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 

Monday, October 10, 2016

October 10th York Update

     This week I had exchanges with a Scotsman, I saw a cool Medieval Knight Armour collection, and witnessed preparations for York Bon fire night.

     It's been another speedy week here in York. Time is flying by so fast! On Tuesday, I went on exchanges with the new Harrogate Elders in our mission. I was with Elder Campbell for the day. He's from Dundee, Scotland. I had a blast with that short ginger lad, haha. It was cool because he trained in the York area.  He said that it was a really nostalgic day for him seeing all of the ward members and places that he started his mission with. I taught our investigator D with him too. We're giving D a chapel tour this fortnight (within the next 14 days). We also taught the Hickton's and we saw Sister Hickton's dad the day before he peacefully passed away.

     It's been a difficult week for the York 1 ward. Two people have passed away and a 90 year old lady is having hip surgery. We had a really humbling day Sunday. I could feel the spirit a lot as people bore their testimonies during church. Next week, I have to speak in church on gratitude. Elder Barney said sarcastically, "You should just be so grateful that you have a chance to speak." This actually will be good for me, since I need to work on my public speaking anyways.

     The iPad Area book planner app hasn't come out yet and it's funny because the mission is completely out of the paper planners. The missionaries have had to plan their days on pieces of papers. The app better come out soon! 

     One day this week, while we were knocking doors, a man answered the door with a bunch medieval stuff behind him. He let us in and gave us a tour of his collection. It was pretty awesome and I took pictures.

     Also, there's a celebration coming up called York Maze Bon Fire Night. It is in honor of Guy Fawkes and will be on November 5. Fireworks are being loaded up in all of the stores getting ready for this big celebration.  It has been very hard to avoid talking about politics during this election season. Trump's face is on all of the newspapers and I don't even wanna get caught up in all this rubbish political drama.  

     Later this Monday, we have a lesson with Donna. I'm going on exchanges with Elder Davies from the South of England after sport P day, so wish us luck with her.  James' baptism was moved back another week, but we're still working with him closely. October is going to be a busy month of exciting things and I'll keep you guys updated on it. I've been hearing a lot about crazy people dressing up as clowns going door to door scaring people. Hopefully it doesn't effect our door knocking. 

Thanks for all of your support! Cheers!
-Elder Holyoak

Sightseeing in York

Elder Campbell and Peter

Medieval Armour discovered while door knocking

Delicious "low fat" dinner

The cake we baked for Sister Hickton to help cheer her up.

Custard Cremes - The Oreos of England

Monday, October 3, 2016

Another week in the blessed kingdom of York!

     Hey up mates! It's Elder Holyoak with another weekly update from York.  I'm not the youngest in the district anymore,  I'm learning how to cook from Chef Barney, and a big change to the England Leeds Mission is about to happen.
     The cold British fall is slowly creeping in over here. I've been pulling out my fleece jacket on some days and Elder Barney has already started talking about Christmas. He wants me to go out caroling with my guitar.  His mom bought me a guitar strap, so I might actually use that in the future as a finding approach. We'll see though. 

     We had our first district meeting this Wednesday with the new missionaries. I can't remember everyone's name at this point, but one of them that I've been talking to is Elder Campbell from Scotland.  He has the exact same hair color as Colin.  I'll get a picture with him later.  His trainee is Elder Hughes from Kentucky. They both have entirely different accents and it's pretty funny!

     Lately Elder Barney has been teaching me how to cook. Some of my experiences talking with other missionaries relating to cooking has been rubbish. Elder Barney, however, actually cooks food and doesn't just microwave frozen stuff. I've been trying to learn as much as I can before one of us gets transferred. He gave me his prosperity tie, which was handed down from his trainer. I'm gonna get him to sign my guitar too before I leave him. But for now, I have at least 5 more weeks with him and I'm going to make the most of it!

    Big news here in the England Leeds Mission. Daily missionary planners and all Area books are going completely digital on the iPad. We're making the transition this week and a lot of missionaries are complaining, because they like their paper planners. In my opinion this is a good idea, because everything will be backed up on the server and the iPad and papers will not get lost anymore. Also, the area book is connected to a GPS. That means every person with a teaching record will show up on the map. The only problem is that we need to type in every hand written record onto the iPad very tediously. But in the long run, I'm excited for this change.

     We are officially baptizing James on October 15th!! We had trouble scheduling his interview, but it's all set and I'm excited!! He's been speaking with his mum about it and we're really hoping that she'll come to his baptism. We weren't able to see D this week, but we're staying in contact with him. Donna has been sick, but she is still determined to meet with us and she phoned us saying, "Don't forget about me! Don't forget about me!" She is a really promising investigator. It's been difficult to get lessons in this week, but that's ok because we're still motivated to keep trying.

     General conference was really good!  It was fun being with the zone and the faithful members of our wards. It means a lot more watching conference as a missionary and I felt that a lot of the talks were directed to missionary work. In a couple weeks we'll get to hear from Russell M. Nelson in the York stake as well. Anyways, I'm loving it out here in the "walled city" they call York. Talk to you next week. Cheerio!

-Elder Holyoak

Learning to cook, Texas Style

Practicing my Christmas tunes

Our grocery store (like Target) and a Rainbow.

Not KFC, but MFC (My Favorite Chicken)

Who knew that Aidan was a Saint and had his own church?