Greetings and Farewells

March 27:
Hey everyone!!
So this week I said goodbye to Nago, Okinawa, and an awesome three-man
companionship.
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!
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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 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 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!

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