Iizuka week 3 – miracles!


Greetings and Farewells

March 27:
Hey everyone!!
So this week I said goodbye to Nago, Okinawa, and an awesome three-man
After spending Tuesday night and Wednesday morning packing, I had some
extra time so we hit the streets and knocked on doors for the last
time as a threesome!
I’m going to miss working with Elder Baker and Elder Lords. We had a lot
of fun and saw some cool miracles these past few months!
I got picked up Wednesday night by the senior missionary couple to stay the night at the zone leaders’ apartment. One of the zone leaders was going home, so we had a “huge party,” haha!
The next day I followed my travel plans from the paradise island of Okinawa…

To this big blue dot about an hour from Fukuoka! It’s actually still way cold here. ❄️

image1Anyway, I’m really enjoying getting settled here in Iizuka. We have a lot of people to work with, including one man who’s getting ready to be baptized in April! My new companion, Elder Van Tonder, is way cool too. He’s only been a missionary for six months, but he’s a way hard worker and really loves the people!

And…that’s about it for this week!

I love you all!!

Elder Houseknecht

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 57 – Working hard

Hey everyone!
This last week was the first full week with my new companion, and
it’s been great! This area hasn’t seen too much success the past few
years, and we’re basically starting from square one, but we’re both
ready to turn this place around!!

Oh, I think I might have forgotten to mention one of the fun things
that happened at transfer time–so usually before transferring you put
an address on your bike, and a company comes to pick it up. Well,
Elder Stanger was way busy packing and forgot to put the address on
his bike, and when the company came the guy…just guessed? Long story
short, I’m riding Elder Stanger’s (very small, about to fall apart)
bike until things get sorted out haha! Smiling face with open mouth and cold sweat








This week we basically just knocked on doors and talked to people on the streets all day every day. It was way tiring, but it’s been worth it cause we found a few people that might have interest. Particularly, we met an eighteen year old college student named Kurumi, who took a Book of Mormon and agreed to meet again. We’re meeting her tomorrow, so we’ll see how that goes!

This week, we’re just going to keep working hard! We’re also going to start visiting all the members regularly so we can practice teaching and such.
For now, this is elder Houseknecht signing off!
I love you all! Have a great week!!

Pics:  Took this on the top of an abandoned pachinko parlor…image4







Last week’s pday activity. I didn’t buy it though.










Spiritual thought for this week: It’s so true that everything is either negative or positive. When we are positive, good things happen!  I’m trying to be more positive. I want to build my faith by focusing on positive expectations!

Elder Houseknecht

Week 50 – Out in the inaka (country)

Hey everyone!
I finally got my iPad fixed! So hopefully I’ll have some more
pictures soon.

This week was transfers so it was a way short week!
I’ve been transferred, and I’m…now…in………Yatsushiro! It’s a
way inaka [country] town a little south of Kumamoto, where the earthquake was.
It doesn’t seem to have been too bad down here, but this Saturday the
whole zone will be going up north to do some clean up.

Anyway, it was mostly just packing and travel! On Monday I had a last
junkai [exchange] with Elder Rostrom, and then we just packed and packed and
packed until a…less than obedient time of night haha! Smiling face with open mouth and cold sweat

*Note: he was up packing till 2 a.m.

Other than that, I’ve just been getting settled in, meeting members
and investigators, and hitting the streets to dendou [do missionary work]!
My new companion is Elder Stanger, from Washington, and he’s a lot of fun!

I don’t have any pictures from Yatsushiro yet, but here are my last
pics from Sendai!


On my last junkai [exchanges], riding a borrowed mama-chari [granny bicycle].

Our last district photo! This has been my hardest transfer so far… Leaving lots of cool missionaries and members and investigators…
Anyway, I love you all, and hope everyone has a great week!!!

Love and prayers,
Elder Houseknecht

Week 53 – Rain, rain, rain!

It’s so wet here in Yatsushiro!!! It’s honestly been raining almost every day! But I shouldn’t complain. It honestly hasn’t been that bad.

Anyway, it’s been a crazy week, but also way cool. We haven’t been able to meet with any investigators, or find any new ones, but our most solid investigator (from before I got here) is finishing up a big college test this week and then he’ll be able to meet with us; so from what I hear we should be able to have a baptism next month!

Here are just a few highlights from all the cool stuff that happened this week:

Monday night we didn’t have anything going on, but we decided to go streeting in the shopping area and met this really cool young man. He said he didn’t have a lot of time, but he had a ton of questions about who we are, what we do, and all that. We shared about Eikaiwa [English class] and a little of the gospel, said farewell…
And then he biked right back and asked if we could take a picture together!








image2On Tuesday we saw some pretty crazy flooding and a bunch of debris as we biked (three hours) up to Kumamoto for district meeting! It’s a long story…




image3It’s basically been raining the whole week, but the one day it didn’t rain we saw this beautiful sunset.
There’s a rainbow in there, but it’s hard to see…

And I think that’s about it! There’s a ton more that I could share, but I don’t have too much time, so until next week!

Love you all! Have a good one,
Elder Houseknecht

Week 52 – Rain and sunsets

Howdy everyone!

Honestly, this week was really, really slow. We haven’t been able
to get in touch with any of our investigators, and we haven’t found
anyone new either. It’s kind of sad, but we’re not letting it get us
down! We’re gonna work even harder and see some miracles this week!!

Anyway, I guess I’ll just give the week in pictures!

Somehow we’re always in a really good spot at sunset…
image1 image2 image3
We just got into the rainy season, so there probably won’t be as many outdoor pictures anymore! Haha…







The last thing of the week–on Sunday we went to a biannual ‘special stake conference’ broadcast from Salt Lake! There were some things said that I thought were really relevant to the Japanese saints, and it was way cool to hear just how aware of local concerns and problems the general authorities are!

My spiritual thought for this week:
“…No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.  (Luke 9:62)
It’s really true that we have to do what we were sent to do, and we have to finish whatever we put our hand to.

Anyway, that’s it for the week!
I love you all and hope you have an awesome week!
Elder Houseknecht

Week 51 – One year and service!

Hey everyone! How’s everything?

Well, it’s hard to believe, but I’ve officially been a missionary for
over a year! Wooo!!! It’s been a crazy year, but I’m gonna work hard
to make next year even more crazy awesome!

Anyway, this week was way slow, with none of our investigators able to
meet with us, but on Thursday we had our Zone training meeting, which was way
cool! I got to translate for my district leader and his companion, who
are both Japanese, which was way fun! (You can see them toward the
left end of the picture)
It’s way cool to be back in the same zone with two of my favorite elders, Elder Murdock and Elder Mismash.  And overall this is just a really fun zone!


Photo courtesy of Elder Mismash




On Saturday we got to hang out with the zone again! We went up to Kumamoto and did some volunteer work helping with the earthquake* cleanup. The damage is still pretty bad farther up north:

*Earthquake cleanup: Kumamoto was hit by several earthquakes in early April, including a foreshock of 6.2 and a mainshock of 7.0.  There was severe structure damage due to collapse and fire, and more than 44,000 people have been evacuated from their homes due to the disaster.


We got to wear the Church’s Helping Hands shirts, and maybe touch some hearts in a different way.

And of course we’re way exhausted now, haha!

I love you all! Have a great week!

Elder Houseknecht

Some Photos

Had another typhoon day
on Saturday. We had to stay inside, but it wasn’t that hidoi [awful]. The weather was really pretty before the taifuu [typhoon], though

"The calm before the storm..." Panorama of the area outside Elder Houseknecht's apartment, before a typhoon

“The calm before the storm…”
Panorama of the area outside Elder Houseknecht’s apartment, before a typhoon

They say the prettier it is, the more hidoi it’ll be, but it wasn’t bad at all…

Shurijo [Shuri Castle]

Throne of the Ryuukyuu Kings

Shurijo was apparently the palace of the old Ryuku [the name of the island chain on the south of Japan that includes Okinawa] Kings.
Along with their ridiculous thrones Face Without Mouth
I kind of want one…




Shuri Jo courtyard

Shuri Jo courtyard

Someone took a lot of panoramas and air dropped (sent them over Bluetooth) to me. I have about twenty others…