Monday, November 26, 2012


Bonjour tout le monde!

In 1 one week there are 7 days; in 7 days there are 168 hours; and in those 168 hours there are 10080 minutes; which breaks down to 604800 seconds. The point is that I've loved and cherished each and every one of those seconds this week! I've grown so much and learned a thing or two as well!

I don't have much time today to write a decent email detailing the past week but I'll give it my best shot! First things first, The Westovers! This past week was Thanksgiving, and seeing as Thanksgiving for the Ellis family is synonymous with Thanksgiving for the Westover family, I obviously thought about them quite a bit! I got a nice letter from Hailey a week ago (Hailey, I'm going to try to write you back today!) Then just a few days ago I got my copy of the November Ensign and the first thing I see is my sister-in-law (ha! I had to!) Brooklynn staring back up at me! That was just about as cool as me sharing the front page with President Monson! (Ellis-2 Westover-1! Now's your time to shine, Brian, do something nuts and get in the news! I'm still waiting to hear the results of the golf trip in Houston! Kidding, love you guys!)

Monday ended unexpectedly! After I finished my last email, Elder Baker and I went and played basketball and volleyball with the rest of our zone. We were supposed to have a lesson with Caitlin before FHE started but she didn't show up and we were a little worried because we couldn't get ahold of her. We didn't stay for FHE because we didn't have any investigators there so we decided to go the hospital to see Steve again—great news! He was discharged and sent home! The power of Priesthood blessings is real. Just as we were taking the elevator up to our apartment we got a call and heard that Caitlin had been assaulted in the metro while defending someone with a disability! I was so worried. The Branch President was at the hospital with her and she told us what had happened. I am so humbled to be in the position to "teach" someone who so clearly understands what it means to be a disciple of Christ. Caitlin is the real teacher it seems like. She has so much faith and her heart is right. I can't wait until the day she gets baptized—I pray each night that her parents will come to an understanding with her. 

Tuesday was great! (I can only give one point from each day, I'm really stretching out my time.) I had Thanksgiving dinner with some of the YSA at Caitlin's house. She was feeling a lot better and made one of the best Thanksgiving dinners I've ever had!

Wednesday we were really busy with appointments. We had district study and talked about service. We had an investigator come to sports night and he seems really interested! The Concordia Elders took us home that night and we got all the way back home just to find out that I had left my bag at the church! They took us back to the church and told us we'd have to ride the metros back home. I got my bag and we got into the metros just in time to see one of the YSA. She told us that she had prayed we would run into her because she is working on her mission papers and there have been some hang ups with the medical side of the things and she wanted a blessing. We were able to give her a blessing in the laundry room of our building with the Chinese elders. I am glad that I forgot my bag that night. The Lord works in mysterious ways to answer the prayers of others. A lot of people get hung up on learning to distinguish the voice of the Spirit in their lives. I've learned to not worry about that so much—as long as we are striving to serve and we are worthy, He will use us. Just act on the promptings you receive when you receive them.

Thursday we met with a less active member and she referred us to her brother. (Times up!)

Friday we met with another less active and taught about scripture study.

Saturday was great! 

Sunday was Sunday—the best day of the week!

I am so sorry about this super lame email. You can just trust me that it was an awesome week!

Elder Ellis

Monday, November 19, 2012



I honestly cannot put into words how happy I am right now! I just read an email from my Mom that she sent to my brother (the other Elder Ellis) and me! When I think about it, I am so incredibly lucky to be serving at the same time as my brother! I've learned so much from him over the years. Especially as he has helped me prepare to serve my own mission through his advice and stories! I just feel so lucky!

This week has been so great! I have had some really great faith-building experiences.

Let's kick this off with Tuesday—or not... This is sad because I honestly, like seriously, can only remember one thing from Tuesday. I was trying so hard (and Elder Baker can attest to this, you can ask him in a year when he gets back) to remember what happened. That night I didn't have hardly any time to write in my journal and the entry just said: "Great day! No time! -Elder Ellis" so... But the one thing I do remember is going to McGill campus teaching a lesson on Alma 5 to one of our investigators named Karen. She has been investigating for about a year now but her mom is keeping her from being baptized. It makes me so sad because we have found so many people and have brought them right up to the point of baptism and then their parents step in! But anyways, the lesson went really well! It was fun to get to know her a little more. She asked me to edit the intro of her paper because English is her second language and she just wanted to make sure that it all worked grammatically. So yup, that's all I can remember from Tuesday!

Wednesday is a different story altogether! Elder Baker and I went to the Mount Royal building for district study. Elder Heder and his companion led the discussion on how we can get members more involved in the work. We really need their help right now! The members are beyond essential or vital; they are crucial to the work! After district study we went to the mall across the street and grabbed lunch at the food court. It was so funny to see all of the looks we were getting! We made some good contacts and passed out a bunch of the cards. That afternoon we went knocking at some of the "great and spacious buildings" (the 40-story apartment buildings). We taught a few lessons at the door and then the funniest thing happened. We heard a radio around the corner and some jangling keys and Elder Baker just froze. He looked at me and whispered, “Run!" We got to the stairs and started running down four or five floors then got out and hopped into the elevator. We waited for a minute and then went up about ten floors and kept knocking! It's just so hard to get into those huge buildings so we try our best to not get kicked out! The law in Canada is that if someone lets us in we can knock all we want. The police won't ever ask you to leave but the building manager can so you just try to avoid him at all costs and you can knock for days! It was pretty fun, though. We ended up knocking almost all night.

Thursday was one of my favourite days on my mission so far! I went on splits with Elder Smith. Remember him? He was my first companion with Elder Baker in our trio. Elder Smith is such a great missionary! We set some pretty lofty goals for the day during our studies and practiced different methods of contacting. Right when were about to leave to the Université de Montréal we got a text from President Cannon that said: "Elder Ellis. Please call me. Pres." Needless to say, I called him to see what had happened and he told me that there was a huge crisis. He was at the print shop and the Christmas card had come out black (okay, so not that big of a crisis but still.) He told me that he was coming to pick us up to fix the card. So we rode to the Cannons and tried to find out what had happened. The colour on the screen was totally fine but it had seriously come out jet-black! I made some adjustments and made a few different versions but it took almost four hours to get it right because we weren't even sure what we were dealing with. The card came out fine but the one that worked isn't quite how I wanted it. It came out looking super fake but it should pass. I think you'll still like it! So after we got that sorted out we still wanted to hit our high goals! We got right to work and taught a lesson to an investigator with a member in a metro station on the Book of Mormon. Then we had a DA (dinner appointment) with Phil and his mom again—they took us to the best Chinese restaurant ever! It was seriously the best Chinese ever! We had a great time with them—we always do! After dinner we were walking back to the metro and we both stopped and felt like we needed to get on the bus. We didn't know exactly where it was going but we felt like we should so... on the bus we went! We ended up teaching four people who, from what I've heard now from Elder Smith, are solid investigators now! We got off the bus and started walking back the way we came and found another bus going back downtown so we took it and ended up finding another investigator! The best part—we hit our goals right on and we couldn't help but thank the Lord for helping us! We really can be led by the Spirit in our lives. Never forget that!

(Ah! I don't have much time to finish this. Sorry for paraphrasing!)

Friday was weekly planning. Ended splits. Helped at the office quite a bit. Did some knocking. Got a bunch of materials to study in French. Had soup and baguettes with the YSA and went to Institute. We found two great people that night.

Saturday we had a lot of lessons planned but they all canceled but one. We met with a less active and she took us to China town and got bubble tea. (It's like tea, don't worry we got it sans tea, and juice and tapioca pudding balls.) It was really good! Went to a baptism with her in Spanish. Couldn't understand what they were saying really but I could still feel the Spirit! We taught Emma the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They took us to Julep and got some poutine and orange julep (Emma sent a picture home to Dad of my first julep!) JC came with us knocking.

Sunday was great! Great meetings and some less actives came back to church with us. Set goals with the YSA for 2013. We want to double the size of the branch and make it a ward over three years. Had a potluck and a devotional on the life of Joseph Smith. Knocked and tried to visit Steve in the hospital.

Thanks for the recipes, Mom! Thanks for the letters, Dad! I can't believe that you got to race the Ferrari! So cool! Also I see that baby boy Matt has taken a liking to my blue blazer! It looks good on you! Love you all!

Also, for Christmas an electronic French dictionary would be cool! And some MoTab Christmas music! (Possibly on the new blue iPod nano!)

Elder Ellis

Monday, November 12, 2012


Bonjour tout le monde!

I couldn't have asked for a more eventful week! I have learned, especially this week, to always expect to be surprised! We are promised in the scriptures that through our faith and faithfulness we can see miracles! Every day I spend here in Montréal as a missionary adds to my testimony of that promise! Thanks for the awesome email, Mom! It sounds like life is great back in good ol' PG! And snow! I can't believe that! It has snowed a few times here, but only early in the morning and then it melts in the sun. Today is actually a really nice day outside! The weather here is beautiful! I got here just as fall was passing and now everything is slowly turning into winter. Being in the middle of downtown you would think that there aren't many trees but the way Montréal has built itself over the years allows for trees lining every sidewalk! I just keep wishing I could take more pictures but we try not to look like tourists so I haven't had many chances to go out and take pictures. Anyways—let's get into the week!

So to finish off last Monday—after I finished my email we went out to the Angrignon church building for a zone activity. We played volleyball and Chinese dodge ball with our whole zone—so much fun! I got to see Elder Wright from my MTC district again which was awesome! It's always so much fun to see the missionaries from the MTC! Then that night after our activity we had FHE with the YSA and for the spotlight moment they picked me. So, I got drilled with questions about life before the mission and it was a little weird to be talking about! It was fun, though—they are all reading my blog now and following me on Instagram. It's actually pretty funny, so hello YSA if you're reading this on my blog right now! 

Tuesday we met with the zone again for zone studies. I'll keep saying this, but that's just because it's true, but my zone is the best! There are some amazing missionaries who can teach so simply with the Spirit! I've definitely enjoyed getting to know all of them. Elder Baker and I gave some training on "The Role of Repentance in the Plan of Salvation." I love putting together trainings like that. I've been trying to study the Plan of Salvation a little each day in my personal studies. It is a very simple plan. It can be understood by all people who take the time to receive it. The Plan has been given to us in its entirety—nothing is hidden, nothing is obscured. We know what is required and what is necessary of us. It is a complete plan. There aren't many things in this world that apply to every last person who has ever lived—in fact I don't think there is anything besides the Plan of Salvation that has involved every member of the human family. There aren't any loopholes or places where the seemingly most insignificant person could slip through. And in fact, it is so simple and so complete, those "seemingly insignificant" people become simply and completely meaningful. Like I said, I had a great time giving some training on it. After zone studies I went on splits with Elder Osorio from St. George (speaking of St. George—Nefi! I'm sorry I haven't written you back! I got your letter as I was packing up to leave the MTC. I'm excited to hear about your mission!) and I took him around my area to visit our investigators. We did a lot of knocking afterwards and then decided that we needed to see a less-active family in his old area. Luckily, my area, McGill, actually covers almost the entire mission! So we can go anywhere on the Island and in the Province. So we took the metro to the end of the line to visit this family. They are a less active Hispanic family with two sons. They were so incredibly nice! They fed us a really good oatmeal drink and some Mexican bread. They only speak Spanish and French so I tried to use a little of the Spanish that I've learned to talk to them! There is a good chance that I'll be learning Spanish as well—President asked me if I would be willing and I told him I could if he needed me to! It would be nice to be able to work in that area someday! The family thought I was from France when we first met them because of my accent! That boosted my spirits a little! After that we met some of the missionaries in downtown Montréal for dinner at a nice restaurant called Mike's—I had the best pasta I've ever had! We saw that Mitt had all but lost which was a little sad but—oh well! The Church is still true!

Wednesday started off great! We had Zone Conference with the Cannons! I absolutely love them! I've gotten to know them really well from all of the time we spend together at their house and on the phone. The conference was centered on K(now) A(sk) D(iscern) L(isten) T(each.) It's kind of the mission catch phrase almost—KALDT to serve! The senior couples made us a huge lunch! (I'll tell you more about it later...) And then Sister Cannon pulled me aside and gave me an iPhone 5! Okay, well, she gave it to me to set up for her. But that was fun! I gave her the same treatment that we would at the Apple Store! It was pretty fun to get to do that again. We ended our splits and Elder Baker and I went off to our lesson with Caitlin. Her parents still want her to wait for a year to be baptized so it's a little tough to know what to do from here on out. We're just going to keep teaching her for a while until she makes a set decision on what she is going to do. We talked about the blessings of baptism and she asked for a blessing to know what to do. She has so much faith and is such a great example to me! So...the last half of the story about lunch. We got home for the day and suddenly both Elder Baker and I realized that something was up. Needless to say, we both took turns all night in between the bedroom and the bathroom. The next morning we got a call from the Zone Leaders and apparently the same thing had happened to everyone in the zone! We all had food poisoning!

So most of Thursday was spent in bed or on the "throne." Only one sister was able to escape what we called the "Mount Royal Flush." So we basically just spent the day studying and trying to recover quickly. Elder Baker didn't have it as bad as me so he found another team who came over and went on splits. So Elder Baker went out and taught with Elder Bell while Elder Heinzlemier and I studied. Then we ended up going to our dinner appointment that night with the Aloi's—Elder Aloi (the mission employment specialist) was sick as well so we went really easy on the food. It was an interesting day to say the least!

Friday was a busy day! While we were doing our weekly planning Cedric, a member of the bishopric of a ward on the Island, called us. He asked us to go to the hospital with him on his lunch break to give a blessing to someone who had experienced a major stroke. It was my first time giving a blessing to someone that I don't know personally. I have a strong testimony of the power of the Priesthood. What a blessing it is to hold! Being in the hospital reminded me of all of the stories that President Monson tells. Cedric took us around on our way back to McGill campus to show us the area a little more. The campuses here are all absolutely stunning! The buildings are all very well designed and the mix of old Victorian and modern glass and steel is perfect. The Cannons picked us up at the metro and took us back to their house to work on the Christmas card a little more. It's coming along! We had a dinner appointment that night with a recent RM named Phil and his mother. They were so nice! We had these really good Venezuelan bread pocket things with chicken and beans.

Saturday was super fun! We had a lesson with Emma and taught her about the Plan of Salvation with a few members who are her really good friends. They wanted us to get "breakfast for lunch" with them at a really cool little restaurant called Fabergé. I had the best waffle I've ever had in my entire life! It was so good! I think the mountain of Nutella might have helped with that... We did a lot of knocking during the day and then met with Caitlin to talk about some of the questions that her parents have. We talked about temple marriage and the blessing that the temples are in our lives. (Sorry, I'm running out of time…we're going to go play volleyball with some elders soon.) We had the adult session of English Stake Conference (Cool story about Stake Conference, Mom! Elder Bednar is my favourite!) We met a guy on the metro going back that night who "dances for Jesus" and gave us a bunch of pamphlets. It was pretty funny. He would dance on the "wagons" (the metro cars) and preach. It taught me that I could definitely be a little more energetic and outgoing when I contact! 

Sunday we had Stake Conference and then went to the French Branch and the rest of our meetings. We found two new investigators when we went knocking who seem really interested! I've been wondering a lot why people actually listen when they already have beliefs. I wish I had more time to share some of my thoughts but we have to get going!

Je vous aime tous!

Elder Ellis

Monday, November 5, 2012



Well, well, well! How about that wimpy email last week? I'm so terribly sorry! We were just so busy last week with the mini-transfers and grocery shopping and whatnot. I'm not one to count days or anything but... can you believe that this is letter #10? Yeah, I know, right? Time flies when you're working hard! I'll have a little more time from here on out for my emails, but sadly not quite enough time to write about the previous week. Just trust me that it was amazing! I couldn't have asked for a better first week in the field!

How is everyone doing? I don't hear much from anyone up here in Canada—just some house-keeping: It takes two US stamps to send letters up here or one international stamp! Thanks for the great email, Mom! It sounds like the family is taking care of itself without my craziness to keep the mood light! If anyone (seriously, anyone!) wants to send anything just use the Mission Office address (the one at the top of the blog) because I'm there almost every day. Alright, lets get to the good stuff!

Tuesday was terrific! We started the day off with a lot of knocking and a lot of rejection! It's so much fun to knock and see people's reaction to us. I've been working on different door approaches—mostly just to get them to stay at the door and hear us out. It's amazing what a quick, deep question will do! I've been using my sales techniques from Apple to the extreme and it's starting to work. (But let's be honest—it's Apple, it's going to work!) After knocking we went back to the office/church building/our favourite place to teach to get ready for our lesson with our friend Karen. (In French, to avoid the negative connotation, we call our investigators "amis de l'Église" or "friends of the Church" cool, huh?) We got all ready and then she told us that she couldn't make it so we went and contacted a little more. We had a dinner appointment (DA) on South Shore (the South side of the island—Montréal is on an island) with a really cool girl named Anne. (And remember, I'm in the YSA so all of the people I'm talking about are about 25ish, just so you get this right in your head.) Her dad is a senior elder here who works with the employment center. We had tacos and salad and some really good juice. She said that she is going to start having us over for dinner once a week! I'm especially excited for that because she is a great cook! Then when we got back to the church that night we finished the transfer with Elder Smith and got him paired up with his new companion and sent them off to their new area! We finished the night by teaching an English class at the church which was totally eyeopening to me!

Wednesday was wonderful! We made some calls in the morning after our studies and then went off to district study at the office. We talked a lot about the different techniques that we use to find people that will listen to us. After district study we taught an amazing girl named Caitlin! She is the biggest example to me and my first investigator! We have a baptism set up with her on the 17th! We are so excited for that! Since the beginning of teaching her she has gone above and beyond in her reading and every commitment we leave with her. One day she came up to me and showed me all the church apps that she had downloaded on her iPhone (including BYUtv!) and I showed her how to use each one of them to their fullest. In the lesson we taught her the Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity because we knew she could handle both in one day! And of course, being Caitlin, she totally accepted both and started telling us how much sense they made and that she has believed the same thing her whole life.That night, after teaching Caitlin, we went back to the mission home. President and Sister Cannon have asked me to make the Christmas card for the mission this year! Word got out really quickly who I am, with computers, Apple and whatnot, and so I've been going around to the different offices and helping with computers. Anyways, Sister Cannon just let me loose on her MacBook Pro to design the card and I came up with a pretty sweet idea! I won't spoil what it is—they'll be sending it home for Christmas so you'll get to see it! We handed out Halloween candy all night with President and told stories and then he took us back to our apartment afterwards. Our apartment is just Elder Baker and I, and yes, Mom, I've done multiple deep cleans! It is pretty small and was really dirty but I've turned it back around! We live in the same building as two other teams (we call companionships teams to avoid the connotation in French of being a couple, and we call our companions our colleagues.) 

Thursday was... th-awesome? That doesn't work... We went on splits with the Zone Leaders (Elder Heder and Elder Pohue) which was so much fun! I helped Elder Pohue with his English and he helped me with my French in our studies. Since Elder Pohue doesn't have a license to drive, I got to drive all over the island to get to our appointments he had set up for us! It was nice to be behind a wheel again!  We started off by visiting a less-active member and listening to his story—what an interesting man! We taught him about King Benjamin's inspired words on the subject of service and invited him to come to church with us and told him that we would save a spot for him. (Elder Pohue told me that he came! The Zone Leaders go to a different branch than us.) After that I helped him install an old fax machine! I've never done that before so I'm glad I got it to work! It's amazing how far we've come since those days! Elder Pohue and I went knocking and taught a lesson in a door and I committed her to be baptized in December! It will be fun to hear how Elder Pohue and Elder Heder progress with her! She had a lot of faith! She also had this cute little black kid who kept asking me to hold him but I couldn't and it broke my heart! He was the cutest little kid I've ever seen—besides Adam, of course! (Speaking of Adam, how are you doing bud? I heard that you were an awesome Zorro!) Then we went to another DA with an awesome member called Costa and helped him set up his Christmas tree! He loves Christmas just about as much as I do! It was fun listening to MoTab Christmas music and telling stories about how I used to try to catch Santa! He gave me a mini Christmas tree to put in the apartment!

Friday was fantastic! We had our weekly planning—I love planning so much! After planning, since it was Elder Baker's one year mark, we went to a place called Bocadios for empanadas! They were so good! I guess real empanadas are fried? I loved that part! (But Mom, your empanadas are still the best, of course!)  We knocked a lot and had a lesson with Caitlin about tithing and fasting and once again she blew us away with how much she had done! She has been studying the testimonies of the Presidents of the Church and learned about each Apostle on her own so we gave her a copy of Our Heritage to read to satisfy her craving for history about the Church. We went to Institute with her and had soup and baguettes (a tradition that the Institute has is soup and baguettes before each class!) 

Saturday was splendid! We went back to Bocadios for lunch with a recent RM from the New York New York North mission! (Okay, speaking of New York, what in the world is going on down there? We keep hearing about sharks and floods and we're worried that we may have missed the Second Coming??) We had a lesson with a recent convert named Emma and let one of the YSA teach most of the lesson on the Restoration because she is putting in her papers this week. The Cannons invited us back over to their house to get more done on the Christmas Card and for dinner so we spent the rest of the day there. Saturdays are tough here because the universities around here are known for partying and so everyone is wasted from the night before. But that will change soon with the work progressing! 

Sunday was super! We had Stake Conference with the French stake and then a bunch of meetings (we have double the meetings because we work with two wards—the French and the English.) Caitlin told us some sad news—her parents are really upset with us teaching her and want to her to wait a year to be baptized. She has been so strong and is so ready to be baptized! We talked with them and clarified a few things and she is making the decision to either be baptized on the 17th or in 6 months like her parents want her to now. So we are just praying that she will make the decision that is best for her and for her parents. I guess that's just another thing we'll run into by teaching the youth around here. All in all, though, I know it will work out!

I'm out of time now but just to answer your last two questions, Mom—We take the metro everywhere, so busses and subways. And Facebook is pretty limited, we just spend 20 minutes everyday on it at the office and yes, it's separate from my personal account but I have my own missionary account!

Well, I guess that's it for this week! Je vous aime!

Elder Ellis