ADDRESS (THIS ONE MOM)

ELDER CLAYTON R. ELLIS
Canada Montréal Mission
470 Rue Gilford, Ste. 300
Montréal QC H2J 1N3
Canada

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

CHALK ART, FULL CIRCLE

So who wants to see what I've been up to lately? This was just about the biggest, funnest, most intense project I've ever worked on. And it was a blast! I had such a good time working on this with different stake leaders. It was done for the youth session of stake conference that I've been talking about. We filmed the whole thing with two different time lapses, an aerial drone, and had a few people on the ground taking shots. We're in the process of piecing the whole thing together into a 2 minute video that we'll have the youth share with friends across the world. Hopefully it will strike up a few conversations about the gospel! Check it out: 


































Here's the original finished art. I slaved over this thing during downtime! It says:

We believe...
...in second chances.
...that God still speaks to His children.
...that miracles still exist.
...that life has a purpose.
...that He lives!
...that we all make a difference.
...that our potential is limitless.

The idea was to share the major doctrines in simple statements that a majority of people could connect with and say, "me, too!" I'm really happy with how it turned out!

I've come to understand that when we use our God-given talents to accomplish his design, things just work. And they work beautifully! The best things we can do in life seem to revolve around the things that we're best at doing. And we're all the best at something in life. The trick is finding out what that is!

Elder Ellis

Monday, March 31, 2014

NINETEEN MONTHS LATER


Bonjour à tous et à toute!

This will be the first time since August since my readers have heard from me. For that I'll apologize and say that I have no excuses! A lot has happened, but I'm not going to try to fill you in here. That might come later. To bring you up to where you need to be, I'm answering two final questions from my family. The answers came in spite of the questions, but they apply all the same.

What miracle have you seen recently?
How is your testimony compared to when you first started your mission?

I'm not sure where to begin... this week has been a changer for me. It's opened my eyes to quite a bit thanks to a few really powerful, really unique testimonies. As you know, we were privileged to have Elder Neil L. Andersen, Bishop Gerald Caussé, Elder Hallstrom, and Elder Homer come to our mission this past weekend. The entire mission gathered for a special conference where we studied the Atonement with them. I'll get to that in a moment...

On Friday night, after mission leadership council, we had a baptism at our building. Thierry, the man being baptized, had written to Elder Andersen a few months before and asked if he would baptize him. He couldn't because that night he was conducting interviews to call the new stake president. He was, however, able to be a witness to the baptism. There were about 15 of us in the room with Thierry and when Elder Andersen walked in we stood. Before he asked us to sit he told us that he would like to bear his witness of the name of Christ in French. I cannot remember exactly what he said, but I know exactly how I felt. I now know that Jesus Christ is a Being as well as a God. He was resurrected and lives to this day at the right hand of God the Father. He is.

It was a simple testimony, but it was as real as anything I've ever experienced. I couldn't keep my mind from playing it back in my heart, over and over throughout the evening.

The next morning we met with all four of the General Authorities. Elder Caussé spoke about the reasons why he and his wife decided to accept the call to serve as a general authority years ago. Elder Hallstrom taught us that when we are "taught from on high" we must "bind ourselves to act" and if we do we will be blessed. I started contemplating a few of the binding actions I must make in my own life and I still am. Elder Homer bore a simple testimony of the truth of the Gospel. And then Elder Andersen addressed us. Because of the feelings his unique testimony brought into my heart the night before, I humbled myself knowing that he spoke for Christ Himself and decided to listen. To really listen. Not just to hear, but to listen. He spoke of one thing, and one thing only. The Atonement of Jesus Christ. I wish there were a way to share with you how I felt and how I feel but I just cannot find the words. Some things you just have to realize and learn on your own. Sometimes you're forced to be humble, other times you humble yourself. I haven't really ever allowed myself to stand back and check my own life before. I've never really voluntarily humbled myself to true submission to the Atonement. And I want to now. 

Sunday morning we were privileged once again to hear from Elder Andersen and Elder Homer as they addressed us in stake conference after reorganizing the stake presidency. Our bishop, Bishop Gingras, was called as the second counselor, Brother Ferland, who I came to know and love in Rimouski, was called as the first counselor, and President Pirlet, who was the first counselor, was made stake president. Each of them took their turn bearing testimony of both small and significant decisions in life that they made as they turned their lives over to the Lord. Big doors swing on small hinges. I was in the choir watching and listening from behind, all the while trying to keep a professional poise, while being pummeled by thoughts and feelings looking over my own life and finding decisions that I may or may not have made correctly wondering all the while if I had closed doors that could have been opened had I made a better decision. And once again I contemplated decisions that are now within my grasp that could open or close significant doors behind which may lie still more significant blessings. And then Elder Andersen spoke. Faith. Diligence. Patience. My faith has taken a sudden turn heavenwards. I know things now that I didn't quite know before. The funny thing about knowledge is that the best decision that we can make is determined by how much we know. And acting correctly based on correct knowledge is called diligence. It's not always easy, in some cases it may be the absolute hardest thing that you've ever done. But if you're patient, if you walk without wavering knowing that the Lord will lead you along, well, at least you can be assured that you'll always be where He wants and needs you to be. Faith. Diligence. Patience. Faith. Repentance. Endurance. 

One of my favorite questions to ask, and one that produces many different answers is: What is the gospel? Would you mind trying to define it?

There are many definitions ranging from simple to complex, primary to priesthood, but never before have I really understood like I do now. It's taken 20 years, of which the past 19 months have been dedicated and consecrated to nothing but the Gospel. And I finally know what it is. I understand it. Now the funny thing is knowing that my understanding is incomplete and will continue to grow and change with time and experience and sheer life. But I'm at a point where I feel confident in my knowledge to make the best decision that I can. And that is to live it. And to love what comes of it.

"Life isn't about finding your way between health and sickness, it's not about riches and rags, social stature and shame. No, life is about finding your way between the good and the bad." -Elder Neil L. Andersen

Elder Clay Ellis
         

Monday, August 26, 2013

FIFTY-TWO


Bonjour à tous et à toute!

So let's see... fifty-two. That sounds like an important num.... it's been a year already?! What! Crazy, huh? It's just as hard for me to believe! It seems like just a few months ago I was buying socks at CTR Clothing and packing my bags! I've had quite the year and I feel like I've become, bit by bit, a little more like our Heavenly Father would have me be. It is an amazing thing to spend all of your time doing things for others and even more amazing to watch the gospel work in their lives. I feel incredibly blessed to be where I am right now doing what I'm doing. I can't say that it's been clear blue skies the whole time, but the sun always shines somewhere above the storm clouds. It's been a positive attitude and outlook on life, coupled with a firm testimony of our Savior Jesus Christ, that have elevated my vision and brought me through difficult times. Knowing who I am, among all other facts of life, has brought me the most comfort. We are all here for a reason—to learn, to progress, to make choices that will shape us, and to prepare to meet God once again. Hang on to that knowledge and no matter what confronts you, you will be able to find the lesson to learn, earn it, and move on. Life is a lesson and it takes a lifetime to learn it. In all reality, though it has been a year, it's a flash in the eternities. So I guess that means, see you in a flash! 

Oh, and this past week! 

Quick updates and then photos...

Tao and Eliana went dress shopping and she had a little shopping miracle! She has a dress and they are ready to be married in a few weeks! The lessons are going very well them. We just finished the plan of salvation and she loved it! They are turning into quite the scripture readers! We also found another family of investigators—a grandfather, his daughter, and her daughter! Three generations! They are all reading the Book of Mormon together.

Found a cool street!

And another!



Taught English class with Elder Sloot's awesome drawing skills

And the plan of salvation!

Rode a deer...

Found a rabid missionary

And enjoyed some powerline shots.

Elder Ellis

Monday, August 19, 2013

FIFTY-ONE


Bonjour!

Bonne journée!

Hello!

Goodbye!

I ran out of time sending emails to friends. So I have an idea. I love letters. You love me! I love when you send me letters! As much as I love computers and emails and stuff... there's something special about paper! I know it kills trees but it saves time! (And trees can be planted again... time, well that's another story.)

Nonetheless, here's my week in a word or two! épanouissant! fulfilling! Tao and Eliana are getting married on September 21st and baptized on October 5th! I couldn't be happier! Plus I went on splits with the assistants and got to reminisce about high school with Elder Heder! Good times!

Elder Ellis

Monday, August 12, 2013

FIFTY


Bonjour à tous et à toute!

I'm sure you're all wondering what in the world I'm doing and facing in Terrebonne so I'll get right to it! I'm going out on a limb to try to send some pictures you can actually see what I'm up to and it might take a century and a half from this computer so... I'll upload the pictures and then comment on as many as I can with the time that I have left.
 
This is the apartmentship. Left to right: Elder Maryott (New Zealand), Elder Lucas (Tahiti), Me, Elder Sloot (British Columbia, Canada—my companion!)

Hannah, you have a fan.

We've been cutting this guy's grass and I almost hit this little guy. His name, the human guy, is Pièrre. We just dropped him...

Elder Sloot and I have so many spanish dinner appointments. Here we are at the Ampuero's making cauosa. Or something like that... It was so good!

The result of all of those dinner appointments...

Kidding, still looking good. Humility....

We've been teaching an English class. We have a regular student (seen in neon) named Claude. He speaks almost perfect English and we're questioning why he keeps coming back. We played some hangman after a lesson.

We just had zone conference last week (and a mini high school reunion!) Elder Austin Heder, Sister Lindsey Del Castillo, and me! Mighty Vikings '11!

Relaxing in a car wash on a super hot day. The weather here is nuts. There have been a bunch of tiny flash storms of rain lately. But it's mostly a million degrees all of the time.

On preparation days we play volleyball at the Poirier's house. They have the craziest backyard. They are a really nice family! There are always about six young men that come to play with us.

This game is the best! It's in Frère Poirier's backyard. I'm going to make one when I get home. The Uncles would love it at family reunions!

A funny sign that we saw in a hallway one day. If you look at it long enough you'll realize what's funny about it. 'vous êtes ici' means 'you are here' (the blue dot). 


A cool picture I saw on someone's fridge.
I love knocking. You find the funniest things... please, find me!

No solicitors. (Except school children.) Guarded by Clint Eastwood. Like I said, you find funny things.

There aren't any sunsets here. But there are powerlines. And these ones are geometrically beautiful!

I have about a minute left. But I wanted to tell you about our main investigators right now. The De La Cruz family has some extended family members staying at their house. We have been teaching them for a while but they're unlike any other investigators I've ever had because they only speak Spanish and so we have to use a translator. That can be difficult sometimes but we're making things work. They will be baptized on the fifth of October (in between sessions of general conference!) and we are planning their wedding with Bishop Munoz right now. They are doing really well!

That's all for this week! Thanks for everything you do! Keep being living testimonies of the Gospel!

Elder Ellis