Iizuka week 3 – miracles!


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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 66- I’m alive!!

Hey everyone!!
It’s transfer week this week, and as usual I still haven’t gotten
the call. I’m pretty sure I’m leaving though… We’ll see!

I honestly feel like nothing happened this week. I don’t
really have any pictures either…
Oh, now I remember why–we spent three days out of our area this
week! We went up to Kumamoto to have pday [Preparation day] with the district, then
stayed the night till district meeting on Tuesday. We got back Tuesday
afternoon, but on Thursday morning we went to Kumamoto again to have
exchanges with the zone leaders, and stayed the night until Friday!
So I guess we haven’t done that much in Yatsushiro this week, haha!

Spiritual thought for this week:  “Eternity” doesn’t begin tomorrow or sometime in the future.  It’s already happening, right now.  I’ve been realizing more and more that I just need to focus on RIGHT NOW because that’s what matters!

That’s about it! Next week I might be emailing from a different
area, with a new companion, but until then,
Hope you all have a great week!
Love y’all!

Elder Houseknecht

Week 65 – Not too much time…

Hey y’all~ not too much happened this week, and I don’t have a ton
of time, but anyway–
The one highlight was that we went to see a member run in a marathon! He’s
in his sixties but he’s way fast!

We also got these giant nashi [Japanese or Asian pears]. It was way good!

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Spiritual thought for this week:  In a recent General Conference talk, President Uchtdorf compared our lives to stories. If you think about it like that, it makes life so much more exciting! It makes me want to be a cool hero, haha!

That was honestly about it, but next week is gonna be way full!
Hope everyone has a great week!
Love y’all!

Elder Houseknecht

Week 64 – High School

Morning, ladies and gents! How’s it going?

This was an interesting week. We didn’t really get to meet with any
investigators, but we did some other cool stuff!
First off, we’ve been working with a less active member who’s trying
to quit smoking, and he’s doing really great! Since we’ve met him he’s
already cut down by more than half!
We’ll keep working with him and get him back to church too!

Other than that we went to a lot of high school events!
I don’t think I mentioned, but we live right by a high school, and they held an ‘undoukai‘ which is like a sports day for the whole school. We figured it’d be the best place to talk to a lot of people, and it turned out to be pretty effective!
Then we found out that another high school was doing one too, so we went there as well. Both schools did a lot of dancing, and there was some races and relay events… It was pretty cool!

We also went to a cultural festival at the high school right next to us, which was way cool!
All the classes had different exhibits, but this was probably the coolest–two dioramas from Hayao Miyazaki movies (this one’s from Spirited Away).

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We also got to talk to a whole bunch of high schoolers, and most of them had pretty good English!

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I swear we talked to guys too, haha!

Anyway, we now have a lot of high school friends, and it’s amazing how much we run into them now. It’s like the whole city knows who we are!

Spiritual thought for this week: Every day and every moment we are making choices that draw us nearer to God or make us His enemy… 気をつけないと… [ki wo tsukenai to… we better be careful…]

That was the week! I hope everyone has a good one!!
Love you all!
Elder Houseknecht

Week 63 – On fire

Our area is on fire!

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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.

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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…

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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
companion!

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

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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
pin!

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.

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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!
Love,
Elder Houseknecht