Monday, April 29, 2013


Bonjour tout le monde!

J'ai de bonne nouvelle! I remembered my planner and I brought my journal along for the ride to make up for last week's bombshell of an email! I'll probably have to fill in a bit from a few things that happened last weekend. I'll get right to that—

Saturday night we had a fireside that cropped up out of nowhere. We were told to bring as many people as we possibly could to it. Obviously something big was in the works because President Morin, the Stake Président, Président Pirlet, his counselor, Frère Fourtina, a high counselor, and Frère Ferland, the father of the family that came to visit the week before, all came. We weren't sure what to expect besides a meal and a fireside so we were excited. They all talked about the new vision that they have for Rimouski and the work that was going to happen here. It was absolutely amazing. We were so blessed to be a part of that meeting and to listen to these amazing men talk so highly about our area. The meeting sort of bled over into our sacrament meeting the next day where the branch presidency was reorganized. Now, my you, Président Dupont has served as branch president for 20 years. He's the only person in the branch who could have. We have next to no other priesthood holders. Président Morin called Frère Fourtina as the branch president and Frère Ferland as his counselor. They both live more than 3 hours away from the branch! But the change was absolutely inspired—we got to work right away and helped the branch get a little more organized. Président Fourtina has a very strong personality and really let it show in our first ever branch council meeting. The whole time I just kept thinking about that line from Remember the Titans, "Attitude reflects leadership, captain!" We were pumped! He pulled us over to the side after the meeting and told us very sternly—"You're my hands in Rimouski. (He lives in Montréal over 6 hours away...) I've said a lot and I need you to double your efforts to be able to show for it. Go find the next leader of Rimouski." You can imagine how fired up we were. Now—let's get to this week!

Monday! We did our normal missionary stuff, laundry, emails, writing letters, shopping. Then we had our first correlation meeting in Rimouski with our new branch mission leader, Frère Hébert! It was fun to have one of those again. It's amazing how much more motivated you feel when you report your work to someone. After that we had Soirée Familiale at the chapel and had a spiritual thought about Christ. Somehow the conversation got totally sidetracked for a few minutes about the color of his eyes and Elder Ruby and I were totally lost. Québecois get so off track so easily... I think there's something in the water... Oh! It was 8 month mark and I bought a donut to celebrate!

That's my hot face.

Tuesday! That morning we went over to Frère Hébert's apartment to help him paint. He wanted our help because he has a really bad back and couldn't paint for more than a few minutes at a time. We were glad to help! He is pretty much our best friend here! He comes to almost all of our lessons. He's retired and just watches TV all day so we try to get him to help us as much as he can. Afterwards we met Frère Lévesque at the church to help him set up the new computer and get MLS running. For all of the readers out there who have ever served as a clerk in the Church you'll love this: We went to help him restore the backup of all of the branch data onto the new computer and when we connected the USB drive the most recent backup was from May. 2012. He basically had a mental breakdown in front of us. There was nothing we could do! Poor guy. Public Service Announcement: "Always create a safe backup of valuable data!" Anyways... We went knocking after that and had an amazing day! We talked to a bunch of people that were really nice but didn't want anything to do with us. Then we talked to this really sour old lady (I mean, she was sweet and all, but her attitude... she could use some fresh air...) who just kept talking and talking and talking about how wrong we were. We just stood on her porch and kept listening until her phone rang—it was her son or brother (we still aren't sure...) and she told him that we were there and we heard him ask, "Are they mormons?" To which she answered, "Yes" and then he went on to give her his address and invited us over! So we left her and went over to his house! His name is Denis. He was really quite nice! In fact, his daughter went to Wyoming for a few months in 2000 and met mormon missionaries there and was going to be baptized until she had to come back to Québec suddenly. She never did get baptized but told her father all about it and so he said he had been waiting to meet missionaries for quite a while! We talked to him for a bit and shared a little bit about the restoration ( and he invited us back. We were late to an appointment with Chantale so we had to skip dinner and head over to her apartment with Frère Hébert. She wanted some advice on how to help teach her daughter the gospel and so we taught a lesson about teaching! It went really well. She has been filled with faith ever since that last Sunday and is doing her best to get Yvan and Alisson excited about the Gospel so that they can all be sealed to each other one day. She rocks! Then when we were on our way back from taking Frère Hébert home we couldn't help but stop at the boardwalk and take a picture of the sunset.

Right after I took that picture we met the most amazing woman. Her name is Mercedes. We walked and talked with her for a while and she was really curious why we were in white shirts and ties at 8:30 at night walking on the board walk. She was pretty funny about it. Super concerned that we were going to get sick. Anyways, we walked and talked with her until we were standing right in front of the church. We started talking about our beliefs of who God is and what He is like. Then she said something absolutely amazing. She basically quoted word for word Lorenzo Snow's couplet and said that that is what she believes. She told us that she and her husband have searched for 40 years to find other people that believe that and was certain there was no one like them. We told her to wait where she was and then ran into the church, grabbed the Lorenzo Snow book, came back out and showed her the couplet. She just about cried and asked if she could keep the book. We told her she could as long as she came to church on Sunday to bring it back. (We didn't see her Sunday but we're still keeping faith that we'll meet her again soon. Pray that we will! She is special!)

Wednesday! (I'm going to have to hurry, that took way too long!) We had our district study and I gave a training on "Finding through our own efforts." We went to see a former investigator, Stephan, but he was super mad that we came back to his apartment. There must've been a miscommunication when we saw him last. We found a few nice people in his apartment building and gave a few copies of the Book of Mormon away. We met with Eric Leblond to see how he was doing after the split between he and Annie. While we were talking I had the hardest time focusing. I kept drifting back to the talk that my brother, Austin, gave at his homecoming (my lovely mother sent me the audio! No I did not sneak home, sit in the crowd, and totally get away unnoticed........!) Then I remembered something that he said and it hit me—we needed to start reading the Book of Mormon with him. From page one; one chapter a day; every day. And so we started! Thanks for the idea Aust! We finished the day by knocking.

Thursday! We decided that since the weather is getting a little warmer we should start running in the morning! It was so nice to be running again! I haven't gone since the MTC with Elder Keenan! I was still in pretty good shape but Elder Ruby took it pretty rough. He's a trooper! We had our normal weekly service à la Friperie! It was great! I had so much more energy and we did more loads than ever before! I love doing service there! Everyone is so nice and they think it's funny when we sing. We went and read with Eric again after lunch. We called Denis to see if we could still come over like we had planned but he didn't sound good at all. He was pretty sick and so we're going to go see him later this week. We did a bunch of knocking and then I got this crazy idea to go see a less active named Israel. I can't go into too much detail because I'd take up the rest of the day... but when we left we thought we had a made a huge mistake. It felt like we woke up a sleeping dragon. A really angry sleeping dragon. The last thing we heard as the door was shutting was "Mark my words! I will be at church on Sunday!" That sounds like we did a wonderful thing but trust me. At the time we thought we had just wrecked the branch. Luckily with the help of Frère Ferland we got everything straightened out and it turned into something good!

Friday! We did our studies and weekly planning comme d'habitude! And then we went to pick up Frère Hébert to take him to see Shirley Woods with us. I love the drive out to her house.

She lives in the country side deep in the woods. It's funny because her name is Shirley Woods and she lives in the woods. Did you see what I did th... En tout cas. We watched a General Conference talk with her and she loved it! We just have to motivate her somehow to come to church on Sundays. She has a testimony, a strong one!, but there is something that is holding her back!

I love that painting. Her house is very nicely decorated.

After Shirley we drove back to Rimouski to go read with Eric. He was excited to see us! The Book of Mormon is already helping him and we can see it! After Eric we did a bunch of knocking in a small neighborhood by the fleuve. We finally got to see the ferry that we'll be taking one day to do splits with Chicoutimi across the river!

Saturday! We had a bunch of appointments and they all canceled on us within like 20 minutes of each other. Not cool. But it actually freed up the whole day so that we could knock an area that we've always wanted to spend some time in. We met a bunch of kids about our age who were next to impossible to read. One time I actually asked one of them if they were still paying attention. He didn't respond... We went to see André Soucy later that night and ended up just talking with him and his son while they ate dinner. They had completely forgotten about our appointment and were adamant about us staying while they ate. That night we got our transfer calls! Drumroll please............ WE'RE STAYING FOR ANOTHER SIX WEEKS!! Woop woop! I'm actually pretty stoked. Rimouski, even with all of it's weird quirks and flaws, is actually a really nice little corner of the planet!

Sunday! Yesterday! It feels like a week ago already... I got one of the best surprises in the world! After church Frère Ferland told us that he had some stuff in his car from the zone leaders. We were expecting our zone orders and some extra supplies. We were right! And then some! We got mail!!

I heard from my siblin's! They're the best!

This is what my little brother, Matt, calls me... I feel loved!

My favorite candy bars from my favorite Montréal-er! Caitlin!

And some magic and happy wishes from Disneyland! Made my week!!

Church was great! We had some great talks and a wonderful lesson in Elder's Quorum. We taught primary again... We spent most of the day afterwards knocking. We called Sister Hedge and told her about church—we'll be doing that every Sunday night now since they're back from their vacation. They live about 5 hours from Rimouski and so coming to church is a bit of a trip for them. We went over to Chantale and Yvan's and watched the restoration DVD with him. We had a great discussion afterwards and he said that he wants to be baptized! He just can't commit to a date because he lives from day to day and can't put anything on a calendar. He's close, though! We have a lot of hope for him!

Anyways! That was our week! Rimouski is doing wonderful and we're loving it! Thanks for all of the prayers and support that I get from all of you back at home! Oh hey one last thing—my mom is the coolest and here's the proof!

She made that last week and I am very proud of her! She's passed me up by a long shot! Just look for chalk art in my video collection and compare and contrast!

Sky shot!

Elder Ellis

Monday, April 22, 2013


Bonjour tout le monde!

Salut à tous et à toutes! J'ai beaucoup de nouvelle à vous dire! So much has happened this week! But sadly... I forgot my planner because we just started a new one and so I don't have a day by day breakdown of we've done. I'll just try to share a few stories with the few pictures that I took this week and some of the recent happenings in Rimouski!

(Then) Président Dupont making fondue au sirop érable! (Maple syrup fondue!)

On Friday night we went to have dinner with the Dupont family. They have got to be some of the most energetic people in Rimouski! Actually, they live in a small outskirt town called La Rédemption about 45 minutes from Rimouski. We brought Frère Hébert and Catherine (their daughter) with us from Rimouski and stopped in to see her grandmother on the way there! She was excited to see us. All of her children have joined the Church and she knows almost everything about it. The problem is is that just before her husband passed away she promised him that she wouldn't change religions. I'm sure that if they had a moment or two together now he would gladly give her permission! We'll continue seeing her and help her come to further realize the Plan of Salvation and the part her family plays in it. 

Dinner was great with the Duponts! Soeur Dupont made some very good lasagne! Mmmmmm.... lasagne.... anyways! We talked for a while about the branch and how things were going. I can't remember exactly how but my monkey attack story came in. I love telling it now because people will go watch it on YouTube or the Travel Channel and it helps build connection! I'm not just a black tag and tie! We were able to skype with their daughter and her family. They live in Idaho right now and have a little girl—she speaks the cutest French! I want to teach my kids French!

Clothes lines are very common around here and you'll see a number of them as you walk, knock, and talk! We did a lot of knocking this week and have found a number of really interesting people! Most of the them are still in the "potential" camp right now but we hope to soon convert them! We met a nice girl named Shirley-Anne (that is such an English name) who is "searching for a way to feel God's love for her." We're happy to help her find that way! Hopefully there will be some news with her in the upcoming weeks! We also found another guy named Jimmy. He had met with missionaries before and was happy to spend a few minutes chatting with us. At the beginning it was a very odd lesson. It was clear that he has done quite a bit of religion hopping and knows a lot about each one. That was a red flag to me saying, "He's looking for the truth and doesn't know where to find it!" (Ring a bell, anyone? D&C 123:12, perhaps?) We gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon and a few scriptures to read. This upcoming Saturday he'll be back from Montréal and we'll see him again!

Greeeeennn Jeeeelllllooooo.... ha. 

And these tiny little potatoes... We received them as a gift from one of our neighbors and have absolutely loved them! You can pop them in your mouth like popcorn almost. But beware... If you eat too many right before a big meeting with members of the stake presidency you could be... cough cough... pinching cheeks.... cough cough for an hour or so. 

My email wouldn't be complete without a sky shot!

Powerlines ruin everything that is good...

Okay I just realized that in between finishing this email and updating my mission president I am completely out of time! I feel like a few of the authors of the Book of Mormon when I say, "this isn't even a hundredth part of what went down this week!" This is probably the lamest email I've ever sent! Enjoy it anyways! :)

Avec amour,

Elder Ellis

Monday, April 15, 2013


Bonjour tout le monde!

Alrighty, I've got to plow through this one because we started emails a little late and we have places to go, people to see, and food to eat! This week was fun! It was a bit out of the ordinary (again!) But I won't complain, it's fun to have a little change in the schedule! For the past few weeks I've had really bad allergies and this week they were really acting up. I've got pretty bad sinus pressure and my ears feel like they're going to pop, so if I sound a little off at least you know why! 

Monday we did our normal missionary stuff for preparation day! Nothing too out of the ordinary happened. That night we had a fondue with a ton of fruit after Soirée Familiale. Nothing much besides that!

Catherine and Stitch (her phone cover)
Just a little something I threw down at Soirée Familiale

 Old McDonald had a farm!

Tuesday morning was interesting... Mathieu had us come over because he said that he needed some help at the new apartment. We are always glad to help him out when he needs us! We told him we would finish our studies and then come over. We've helped him clean his house a lot in the past few weeks and we figured that we'd be doing the same thing again so I made sure to mention that he needed to make as much progress as he could while he was waiting for us. When we got there the place was an absolute wreck. It was almost worse than their last place and they hadn't even been there for more than a week! No one answered the door so we called—he was asleep upstairs. He gave us a few things to do and then told us that he would be cleaning upstairs. Anyways, we cleaned for a bit and then went up to check on him and he was asleep again. I don't blame him because he had a long weekend of moving but we aren't housemaids. We got everything really clean again and then he had us run a tape roller over to Soeur Lévesque. She was pretty mad that we had cleaned his house for him. She told us that they need to learn to be responsible and if we kept doing it for them they would never learn. In a way she was right and we went and talked to Mathieu about it. We haven't heard from him since... I hope everything is okay. We did a bunch of tracting until our appointment with Marielle and Jacques that night. I had been looking forward to that appointment for a long time. They had given us a bunch of scriptures that supposedly proved their point of view and questioned ours. I had been studying them for a bit during the week to better understand them and to learn how to teach them correctly. I won't go into too much detail, but if you want a really good read from the Bible read Ecclesiastes! It's a wonderful use of satire to expose the limited human perspective and our explanations of naturally occurring events without the necessary insight provided by revelation. It's not to be taken literally or as individual declarations of doctrinal truth, but if viewed from that light can really get one into trouble. I showed them that in the simplest way I knew how and they were terrified. It proved everything they believe wrong (which was not my objective) and they didn't know what to do. They pulled out some heavy philosophical situations (like going to war or not) and tried to corner us. I didn't fall for it and wouldn't stand to be tossed around so we bore testimony, invited them to consider the Book of Mormon for what it claims to be and then left. I didn't think we'd be seeing them any time soon for a return appointment. They really are nice people, though. Just a bit misled is all.

Wednesday! We did quite a bit of knocking and met some really interesting people! We went out to a town called St. Luce which is about 20 minutes from Rimouski. We are slowly working our way up the coast trying to find people in the smaller communities. They tend to be a little more open to conversation! The town ended up being a tourist-type town mostly and so we weren't able to find many people. I'm sure it's beautiful in the summer time! That night we had a dinner appointment with the Lévesque family. They are a really nice family! We get a lot of help from them throughout the weeks. The dinner was pretty good! We had an interesting chicken pie and then a bunch of macaroni in mayonnaise... that was... well it didn't kill me! After dinner we followed up on our Book of Mormon challenge that we gave them. They had almost all given out their copies with their testimonies in them!

St. Luce


Almost stepped on that little guy!

Thursday morning we had service at the Friperie again! This time we got to clean shoes and purses instead of hauling big trash bags of clothes! The people there are really nice. They like to ask us questions about the States. They think I'm a total hick because I lived in Texas. Anyways, after that we needed to pick up some bread because all of ours went bad while we were in Québec City. Just as we were walking into the store we ran into Marielle. She was shocked to see us because we were in street/service clothes. She thought it was pretty funny. We talked for a bit and she told us that she and Jacques were about to go knocking. We compared notes a bit on knocking and asked her where her favorite areas are and she told us it was a secret! Haha. It was good to see that we were still friends even after our lesson the other night. She said that she liked the article that I gave her (I left an Ensign, well a Liahona, for her to read.) I still have hope for her one day that she'll be brave enough to open up and look at what the Church has to offer. When we got home we started making hamburgers for lunch and then the doorbell rang. I was really shocked because I didn't know we had a doorbell. I looked at the peephole and was surprised to see other missionaries! The zone leaders came clear up from Québec to surprise visit us. It was quite the surprise indeed! We helped them unload their car, ate, and then left to take them knocking! Elder Kastendick and I went to a lesson with Chantale while Elder Ruby and Elder Prawitt went up to St. Luce to knock. It was an okay lesson—Chantale was being really negative about a situation she's in and it was totally killing the mood. We read some scriptures with her, chatted with Yvan to see how he was doing and then got out to meet up with the others elders in St. Luce. We knocked for a while with them and met a really cool guy who makes wood statues. He showed us a few that he still had around his house. Later that night we had two lessons with some less-actives so we split up to see both. We taught Yvette and her husband who is actually not a member (yet!) while they taught André. It was nice to be teaching with someone new! I was able to pick up on a few cool teaching techniques from Elder Kastendick.

Elder Ruby, Elder Prawitt (the kid's tall!), moi, and Elder Kastendick


(My head is hurting so I'm just going to blaze through the rest of the week!)

Friday we did our planning and then drove out to St. Narcisse to see a less-active member named Shirley with Frère Hébert. She was really nice! She teaches English as a private tutor. Her house is nearly impossible to find—she lives deep in the woods. We had dinner with Chantale and Yvan that night. After dinner we tried to teach a lesson but things just got out of hand and we lost control of the conversation. They started telling some crazy stories about horrible situations that people are in that they know. They seem to look for the negative in almost every thing that happens and I really can't stand it. Whenever they start talking like that I get really irritated and we try to leave. I'm not sure how to help her be more positive but we'll keep trying! 

Saturday we had lunch with the St. Jacques family. It was basically just plates of every kind of meat you can imagine. I'm pretty sure it was breaking the word of wisdom almost. They are such a nice family. The older kids don't have any interest in the Gospel but they're fun to talk to anyways. They love robots and were actually just in a competition in Montréal a few weeks ago and won a few events. When we got home we went through our Area Book to see if there were any potential or former investigators that we could pass by. We ending up finding about 20 and so we made a list with names and addresses and spent the day searching them out! We found a few who are still interested in learning more!

In the Area Book I found a piece of paper that's older than me and has an entry from my birth date!

Sunday was interesting! We got to church and there was a family visiting from Québec City. I think they recently received a calling to check up on the branch every once in a while. As we were setting things up Elder Ruby noticed that on Frère Hébert's announcement sheet it said that I was supposed to be giving a talk. I never got a call about that so I frantically put something together and ended up pulling it off! I talked about prayer and seven principles to be a more powerful pray-er. We did a lot of knocking after church and got rejected a bunch!

Everyone has painted mailboxes here. I thought this one describes Québec perfectly. A bar that's bigger than the church and right next door!

Cool house!

Alrighty, well I need to get going! Sorry if this letter was a little lame! Oh and Happy Birthday to my little brother, Adam, tomorrow! You rock big guy!

Avec amour,

Elder Ellis