Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Bonjour tout le monde!

You won't believe what happened today—I lost another sock. Oh well, I guess that means I don't have an extra one anymore. But Mom, you should send me a few more pairs of those ankle socks you bought me! That would be awesome. Gold star goes to Mom, by the way! I love all of the packages I am getting and everyone is raving over your handwriting on the packages and envelopes. It's good to see that you guys are learning French alongside me! Speaking of French—the gift of tongues is real! I am so blessed to be a missionary! There are things happening in my life at the MTC that are not possible without the help of the Spirit! I'm doing my best to record everything special that happens in my journal. I haven't missed a day so far and I don't intend to!

This week was a little difficult for me because last Wednesday night I got really sick (like the same thing that happened a few years ago, but this time at least I knew I couldn't have penicillin. The doctor here is really nice. He said I might be developing tonsillitis, though, so we'll just have to keep an eye on that. And there is a growth on my shoulder that he wants to check next week. (But don't worry! I'll be fine!) Today is the first day that I have felt any better. It was really hard because I wanted so badly to be in class, and so I would push myself to get to class but it wasn't helping with the recovery process. I felt really bad because when I had to miss class, Elder Keenan did as well. I tried not to miss a lot but yesterday, my instructor, Soeur Thompson, pulled me to the side and told me that for almost the entire duration of her mission she was sick because she never gave herself enough time to heal completely. She told me that I wasn't allowed to come back to class until I was all the way better, so yesterday I stayed in bed all day. Which actually turned out to be quite the blessing because I cracked open the Missionary Reference Library and read "Our Search For Happiness" by M. Russell Ballard all the way through. It was an amazing book that I suggest all of you take the time to read. There is a certain simplicity about the way he explains the Gospel that is just amazing! I have never read about the Atonement or the Apostasy in such a logical way. It made sense in my mind and my heart, like all spiritual truths should. But worry not! I'm getting better, and tomorrow is looking like a great day!

Wednesday: We taught Robert again! It was a great lesson. We taught him about the Plan of Salvation. I have the greatest time breaking down the Gospel in simple bit-sized pieces to teach (and then breaking them down even further to translate into broken French.) He took the lesson really well but struggled on one thing—the location of the places in the plan like the Spirit World, and the Celestial Kingdom. So imagine how hard I tried to explain to him as simply as I could, without getting into too deep unproven doctrine, in French. That was an amazing experience for me because for about five solid minutes I could speak French without a hitch. But as soon as I taught him that and we could move on, I had a hard time finding words again. That night, I got really sick.

Thursday: Elder Keenan and I visited the medical center after our first class and I was told to go back and rest for a few hours. That night we met as a district with some of the Branch Presidency and had an amazing discussion on the magnitude of our call. I think that day I got a package from Mom with a talk in it called "The Fourth Missionary". I've read it twice now! What an inspired talk! I'm so glad that I read that at the beginning of my mission. You were right mom, it will forever impact the way I serve!

Friday: This was probably the worst day (as far as my health is concerned—everyday is a great day as a missionary!) I had completely lost my voice at this point from coughing so much. That proved pretty difficult in participating in just about everything. I started writing down what I wanted to say! It was pretty fun, I felt like The Visitor in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. But I did go through an entire writing pad... they're pretty cheap at the MTC Bookstore, though, so it wasn't a big deal. I woke up, not even kidding, like twenty times that night. I had a cool dream, though. Mom, you can read about it in my journal one day.

Saturday: We had a service project at 6, so we had to wake up early for that. And like I said, I didn't hardly sleep at all and my voice was just barely coming back, so it was really hard for me. But I pushed through! We cleaned our whole building and I got put on mirror duty for all four floors. Luckily, I have the best Mom in the world who made me a pro at cleaning mirrors. I think I'll be doing that job for the remaining 7 weeks (and not by choice!) In order to keep Elder Keenan in class as much as possible I started eating cough drops like a sumo at a buffet. Dr. Brown had me called down to the front desk, though, because he wanted to start putting me on medications. This is the highlight of the week—the medications were at Rite-Aid in Provo down by Maceys on Bulldog, so Transport had to take us down there. As we got there, he told us that he was going to have to turn around and pick up some other Elders, so we would have to wait there for about 15 minutes. Those were my first 15 minutes in the real world, as a real missionary, with a real nametag on. I immediately felt the weight of responsibility. There we were, out in the open as representatives of Jesus Christ. I wanted so badly to make a contact! Everyone we came across at Rite-Aid greeted us with a nice "Hi, Elders!" It was like we were celebrities!

Sunday: Church was great! We had a great testimony meeting! It was all in French (our branch always is) so I had a hard time picking up a few of the words that were being used by the more senior Elders and Soeurs. (1 minute... I'm getting better.) The meetings were all great. I felt a little better.

Monday: Had to spend all day in bed, per Soeur Thompson's request. Read "Our Search For Happiness."

Today: Wrote this. Did laundry. Ate food.

I love all of you! Keep your heads up and focus on Christ!

Elder Ellis

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