Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Christmas in York

No official email this week, because Elder Holyoak Skyped with his family.
He is doing amazing and LOVES his mission and the people of England.

Make sure that you scroll down and watch his Christmas Zone Conference videos.  You won't be disappointed!

Skyping with my Family

Boxing Day and I got a bargain Suit

Christmas Zone Conference Videos


Monday, December 19, 2016

Merry almost Christmas

Merry almost Christmas from England Everyone! It's been another mint week here in York. We got to hear more from President Kearon, we were in contact with C again (the foot lady), we had a chapel tour with Uni kids, and a ward member took us to a farmers market.

We had a meeting with President Kearon again this week. He is such an awesome General Authority! His mum passed away a week before he came and talked with us and he was still excited about helping us with missionary work. He talked a lot about thriving in adversity and choosing to be happy. He's been a really good example for me to look up to.

We were in contact with C again! She's been reading the Book of Mormon and she said that she likes it a lot. She told us that she's having a homeless man over for Christmas. D is doing really good. We have a Christmas present for him (large print Book of Mormon).

This week Brother Cosens invited University students to have a little Q and A and a chapel tour. They're taking a religious education course and it was a lot of fun teaching them in such an open situation. 

And finally President Kimberling took us to a food market after he went teaching with us. I got to try mince pie and other British Christmas food. It's been a really fun and action packed week out here. Our zone is practicing for our mission Christmas party talent show, so I need to go. I love you all! 

-Elder Holyoak

Monday, December 12, 2016

I'm staying in York for Christmas!

How's it going everyone. This week we painted a member's kitchen, we double knocked some doors, we met a lady who joined the church in Cyprus, and the blessed transfer calls came again and...

I'm staying in York for another 6 weeks! I was super relieved because I really wanted to stay here for Christmas and the work has especially been going really good lately. There were only a couple of missionaries that got moved in the zone this transfer. But yeah, the work is going really well and people are a lot friendlier on the streets. Just a quick change that I have to make to the blog is that here in Europe, people are really sensitive and I can get in trouble if I post something about them without them knowing. So I'm gonna have to stick with the first letters when I talk about anyone who isn't a ward member to stay safe. 

On Thursday we painted Liz Brown's kitchen. I really enjoyed just listening to Christmas music and doing some service. Her 12 year old son was in the other room playing Skate 3 and yelling at the tele as well. It was a lot of fun! 

A different day this week, Elder Peña and I were knocking and we saw a door that someone had left their keys in. So we knocked on it and we met a super nice lady named R in her 20s and we talked about the Christmas video on the Church's website. She told us, "Oh wow! So God's online now." She had a really funny sense of humor and we left her a Christmas card. Then after we left, Elder Peña said that we needed to go back and give her a Book of Mormon. So that's what we did. We went back and gave her one and taught her about the Plan of Salvation. 

We met Trisha this week too. She joined the church in Cyprus a couple months ago. She was telling us how she's been investigating the church for 50 years and that she finally decided to join and be baptized in the Mediterranean Sea. Haha! She's such a funny lady. She lives in York and in Cyprus during different times of the year. 

I can't believed that Christmas is in just 2 weeks!! The missionary Christmas party is next week and Elder Peña and I are planning something big for it.  I'll let you guys know once it happens haha! Life is gr8 m8s! D keeps coming to church and F can't wait to keep learning more! I love all of the lads and lasses that are reading this and I hope that Utah is nice and snowy, because there's no snow in York! 

Cheers again from Elder Holyolyokie!

My new coat

Monday, December 5, 2016

Feliz Navidad familia y amigos!

Feliz Navidad familia y amigos! It's been a mint week here in York. The ward Christmas party happened, Elder Peña got to speak Spanish to two families and we started teaching Josh's girlfriend.

Hi, are you alright everyone! The ward Christmas party was this Saturday. It was a nice break partying it up with the ward members. I got a picture with Father Christmas (Santa), did some Zumba and ate English sweets! It was also a great thing to bring investigators to. James' mother came and now I know for sure that he's getting baptized at the end of this month!

This week we had tea with the Cosens and the Trochez families. Both of them are Spanish speaking families, so almost the entire time over there they spoke Spanish. Elder Peña was a bit thrown off, because he didn't expect to be speaking Spanish the majority of the time. With it being in Spanish, I only understood bits and pieces of the conversations. The Trochez family is less active. They are such an awesome family and they have a daughter that's 8 years old that isn't baptized, so we're gonna get on that!

With the Church's new Christmas video, we've been challenged to share it 10 times a day. English people are always in a rush, but when they have 2 minutes to spare we almost always get a return appointment with them. The Christmas lights are going up around the city and downtown York is getting more and more busy. 

The highlight of my week was definitely teaching Freya (Josh's girlfriend). She's 16 and she's always excited to meet with us. We've taught her twice and she's getting baptized on the 23rd of December. We told her that she's receiving the best gift that anyone could give, the gift of the Holy Ghost! I'm so excited for her! After we taught her and Josh the first time, Josh let me play around on his electric guitar for a little while we ate pizza. Elder Peña and I have had so many little miracles happen to us throughout the week. We're going bowling in an area in our zone called Selby today for P Day. So like always, I'll talk to ladies and gents later! 

Elder Holyoak

Father Christmas 

Bowling in Selby

Eating real food in our flat

Monday, November 28, 2016

Christmas Caroling

Hello from Foggy England,

This week has been a week of Christmas Caroling, Zone Conference, Jehovah Witness fun, and D getting off Tea.

On Saturday we went Christmas Caroling in King's Square.  It was a lot of fun and really cold! We set up a booth for the Church's Christmas promo and we handed out cards and Books of Mormon. We sang mostly Church Christmas hymns.

Zone conference was on Thursday in Billingham. We had the North part of the mission together, so the Sunderland, Billingham, and York zone's were there. I saw Elder Barney again, so that was pretty cool! Elder Peña pointed out all of the people that he knew and had served with. I saw my old Zone leader Elder Iacapo there as well. It was a really good spiritual meeting and I learned a lot about how to teach better using the Spirit. Also, we had Subway for Thanksgiving dinner.

I went on an exchange with the Scottishman's new companion Elder Corpuz from Manila, Philippines in Harrogate. Harrogate is a very Americanized city. We had lasagna at an American family's house while we were there. It was a fun exchange. Elder Corpuz is a really mellow guy, that is super motivated to work. I liked Harrogate. It's about a 40 minute train ride from York. While I was on exchanges, we knocked on a really energetic Jehovah's Witnesses door. He shared with us from his confusing scriptures and we shared Maroni's promise.

We had another lesson with D this week. We taught him about the Word of Wisdom. When we started teaching him, he told us that he was already trying to get off of tea! He loved the Primary Program and said that he's coming back to church. Another really cool thing happened here in York on Sunday. After church Josh the same young man that baptized Shawn, came up to us. His girlfriend isn't a member and he told us that she wants to take lessons from us. We're seeing them both on Wednesday! I hope you all have a great week. Cheerio!

 -Elder Holyoak

North Zone Conference

Caroling in King's Square

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Planting Trees

Hey everyone! This week we planted trees with an interfaith group, practiced Christmas caroling, jump started the Bishop's car, and we found more people to teach! It's been getting cooler and rainier the more we get into the winter over here in York. We had a zone training this week and the church is launching a thing in December called "Light the world". We're going Christmas caroling at King's square in downtown York this Saturday. It should be a really good experience.

On Tuesday a ward member, Mark Cosens, invited all of the missionaries in York to a planting trees service project with his interfaith group. It was cool meeting people of other faiths and just planting trees. We planted over 500 trees in Rawcliffe Park!

After church yesterday, the Bishop's daughter left the light on in their car and the battery was dead. So, Elder Peña and I jump starter his car by pushing it down the parking lot in 2nd gear. I've never done that with a stick shift car before. After we helped him out, he invited us over for tea. 

This week has been awesome for finding new people to teach! One day when we were knocking doors, we met a lovely lady named Claire and her 2 young boys. When we walked up to her door to knock on it, I saw her feet propped up through the window expecting her to see us through the door and ignore us. But, she greeted us warmly and said that she would love to hear our message. We gave her a Book of Mormon and she said that she was definitely going to read it. We're going to see her tomorrow and I'm so excited! 

Another miracle that happened this week was that D came to church! He's becoming less and less anxious about getting baptized and he gotten to know the Bishop really well.  It's been a brilliant week and I'm just so grateful to be out here! I love you all and happy Thanksgiving, even though they don't celebrate it over here.

-Elder Holyoak

Planting trees at Rawcliffe Park

Always "scoop the poop"


Elder Tobler and Elder Zeck

Monday, November 14, 2016


Hey family and friends,

This week I said a movie style goodbye with my mission father, we had to Skype the other half of our district in Harrogate, Trump, and my first week with my new companion Elder Peña.

Elder Barney is up in South Shields now. When we dropped him off at the station on Tuesday, we said our goodbyes in a very dramatic way. When he was inside the train, he looked at me through the window and put his hand on the glass. And naturally I ran up to his train and touched my hand back to his. We watched Tarzan the other week. Haha, we'll probably end up seeing each other during the mission Christmas party, but I'm gonna miss the loud Texan.

This week has been my first week with the man, the myth, the legend, Elder Peña from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He's a Spanish speaking basketball pro! I've been having a lot of fun trying to learn and communicate with him using the Spanglish that I know. He lived in Las Palmas, Spain for 2 years and played basketball before he left on his mission. I've been teaching him how to play guitar and he's been teaching me how to speak Spanish. 

District meetings are now going to be in Harrogate, so this Wednesday we were supposed to be taking a train there but it was snowing! The snow barley stuck on the ground, but apparently it was enough to delay the train. So we Skyped the Harrogate boys. Elder Campbell (my new district leader) opened the meeting with, "How's it going everybody, it's a been a pretty crazy day. It's snowing, we're Skyping, and Trump won the election!" Haha, yes it's everywhere here! Like I said before, the English people on the streets would much rather talk about Trump than Jesus. But it definitely is making it so we can talk to more people.

It's been a really good week of finding people to teach. I'll let you know how our future lessons go. We met a man in his 30s that I was able to talk about Pink Floyd with and we met a man from Gambia that sounded really excited to hear more from us! Also, we scheduled D for baptism and he said that he would love to come to church with us next week! I love you all! Cheers!

-Elder Holyoak

Final goodbyes at the train station

My new companion Elder Peña 

Boys in the Hood

Monday, November 7, 2016


     Hi you alright ladies and blokes? This week includes transfers, Bon Fire Night, Shawn's baptism, and England going bonkers over the Presidential Election. 

     Transfer calls came in on Sunday and ............. I'm STAYING in York! Elder Barney is leaving and going to South Shields, so I won't be living with the Texan anymore. My new companion, who I'll meet tomorrow, is Elder Penya from The Dominican Republic!! That's all that I know about him, but I'll be meeting up with him tomorrow and that's exciting! I'm really happy that I'm staying in York, because I feel like I'm just getting into the swing of things over here. So who knows, maybe I'll be here for Christmas, maybe not though. Haha!

     Bon fire night was on Saturday night this week. It's a big Holiday here in England. We had to be in our flat by 6 again, but I could hear and see a lot of the fireworks out the window. With our 3 hours off that night, we ordered Dominos Pizza and watched Meet the Mormons.

     Shawn's baptism was this week!! It was cool to see her get baptized by Josh Kimberling, one of the 16 year old priests in the ward. Shawn is such a character. When she was walking into the room with her baptismal clothes on she whispered to us, "I feel like I'm going to prison with this white jumpsuit!" There's a new rap that she's working on, the Joseph Smith rap haha! But in all seriousness, it was a really peaceful and spiritual baptism. I felt so happy when I saw Josh and Shawn's faces after she came out of the water. It was mint! I really hope that her two little girls will be able to get baptized in the future.

     I hear that elections are tomorrow in America?! I know that I'm pretty much separated from the world's media, but I can't avoid this crazy election. It's everywhere in the newspapers and on tele screens here. I'm just glad that it will be over soon, so that English people will stop bringing it up!

     The area book planner is out and everyone is adjusting into it. We were thinking about burning our old area book for Bon Fire Night, but we're weren't finished transferring it over yet. 

     It's been a pretty cold and windy week over here in Old York. The leaves keep falling and the rain keeps coming down. It's a good time. We're still teaching D and he's progressing. I really hope that Elder Penya and I can help him come to church. Anyways, love you like anyways. The church is true, the book is blue, and God's a Mormon too. That's a partially true statement from Elder Barney haha. 

Love you all Cheers!

Shawn's Baptism

It's cold here in York, England

Trainer pass-a-long tie

Wow! 1000 pounds = $1239.65

Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween from the York Elders

     Happy Halloween everyone! This week I did a bit of trunk or treating at the church, I met a man that claims he could track his ancestors back to Adam and Eve, and the Poppy celebration is coming up.

     Today is supposedly the spookiest day of the year, so we have to be in our flats by 6:00 tonight. We're going to do a deep clean and Elder Barney and I are gonna carve pumpkins during that time too. On Wednesday, York 1 had a trunk or treat in the church parking lot. We were hoping to be able to get some of the people that we've been teaching there, but they couldn't make it. There were also a bunch of mini games going on in the gym. I did a bit of moonwalking to Michael Jackson. It was great!

     I went on exchanges with the amazing zone leader, Elder Shäffer! I always learn a lot from him, while doing missionary work with him. We met with a York 2 member and he talked to us about using family history in finding investigators. He has made a pedigree chart back to Adam and Eve! I was a bit skeptical, but he claimed that he used royal lineage and biblical lineage. It took in 146 generations. Elder Shäffer and I were knocking doors that day and we had a lesson with a man named Peter. He's a Uni (University) student. Too bad he's in the York 2 area, because I was really looking forward to teaching him in the future. He said yes to baptism though.

     Poppy season is next month and English people are really into it. Most people in the streets are wearing this red flower to celebrate the veterans from WWII. Albert Hickton, sister Hickson's dad's funeral is this Wednesday. A lot of the missionaries are going to sing at it. We've been seeing the Hickton's a lot lately and they're such amazing people.

     Transfer calls are next Sunday and everyone keeps saying that I'll probably stay here in York and Elder Barney will leave. We'll see. I'll let you guys know. 

Love you all -Elder Holyoak

S. T. George

This is a funny guy we met on the street.  
No story, except that he was a little drunk, but he loves Mormon's!

Trunk or Treat

Signs you see around for Poppy Pride

Monday, October 24, 2016

Proper Mint Week

     How's it going everyone! This week has been "Proper Mint" as British people say. I was able to teach the 11 year olds in the ward, shake Russell M. Nelson's hand, and have tea (dinner) with the York 1 Sister Missionaries investigator Shawn.

     On Wednesday my mission President came to our district meeting. I got interviewed by President Turvey and his wife. They're both amazing people.  My trainer and I both think that President Turvey is so mellow and very loving. I'm really happy that I have him as my Mission President. 

     On Saturday, we had our Mission Conference. All of the missionaries in the England Leeds Mission came to the Huddersfield (near Leeds) chapel. I was able to see a bunch of the people that I came out with from the MTC there too! We listened to Russell M. Nelson and other General Authorities from the 70 speak. And yes, I shook President Nelson's hand and so did the other 206 missionaries in the mission right when he came in haha. It was a really spiritual experience for me. I was sitting in the third row from an apostle! He spoke with such a loving tone of voice. He had an actual sense of humor too. He joked around about how he's been making his way up the authorities in the church as the people above him were dying. The other speaker that I remember was Patrick Kearon of the 70. He's over the British Isles and some of the other European countries. He spoke about all of the aid that the church is giving to the 75 million refugees in Europe. He also told us to tell our families back home that, so there you go haha.

     On Thursday I got the chance to teach some of the 8-11 year olds in the ward about missionary work. Elder Barney and I brought Twinkies and Gummies to reward the kids. It was a nice change from missionary work to be teaching future missionaries. Bishop Plumridge, in our ward, came to the lesson too and talked about the fun and spiritual experiences of his mission. At the end of the lesson, we had a competition on who could solve the Rubix Cube the fastest. I lost to Elder Barney by 2 seconds, I was pretty bummed.

     On Wednesday we had tea over at the Sister Missionaries investigator Shawn's house. Shawn is a women in her mid 20s from the ghetto south part of London, so she's got a bit of a cockney accent. She is getting baptized on November 5th and she is hilarious! After stake conference on Sunday, Russell M. Nelson spoke there also, Shawn gave us a gospel rap. When we were over at her place, we gave her a lesson with her 2 year old bouncing all over the place.

     I wish that we could be giving more lessons to people, but we have been getting a lot of potential investigators lately. I'll let you know if we schedule in the future. The ward is really good. I went to one of the ward member's funeral and the people that spoke there were full of the spirit. I've learned so much this week and I can't wait to keep working! Love you all cheers! 

-Elder Holyoak

President Russell M. Nelson 

Elder Barney and I after hearing President Nelson

MTC friends - Elder Ramirez and Elder Zeck

Bonus for Apple devices - "Gospel Rap"

Monday, October 17, 2016

You alright gents!

     Hello family and friends across the pond. This week I was caught zip lining at the park by a ward member, the rock Church of England has been jamming out at night, and a crazy less active lady told us that we can communicate with dead ancestors during Halloween.

     It's been a good one this week and it's crazy how I only have 3 more weeks of being trained. Transfers are on November 8th and I'll most likely be getting a new companion. According to the trends, Elder Barney says that missionaries leave their trainers after 12 weeks. 

     This past week, when I was on exchanges with Elder Davies from Sandwich England, we walked past a mini zip line at a playground. A ward member saw me going on it and thought that I was skiving around (avoiding work). Elder Davies took a video of me but the Harrogate Elders aren't at the York chapel this P-day.

     There's a Church near us called The Rock of York. I haven't personally heard any music coming from it, but Elder Barney says that at night loud rock music does. (I thought of dads mission when he said that.) Throughout the week, we've been going through the ward list and knocking on addresses of people who were baptized in the church, but are no longer active. We talked to a lot of people who had joined the church over 20 years ago, but weren't interested in coming anymore. There was a lady we met that was baptized 13 years ago and she said that she now has her own beliefs. She advised us to speak with our dead relatives this Halloween. She also said all sorts of other confusing things that she was pretending to reference from the Bible.

     The highlight of my week was definitely doing service for Sister Hickton. (Mom probably saw the pictures on Facebook.) We cleaned up her front garden by trimming her bushes down and trimming grass and weeds. She's such an awesome lady and as an Elders Quorum in York 1 we're planning on cleaning her back garden as well. 

     Our Mission Conference is this Saturday and we're going to Huddersfield. Everyone is really excited to hear from President Russell M. Nelson. He is speaking at the same building that I go to church in every Sunday.  He will be speaking the day after our York Stake Mission Conference. Yesterday, this past Sunday, was a very good day. I felt like my talk went really well and we brought the sacrament to the Turvers at their home. It reminded me of how we would do this in Priests Quorum back home all of the time.

     We haven't been able to have another lesson with our new investigator Donna, but we've been keeping in touch with her. The man D, that we've been teaching, was able to do a church tour. He still has a lot of anxiety about going to church, but he said that he wanted to come and see President Nelson on Sunday! We put James' baptism on hold, but he's still coming to church. It's been rough having so many appointments not go through, but we're still pushing through and not giving up. Thanks again everyone for all of your support! Cheers!

 -Elder Holyoak

Pruning Sister Hickton's bushes 
(From Facebook-Thanks Sister Hickton for posting pictures.)

The Rock Church (or Rock and Roll Church)

The Trinity Church - Notice it leaning a bit to the left into the ground

We found this 12th century wall while walking down the street.

 The Double Decker and the Carmel Wafer Biscuits are my favorite.

I've been doing a bit of family history on Family Search. This is George Eli Holyoak. Born near Birmingham, England. Some people in the ward are 3 generations back from the first convert in their family. I'm a 7th generation! So my great great great grandpa was baptized on December 3, 1841. (Almost 175 years ago!) I've really had an interest in this lately, because a lot of ward members are into it.

Video bonus for those with iPads or Apple devices