About myanko92

I'm the oldest sister of Stephen Houseknecht! I love words and writing, music, sewing, and spending time with my awesome family. Whether we're idly chatting, doing creative projects together, or working, life with them is always a party!! I'm super excited for Stephen as he serves his mission~ XD

Week 90 – Leaving Nago

Transfer calls have come and what a surprise!
After only one transfer with Elder Baker… (and one week as a trio) I’m transferring.
I’ll be going to Izuka City in Fukuoka prefecture!

This week was a blast!  Honestly, our ‘awkward trio’ was one of the most fun companionships I’ve been in.  Not too much happened this week, we just knocked on doors and met a lot of people.

I’ll honestly be pretty sad to leave Nago and this companionship, but I’m sure there’s something I need to do or learn in Izuka.  I told Elder Baker today that every transfer has a purpose, it’s not just random.  I think life’s the same way.  Everywhere we go and everyone we meet, there’s something for us to learn or someone for us to help.
God sends us companions, or friends, or family, or total strangers to be ‘angels’ in our lives, and sometimes asks us to be one of those ‘angels,’ too.  Those opportunities are something to be grateful for.

Have a great week and do something nice for someone today!  I love you all!!
Elder Houseknecht

P.S. One more thought for this week:  “Whose needs am I really trying to meet?”
This transfer I’m trying to focus on charity and humility, especially by focusing on the needs of others.  I’ve found that when I focus only on myself, it’s easy to get discouraged and want to give up, but when I focus on others I feel motivated and I really feel like God is supporting me.  This question helps me keep perspective.



Week 85 – New companion, new calling

Hey everyone! How’s life?
I hope the weather is nice wherever you are.  It’s been rather chilly
the past few days, but it seems like it’s starting to warm up.

This week was full of goodbyes and hellos.  Elder Aoki is going
home so we…basically went out to eat every day.

Also, Elder Mizukawa is leaving…to Okinawa City!  So we’re still in the same zone and we’ll probably see each other pretty often.

We also went to the beach and took goodbye photos with Elder Aoki.  Elder Brinkerhoff still doesn’t know his trainer went home…  We told him Elder Aoki became zone leader in Fukuoka. 😅  I wonder when he’ll find out…
Elder Brinkerhoff and I are staying.  Elder Brinkerhoff gets a new companion, and I’m training.  Yep.  My companion is coming in straight from the MTC!

So I went up to Fukuoka to pick up my new companion (and get trained on how to train) with the other trainers from Okinawa, and we had a blast!  My new companion is Elder Baker from Maryland.  He’s half Korean, and his Japanese is pretty good!

That’s about all we did this week, other than some basketball dendou [missionary work]!

It was way sad to say goodbye, but I’m way excited to see what happens this transfer! Love you all!
Elder Houseknecht

Week 76 – Transfers!!

Well, I got the news, and I’m transferring!  Actually, I’m going to
Okinawa, to a little town called Nago.  Crazy thing–that’s where Elder
Means just came from! 😶😲

Anyway, as for the week–
We had our second/last district meeting! This time everyone actually made it… And I got to go dendou with this awesome Brazilian–
Elder Miranda! He’s literally just been in Japan for three weeks, but he’s a super hard worker and it was a lot of fun!

We also got to do an unplanned service project and helped an old woman clean up this park…

And had our ‘last supper’ as it were… Chicken nanban, of course!

Not that we knew I was transferring at the time, haha!

Spiritual thought for the week: It’s really true that God’s love changes our hearts, and that the more we think of God, the more our hearts and wills align with His.

Anyway, that was about it!  I love you all and hope you have a great week!
Elder Houseknecht

Week 67 – Transfers and all that jazz

Well this was rather unexpected. 😶 Not only am I transferring, but
I’m going back to the Kagoshima zone! 😱

I am SO excited!! I literally passed right through my third area on the way in!  I am now in the small city of Miyakonojo.  It’s definitely less rural than my other areas I’ve been in, haha!

Unfortunately I haven’t taken any pictures yet… We have a ton of people we’re working with, and we’re meeting a lot of new people too, so it’s just been crazy getting settled in. It was a little sad saying goodbye to Elder Gass and leaving Yatsushiro, but my new companion Elder Hansen is way cool and the members here are great!

Quick spiritual thought for today:  I loved President Nelson’s emphasis on joy in his General Conference talk*!  It’s really true that obedience is the only way to find real joy!!

*’Joy and Spiritual Survival’, by President Russell M. Nelson, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (see the November 2016 Ensign issue, or go to LDS.org to listen  or read here)

That was about it! I’ll have tons more to report next week!  Love you all!!  Have a good one.
Elder Houseknecht


Week 63 – On fire

Our area is on fire!

Actually, this is just the sunset before a huge typhoon that…actually never came.
Things are going well here. It was a bit of a quiet week but that’s alright.




As for highlights, we met our investigator Tanapon, and he’s going great! He says he’s still ‘half and half’ as far as Joseph Smith, but he really feels like God helped him with his college test, so he’s starting to build that testimony!

We also went up to Kumamoto for our zone training meeting, and I got to run into a lot of familiar faces!
We also saw this cool sightseeing train.








Right after that we went out to eat yakiniku with a not-yet-investigator, and we had a pretty good gospel conversation.
That was most of the week!

Spiritual thought for this week:
“How is it that keeping the commandments shows our love for Heavenly Father?”
Keeping the commandments is the way for us to return to our Heavenly Father.  When we keep the commandments, we’re showing our desire to return to Him.
The Asia North ‘area plan’ from the Church has the theme of ‘because we want to return to Heavenly Father’.  I think it’s great to center our lives on that desire!

Hope y’all have a good one! Love you!
Elder Houseknecht

Week 62 – Return of the King

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s been a pretty short week!
It’s also been packed pretty full of cool happenings…

First of all, my bike is back!
It’s honestly really nice to be back on my own bike! It does need some repairs though. After a month and a half in Okinawa, the back brake is dead, and the back tire is completely bald…

On Wednesday we went and played tennis with an Eikaiwa [English class] student and his friend from Australia (who is actually Japanese). It was great!  But I also sunburned like crazy!

Most of the rest of the week was spent preparing for a mini concert that Elder Gass and I held at the church on Saturday. We practiced during our companionship study time, and on Friday got take-out pizza (Dominoes, actually!) for lunch. Buy one, get one free! It was way good…








The concert went really well.  I worked my hands off practicing, and was able to play the piano to accompany Elder Gass’s violin! It was super nerve wracking, but really fun too! And one of the members brought a friend who now wants us to start teaching him… So this week turned out pretty well!
Miracles in Yatsushiro! Woohoo!

Spiritual thought for this week:
In her email to me, my mother said that “our small and simple actions create holiness.  Your loving smile creates holiness, your neat appearance, tidy and clean room, polished shoes, thoughtful and loving words, and etc, etc…  There are many things we can do to add holiness to our lives.”
That’s a wonderful thought! It reminds me of the words on the temple above the door–‘holiness to the Lord’.  We ourselves are temples, as it says in the New Testament, so we need to give holiness to the Lord every day of our lives!  It makes me want to polish my shoes a little brighter and press my slacks a little straighter!

Love you all! I hope this week is fantastic!
Elder Houseknecht

Week 61 – Transfer week, and I’m…

Well, I’ve gotten the call, and it looks like…
I’m staying in Yatsushiro!!!
I’m actually way excited. I love this place, and Elder Gass is a great

This week was pretty cool. I’ve been taking a lot more
pictures, so I’ll just tell it all with pics.


First off (actually, pretty much the last thing that happened) the Sapporo Japan temple was dedicated! They cancelled church all over the country to broadcast the dedication, so I got to attend. It was the first time I’ve seen a temple dedicated, and it was pretty cool!



We were only able to meet with Tanapon once, so we had a lot of time to knock on doors… But we met this old man with a beautiful former police dog!








So far today we just ran around to a bunch of high places and took cool pictures. There’s not too much else to do in Yatsushiro, haha!






Spiritual thought for this week: There’s definitely no day like today. I definitely want to live my life more like that, and take full advantage of every moment! Especially on my mission–it’s crazy how fast time seems to fly! It’s like in the hymn ‘Improve the Shining Moments,’ where it says, ‘Time flies on wings of lightning, we cannot call it back’…
Let’s live every day 一生懸命 [isshoukenmei: with all our might]

That’s about it for this week!
I’m looking forward to another transfer here!!

Love y’all! Have a great week!
Elder Houseknecht

Week 60 – Sickness and flats

Hey everyone! So not too much happened this week.
My bike kept getting a flat tire (it literally would go flat twice a
day…) so I finally figured out what the issue was and had to replace
the tube! We also talked to the mission office, and they said I’d get
my regular bike back next transfer, so woohoo!

After that though, Elder Gass was feeling pretty sick, so we couldn’t
dendou [do missionary work] for very long hours. He’s feeling better now though, so this
next week should be a blast! We’ve got tons of cool things planned,
and we’re going to be able to watch the dedication of the Sapporo
Japan temple!!  We’re going to go up to the stake center in Kumamoto to watch the broadcast. The branch bought us white handkerchiefs and everything!

I’m way excited.

That’s about it for this week. I hope everyone has a great week!!!
Love y’all!

Elder Houseknecht

P.S. Tanapon is doing great, though we were only able to meet once this week. His last test is over and summer break has started, so we’ll be able to help him toward baptism!

Spiritual thought:  One of the main points of the Asia North Area’s area plans is to ‘find joy in the gospel of Jesus Christ’.  I’ve found that I have the most joy when I do what I’m supposed to (dendou [do missionary work], and go out and talk to people).  It doesn’t really matter how they react; I just have to open my mouth. I think all we have to do to find joy is to try, and Christ’s grace will take care of the rest!  Christ’s love is what motivates us the most to try!

Week 59 – Matsuri! [Festival]

Hey everyone! This week was all fun and games!

Last Monday we went up to Kumamoto and went bowling with the other
missionaries in the district. I guess I never mentioned it, but there
are ten missionaries (four sisters and six elders) in our district.
We had a way fun time and my companion dressed up as a bowling

After that we did serious missionary work for the week, until Saturday. On Saturday there was a big matsuri [festival], so of course we had to go there! (you have to dendou [do missionary work] where the people are after all…) The fun thing though, is that a member set things up so we actually got to participate in the matsuri!
We dressed up in happi [a traditional Japanese coat], and danced for an hour! It was way hot and humid, so we almost died, but it was so much fun!  Also, we were able to meet a less active member and a way cool former investigator there, so it was time well spent.


That’s about it. Our investigators couldn’t make it to church this week, but other than that they’re doing great!

I love you all! Have a great week and don’t get heat stroke!
Elder Houseknecht




Week 58 – …and seeing miracles

Hey everyone! How was the week?
I hope everyone’s doing great!

So this week, things really started to turn around.
We had a lot of lesson appointments, and found some new investigators!
Elder Gass has been really good at making phone calls to potential and
former investigators, and it’s really payed off!
After getting lost in this beautiful canyon,







we met with a man named Takemoto, who is actually Christian and lived in LA for thirty years! His English is way good, so we basically taught him in English, and he agreed to be baptized in September!

Also, our old investigator Tanapon (from Thailand) is starting to have more time, so we’ve been meeting with him three times a week, and he has a baptismal date for August 13th! It’s way exciting to see how far he’s progressing!

Next week we’ll keep working, and we’re going to try and visit all the (fifteen) members in our branch.

I love y’all! Have a great week!!!

Elder Houseknecht