Monday, October 29, 2012


Bonjour de Montréal!

Okay, where do I start? How about this—I love my mission! I'm here in Montréal and loving it! My Mom had a list of questions for me so I'll answer those and then try to remember what has happened in the past week! I say "try" because looking back on it now it feels like a 5 second-long blur!

(Okay, sorry, I actually don't have much time to write today. We have a lot to do so I'll just answer the questions.)

1.  Your companion? Actually... I have two! President Cannon put us in a tri-panionship for now because we're expecting another elder this week. My trainer is named Elder Baker. He is so cool! The other elder is Elder Smith! (That was actually pretty funny to me because in the MTC Frère Smith always joked about Elders that are named Smith.) He's been out for one transfer and he was actually in the MTC with me. Where is he from? Elder Baker is from Arizona and Elder Smith is from Salt Lake City. How long has he been serving? Elder Baker will hit his one year mark this Friday! How is his French? Elder Baker knows French really well and has been a huge help! 

2.  Your area? I am dying to hear where you actually are.  Rural? Nope! City? Yep! Beautiful? Of course—it's Montréal! Okay here's the best part... I'm in downtown Montréal in an area called McGill after the university here! So I'm serving in the YSA wards in both English and French! It is so much fun working with them! We have activity nights (Family Home Evening on Mondays, Sports night on Wednesdays, and Institute with soup and baguettes on Fridays!) for the students. Both the French and the English student wards are super strong with 50 members in each! I'm also a Facebook missionary so I'm putting my social networking skills to work!

The funny thing is that I'm actually writing this in the Apple Store in downtown Montréal right now! Wow... apparently Apple has been pretty busy! I'm staying focused, though!

3.  The food? So far the only food I've had is food that I've made, really. We don't have a lot of dinner appointments here because it's mostly students and we don't want to put a burden on them. But we did go out to have poutine the day that I got here with the Zone Leaders (Elder Austin Heder and his companion Elder Pohue!) Do you eat with members every day? Nope! Do I need to send recipes? I want to try making lasagna and tater tot casserole, so if you want to send me those that would rock!

4.  The language? French is the best! I absolutely love it! The accent here is so heavy, though. It was really hard to understand at first but I'm getting the hang of it. Mostly French where you are serving? Actually, I've done mostly English so far which is making it hard to really learn French but that's okay. I would say it's been 70% English. Are your ears growing accustomed to hearing it? Yep!

5.  The weather? The weather has been great! It's a little cold but I love it because I can finally start layering! It 
rained a little but today is perfect! Looks like rain (in Montréal at least) but you've never been one to let weather affect your attitude!

6.  Investigators? We have great investigators! We've found 11 new investigators this week and all of them are super excited to learn more! Sorry, I wish I could tell you more but we really have no time! Do you have a pretty good teaching pool? Have you helped teach any lessons yet? Oh, absolutely! I love teaching! Apple taught me so much about how to teach effectively and the MTC refined my style! Elder Baker lets me teach as much as I want to!

7.  Email time?  Do you have more than 30 minutes to email? After today I should have a little more time! We actually just got a call from President Cannon and the new Elder is here so we have to rush out to go help him and Elder Smith move into their new apartment. Would you still prefer that we send letters instead of long emails?  You can do what's easiest for you! I like the emails, though.

8.  Christmas? Can't wait! Is there anything you want/need for Christmas? Not necessarily! I like black liquorice and chocolate :) I am starting to plan and want to get things sent before Thanksgiving.  I know you don't want to pack lots of "stuff" around, so give it some thought.

Sorry, I really wish I had more time to tell you what's been happening! Just know that I'm absolutely entirely happy right now! 

Elder Ellis

Wednesday, October 17, 2012



This is my last week in the MTC! The time that I've had here has been nothing short of life-changing! I will always remember these weeks. I've got a pretty good handle on French now and a solid witness of the gift of tongues! I am very excited to land in Montréal and hear the Quebecois accent! I've actually been pretty worried about that for a while now... I want to speak Parisian French as much as possible so I've been working on my pronunciation and building a strong Parisian accent since the first week. If you don't know what Quebecois sounds like, just imagine the super thick southern accents in the US and apply that to French. I probably shouldn't worry about it really, I'll be fine! In the past eight weeks I've come closer to the Gospel than ever before! I honestly cannot express just how much I believe in living the Gospel with exactness. In times past, I've looked at the promises the Lord gives us and have seen them as words on a page. I've never really felt super sure about them before but I can surely promise you now that by living and keeping the commandments you will be blessed. Days will be productive. You will feel better about the things you choose to spend your time on. Through studying the scriptures you will be aided in your schoolwork and professional life. The Lord loves us and wants to bless us! I've learned that based on the eternal Law of the Harvest, all blessings are predicated upon obedience to certain principles. There are certain special blessings that the Lord has in store for us which require our asking for them! In the Bible Dictionary and the Index of the French Livre de Mormon, we learn that prayer is a form of work, and that often times it is all that is needed for the Lord to bless us. Please start living the Gospel if you aren't already doing so! If you already are, pick one aspect where you can improve! And if you don't have the Gospel in your life and you don't know where to find it, find the missionaries through "" (If you're reading this on my blog, just click "I BELIEVE" in the column on the right!)

Alrighty, so as for this week!

To finish off last Tuesday, Elder Bednar came to talk to all of the missionaries at the devotional. Since we didn't hear any of the news about the changes that were going to take place in the MTC he filled us in and then shared a few of the comments from the news. He had a few hilarious things to say about the conspiracies of why the age change came around. He called it "Apostolic Humor" and then explained very simply why the change was made. He said there were two reasons: 1) This is the Lord's work, 2) He will hasten his work. And that's it! I wish you could've heard everything that he and his wife had to say about General Conference and missionary work.

Honestly, all I can remember about Wednesday was the class we had at night. (It's funny, looking back at pretty much any day here is hard because we do the same thing day after day after day. I can see why people have a hard time at the MTC, but really all it takes is a good attitude and the right perspective. If you look at life day by day (especially life in the MTC!) it's easy to get overwhelmed! So take President Monson's advice from last year and "Keep your head up!") Anyways, the class was great. We read "My Calling" by Bruce R. McConkie which really opened my eyes!  We practiced teaching lessons by only using questions (so hard!) which helped me appreciate the idea of teaching simply. I'm looking at my daily planner right now (that's another thing, plan! Take time to plan your days out the night before! And if you don't have the time, plan the time! You will be so productive, I promise you!) and I just saw something that I wrote about the lesson. "Don't be apologetic when teaching the Word of Wisdom. Look through the lens of love to see with your heart."

Thursday was so much fun! In the morning when I went to pick up our mail I got an invitation for my district to host next Wednesday (tomorrow!) We were all really excited about that news! It will be fun to go full circle and bring some of the new missionaries in tomorrow. At TRC we taught our best lesson yet! Remember the "la mort vs. amour" lady? Well we had the chance to teach her again along with a student from BYU! We shared a few of our favorite talks from General Conference and talked about what we can do more to study the words of the living prophets. I am really excited for the talks to be released in French! Conference talks in French have been one of the best tools for my language study. Elder Keenan and I planned for a few of our lessons which went great!

On Friday we got our travel plans! I'll be leaving to Montréal a week from today! We fly out at 7:50 AM from the Salt Lake Airport on the 23rd! I am so excited to get out there! On Friday we taught Lyze and answered her questions about General Conference. It was fun to explain some of the really simple things about the organization of the Church that I really don't think about all that often. General Conference is such a blessing! Don't forget what you've learned from that weekend! I know that I won't! I watched a lot of the "Life of Jesus Christ" Bible videos that the Church has made. Those are amazing! (Sorry, I'm running out of time!)

How about the weather on Saturday! Wasn't that awesome? I love the clouds in the fall! We played an awesome game of volleyball out on the sand and my feet went totally numb! We logged into Family Search to get familiar with the site. The Church is getting really serious about using family history work in missionary work. I just want to throw out a quick Merci Beaucoup! to my two lovely Grandmothers and all of the work that they've put into our family history!

On Sunday our Branch Presidency got a little change up. One of the counselors is going to be serving a mission in France in a few weeks. That will be cool! Okay, this is probably the coolest thing ever. After we finished with all of our Sunday duties I got on Family Search again and (you aren't going to believe this...) I found a line that I could trace all the way back to Adam! It was seriously amazing! I took a video and talk about it a little more in there (I seriously have no more time to write) so I'll send that home to my family. But can you believe that? All the way back to Adam!

Monday was great! That's all!

This morning I went to the Temple for what might be the last time in two years. It was amazing as always!

I love all of you! It would probably be best if you send mail from now on to the Mission Office in Montréal. I'll have my mom change the address up top!

Elder Ellis

Sent from my iPhone (Haha...)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012



Can you believe that I've been here for seven weeks? It is really amazing to me how fast the time has come and gone. In two weeks from today I'll be boarding a plane in Salt Lake City and flying to Montréal! I am so excited to be there! This week has been great and I've used it to its fullest!

We'll get started with Wednesday. In class we started focusing on the Role of the Holy Ghost in our lessons. Just about each week we focus on a new fundamental of missionary work and I have been looking forward to this one for a while! I am so glad for the teachers we have—I can tell that they were really amazing missionaries and love the work they do. After class I was walking to lunch with Elder Keenan and I saw Elder Nate Greenwood! I was so happy to see him! We are pretty much the last ones in our grade to leave on their missions (except for Kevin Fonseca, but he doesn't count because he's basically like 13... Hey Kev-Bot, write me!) Elders Pilling and McKechnie taught us (we were being the mock-stigators) and I learned a lot again from being on the other side of the lesson. Afterwards, we taught Rimas and cleared up a few of his questions about the Prophet and his role before conference. We brought in a picture of President Monson for him to see and he was pretty confused as to why he didn't have a beard like Moses! It was pretty funny, honestly! I started Jesus the Christ again—what a great book! I've started waking up a little early to get some more reading time in. I want to finish it before I leave the MTC.

Thursday was a pretty normal day. We started with a great French lesson in the morning and I finally got a grasp on one of the oddest parts about French—the placement of direct and indirect objects in the sentence and transitive vs. intransitive verbs. At first I kind of just went with it not knowing the rules behind it so it is such a relief to know exactly what is happening now! For TRC we had our first 40 minute lesson (in the past we had two 20 minute lessons) and it went nothing like we expected. We've always taught people in TRC as members, so we went in thinking that we would teach a few points of doctrine from the Gospel of Jesus Christ but when I asked him to pray he said, "I've never prayed before, can you teach me?" Elder Keenan and I just looked at each other to confirm that what we had just heard. So we went cold turkey with no lesson plan and taught the first lesson up until the First Vision. It actually went pretty well, but I learned a lot about what I need to review, and which points I need to teach better. In the evening, I got together with Elder Pilling for some advice on my scripture study. His dad was an institute teacher and because of that, he has some great study habits that I want to pick up. He helped me build a new study system that I've really liked!

Friday started off really great! Our lesson with Lyze was amazing! We taught her about personal revelation and focused a lot on conference the next day. We were teaching in a room with a computer, which I knew beforehand, and so I thought we should use all of the resources at hand and watch a video about conference. The Spirit was so strong as we were watching it! It was a testimony to me about the powerful tool that technology is as a teaching assistant. Videos really capture attention and share a message visually and with powerful music in a way that you can't normally do. She seemed pretty excited about General Conference before we left. In class, Frère Smith wasn't there and so we had a sub. He shared a good thought about staying organized in order for the Spirit to communicate ideas and thoughts to you more easily. He told us about a few of the miracles he took part in on his mission and said, "If you expect miracles, you will find them." I really liked that and I put it up by my desk. I memorized the First Vision in French!

We started Saturday off with a weekly service project, which put us in the perfect mood for General Conference! Conference was absolutely amazing! They somehow managed to get all of the missionaries in the MTC into the big gym/auditorium that they use for big events. You should have seen that room when President Monson made the announcement about the new missionary ages! Everyone stood and cheered—even President Brown was standing clapping! It was amazing! I have faith that this work is the work of the Lord and this change is just the work maturing and sizing up for the future! I don't have much time now, so I'll just share a few of my favorite moments. Elder Nelson did an amazing job at preparing the field for us! "Ask the missionaries! They can help you!" We all got a kick out of that talk. Elder Ballard had a great talk about doing your part in the Church—it's a cooperative effort! Elder Oaks delivered probably the hardest talk in about the best way possible! Boldly and simply! What a strong man! Priesthood session was especially great! My favorite part was when President Eyring broke out the French. "J'aime et j'espaire!" or "I love and I hope!"

(I have no more time! Here's just the quick points for Sunday and Monday!)

Sunday: Music and the Spoken Word in the morning. Loved the paintings and the message. General Conference again. Favorite Talk: Eyring: In our trials seek God, He is there. I had just read D&C 121 before the session had started, very cool. Holland: How to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ. Richard G. Scott: Family history work is important. Don R. Clarke: Understanding the sacrifice gives meaning to the sacrament (Dad, you should use this for your lesson on the Sacrament!). Took a lot of notes in my personal journal so that I wouldn't ever lose them. I am going to get them copied and printed so I can have them in my scriptures. Temple walk, saw two good friends and talked to them about going on their missions. I am really anxious to hear who has decided to serve! Congratulations to Marissa Smith and Gemma Grover! Fireside (Chad Lewis) and a movie. More sitting than I've ever done!

Monday: Lyze is getting baptized on 10 Nov! So cool! I wish it were real.

Elder Ellis

Wednesday, October 3, 2012



What a week! Thanks for all of the letters everyone! I wish I could answer all of your questions but I just don't have enough time! I'll get right into the week!

Wednesday was a pretty normal day, nothing out of the ordinary really. But as a missionary it was extraordinary! Elder Keenan and I taught Lyze in the morning about the prophets and the apostles. We told her all about General Conference this weekend and she committed to watching it! It was pretty funny to try to explain how to watch it on her computer in French. We invited her to watch it with us but she will be "out of town" and so she said she would try to watch it on the road. This past week we studied the importance of having investigators come to church. I've seen hints and glimpses in the past compared to what I know now about the importance of our meetings. I wish someone would have pointed out a few things to me earlier on. Dad, will you please make sure to teach the priests in your quorum the importance of the Sacrament? I know that they know the basics probably, but that's not enough. Just make sure that they really get how important ordinances like that are. I finally finished moving into our new room at the end of the day which was nice. I'm sure that by the end of my mission I'll be an amazing packer/un-packer like my Dad!

Thursday was a wonderful day for Elder Keenan and I. We really focused on changing the way that we plan our lessons to let the Spirit guide more than we have let it in the past. We prepared our next lesson for Lyze which I'll tell you about later on. I really relied on a few experiences that I've had in the past serving in an Elder's Quorum presidency and the way that we would do things in our meetings to be led by the Spirit. We both loved how the planning went and are going to keep using/adjusting it as necessary! In class we talked a lot about how to teach the law of tithing. I knew that it could easily be a hard thing for some investigators to accept, but then I watched a few example lessons and wow! I completely underestimated it! I'm not sure if they were trying to scare us or what, but the videos were pretty intense! There were some really tough questions being played with and I just wondered how anyone could possibly feel the Spirit with an outlook like that. I'm just glad that I have such a strong testimony of tithing. I really truly do attribute every success in my life, school, occupations, and otherwise to tithing. I know that I have been blessed with the jobs that I've had because of tithing. There is a real joy in giving back to the Lord! And if that's all that I can say in the moment to an investigator then so be it! The Spirit will surely take over and either they will accept it or they will not. We had two great lessons at TRC. One with an older woman who broke out into song for us and another with one of Frère Smith's old MTC companions. We had a zone meeting to improve our language study plans which helped quite a bit!

Friday seemed so fast! We played "Le Vrai Français" as a district. I think I may have already explained it...If I didn't and it really keeps you up at night not knowing what it is, send me a package with cinnamon rolls or black licorice and I'll tell you! And if not, send them anyways! We taught Lyze and it was such a powerful lesson! We ended up hardly teaching anything that we had planned for. The Spirit was there and I know that she felt it and recognized what it was. We have to go super slow with her because she has a hard time understanding some of the principles. We try to teach as simply as we can but sometimes we just have to explain it a few times and she will start to understand. Elder Keenan and I got haircuts! I won't lie—I was pretty nervous that they wouldn't do a good job but it actually turned out really good! For everyone that doesn't know, I've only had my hair cut once by anyone besides my mom or my aunt Melissa and it made me so mad. I guess it's just something that has been engraved in my subconscious, "Don't trust anyone but Mom or Liss with your hair." I got to do something that I've never done before that night! I've been on the receiving end of many interviews, but never have I been the one behind the desk! I was pretty nervous but I knew that the Lord would help me open and would guide my questions. I learned so much that night!

Saturday started off pretty bad (don't worry, it got a lot better!) We have service every Saturday morning at 6. We used to have it in our building but when we moved our assignment didn't. We woke up and walked to the old building but our cards wouldn't work anymore! So we were out in the cold (so cold!) and knew that someone on the inside was counting on us to clean the building and I wasn't about to take everyone back to let them fall asleep and not fulfill our responsibilities. We prayed and on my first swipe of my card the door opened! It was a miracle at the MTC! I was put on mirrors and mopping. I like those jobs. (I'm running out of time...) I learned some really great lessons about leadership and about life in general that I recorded in my journal. We taught Rimas that night and he took us so off topic! It was hard trying to keep him focused because he kept wanting to get off on some really deep doctrines. That's one thing that I want to get better at is helping investigators stay focused but not so much so that I'm making decisions over what they need and what the Spirit wants.

Sunday started off pretty cold as well. While I was shaving one of the Elders in my room shut our door and none of us had our key. So I had to run in shorts and a t-shirt up to the front desk with my face half shaved and stinging from the cold to get a spare. Other than that, Sunday may very well could have been my favorite day here so far! (I don't have much time so this may end up being just a list of things...) We had mission conference and heard from the MTC Presidency and their wives. All really great messages. Deep knowledge and understanding of doctrines comes from diligence and obedience. A poem called "Calf Paths." Find it, read it, send me a copy please! Oh and make sure that Grandpa Pedersen gets a copy! He'd love it. The whole time that I was listening to it I could just hear him laughing (you know the hardly-any-air-laugh.) Another poem—I don't know what it's called but I wrote down a few lines: "There is a high road and a low, every man decides which way his soul shall go." Find it please! President Benson once said, "Christ changes men. Changed men change the world." I instantly thought of a line from Apple's "Think Different, "Those who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do." "The Gospel comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable." Watched "Testaments" after the fireside. We started our Consecration Week as I named it. My district gave up English for the week in order to show our sacrifice to the Lord in hopes that we will be blessed with the French we need that will sustain us.

On Monday I finished "Our Heritage" from the missionary library. Lots of studying, preparing, eating, and studying.

This morning we went to the Temple! I had a really good experience there (like always! It's the Temple!) I started Jesus the Christ again—great book!

I love all of you and I really hope that you are doing all that you can to be true to the knowledge that you have! Make sure to watch General Conference this weekend! And try to do something for someone else!

Elder Ellis