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