Tuesday, June 25, 2013


Bonjour tout le monde!

Well this is odd... I'm writing you on a Tuesday! It's just as good as the day before, just a few hours later. Yesterday was Québec's version of the 4th of July, "Fête de St-Jean Baptiste", only supercharged with alcohol and crazy parties. Needless to say, since stores were closed and the setting sun brought with it the invitation for the wild ones to come out of the woodwork—it was not an ideal day for mormon missionaries to "prepare" for the week. So we're doing that today—President's orders. 

In nearly the same way that any worthwhile novel closes with it's paragraphs packed to the penultimate punctuation with precious passages of paciferous palabra—this week had quite the peroration.

Oh great... now I have to keep that up. Well, en tout les cas, I don't have a lot of time for my email today because the elders from Chicoutimi are crossing the river to join us in Rimouski for a few days. C'est-à-dire: I'll be brief. This week in pictures...

During our studies on Tuesday morning we received an unexpected call from the Cannons. Sister Cannon had phoned to inform us that they would be arriving in Rimouski in a matter of hours for one last visit to the "Rimouski Genius Bar." (They'll be leaving for home this Saturday after spending three years as the Mission President (and wife) of the Canada Montréal Mission. From the first day of my mission to last of theirs, I've been their "go-to tech guy.") They spent two full days with us on a rare vacation to the Gaspé. During those two days we managed to dine with them twice, we had steak at a bar (I had quite the filet mignon!), and salmon à la Maison du Spaghetti, hours of talk of life and the Gospel, dipped ice cream cones and shared one last Rimouski sunset. 

I could not have asked for a better way to spend time with my mission president and his wife before they go home. I was able to use my skills to help them one last time with their iPhones and in turn... well, I got an iPhone.


Among other things during the week...

I got back to some of the basics and started practicing cursive again in my spare time.

Learned how not to eat. (Hot dogs stuffed with cheese, wrapped in bacon, covered with mashed potatoes, smothered in gravy, and drizzled with JDawgs sauce.)

I did a lot of dishes. Do people ever complain about a pile of clean dishes?

Got some good reading in.

One of the books I'm currently perusing is God, Man, and the Universe. President Cannon has given me permission to open my library a little more.

Invented a "blind" variation of chess...

Had a root beer float in an ice bowl...

And managed to take a very blurry photo.

Oh, and tons of missionary work. Yvan is making progress despite the stressful fact that he'll be losing his bike shop shortly. He surprised us with two bikes that he put together for us after hearing that we've had to walk everywhere for the past month.

We've been teaching a new investigator named Richard about the Restoration and found two new investigators, an older couple, yesterday afternoon. I was sad to see Louis move to Québec City but the Lord is watching out for us and blessings us for our committed service.

I pray that all of you were able to tune into the broadcast on Sunday night. It was, as aforementioned, quite the capper to an action-packed week. We truly belong to the Church of Jesus Christ and are led by divinely inspired leaders. What an exciting time to be a missionary!

I'm sorry this email was so short and focused on just about everything but missionary work, but I've got to get going. Have such a great week!

Avec amour,

Elder Ellis 

Monday, June 17, 2013


Bonjour tout le monde!

Quelle semaine fantastique! Lots of changes, lots of new experiences, and lots of missionary work! Here's what I've been up to this week:

On Monday Elder Ruby and I worked hard to clean up the apartment as much as possible to get things nice for my new companion. We did our normal preparation day activities and then later that night we had Soirée Familiale. We had invited Louis to come with us the day before and we arranged a ride for him with Frère Lévesque. And since we no longer have any kliks on our truck we got a ride with him. Everyone came over to the Lévesque's house—we had a great turnout! I was so happy that Louis was so warmly welcomed there. We had a nice spiritual thought from Annie Leblond about the voice of the Spirit. She had a great object lesson using a penny, a jar, and some cotton balls. When the jar was empty with only the penny inside, it was easy to hear the penny clinking against the glass walls. But as you add the cotton balls the sound becomes more and more faint until it is completely muffled. In life, we should be eliminating the distractions that muffle the voice of the Spirit. After all, its message is of dire importance if headed. I thought it was a great lesson and Louis did as well. He lead the discussion for about 15 minutes explaining his relationship with God through the Spirit. I was so proud of him! It was the last time Elder Ruby would get to see a few of the members so he said goodbye afterwards and we all took a group photo.

(Back) Soeur Dupont, Julie, Annie, Elder Ruby, Me, Frère Hébert, Louis, (Front) Soeur Lévesque, Frère Lévesque

Later that night we had our "last supper" together. I made my mom's famous spaghetti casserole and it came out perfectly! It felt like a little taste of home!

Tuesday morning I finished Le Livre de Mormon! It felt so good to read the Book of Mormon in French. When you're reading in another language you notice things that would otherwise go undetected. Plus, it helps reading in the most beautiful language known to man! 

We had a few things left to get done before the trip down to Québec for the exchange. We went to visit the Bujold family and thank them for everything that they did for us. Did I tell you about the violin that Dora lent to Elder Ruby for as long as he was in Rimouski? Well, if not, I just did. Well, I've been practicing the violin every morning and I'm getting pretty good at it! I can play all of the hymns now! I was a bit sad that we were going to return it, I've really fallen in love with the violin. But when we went to return it no one came to the door! Blessing in disguise! I'll tell you what happens with the violin later. So anyways, after the failed attempt to return the violin we went to get poutine one last time. We had some serious difficulties maneuvering the truck in the drive through but pulled through the other side victorious and with hands full of fries and squeaky cheese smothered in a deep brown gravy sauce. After stuffing our faces we packed the truck and got on the road for Québec. On the way there we reminisced of the good ol' times in Rimouski. We had a great time here. (You know you're a missionary when the most common proper pronoun you use is we.) Upon our arrival we did something we've wanted to do since the beginning—timmytimtamslams.

Wednesday morning I dropped Elder Ruby off at the bus station in Québec and, for the first time in over nine months, I drove back to the apartment we were staying at... alone. That was weird. But I stayed on the phone with some of the other missionaries who had to do the same thing and we formed a digital caravan as we drove back. I spent the afternoon with Elder Ireland working and waiting for our new companions to arrive from Montréal. At around three in the afternoon I picked up Elder Bangerter from the bus station and we went with all of the missionaries to get poutine at l'Intuitions. After stuffing ourselves once again with the magical substance that is poutine, we got on the road and headed to Rimouski. On the way we stopped at the St-Jacques and had milk and cookies. I got a first hand taste in the first few moments at just how difficult a time the Québecois are going to have with Elder Bangerter's name. They cannot for the love of all things bright and beautiful pronounce his name. It's funny. Then we swung by Chantale and Yvan's to introduce Elder Bangerter to them and headed home to go to bed. It was pretty late when we finally got home. Sidenote: Wednesday marked 6 months since Caitlin Hardy was baptized! Congratulations, Caitlin! 

(I'm short on time...)

Thursday we went around to meet more of the members and went on foot for the majority of the time. We had district study in the morning (Elder Wright, from my MTC district, is my new district leader—he's great!) and then read with Eric. He gave us some fish that he caught that morning and we went home to cook it up for lunch. Graphic image ahead....


Elder Bangerter... and a fish backbone...

JFish! JDawgs sauce goes great with everything. Thanks again!

I also got some sad news today—Louis is moving to Québec (in fact, he already has by now.) We passed him off to the Ste-Foy Elders. It was sad to see him leave so suddenly. He was our only real investigator so we have a lot of work to do to rebuild our teaching pool!

Friday morning we went to the Friperie for service and then did our weekly planning. We went to see André Soucy, the Provencher's, the Lévesques, and the Ouellet's. I beat Israel at chess again! Two for two! 

Saturday I took Elder Bangerter to Dora and Ruud's for his Rimouski Marble and to sort out the violin situation. I played a mini concert for them and they loved it! I had prepared a few hymns and a classical piece that Elder Ruby had taught me. She immediately told me that I would have to play on her $4,000 violin which was a bit of a shock. I cannot tell you how nice it was! Ahhhhhhh.... I love the violin! She told me to keep the student violin until I leave and to keep practicing. After Elder Bangerter received his marble and had been initiated into the "Frozen Chosen" I presented Dora and Ruud with a present that I've been working on for some time:

The Rimouski Genealogy (yes I realize that I spelled it wrong on the paper...) since March 1993. Over the past few weeks I've been putting together the names and dates in the Area Books and compiled it all into one document:

Dora and Ruud have known almost every one of the missionaries who have served here so I thought they would really appreciate it. I also put a copy in the Rimouski Area Book with a few extra pages so that it can be signed as time goes on.

We finished out the day with a lesson with Denis, Roger, Yvan, and André.

Sunday was great! Happy Father's Day, Dad! Church was wonderful! 35 people! We had a luncheon afterwards and then spent the rest of the day contacting less-actives and called Sister Hedge. We also finished a 3D puzzle of Notre Dame that we've been working on during meal times.

A few extra pictures...

Last full day together!


Haha... blue screen of death... in French! Mac rules!

The Mona Lisa is in Québec! I was packing the violin around to play as we contacted people… kidding. I just played a song for Sister Hedge.

That's it, that's all!

Elder Ellis

Monday, June 10, 2013


Bonjour tout le monde!

Well, well, well! Changes are ahead! We received our transfer calls last Saturday and... well, I'll let you find out once we get there!

Monday was pretty packed! We had to get all of our normal stuff (like laundry, cleaning the apartment, grocery shopping, and letters) and then finish preparing our training quickly in order to leave for Québec City on time. We didn't do so well... We ended up leaving a little late because of a few mix-up's and got to Québec a little after 9. But as we say in French, tout est bien qui finit bien! We stayed at the St-Foy apartment downtown with a three other companionships. It was so great to see them again... Granted it had only been two weeks! We've been traveling like crazy the past few weeks! Chicoutimi for splits, then to Québec for Zone Conference, then to Montréal for Stake Conference and the temple, then to Québec for Zone Study, and now to Québec for transfers... oh wait, did I just say that? :)

Tuesday! I woke up a little early to finish preparing everything for our training. We were asked to give a training on "Contacting in high density areas at the right time." It was a pretty fun training and in true Elder Ellis Style I went a little overboard but it turned out quite nicely! 

We made street signs using the names of missionaries in our zone for our training. It would take a while to explain how it worked out... but it was cool! 

The training, along with the whole zone study, went quite well!  The theme of the zone study was "Contacting". So the zone leaders split us up and sent us off with a new companion to contact as many people as possible. They turned it into a competition which I didn't necessarily like but we did it anyways. I was with Elder Chacon from El Salvador and we decided to go as deep city as possible to street contact like crazy. I love deep city work! I learned a lot in Montréal and was kinda missing it in Rimouski! After the sun started setting we went and got some pizza then went knocking around the campus areas—it felt like I was home! Oh! I took a picture with a pig! I would never have one as a pet but it sure was cute! 

Me and the pig

Wednesday morning we all met as a zone again to go over the results of the "Contacting Extravaganza" and give out prizes. It was weird to see prizes for missionary work... but I got the real prize at the end: mail! Thanks for all of the letters and love you all sent my way! And I got my package! Thanks for sending me my iPod (finalement! :) ) and the black licorice and the JDawgs sauce! And the head scratcher! And the new scarf! I've been putting all of them to good use! We were back on the road for Rimouski a little after noon and arrived home safely at around three. We went directly over to Eric's to read with him. He's not doing so well—he hasn't been working for over five years now and is getting desperate. As a 45 year old he passing up some prime years of life and spending all of his time in front of the TV. We thought that reading the Book of Mormon would help him change—and it has—but he just doesn't want to find the motivation to improve his situation! It's sad sometimes seeing him just sleeping in his chair at two in the afternoon! I love him but he's got to start making some changes! Anyways, afterwards we went to go drop off our stuff and make some dinner at the apartment. I got right to work with the JDawgs sauce!

JDawgs sauce gravy on pork with steamed carrots, broccoli cheese rice, and asparagus! Elder Ruby made basically all of that...

After dinner we passed by Catherine to ask if her family would be interested in retaking the missionary lessons. She said she'll get back to us. I really hope they do! I met her dad once and he seemed really nice. They met with the missionaries for a while until they saw what was happening with the FLDS church in Texas. Hopefully we'll be able to get a few minutes with them and explain the differences. Then we went over to Chantale and Yvan's. (I'm pretty much out of time... I got quite a few emails from other missionaries today...)

Thursday we had service at the Friperie and it was one of our last times there! (But whose...?) After lunch and studies we went over to Louis' for a lesson. It was fantastic! We finished the Plan of Salvation with him and started introducing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He had a lot of questions and as we answered them he slowly put the pieces all together! It was amazing! We talked about the Spirit for a while and how we can receive answers to our prayers. We were so close to committing him to baptism again! He understands what it would imply and he just wants to make sure that he is ready to make that kind of commitment. We'll be helping him along the way. Then we had a lesson with Msr. Mathurin. He is such a nice guy! A little bit confused about a few things and very certain about others but nice! We taught him the Restoration and he loved it. We weren't able to set up a return appointment because he is going to Québec for a while and didn't know when he would be back. Then we had dinner with Eric and Sheila. They are the funniest people. I wish you could meet them. They have just completely removed themselves from all communication with the outside world and tell us how horrible things are becoming out there. What would a little positive attitude do to them? Miracles! Anyways! The food was delicious! German meatloaf and sweet potatoes! Oh! I also wore a short sleeved shirt for the first time in forever! 

Friday we had breakfast with the Ouellet's and held a hedgehog, did our weekly planning, found a couch, hung up a cool old "welcome" sign from the Church in our apartment and did tons of walking and knocking! 

The sign, the couch, the nerd.

Chester the hedgehog

What a fat little ball of spikes...
Here's a slow motion video of him in action. And one at normal speed.

Saturday we tried to stay as busy as possible to keep our minds off of transfer calls. We had a lesson with Louis, we drove out to Mont Joli to see Debbie and Cécile and then came back to Rimouski for lessons with André and Yvan! Then we got our transfer calls... drumroll!!!

Elder Ruby will be shipping out to my old area: the YSA in Montréal! I'm so stoked for him! We've become extremely good friends and I'll miss him!

As for me! I'll be staying in Rimouski and receiving Elder Bangerter! I know next to nothing about him but I'm excited to get to know him! Pray for our success as a companionship!

Cool "sun, moon, and stars" mirror I saw in Québec

Wall art in Mont Joli! Apparently it is considered the capital of wall art... not sure about that one.

Caitlin sent me some cinnamon roll cookies! So good! 

Off into the sunset! powerlines... 

So that's just about it for up here in Rimouski! I've gotta get going! Love you all!

Avec amour,

Elder Ellis

Monday, June 3, 2013


Bonjour tout le monde!

That number is getting up there! Forty weeks already! That's crazy! Anyways... I only have a few minutes to write today because we are actually driving down to Québec City today and we still have a few things to take care of in Rimouski. So I'll just hit the highlights and share a few photos!

The best part of the week has actually been an ongoing thing— Elder Ruby and I have started to take our planning a lot more seriously and have been trying to get the most out of our days together because we have a feeling that they might be limited (transfer calls are this Saturday!) So we have been adding a few extra things in our planners every day: a personal goal for the day, a miracle we saw that day, three good things that happened, and a lesson we learned. I've loved doing that. I would even suggest for all of you to start keeping track of those kinds of things! We are here to become someone and I'm completely convinced that we can spend a lot of time spinning our wheels if we don't put our lives into gear and make the most of our days.

So I'll share a few good things that happened this week, lessons I've learned and maybe a few goals and miracles.

Monday we miraculously had just enough money left to buy groceries! And we even bought a good supply of fruits and vegetables to start eating healthier. I also won a game of monopoly that day... And I accomplished my goal of finishing my email in one hour! That hardly ever happens so take the next five seconds and celebrate with me by clapping your hands! ....

Tuesday I learned that the priesthood is real. We were able to give two priesthood blessings that day to people that really needed them. We met a lot of amazing people while knocking that day and found a few new investigators. And Yvan prayed with us for the first time! But the miracle of the day definitely went to Jasmine Hallé. Remember her? She was the lady that left the Church that we took a rose to on Mother's Day. Well we passed by to see if she had any clothes she would like to donate (we were doing a clothing drive, kind of...) and we ended up talking for a few minutes with her and her son. That was a miracle!


Loved this!

Wednesday we had a great lesson with Louis! It was picture perfect! We started the Plan of Salvation and he absolutely loved it! We also got invited to dinner next week with Eric and Sheila (the ones that speak English and ran away from Montréal because people swear too much there.) Lesson learned: if they don't want to change, they won't. 


Thursday we planned to contact a bunch of outstanding referrals that have been impossible to get ahold of and... we contacted three out of five! Miracle! I had a goal to be extremely nice to Elder Ruby because the night before I was being a little impatient and completely picky with something that happened and according to him I accomplished my goal! That felt good. He's such a great companion. Oh also, I hear a few people graduated that day! Congratulations Hannah, Nicole, and the rest of PG's class of 2013! 

Friday morning I learned quite an interesting lesson. One of the members of the branch died early this week and we were asked to dress him for burial. I never did meet him because he lived on the other side of the St. Laurent out in the woods. But according to Frère Lévesque he is the reason why missionaries are in Rimouski. So that morning I learned how to dress a dead man. Interesting! We also had dinner with the Dupont family in La Rédemption to celebrate Catherine's graduation from Cégep. We also so the Provencher's again after what seems like three of zero signs of life!

Our counter top isn't level... (And our floor was quite untidy...) (I've started eating three eggs every morning with a bowl of oatmeal! Best ever!)

Not even ten minutes later we broke the microwave plate... Unlucky morning!

Saturday morning  I went running in the rain on a high school track in the morning. Elder Ruby hurt his back and waited for me in the car. We spent some time getting caught up in the books. We aren't very good at updating our area book and so we took some time to get those all up to date. That morning I learned how to be humble and say sorry while gaining a new respect for my leaders. We got a call that morning and we were told that we were going to lose more than half of our kilometers. Meaning that our mandatory trips to Québec City were going to take up over 75% of our monthly limit. (We lost quite a few kliks...) I was pretty upset about it and said some things that I shouldn't have because I panicked and... well. Let's just say that it is better to take a healthy number of deep breaths when in a crunch than trying to say everything that's on your mind in one. I eventually got humbled as I was reading the Book of Mormon and called a few people to say that I was sorry. Lesson learned: be nice!

Elder Ruby and his makeshift ice packs. Popsicles! 

Sunday was wonderful! We had a great fast and testimony meeting in church and heard from a few people that haven't been to church in a long time. I'll have to update you more on Frère St-Jacques another time. That man has an incredible story! We had dinner with Chantale and Yvan and then taught a lesson about prophets afterwards. We payed a visit to Sister Hedge (the one that we call every Sunday night who lives about eight hours away) at the hospital. She had come into town for her bi-annual checkup. We gave her a blessing and taught about symbols. She gave us four jars of homemade jam. Looks like I'll have to start liking jam! 

Well, that's all the time I have today! Enjoy this picture of a bird outside of my window this morning!

À la prochaine!

Elder Ellis