to play the guitar more.
     
The highlight of this week is defiantly teaching a boy legend named Justin. Justin is an 11 year old boy that we started teaching this week. We are already good friends with his parents and everything is aligned perfectly for us to start teaching him and helping him to be baptized on the 19th of August. His parents told us that they asked him where he wanted the missionaries to teach him and he said, "The beach!" So we walked over and taught him there. So yes, he's the real MVP!
      
Brother Cresnowski, my ward mission leader, took us out for a nice lunch on Tuesday and he drove us around in his convertible. We talked a lot about new ideas that we want to introduce soon to the ward and getting everyone stoked on coconuts about doing missionary work.
     
Elder Anderson and I have been doing a lot of finding lately. This week we really focused on sharpening up our skills and finding more people to teach. And as a result, we got a referral for the Newcastle Elders, found an amazing German lady that we will hopefully be teaching tomorrow and loads of other potential people to teach. Like I said before, people are very friendly here, up north, so most people are willing to talk. August should be another awesome month for the us and for the North Shields district! 
     
It's been a pretty musical week so far as well. On Sunday Elder Anderson, Sisters Rigby and Cook and I sang a musical item on Sunday. We sang "Come Thou Fount" and it was a lot of fun. I never saw myself doing something like that before. On Thursday, I will be featured in another musical item as well. I'm gonna play a hymn on the guitar for a baptism. So I've got a loophole to pick up my guitar again and play.
     
Everyone is pretty excited for Wednesday to listen to Elder M. Russell Ballard. It should be a lot of fun and I really am excited to be inspired by him. Our mission has been having a lot of success with baptisms that President Turvey says the mission hasn't seen in years! That's all that I've to update on, hope all is well cheers!

-Elder Holyoak


Teaching Justin on the beach


video
Brother Cresnowski taking us for a ride


Monday, July 24, 2017

Movie man and the start of my black year

Hiyuh kids, you alright! This week Elder Anderson and I were film stars, we had interviews with our Mission President, Dave from York emailed me, we went bowling on P Day and we have a special guest coming to speak to the mission in August.

I went to a chippy with Elder Anderson a couple of days ago and something funny happened. When we finished eating and got up to leave a lady asked us, "Can you guys stay there for 5 more minutes? We've been making a film and you've been in the background." So we stayed and now we're in an Independent English short film haha!
     
President and Sister Turvey came up to North Shields for interviews again. They had a really cool announcement for us. Elder M. Russell Ballard is coming to speak to our mission on the 2nd of August! It's crazy because we just had Present Nelson speak to us in December, so we're really excited for that. 
     
This week I was able to go all the way up to Alnwick, the Northernmost part of the mission and go on an exchange. In that village, it has the actual castle used for Hogwarts in Harry Potter! I haven't actually seen it yet, but I definitely will when I go on a P Day. I went on an exchange with the Elder Mills(a former companion). He's still his proper farm boy self, but we had a good day together again. 
     
I don't really have much else to update on, this week went by really quick. My official 1 year mark is in 3 days..... CRAZY! I already burned a shirt with Elder Livingston when I had the chance. 

-Elder Holyoak

1 year "Burning of the Shirt"


Bowling on P-Day

Monday, July 17, 2017

1st week in North Shields

Way Ay, it's been a proper canny week like! How's it going guys? There's a lot new stuff going on here up in North Shields. I was pranked by a member, Geordie Accents galore, American football in England, and I went to Leeds for a district meeting.
     
Hey you alright and everything. On Tuesday I took a train up to Newcastle and waved goodbye to the York Zone. The train ride was beautiful going through Darlington, Durham and Newcastle. Elder Anderson (my new companion) from Farmington, Utah picked me up and we went over to North Shields. He's a good bloke and he's been on his mission 6 weeks less than me and he's super chill. He's served in the Leeds 1 ward and here so far. He's a pretty funny guy. I've never served around someone that's so chill all the time... haha. We get along really well and he's breaking me into the area. There's so much already that I love about North Shields! It's the largest area that I've been in so far. Our main source of transportation is the Metro and buses and people really do get more friendly the more north you go.       
     
Along with the Geordie accent, you know that you've met a proper Geordie when you hear one. There's only been a handful of really broad ones that I've had trouble understanding so far. I'm now in the county of Northumbria. It is the one that touches the Scottish boarder, so the teams in my district are in the Northernmost part of the mission. Since I have a brand new district, I'll introduce everyone to you. So we've got Elder Rodriguez from Barcelona with Elder Mills the same potato lovin' bloke that I served with  up in the Alnwick Branch on the borders. I'll be going on exchange there soon, so I'll let you know how that goes. Then we have Sister Filikitonga from Tonga and Sister Hope from Arizona up in the Ashington Branch. And last but not least, we have the North Shields Sisters, Sister Cook from Garden City, Utah and Sister Rigby Kaysville, Utah.  We've got a proper canny (very good) district over here!
     
On Wednesday we went to Young Men's because we're teaching James who comes. Some of them had never played American Football before, so we taught them which was super cool.
     
On Thursday, I went over to a deaf members home named Sister Thompson for tea for the first time. When I got in the sisters were speaking sign language to her. I was trying my best to communicate to her with my iPad. After a while, Sister Thompson said, "I just can't do this anymore!" She wasn't actually deaf and I was super thrown off and everyone laughed. It was a pretty good prank because Sister Thompson can fluently sign. Haha!
     
I'm really enjoying it over here so far. It's always a weird transition moving to a new area, new missionaries to serve around, and new members but it's good. The work is güd. 

Take care and cheers!
-Elder Holyoak

My new district

Prankster sister missionaries and my new companion Elder Anderson

England Leeds mission District Leaders


Monday, July 10, 2017

Transfers..................

Way Ay Man! This week we taught a bloke that I found in February, I had some American and English pride, an exchange with the traveling assistants again and TRANSFER CALLS AND....... I'M MOVING TO NORTH SHIELDS!

We received transfer calls on Saturday and tomorrow I'll be moving up north to Geordie Land to North Shields! It's a town that's really close to Newcastle. I'm staying as the District Leader up there and I'm proper pumped. Elder Withers is going back home to Idaho, Elder Lewis is going to a small town called Peterlee and Elder Livingston is training. We're also getting two other new missionaries in Brid while I'm gone. President Turvey made a big change to the mission. Over two thirds of the missionaries were moved or changed leadership positions. The funny thing is that I'm going to the area where Elder Lewis just came from and serving with his previous companion, Elder Anderson. I've only heard good things about the area and that the Bishop is super cheeky. I'm excited to let all of you know about my adventures up there!
     
This week was of course the 4th of July. Instead of celebrating for America, I went to something called the Proms night. It's basically just a British pride celebration night where they sing songs and waves flags, no fireworks though so that was kinda lame haha. Another really cool thing that happened this week was that Elder Livingston and I decided to knock on a former investigator that I found way back in February. When he opened the door for us he was super friendly and had us come in and share our message with him. He's a cool guy with electric guitars hanging all over his walls and a really nice wife, with 3 boys a girl. Elder Livingston and his trainee will be seeing them next week.
     
I don't have much else to update on. I'm a bit sick today so I'm gonna go chill while I can. Take care and pray for me that I can understand the Geordies this week haha! 

 Cheers!
-Elder Holyoak

North Shields



Proms Night-British Pride Day on July 4th

Showing American Pride

England Leeds Missionary Assignments and Areas
(You can find Elder Holyoak under the Sunderland Zone)

Monday, July 3, 2017

Happy Treason Day Peasants!

Happy treason day peasants! Tomorrow will be my first 4th of July outside of the promised land, so it's going to be like any other day haha. This week I did some missionary work with a German, we brought a special guest to district meeting, and somebody is preparing for a baptism!
     
So I gotta quick funny story before I jump right in. I was getting a haircut today and the barber asked me, "You want any off the fringe?" I had no idea what he was saying, so I ask him what a fringe is. And it's the bangs of your hair! I thought that I was getting pretty used to what British words mean and everything, but this one caught me off guard. I've heard that around Yorkshire people use different words for things.
     
On Wednesday for district meeting, I invited the legend of the branch Jamie Ackroyd to come and participate with us missionaries. I forgot to take a picture, but it was really fun to have him there. After that, Elder football (Elder Livingston) and I went to Scarborough to go on another exchange. This was my first time going with Elder Kull from Germany. I had only briefly met him in the MTC, but it was ace spending a day with him in rainy Scarborough. 
     
We made some really good progress with Rory this week. We were able to set a goal with him to work towards his baptism!! He got work off for all of his future Sunday's and is getting close to stopping smoking.  During the last lesson we had with him, he sang for us, "Johnny B Good" and that was lit. 
     
Well the time has come again for transfer calls. Everyone is telling me that I'm leaving Brid, which is pretty likely. Also, next week Elder Withers is going home to Idaho. Happy Forf of July everyone, make sure to keep your fringes in line.

Cheers!
-Elder kaoyloH




Elder Kull from Germany


video