Monday, March 25, 2013


Bonjour tout le monde!

Another wonderful week in Rimouski! I don't have a lot of time to write today—I'll do my best!

Monday we had Soirée Familiale (Family Night) with the Lévesque family and Frère Hébert. We gave a lesson about the importance of a testimony and then had everyone write their testimony in a Livre de Mormon (Book of Mormon) to give away. We got the idea after knocking into one of Julie's friends, Isabelle. She knew that Julie was a Mormon and was very nice to let us in to warm up (this was sometime last week I think.) She was pretty set on not having a religious conversation so we thought of what we could do to help motivate Julie to talk about the Church with her. We gave her the special assignment of writing her testimony to Isabelle.

Frère Lévesque, Soeur Lévesque, Julie, Frère Hébert, Elder Ruby, and some kid...

Tuesday we experienced a miracle! Okay, so remember Jean-François, the one who basically told us to get lost? Well remember what I was saying about truth and how it changes people? And remember how I said that I was impressed to leave the Book of Mormon with our card behind? Yeah so... On Tuesday we got a phone call from an "unknown" number. The second I answered it I realized who it was. It was Jean-François calling back to apologize. He told me that he was extremely sorry about what he said about the Book of Mormon and for kicking us out. He told me that he saw it after we left and was super angry. He said that he went to pick it up and felt "this weird air" (that's a direct translation) and wasn't angry anymore. He said that he read until Jacob and decided that he had to do something about it. So he called us and invited us over to talk. He asked us to bring another copy that he wanted to give to his friend. (She has been in a lot of abusive relationships and doesn't trust men anymore so we weren't able to get any info to contact her but she has our number now so we're just waiting for the call!) When we got back to his apartment we noticed that he had cleaned the whole place and had put on a white shirt and shaved! I was so happy! You could see such a difference in his face and his attitude. He had a lot of questions and we had a lot of answers. It was probably one of the best lessons I've ever been in because the Spirit was leading it and all three of us could feel it. It became pretty apparent that we're going to have to go really slow with him because he wants to finish the Book of Mormon before we talk about anything else. He is dyslexic and so he reads really slow (according to him, but he's in Jacob already!) He also doesn't want to pray until he feels like the time is right. We have to be really careful with him because I feel like what happened last time came because of stress from reading aloud. I have a lot of hope and faith for Jean-François! And people say that miracles have stopped!

Normal U-Haul truck?  Look again:
America baby!

Wednesday it snowed almost 2 feet! We were really worried because we had a lesson planned with a less-active that hasn't come to church for 5 years and she lives almost 45 minutes away from Rimouski. We knocked most of the day and didn't really get to talk to anyone, but that's okay! We were able to make it out to Mont-Joli where Debbie lives. We brought Frère Hébert with us. He is so cool! His mannerisms are hilarious. When we got onto the highway we were right behind a snowplow which was a blessing because the highways were almost completely shut down. The lesson went really well. We talked a lot about her early experiences with the church and her testimony. She had a lot of questions about the priesthood which we were able to answer in a way that clicked with her. She still has a very strong testimony about prayer and continues to keep a prayer journal. We decided that we are going to go out and visit her once a week and try to help her come back to church. She even had some computer questions for me after the lesson—go figure!

So much snow!

(I'm short on time!)

Thursday we knocked all day! We met a guy and gave him a copy of the Family Proclamation and he invited us back. (When we went back on Saturday he was busy and told us to come back the next Saturday.)

They make huge hills of snow all over the place.  Huge hills.
A card I made for a lady we met last week.  She was really nice and we talked about genealogy.  ("The Family is like a tree")

On Friday we did our weekly planning and then got knocking! That night we met someone who really opened my eyes. The very first week in Rimouski we were knocking and in between houses we met a lady named Marielle. I'm not sure if I wrote about her or not. She is a Jehovah's Witness and is super nice. Anyways, when she opened the door she recognized us right off the bat and invited us in. We read the Family Proclamation with her. She got stuck on a few parts and it led to a huge conversation about Adam and Eve and I was super worried that we were just about to get into a Bible bash. I let her know that if it turned into that that we were going to leave so she tuned it down a bit and let us talk and explain and we did the same. She really explained their viewpoints on the reason we are here which helped because I've never quite understood some of their basic beliefs. It was getting late and we had to leave but she invited us to an event they're having on Tuesday. When we got home I dove into the scriptures to try to understand a few points better. I turned to Alma 42 and studied it from every angle approaching it wanting to learn and praying for understanding. I wish I could tell you everything that opened up to me as I read but here is not the place nor the time. I have a great appreciation for the Book of Mormon and the real spiritual power that lies within it. I urge you to seek for an understanding of the scriptures and of the Plan of Salvation.

Takin' out the trash
I decided to crack out the ol' typewriter and type out my entire planner for the month.  We'll see how that goes...

Saturday morning we drove out to the St-Jacque family's house for breakfast and a lesson. They are so nice! They were the first people we met when we were driving up to Rimouski. I am dying that I didn't take a picture with them! They are such a nice little family! The rest of the day we knocked and knocked! We got a call from Mathieu and he invited us over to study the scriptures with him. He had some questions before receiving the Aaronic Priesthood and wanted to make sure everything was good. He is such a cool guy. His kids are wild, his wife is too, and he's just trying to do the best he can with what he has. He's a good friend of ours.

Driving out to the St-Jaques

Sunday we had church and President Dupont was there! We extended all of the calls and then got the branch a little more organized. Mathieu received the Priesthood and was so excited! We also got the branch working on an Easter party for this Saturday. We knocked the rest of the day and passed by some less-actives who weren't home.

Okay, that's all the time I have!

Avec amour,

Elder Ellis

Monday, March 18, 2013


Bonjour tout le monde!

We had a super cold, super busy, super crazy week.

Last Monday night we had FHE with a few of the members of the branch at Annie Leblond's house. Annie's husband, Eric, hasn't come to church in a few months which is so weird because Annie is basically the glue of the branch! We shared a spiritual thought with him but nothing seemed to be getting to him. I'm not exactly sure what to do for him to help him come back. But after the lesson we played a fun word game called "Le Cercle". It was super hard but I actually ended up winning!

On Tuesday we went over to Vicky and Mathieu's house to follow up on one of our previous lessons and to help him pack and get ready to move. This time he just had us do dishes for just about entire hour... It was pretty nasty. I wish I would've taken a before and after picture but that would be weird. It was still nice to be able to help him with that and to be able to talk about the Church. Mathieu will be getting the Aaronic Priesthood in a few weeks so we decided that it would be a good idea to go through the Duty to God book with him. I remember those activities helped me so much as I grew up in the Priesthood. I'm really impressed with the new book that they have instead of the huge posters Austin and I would hang on the inside of our closet doors! It was a super tough lesson, though, because his two kids were running around and screaming through the house making it impossible to focus for him. They are pretty wild kids so we have decided to start coming at night after they are in bed. That night we had our first dinner appointment with the Lévesque family. They are super nice! The dinner was "fish and chips." Québecois are funny. They love using English wherever they can. Also they are 100% convinced that they invented fish and chips and that the only place in the world where you can find a cheeseburger is in Québec... Anways! After dinner we shared a video with them and they ended up asking me tons of computer questions. We spent a little bit of time going over how to print, skype, send emails... It was fun! And my vocabulary of computer terms has grown!

Wednesday we knocked. All. Day. It was a really cold day and no one gave us more than 15 seconds at the door. It was tough but that night we found a scripture that we now call "The Rimouski Scripture"
    "And now, my beloved son, notwithstanding their hardness, let us labor diligently; for if we should cease to labor, we should be brought under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God." — Moroni 9: 6

We have been living by that. Every time I want to give up I think of that scripture. We had dinner with Chantale, Yvan, and Alisson that night! Pepper soup, salmon pie, and a quiche! It was interesting! They are such a nice little family. Chantale is our go-to for any questions about Rimouski or members or anything! They live in such a tough situation and everything is falling apart around them but they're holding each other together. Frère Hébert came with us to that dinner and he and Yvan talked all night! It was great to see them getting along. Afterwards we went to the lesson we had planned with Diana. We knocked on the door and her mom answered. She said some pretty harsh stuff and then sent us away. That was tough because in the past three weeks, she is the only person we've found who was really interested. Sometimes I just want all of the parents in the world to disappear so that we could get some teaching done! And then I remember how awesome my parents are and that thought goes away :)

Thursday morning we got a call from the mission office and they gave us two referrals that they had received through We contacted both of them. One ended up being someone just checking to see if we actually call (ha!) and another guy that wanted a King James Bible. He lives in our area... but he's almost a 5 hour drive away from us in New Carlisle. We told him if he's ever coming through the area to give us a call and we'd meet him. He was a pretty funny guy and the first time I've been able to use English in a while! We knocked the rest of the day and... Moroni 9: 6 :)

Friday was pretty much exactly the same! We knocked all day but one person actually let us in. His name is Joël and he looks exactly like Jonny Ive. He wanted to practice English with us so we talked to him for a while. I told him that I had lived in Texas for a while (which by the way is the biggest blessing because Québec sees the United States as three states. There's New York, California, and then Texas. And they love Texas. I've actually just started telling people that I'm from Texas and it buys us an extra 30 seconds at the door. It's kinda funny, actually.) He went off on some cool stories about Corpus Christi and the Alamo Walk. He sells yachts and trains people on submarines. Cool, huh? He gave us his card and said, "If you're ever thinking about buying a yacht!" and then smiled and laughed. We gave him a card. We did our weekly planning and that was just about it for vendredi.

Saturday we ran over to the Lévesque house because they had a problem with Skype. Their camera was unplugged... I love old people! While we were knocking we had the craziest experience. Alright, get ready. So we knocked on this door. (First of all, it was covered in fuzzy, green carpet that looked like moss.) A guy answered and said "Témoigne Jéhovah." (Jehovah's Witness) and we said "No we're Mormons." (The people here don't really like TJ's and so we almost have to introduce ourselves like this: "Hi! We aren't Témoigne Jéhovah! We're missionaries for..." It's pretty ridiculous. Anyways...) So then the guy said, "No, I'm a Témoigne Jéhovah." So we talked for a bit and he told us he wasn't interested. But then his roommate, Jean-François, walked by and asked if we could come in because he had always been interested in our faith. We sat around his table and for the next 30 minutes taught the most picture-perfect lesson ever. He was asking amazing questions and we could feel the Spirit and... ah! It was awesome. We got right up to the end of the lesson, set up a return appointment, invited him to church (which he said yes to) and then asked if we could end with a prayer. This is where the story gets crazy. He pulled out a big bottle of vodka and lit up a cigarette and then told us some horrible things in French that I won't translate. I was completely shocked and told him that I didn't understand. Then he switched into broken English and said, "I think you understand good enough. Take the book, and get out." I asked him if I had offended him and then he laid out some pretty heavy explitives and started attacking the Book of Mormon. By this point Elder Ruby and I were standing and starting to walk out. I held out my hand to offer a shake and he slapped it and started walking us out. As I was walking out of the door I had the impression to drop the Book of Mormon at the door and leave it in the house. We walked out completely shocked. I still have no idea what happened, if we were played or not, or if it was something psychological. The only thing I know coming out of that situation is that my testimony of the Book of Mormon was strengthened. I know why I'm here and I know the things we try to share are the truth. The truth changes people and it itself cannot be changed. That's the beautiful thing about it. No matter how hard people try, no matter what angle they attack it from, the truth will prevail. Even if no one believed it were true or cared to pass any amount of time acknowledging or criticizing it, the truth would still be true. And the Book of Mormon is true. This Church is true. The Gospel of Jesus Christ truly changes people into who our Heavenly Father knows we can become. If you find yourself having a hard time, try to find the truth in the situation. The truth uplifts. It is a worthy thing to seek for and it will liberate you. Seek truth and you'll find it. Seek the Gospel of Jesus Christ and you'll find all of it.

"So many of us make a great fuss of matters of small consequence. We are so easily
offended. Happy is the man who can brush aside the offending remarks of another
and go on his way." —Gordon B. Hinckley

With that, I'll leave that story behind.

Saturday night we saw Mathieu again and studied the scriptures with him. We really need him to be a strength in his family and an example to his wife and children. He's really cool and loves to teach us Québecois phrases. I wish you could hear this accent! It's pretty awesome. I try my best to avoid picking it up but it's fun to use every once in a while!

Sunday was so, amazingly, incredibly cold. It was -28 with the wind chill and super humid. Church was great! We didn't have to babysit in the nursery which was a huge blessing! The members here are so strong. There might not be a lot, but the ones that come are here for a reason! We knocked quite a bit in the cold and had to warm up in the car every few houses. I have never been so cold in my entire life. I actually put on thermals and used hand warmers for the first time this whole winter. That's saying something! Then that night we went over to Chantale and Yvan's house to read The Family Proclamation with them. If you don't know what that is you should definitely give it a read! ( They loved it. We had a great discussion about society and the importance of the family. I am so grateful for my family and the love and support I have from them! I'll forever (literally) be grateful for each one of them!

Avec amour,

Elder Ellis

P.S. Pictures!

Frère Hébert, Alisson, Yvan, Chantale, Elder Ruby, Me

Breakfast in Rimouski

Cool contrast

Me being a barber

The result.  (Mom, Elder Ruby is in love with your scarves and won't ever take that one off.  WIll you make him one so I can have mine back?)

The sunsets here are nuts!

In the winter everyone puts up these tent things that we call quoi-shaques (kwah-shacks).  I love the pattern the bars make.

Some quoi-shaques are fancy

Studying hard or hardly studying?

I finished the New Testament this morning!

Monday, March 11, 2013


Boujour tout le monde!

I hope all is well for each and every one of you! Elder Ruby and I have had a splendid week up here in the Great White North of the Great White North! Rimouski is wearing on me, I love it up here! That being said... I have some repenting to do! I apologize for sounding so negative in my last letter. That was pretty uncool. Life is hard sometimes. Life for missionaries is even harder (sometimes). And we have to learn from hard times or we're wasting a wonderful opportunity to let the Lord show us who we can become! So I'll admit that I'm learning and still have a long ways to go!

This week rocked! Last Monday we had a great pday. Luckily we have a washer and a dryer in our apartment so we got to do our laundry while we studied. I took Elder Ruby to Tim Horton's (love that place!) for his first Timmatin. It was great. We went shopping and I learned something really cool about my companion. He is a total chef. He makes me the best food every day! So I just let him run wild in the store and get whatever he wanted. We were supposed to go to Soirée Familiale but it got cancelled because Annie was sick (she is one of the members) so we went knocking. I'll be totally honest... We get almost every door slammed in our face (like, actually slammed) but I don't mind. We've made it into a challenge to see how many principles we can teach in the 5 or so seconds that it takes for them to see "Jésus-Christ" on our tags. A lot of the people don't even know who we are or what we represent but the name of the Savior is enough to set them off. I pray for the people here!

Tuesday we went over to Vicky and Matthieu's house to help Matthieu pack some boxes. They are going to move soon and so we try to help him when we have time. I'm glad I learned how to pack and organize well from my dad because after seeing how other people do it... I'll refrain :) After that—porte à porte! We did a lot of knocking and talked to a few teenagers that were sitting around. It was their spring break up here (but because Spring won't happen in Rimouski until the end of May they just call it March Break!) We had dinner that night at the apartment and then had a lesson scheduled with someone we had met knocking. We picked up one of the members at his apartment and took him to the lesson. When we got there we found the Book of Mormon that we left in a bag hanging on the doorknob with our card inside. I have a feeling it was the parents of the person we were going to teach because when I called earlier that day to confirm the appointment an old angry lady answered and told me that the person didn't live there and I had the wrong number but then swore at me and told us not to come by that night... Way to give it away! :) So we're going to try passing by in a week or so. We took Frère Hébert home and then knocked for the rest of the night.

Wednesday morning we had district study! Since we live hours away from any of the other missionaries we joined in the district study over Google+ Hangout. It was kinda fun! We have a great district leader and a wonderful district! They love hearing about our adventures up here. We talked a lot about "How to Begin Teaching", one of the points in Preach My Gospel, and setting expectations at the beginning. After that we had lunch at the apartment and then went through some of the notes the previous missionaries left us and marked a few of the potential investigators on my GPS. (Oh yeah, one of the YSA is letting me use her GPS until I come back down to the Island. Shout out to the one and only President Courtney Wilson!! Thank you! I'm taking great care of it!) We passed by them and they were all pretty mad that we came by but we found some cool people knocking around them. That night we went to visit Chantale, Yvan, and their daughter Alisson. Chantale was baptized in December but has been coming to church for almost 15 years and her husband just allowed her to be baptized and let missionaries into his house. We got to know Yvan a little better and he gave us some advice about our truck (which I love by the way!) He is a tough position right now... He's almost 400 pounds and has a very very bad back. He can't work anymore and has been in a lot of accidents so he has turned to smoking to help with the pain. Chantale is very sad about it but she is supporting him as best as she can. He's great, though! Very nice! We shared a little about ourselves and then talked about the missionary work around the world. He was very interested in all of it.

Thursday we knocked like crazy! We spent all day outside which probably wasn't best idea because Elder Ruby got sick... but! We did it! We found someone! Her name is Diana and she is very excited to have the Book of Mormon in her hands! It took all day to find someone who would listen but things like that take time! We talked about the Restoration and the reality of the Book of Mormon. She was very excited to be learning about it. We are a little worried about her parents finding out though because she said that they are very against religion and won't let her study it but we have faith that her wait to receive the fullness of the Gospel will come to an end soon! We met another pretty cool family right before her. They didn't want to talk at all about religion and wouldn't let us but just as they were about to close the door I had an impression to ask her about her favorite restaurant in Rimouski. She opened the door and invited us in! She and her husband talked to us about food for a while and finally started asking us questions! We were able to sing a hymn for them and play the piano. She gave us these super delicious banana-chocolate chip muffins that saved our day! We didn't have lunch that day because we don't have a lot of kliks on our truck (the limit that we can drive) so we couldn't afford to go home for lunch. I made her a thank you card the next day and we took it to them. We hope that they'll invite us over sometime!

Friday was sick! Literally. Elder Ruby was really sick and Sister Cannon grounded us. I got a lot of reading done! I'm almost done with the New Testament! I love the Bible! I just took care of Elder Ruby all day and we practiced French but it was hard because he couldn't make the French "r" because of his throat. But we really got to know each other that day and I have a feeling that he will be a life-long friend. He is a really cool guy. At the end of the night we were dying to do something so we called Chantale to see if we could help her with anything. It was actually Alisson's birthday party the next day so we helped her set up for the party. She turned 9.

Saturday was great! We went to the birthday party and actually ended up teaching two lessons. One of Chantale's neighbors wanted to talk to us so she introduced us to him and then we stayed at his apartment and talked for a while. It turns out he already had a copy of the Book of Mormon and thinks that he is God and worships a stick.... but he was pretty cool to talk to anyways! Then one of the parents of the kids at the party ended up asking us a bunch of questions. You could tell she was making fun of us at first but when she realized what kind of people we are she turned into a sponge and started asking some great questions. We're going to have dinner with them sometime and talk about the Book of Mormon. I'm excited!

Sunday was super! Church was so good! Yvan and Alisson came with Chantale! We knew it was a huge sacrifice for them and we were so happy! President Dupont also came and we finally got to meet him. What a great guy! He is the perfect person to be leading this branch! We ended up having to watch the kids (who were absolutely nuts!) again for nursery but luckily only for one hour. There were enough priesthood holders there (4!) so we had Elder's Quorum which was a refresher! Yvan came to it and really liked it. He doesn't talk a lot but when he does he really lets you know what's going on. The lesson was chapter 5 in the Lorenzo Snow book which was quite a huge thing to take in ("As man is, God once was. As God is, man may be.") for Yvan but we kept the lesson in control! We talked with President Dupont after church for a while and made some good plans for the Branch. Oh, I don't know if I told you or not but I'm the First Counselor in the Branch Presidency and Elder Ruby is Second. Cool opportunity to learn! We'll be extending a few calls next week and get the Branch a little more organized so that when we start expanding it will be able to grow the way it should! And yes, we made the decision to call a Primary President/Instructor for the kids :)

Today we did our laundry and then got some blank CDs to burn some church music onto. Later we are going home teaching to visit some of the less-active families on the outskirts of town (we've been saving our kliks to be able to visit them) and then we have Soirée Familiale tonight!

To answer a few questions that you might have... Continue to send mail to the Mission Office (it will be the same way for my entire mission.) I'll be getting mail once a month so I apologize if I slow down in the letter writing!

Two funny things about missionary life in Rimouski—we play chess during every meal and I've eaten cereal and water for the past few days because we ran out of food and milk! But we're going shopping later! Glorious!

Well, that's just about it. Scripture of the week: Romans 15:4 "For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope."


Alisson, Chantale, Annie, kids and the cake
"Pray always, that you may come off conquerer"

Angry people live there.  But their house is picture perfect!
More cool houses
In Vicky and Matthieu's house.  Stick in Google Translate for some laughs!

Points to who can tell me which Pixar movie that shadow is from.  And his name?
"…what was I, that I could withstand God?"  Acts 11:17

Sunset in Rimouski

And with that... I'll ride off into the sunset.

Jusqu'a la semaine prochaine!

Elder Ellis