Monday, March 4, 2013


Bonjour tout le monde!

Hello from Rimouski! So first off I'll get to the questions from my dear, sweet, lovely Mother! I love how they all start off with "wondering".

Wondering how each day is going for you, Haha! That is a very subtle way to remind me to kick the bad habit of writing poor emails! Patience, you'll see soon enough! :)

Wondering how your new companion is (Does he speak French? Where is he from? Easy to work with?) Well... I'll just put it like this! I had no idea that in the past six months while I've been away that the field of technology has advanced so far as to be able to make a "Human Replicator 3000". His name is Elder Ruby but his original is known as Elder Sam Norton. They are the same exact person. He speaks a tiny, tiny bit of French. He's pretty funny about it because he'll think of the whole sentence for a few seconds and then say it as fast as he can. I just feel kinda bad because the accent up here is so incredibly thick that it's all up to me for the next little while to figure out what's going on up here. He's from Colorado Springs and has 14 brothers and sisters. He's the fourth youngest.

Wondering if you are you the only missionaries in Rimouski. Yup! We're the only missionaries within 360km of here! (Sorry, I don't know how many miles that is...) I'm not gonna lie. It's tough. After being in the middle of the whole mission living in the same building as four other missionaries and seeing other black tags every day to isolation is kinda taking a toll on me. My roommates and family will know what I'm talking about... but I'm not exactly the easiest person to live with... It's a good thing I'm in the middle of learning how to live with another person 24/7 right now. I need it. I won't sugar coat this one. After 5 days of living with him this is going to be a challenge for me. But what's life without a little challenge, eh? (Ha... did you see that? I totally Canada-ized that!) 

Wondering what Rimouski is like. Rimouski is... a legend in this mission. Everyone here is slightly crazy in their own way. They are all really nice! Super nice! Just a touch on the "isolated-from-the-world-and-it-shows side". It's a really small town with a lot of other smaller "5 house towns" leading up to it. Basically the best way to describe it is a town that was 150% Catholic 50 years ago and is 150% against religion today. In fact, they've gone so far as to turn all of the religious words into swear words. Baptism and Sacrament are the two major swear words up here. It'll be fun teaching them!

Wondering what the weather is like. SNOW! Tons of snow. It wasn't super cold this past weekend but we got quite a bit of snow in the past two days. It snowed all day yesterday and then rained last night so all of the snow is super wet and heavy. We've been carrying snow shovels while we knock and clearing people's driveways and porches so they'll give us a chance when we talk to them. It's been interesting! And our truck handles it all without any problems! 

Wondering how church went with just a small branch (Dad said there are 12 members!  Lots of opportunities for growth---and to speak in church :)) So... On Sunday there were 6 people at church. That's how many were there when the Church started and now it's pushing the double-digit millions! With that in mind we'll have to rent a bigger apartment to hold church in on Sundays! So yeah, we meet in a rented apartment (that's where we're doing our emails) that has a few rooms that serve different purposes. Yesterday was pretty rough, though. We had Fast and Testimony Meeting which went alright. The branch is all women except us and one other guy. The Branch President is only here every other week so that makes it really difficult. One of them brought their 2 little kids and we were put in charge of watching them with Mathieu (the other adult) in nursery while the Relief Society met. They decided to just go for two hours since the Sunday School teacher was sick so we ended up babysitting for two hours while keeping our distance from the kids so as to live by the missionary rules. That's not going to cut it once we find someone to bring to church... I'm pretty worried about it actually. I can imagine what Joseph Smith must've felt like at the beginning of the Church.

This is Vicky and Mathieu and their two kids Gab and Penelope (the ones we watched at church)

Wondering what the members are like (New converts?  Long time members? How long the church has been in Rimouski?) They've all been members for around 10 years. There have been missionaries here since 1993! Apparently a few years ago the last mission president discontinued all work up here (except for the Rimouski area) and this is the remaining group that has stayed active since then. I'm trying to stay positive as I learn more about the area but it's difficult. There are some knocking maps in the apartment and apparently every single door has been knocked 12 or more times depending on how the area has changed over the years. It takes 4 transfers (6 months) to knock the whole area. 

Wondering how the language is going (heavy accent there…I researched and the city is about 98% French----are you finding that to be true?) No one speaks a single word of English. Oh how I wish you could hear the accent up here. It's nearly impossible to understand but I'm slowly getting the hang of it. Poor Elder Ruby... He's getting really frustrated. Last night he said, "The whole time we've been here I've understand two words. Oui and non. (Yes and no). This is ridiculous."

Wondering what your housing is like….going from a big apartment building to what? It's a pretty nice sized apartment. It smells pretty rank, though.

Wondering how your eating situation is (Do the members feed you…or are you putting your cooking skills to use?) We don't have much food but we're going shopping in a bit! Hopefully we get a dinner appointment sometime soon! We've been making pancakes and pasta for the past few days.

So there you have it! I'm training a new missionary who doesn't understand a word that anyone has said in a remote little city that hates religion, is buried in snow, and loving it!

Picture time!

Saying goodbye to Phil. One of my best friends!
Peace out to the YSA!

I love the Howards!
Saying goodbye to Elder Reid 
We helped someone make a snowman scene and talked about the importance of religion. He told us he's the "atheist version of us". It was fun regardless. 
Some doors are impossible to get to...

Elder Ruby (Sam Norton) 

Je vous aime!

Avec amour,

Elder Ellis

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