Monday, August 28, 2017

Mi...mi...mi...miracles!

Way ay champions! It's been a really good start of the transfer this week. I chilled with an English bloke, Newcastle won in football, a man let us into his home then kicked us out, and some proper miracles have happened with Justin and James!
     
It's day 6 of living with an Englishman. I'm still somehow alive from all of the sarcasm and cheeky comments. Haha.... Elder Davies and I are doing well. I was right on how close he is to going home, he has 11 more weeks so time is ticking down and I'll probably kill him off. Davies is a good experienced missionary. He's from down souf(south) like I was saying, in a city near Dover, England. He just had a baptism in his last area, Keighley near Leeds, so he's super pumped to work!
     
On Saturday, Newcastle beat Westham and everyone was wearing their Newcastle Jerseys. Apparently, the culture here is when they win, they literally wear their jerseys for the entire week, even after the game. Newcastle has got some pride haha!
     
So a funny quick story for you. Elder Davies and I were knocking and this man answered his door and yells at us and tells us that he doesn't want to buy anything that we're flogging, then Elder Davies told him, "Are we asking for a price?" Then the guy let us in and asked for our views on some topics, then kicked us out. At least we gave him a Book of Mormon though. 
     
Justin's baptism is this Saturday and we are all super excited! We only need to make the programs and we'll be ready. It's always worth the effort on helping someone to experience the blessings of baptism! 

Another miracle we've seen this week is teaching James. He's a 14 year old and he took the lessons before I came to North Shields. His family got back from Florida last week and he's all of a sudden really interested. So we set a baptismal goal for him for the 9th of September. We've been teaching him every day this week and he's really enjoying it! We showed him the "Dare to be a Mormon" video from good old Tommy Monson and he loved it! So overall a good week! We've got Zone Conference tomorrow, so I'm gonna get stoked on coconuts about missionary work some more. 

Take care and cheers! (Forgot to take pics, but I'll get some next week!

-Elder Holyoak 


video
British Elder Davies trying to speak with an American accent.

Monday, August 21, 2017

AC/DC and transfer calls

Hey everyone, this week was the end of probably the fastest transfer in my mission. We met the legendary Martin, everything is set up for Justin's baptism next month, we had a mint Priesthood BBQ and transfer calls have come in and I have some new changes.
     
So I'll just tell you what happened with transfer calls right off the bat. I will be staying in North Shields and getting a new companion. It's always a big transition leading an area and getting a new companion, but I'm pretty use to this stuff now. I really will miss Elder Anderson though. He is actually going down to Bridlington. Funny huh, so I'm prepping him haha. My new companion tomorrow with be Elder Davies from Kent, England. That's right, I'm getting my first English companion! I've actually met Elder Davies before. He was in my district when I was being trained. It should be really good.  The bloke has 12 more weeks left in his mission I hear, so I'm gonna do my best to make it count for him!
     
There are some changes in the district, as well, that I'll tell you guys about next week once I properly meet the new peeps. But I do know, that I'll be getting an Italian Elder and a Kiwi Sister! Also, with the Zone Leaders in my zone, I'll be getting a new one. It's going to be Elder Kull. He's the German guy from my last district and he's the best! 
     
Now I'll tell you lads and lasses about the legendary Martin. Elder Anderson and I were knocking our hearts away in an area called Wallsend, and we saw this bloke outside of his house wearing an AC/CD t-shirt. So naturally I went up to him and started talking to him about music. He told us that he had a Jesus painting in his house and we asked him if we could come in and see it. And sure enough, as we walked in there was the Jesus painting along with a sweet Fender guitar and also some John Wayne China plates. After he let us in, we started teaching him and he explained to us how he wants change in his life and to surround himself with good people. So we left a Book of Mormon with him and made a baptismal goal and left. Then we taught him again on Saturday. I love getting blessed with second lessons! We mainly focused on what church is and what it's going to be like for him tomorrow. Then he played his guitar for us. He played Highway to Hell and paused for a second and said, "That's not one for the Mormons is it... haha." And we all bursted out laughing! Martin's a super genuine guy and I'm really hoping that we'll be able to teaching him again this week since we haven't seen him since Saturday.
     
We had to move Justin's baptismal date back to the 2nd of September. We have all of his paperwork finished and the program done as well. That will be a good day. One more cool thing happened this week, we had a Priesthood breakfast BBQ on the beach. It was a really good way for me to get to know the men in the ward better, because Elder Anderson knows everyone really well from being here for 7 months. 
      
So yes, lots of changes are happening and the work is going really well! I'm excited to see what the future holds and what the Lord puts in my path these next 6 weeks. I hope that anyone who's reading this has a terrific week and I will talk to you later, cheers!

Elder Holyoak

Some of the amazing North Shields ward members.

Book of Mormon play advert.  We're famous!

Martin, jamming out!

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