Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Elder Holyoak is home!

After serving in the England Leeds Mission, Elder Britton Holyoak made it back to Sandy, Utah.  His family is so excited to have him home!!


Guitar signed by other missionaries 

Monday, July 9, 2018

Spiritual teeth and 1 more week!

Ey up ducks! Last Wednesday almost felt like a proper American 4th of July over here with Root Beers and patriotic flags (the wrong flag though... haha), we had exchanges again, taught some ace visual lessons, we did some nice missionary work in a charity shop and more football madness happened!!
First I'll explain how my 4th of July went or treason day over here. We had our district council and naturally we had to sing all of the American patriotic songs before the church removes them from the Hymn books. After that we went and got some Mc Donald's and reminisced on good experiences of lighting off dodgy fireworks and everything else that's required for an American holiday. Even though we were with missionaries from the Philippines, Switzerland and Fiji, I think that they enjoyed the occasion. At a tea appointment the Leyland's gave us some American Root Beer! 
We had exchanges this week with the Chesterfield lads and we worked in Worksop. Elder Brown and I had a blast! We went proper hard in the paint and found some new Gators to teach. He's also way into film making, which was fun to talk about and have a potential work partner... haha. The sun was out all day and has been out virtually every day the past 2 months. I'm actually getting semi-tan in England! 
We had 2 really memorable lessons this week. One of them was a lady that used to come to church that we've started teaching again. She has a 4 year old daughter that gets really distracted during lessons, so we decided to tailor it to both of them. Before we went over to see them, we decided to nip in the local ASDA and buy a toothbrush and toothpaste. During the lesson we talked about how most people brush their teeth twice a day. We asked, "Why do people brush their teeth that often?" Then asked, "What would it be like if we put all of the toothpaste on the toothbrush in one day?" Then we put 7 days worth of toothpaste on the toothbrush. We asked, "What would happen if you brushed your teeth like this once a week? They would go bad wouldn't they!" They all laughed. We related this lesson to reading and praying daily. If we try to cram it all into one day a week, we don't clean our spiritual teeth. It was a really fun and memorable lesson. I learned the analogy from one of my seminary teachers. 
The other lesson this week was from an older man that we met on the street. After talking with a lot of rude and angry people, he kindly invited us over to his home the next day. When we visited him, he showed us to his back garden to have a chat. He started off explaining how he has a lot of questions about faith and how we can come to know the truth of everything. But unlike most people that ask us lots of questions, he actually listened to us! He listened so intently as we taught him. It was amazing! He asked us why there are so many different religions on the Earth. That question is music to missionaries ears... haha. I always love using the glass table analogy of when Christ's authorized followers were killed, just like when you take away the legs of a table, the glass shatters everywhere. He had an aha moment when we taught him this. He's so willing to pray about the Book of Mormon and find the truth for himself! The only problem is that he's a very busy painter that travels all around the county, so we will be seeing him on Saturday. He committed to come by next Sunday, which is the last Sunday I'm in England. We're keeping in touch with him by calling his mobile in the meantime.
I might've mentioned in my previous letters that we've been volunteering in a charity shop throughout this month. This was our last week volunteering there. A perk from volunteering there is that I found a posh Topman jacket for £2 to take back! We have become really good friends with the manager of the shop and have talked about the church occasionally with her. So on our last day we wanted to give her a little gift. She's really into reading books, so what better gift than a Book of Mormon! She really appreciated the gift. It wasn't the usual missionary work that we encounter, but it felt so natural and real! I love doing service for others because it opens up opportunities to share the gospel with others in the most genuine way, we can just be ourselves and not feel so much like a salesman. 
After we left the charity shop, I felt like I was in the movies for a moment. We walked past a pub and saw that people were watching the England vs Sweden World Cup match. Then suddenly the matched ended and we saw everyone going mental in the pub celebrating! I'm sure that everyone is going bonkers around the country for how well England is doing right now. It's lots of fun to be surrounded by all of the excitement!
I'm not sure if I'll be able to send an update next week as I'm traveling to Leeds to prepare for my return home to the promised land. I love this country so much! I hope that whoever has been reading my updates has grown more of an appreciation for the gospel and strengthened their testimonies. My last week out here I'm going to continue to do the best I can to give others the opportunity to accept the gospel! Love yous and hope yous have a good week, cheeeeeeeerrrrs!!

-Elder Holyoak 

World Cup Pride

Posh Topman Jacket

Monday, July 2, 2018

Finding and Preston, England Temple visit

Hey again! Here's a 2 week update because of my Temple trip. Time is flying by quick. It's mad! Elder Legisma and I have been proper stuck in to the Lords work lately. We've had some funny experiences and went on a trip with a recent convert to see the brilliant Preston Temple.
So first off, the highlight was definitely the temple visit. We set off from Worksop at 10am with a couple of members and Elder Legisma's recent convert. The 2 hour drive was quite beautiful through the fields of Yorkshire to Lancashire. The member driving us is originally from Preston and was telling us all loads of interesting stories about the church there and the whole process of building the temple. Once we arrived we had a few minutes to spare, so Elder Legisma and I popped into the MTC for a little. It was so strange being their again after almost 2 years! I've learned so much on my mission. It's like a lifetime of knowledge crammed into 2 years. It was some quality reminiscing. We timed it perfect, the sun was out and the Temple grounds were beautiful and peaceful. Richard, who is Elder Legisma's recent convert, was in awe. When we walked up to the actual temple building we asked him, what do you think? He said, "It's Brilliant!" 

With the help of the members, we were able to get 14 of Richard's ancestors baptized in the Temple. I've never done baptisms for my own ancestors either, so I took a name as well. It was was my Great Grandpa Balen's grandad, named Marko Balen. So he is my Great, Great, Great Grandad who was from Croatia. Overall, it was an amazing experience and I'm so grateful that I was able to see The Lord's house here in England one last time.
Throughout the week we've been doing lots and lots of finding the elect via buses, streets, doors, members and charity shops. And it's gone pretty well this week lads and lasses! We're getting let in to people's homes and sharing with them the teachings from the one and only Jesus Christ. We've gone through loads of Books of Mormon's this week, good thing we've got an extra box of them! We are seeing our new friends again this week and are right chuffed to share more. Has it been hot? Yes! It's probably been one of the hottest weeks on my mission! 
A quick funny experience to share from all of our finding. We went to an outer village called Clowne a couple days ago to visit a woman that we met the previous day. Her partner open the door and started chatting with us in his front garden and sat on his brick fence. He was very open and wanted to hear more of what we had to share. Then a man working for some electric company came by to check their electric. He was kind initially and then saw that we were Mormons. He told us that he was a Baptist and talked with our lot before. Then fire and brimstone came down! He started preaching against us and to our friend we were teaching. There was so much contention that he caused our friend to say, "Hey lads it was nice meeting yous. I'll have to see you another day." Then he went back into his house........ Gutted! We continued to calmly talk to this angry man. We noticed that he was trying make us lose our cool. We shared with him Galations 5:22 about the fruits of the Spirit and how we didn't feel he had the Spirit as he was talking with us. Then we heard the door behind us open up and we heard, "Do yous wanna come in for some tea?" The woman we met yesterday let us in and we got away from that prideful man who as the Book of Mormon prophet Jacob says, "persecutes the meek." We went in and had a really good lesson with them and taught them about the peace and love that God has to give them. It was a funny experience and a reminder of how important having the Spirit really is in this work!
I'm going to do everything that I can to help as many people as I can, with the time I have left here in England. Hope everyone has a good week. 

Talk to yous later cheers!

-Elder Holyoak 

My Great, Great, Great Grandad Marko Balen from Croatia

More England World Cup pride

Reminiscing at the Preston, England MTC

Preston, England Temple

Monday, June 18, 2018

Robin Hood and Teaching people about Jesus

Ey up everyone, It was a really smashing week! We did some missionary work with a soon to be missionary, had some crazy cool lessons with blokes from around the world, talked to some World Cup fanatics, and I had my last Zone Conference!
First off, yes I had my last Zone Conference! Time seems to be slipping through my fingers like crazy. We met at the Leeds Cross Gates chapel. I said hello and goodbye to loads of familiar faces. This conference was definitely one of my favorites! There were lots of laughs and spiritual stuff. Next month our mission is, as President Turvey jokingly says, "Conquering more of England!" Our mission is getting 3 more stakes south of us. We also had a testimony meeting where the new and departing missionaries bore their testimonies. I've known all of the Elders in my group since the MTC and I've served around quite a few of them.  All of us have grown so much! It's bonkers..... haha!
In the Worksop Ward currently there are some missionary age young men. One is on a mission in Australia, one leaves to Africa next month and one is getting his mission call this week. We took the one who is getting his mission call this week teaching with us. And we saw loads of cool miracles! We were on our way to meet up with him at the chapel to have a video lesson with an investigator and we bumped into another one of our friends who is Kurdish. So we walked with him to the church and gave him a tour around. He's proper bothered about the gospel. Later in the day we met on the street a really cool Spanish man that wanted a Book of Mormon from us. After that we had a mint lesson with our Romanian friend. He is still learning English so we had to use Google translate a bit in the lesson. He's very Christian and wants more light in his life as he says. When we talked about how Christ visited the people in the ancient Americas his eyes lit up and he said, "I didn't know that! Tell me more!" He's not only Christian, he's proper Christian! He read the New Testament in like 3 days. He was excited to read the Book of Mormon because he said that the bible has lots of prophecies about the latter days that he doesn't understand. One mind blowing things he told us in Google translate was, "In the Bible it says, "I will send Elijah in the Latter Days what does that mean?" That's the same Elijah who restored the sealing ordinances of the Temple! The only problem is that he works a lot, but we are going to help him to discover more for sure! We had some really cool lessons this week and we'll be continue teaching our new friends and getting them to church for sure!
We went to the Sherwood Forest to look for Robin Hood.  No such luck, but we got some smashing hats! (Picture below)

The World Cup started this week too. Loads of people are rocking their St. George's flags on their cars houses and especially pubs! I'm glad I'm on my mission during this football fanatic time of the year.... haha! People are a little bit more open to talk if you mention football. I'm buzzing for the other miracles that will happen for the rest of this transfer! I'm gonna make this last month count for sure. Here some pics from the week, Cheers!

-Elder Holyoak 

Soon to be a missionary ward member finding with us


Late Birthday from the States

England showing its World Cup pride

Sherwood Forest

Monday, June 11, 2018

Worksop M8!!

Ey up ducks!! That's what a couple of people have actually called me here in Worksop. This week was had a really funny lady yell at us, I got going home advice from President and Sister Turvey, and more!
It was a well nice first week in Worksop. Once I got all of my luggage sorted, I took a train from Newcastle to Sheffield and met Elder Legisma. We took another train to to Worksop and went directly to church to help with a funeral of one of the members. I obviously never met the man, but he sounded like a very Christlike example to his friends and families. After the service, we helped set up food and I got to know loads of members. Everyone was very warm and friendly. 
Worksop is a pretty small town south east of Sheffield. Currently it is the 2nd lowest point of the mission, but that will change with Norwich coming in the mission next month. This town reminds of serving in Bridlington with the small town feel, and a bit of Wakefield from all of the foreign people and outer villages. I've already talked to many Polish and Romanian people. Elder Legisma is from Laguna, Philippines. He's been on his mission for 2 transfers so I have the pleasure of follow up training him. He's 21 years old and is a convert to the church since he was 11 years old. He's a really hard working missionary and a cheeky monkey.
We had a funny experience when we were knocking the other day. Elder Legisma has started saying, "God loves you!" after every interaction with people we talk to. There was a woman we talked to that wasn't too bothered by us at all, but she told us to leave. So after Elder Legisma did his thing, she started yelling at us with words that you'd only hear in your local pub fight. Elder Legisma was a bit shaken up, but I couldn't help but laugh because it caught me so off guard.
Yes, I had a little going home meeting with everyone in my group this week. We met at the Leeds institute building. President and Sister Turvey trained us on how we can manage making plans for home and still finish our missions strong. They have so much love for us missionaries! They even gave us tips and tricks on marriage, which is really funny coming from your mission President.... haha. 
The work is a bit slow right now, but we are at the finding grind. Take care, hope everyone has a mint week!

-Elder Holyoak 

New companion Elder Legisma

Monday, June 4, 2018

American Summer kickoff and Transfers!

Ey up family and friends! This is gonna be a juicy update so buckle up. Transfer calls came, we went on some more exchanges, I got treated at Sister Thompson's again, we witnessed a Turkish baptism, and we had an American Summer kickoff!!
So, first off transfers calls came once again. I had no idea what to expect this time, but I am leaving! I moving to a little city called Worksop near Sheffield. I'm gutted to leave Newcastle and the Geordies, but I'm excited for the last stretch of this big adventure! I'm also getting reassigned to be a normal missionary, which means more time to do missionary work.... Woo! I'm super excited. My new companion is going to be Elder Lagisma from the Philippines. I love Filipino people. They're well nice. Elder Kearl is surprisingly getting transferred too. He's moving down to Huddersfield, right next to Wakey where I was living. In our mission we are getting 3 more stakes from the centre of England, Nottingham, Norwich and Leicester stakes next transfer. So there are lots of changes all around the mission. 
For this week's update I went on an exchange with Elder Edwards. We had a blast. Loads of finding and funny experiences. We were knocking at one point and found a Polish family. I learned how to say "How are you?" and "What is your name?" in Polish, so naturally that's what I asked. Then we got let in and taught them! We had a really good lesson with them, but unfortunately a day later we got a negative Facebook message from them telling us they weren't interested anymore. It was a really cool experience though.
For my exchange with Elder Gray, we did some finding in Walker on a the hottest and humid day of the year so far. We did a baptismal interview over in North Shields and of course we had to make a pit stop at the one and only Sister Thompson's home. She made us nice food and a birthday cake for me just a couple day after my birthday. Bless her! 
On Friday and Saturday, we had 2 big highlights for the week. A Turkish lady who was taught by the Newcastle sisters had her baptism and we had our ward party. The Turkish lady speaks very little English, so they actually Skyped in the Turkish speaking Elders who helped in the teaching process. These Elder initially were serving in the country of Turkey, but got reassigned to Germany as the mission in Turkey was closed because of government issues. They helped translate the entire baptismal service. There was such a sweet Spirit there. She said the entire time, "Thank you so much," and "I feel happy!" This gospel really is meant for everyone, we really all came from the same place and are brothers and sisters!
On Saturday was the ward activity and it was called, "The American Summer Kickoff!" It included many American originating games like Ultimate frisbee, Kickball, and Spikeball. We educated them on them on how to play all of those games that they've never heard of. It was a really cool mix of cultures. The members organized a series of minute to win in games and an American quiz, which I was rubbish at.... haha! I've never seen such a good turn out and an event run so smoothly that I've helped organize. It was a real success on building relationships, trust and excitement for missionary work with members, which I think every missionary craves in whatever unit they are serving in around the world. Loads of members brought their friends as well! Some new YSA aged friends came and will hopefully come to Institute with the new Elders in the area.
Aye it's been a propa canny week like. Ne more hearin them Geordies sayin, "Ha way man I divent want your boook! I'm gonin doon tun Worksop man, where they divint soond like this man." 

Translation: "Yes It's been another really good week. No more hearing the Geordie saying, C'mon man I'm not interested, I don't want your book! I'm going down to Worksop where they don't sound like this."
I'm proper excited for the future! Have a good week cheers!

-Elder Holyoak

Dinner at Sister Thompson's

Monday, May 28, 2018

Teaching in Chinese and Jousting!

Hey there, how are yous! These weeks are flying by and mushing
together, but it was a good week nonetheless. I shared the gospel with
Chinese people, turned 21, watched some jousting, and found a lot
more Geordies to teach!

It's mental that this transfer is already coming to an end. We'll
be getting transfer calls this Saturday. It's a strange feeling,
because this coming one will be my final one. So we will see where and
who the Lord places me with!

This week I was privileged with going on an exchange with the
Chinese Elders. And we did some Chinese finding. It was
loads of fun! I learned how to say, "I'm from America" in Chinese.
Every time I would say it, I would get a funny reaction. I took a
little video during my extravaganza of a day.

We are teaching a load of new people this week. So that means we
did a lot of finding this week. Elder Kearl and I are proper being led
by the Sprit, but it's just the matter of helping these people get to
church. Loads of lessons are lined up this week. I'll let you know how
it goes next week.

For P Day / my birthday, we went to Alnwick to watch jousting!! It
was ace! Nothing is better than having fun in the sun with your mates!
It's getting very difficult to email, but I hope yous have a brill
week, cheers!

-Elder Holyoak

-Happy Birthday jousting-

Watch the jousting

Saying, "I'm from America" in Chinese