Monday, September 26, 2016

Will I stay or will I go now?

     How's it going family and friends. Transfer calls were yesterday and I'm staying here in York with Elder Barney! Our district is going to look a lot different now, compared to our all sister district (sistrict). We have 3 teams of Elders and 1 team of sisters now. The two sets of Elders are in Harrogate, just west of York. 

     A lot of cool things happened this week including: doing family history for an anti-Mormon man and exchanges with the one and only Elder Shäffer! 

     This week has flown by. We had a district meeting on Wednesday and it was packed with Elders and Sisters. The sister training leaders, AP's, Zone leaders, and our district was there. Elder Barney presented a really good district meeting focused on finding. It was also a good chance to get to meet other people. On Thursday, we had exchanges with the zone leaders again. I had so much fun with Elder Shäffer! I look up to him so much! He's so genuine with people on the street and he's a wizard at talking with everyone. We worked in the York 2 area, which is basically the other half of York that I never get to see. We pretty much street contacted all day, which left me completely exhausted. We cheated a little though, because he had a car to get us around. English driving is so dodgy! The streets are really narrow and the left hand side still feels really awkward. It was so nice having a car for that day and giving the busses a break.  

     We talked to a lot of people going to Uni (college). One of them looked exactly like the Two Door Cinema Club lead singer. I wanted to get a picture with him, but he was in a rush. I had so much energy that night and I know that the Spirit was helping me out. I realized that day how missionary work is supposed to be done. Sometimes I feel like I'm no good at talking to people on the street, but I've learned to stop comparing myself to other missionaries and focus on growing every day. The difference between depending on my own abilities and help from the Spirit is so apparent.
     We have a lot of things coming up in the England Leeds Mission. Russell M. Nelson is coming to speak at an all mission conference on October 22nd. All mission conferences are really rare and only happen every other year. Being able to hear President Nelson speak in person is so amazing! Also, General Conference is coming up and I don't think that I've ever really looked forward to it until now. I'm really excited we're going to get together as a zone and watch it.

     One funny experience that happens this week was that a man came up to us really confrontational and telling us bad things about the church. We were just being patient and answering his questions without getting angry back at him. He then calmed down and asked us if we could see if he's related to a name that he had. He knew that we were into family history and the conversation turned completely around. We gave him a Book of Mormon and told him that we would check out the names that he gave us. That was a really good learning experience for me.

     I know that this post is a little longer, but there's one more thing that I totally forgot to mention and that is that we got a new investigator. Her name is Donna and she's living with her friend. They're both in there 30's. Donna instantly let us in when we were knocking on her street. We taught her the Plan of Salvation and the Spirit was so strong there. Then her friend came into the house while we were teaching. Her friend sounded a little interested. We're seeing Donna tomorrow at a park and I really hope that the teaching appointment goes through. James is still scheduled for his baptism on the 8th and we're still working on getting D to church. I love it out here in York! We have lots of teaching appointments this week and I'm excited to finally get teaching! I'll let you know how it goes. Cheers!

-Elder Holyoak

Elder Barney and I with the Sister Missionaries

British Mormons love The Osmonds

Sister Hickton's really big dog

Wilco - Kind of like our Walgreens

York Racecourse (Horse Races)

                  Funny picture floating around our mission of the General Primary Presidency                   totally owning their Power Ranger colored blazers.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Eye of the Tiger

     On this weeks agenda there were flying cars (Actual flying cars - I might have seen Harry and Ron up there!), the kids and the University students are back in school, and singing on the bus is a good finding approach.

     The weather this week has been really hot and as a result people on the street have been friendlier to us. It only rained once this week! I actually don't mind the rain to be honest. Elder Barney keeps telling me, "Just wait for the horizontal rain in the winter!" This Texan teases me all throughout the day and I'm getting the hang of English sarcasm gradually and I'm working on my cheeky side too. It's also been a really fun and successful week. We were over for dinner almost everyday this week which was really nice. For other meals, there's a fish and chip shop pretty close to our flat and there's a bap shop too. Baps are like a breakfast sandwich.

     The little lads and lasses are back in school now. Every age group of students have to wear a uniform up until they go to University, so now the missionaries don't stand out as much in public anymore. One night this week Elder Barney freaked out and pointed at the sky yelling, "Look it's a fetching flying car!" And sure enough it was. Apparently the really posh (rich) people here have them haha. It was funny seeing the shape of a plane with the headlights of a car. On our last P Day we took an in-depth tour of the York Minster Cathedral. It was really cool and I took some pictures.

     About the whole singing on the bus story..... So I was sitting on a packed bus with Elder Barney one day and randomly Eye of the Tiger came to my head. Naturally I started humming it, then singing it. I embarrassingly didn't notice that I was getting progressively louder. Suddenly I got cut off by the lady sitting next to us and she said jokingly, "I'm going to have that stuck in my head all day now." The humming and singing turned into a conversation starter with her. She didn't have any interest in religion, but I thought that was a funny story.

     We are still teaching James and D. D is progressing and I can feel it. We've decided to re-teach him the basics that apply to him. We had a really spiritual lesson about prayer with him yesterday.  He's been on my mind a lot recently. James is doing well too. He played hooky going to church yesterday and went to a vintage car show instead. He's really solid, but I hope that he still remembers what we've taught him.  Some more really exciting news is that we have 2 potential investigators that I are really solid and that we can definitely teach soon. Their names are Sandra and Kevin. Sandra is a single middle aged lady with 4 massive dogs and Kevin is a 25 year old who plays way too many video games. I've been relating to him with Call of Duty Zombies haha!

     Life is good! We get transfer calls on Sunday, so I'll let you know if I stay in York. More and more members keep getting in town. If anyone has funny or stupid finding approaches that I could use to get a British person's attention just let me know. I'll keep you updated on this Elder's mission next week. Peace out!

-Elder Holyoak

Inside York Minster Cathedral

Flying Car

Traditional English Breakfast - Beans on Toast

Monday, September 12, 2016

Elder Holly Oaks

     A few things that I've learned this week are:  I am now referred to as Elder Holly Oaks and there are Anti-Americans here in York, England.

     We've done about 10 hours of service this week for 3 different families. On Tuesday, we helped a lady named Emma clean out all of her "rubbish" in her spider infested garage. There are so many spiders here in England! Elder Barney says that none of them are poisonous, but I'm still sketched out. Emma helped volunteer with the church during a huge flood relief project in York last December. You can probably look  up the pictures of the flood online. It was a pretty crazy. Emma isn't an investigator, but she likes what the church does with service and helping other people. She thinks that there could be a God and I hope that we can prove that to her.

     The other 2 people that we did service for were members. We helped Sister Brown, a less active, knock down a brick wall in her backyard and we've been watering the Barton's flowers too. The Barton's are on Holliday in Scotland. Brother Barton is awesome! Elder Barney says that Brother Barton is one of the only English people that he's seen that owns weapons.

     At church yesterday a lot of the ward members got back into town from holiday. I was able to meet quite a bit more people. Most of the ward members that read my name tag said, "Hmmm... Elder Holly Oaks!" Hollyoaks is TV show here and everyone pronounces my name wrong haha. The whole confusion is ok though because it's a good conversation starter, especially on the street.

    There are so many stinking agnostic and atheist people here!  There's been a lot people we've talked to at doors and they say, "I'm a devout atheist and you can't change me mind." British people are very stubborn sometimes.

     I met my first Anti-American too! We were knocking in a neighborhood and Elder Barney and I saw a man walking across the street yelling at us. He was telling us, "Go back to America nobody wants you here!" Then a few English curse words later he was gone

     James our investigator is still scheduled to get baptized on October 8th, exciting! And we've been teaching another investigator, D.... . I couldn't get a picture with him, but he's a man in his 50's that is really into animals and physics. He lives by himself. Elder Barney has taught him the past couple months and they could never get him to go to church. At our last lesson with him, we committed him to go to church the following week! I really hope that he follows through. That's about all that I can think about to write this week.

Cheers, until next week! 
- Elder Holyoak (Holly Oak)

Brother Wilkinson

Brother Barton and Elder Barney

Brother Barton's back garden 

Mini Volkswagen Van

British Soap Opera "Hollyoaks"

Iceberger - not ice cream sandwich

2 pounds = $2.67 US

Monday, September 5, 2016

Kingdom of York March North

How's it going chaps! 

This week has been a very busy one. We had our York Zone Conference, I learned how to solve a Rubik's cube (finally), there were a couple baptisms in our zone and we met a lot of funny ward members. 

It was cool getting to know more missionaries at Zone Conference and listening to President Turvey. Elder Zeck, from my MTC district, was there too! The main message of the conference was working with ward members, which I find really important. It's been hard getting a hold of members and less actives because people are still on holiday in England, so I've been doing a lot of finding lately. 

One team of sisters in our district had a baptism this week! She's an awesome middle aged lady named Sharyl. The sisters borrowed my guitar and played it at her baptism too. 

I'm excited to get our investigator, James, to that stage. James is a really humble and friendly man. He's 49 and he lives with his mum. He's scheduled to be baptized on October 8th! He's currently our sole investigator, but Elder Barney and I don't get discouraged. We're going to find more people to teach! 

There's a ward member that we see a couple times a week in a retirement home. His names Norman Wilkinson. He's a deaf man in his 90's and he's also the ward mission leader's dad. When we visit him, he's always watching the tele with the subtitles on and turns around enthusiastically and yells, "Helloooo!" The other people in the home complain sometimes because he's so loud when he's talking to us. We communicate with him by typing on an iPad and showing him. He's really "cheeky" as the English people say. He loves talking about his children and making fun of America. He talks a lot during quiet sacrament meetings too haha! I'll make sure to get a picture with him next week.

It's been a really good week and I'm definitely getting in the swing of things. Here are some Yorkshire words of the week : Brolly (Umbrella), Cling Film (Saran Wrap), Mince Beef (Ground Beef), Pram (Stroller) I'll make sure to give more later. I don't know who checks this blog, but I hope that life is good over there in Utah!  

Cheers! -Elder Holyoak

Holgate Windmill

Elder Zeck and I

York Zone - Zone Conference

 My ride

Elder Shäfer from Switzerland
(Video works better on a computer, than a phone.)