Life Is Like a Piano

From Elder Ellis:

Week 1 is done!

Hello all my people! I’m so glad to be able to talk to you all, even if it is only for a moment! My dad and many others (dad, dad, and also dad) asked me to be very detailed, so if other personal emails aren’t as long, you can blame him. Also, if you haven’t figured out, my P-days are on Tuesdays. Well, I’ll really only have one more P-day in the MTC. Wow. Crazy!

Well, after being ripped away from my family in tears, I went to my classroom and met my companion. His name is Elder Cummings. He’s from Mesa, Arizona. He’s going to have fun in Minnesota. He thinks the mornings are cold. Hah! Good luck, Elder. Anyway, he’s funny, loves to rap, and loves to be awesome. Which he is pretty awesome.

My district is amazing as well. We have 4 Elders and 4 Sisters. 6 of us are going to Minneapolis while the other 2 sisters are leaving to Independence, Missouri. It was very exciting to see a room full of people who are also going to Minnesota, since I felt like I was the only missionary in the world to go to Minnesota. Hah, I was wrong. The second day I was there we had a meeting with the branch president. He called me to be a district leader. Yay? It’s a great calling and I’m happy to be able to serve as one.

Dad wants me to be detailed, so I’ll try. All four elders live in the same room, I have class in building 18M which houses the gym. The other two elders in my room are Elder Dygert from Clarkston UT. One word: COWBOY. Straight up. Tristan’s best friend. The other one is Elder Gwynn. He’s from Kaysville, UT, and is pretty much a normal-ish, nerdy kind of guy. Glasses, pockets full of pens, loves Disney. Classes are all day. Breakfast is at 7:00am, lunch is at 11:30, and dinner is at 4:30. The food here is decent. What I wouldn’t give for my mom’s rice and eggrolls. I’ve had gym time in the evening from 8:25 to 9:15, and I basically play volleyball or four square. Fun! The weeks are seriously turning to days and the days are literally turning to weeks. I feel like everytime I eat a meal, we start a new day. I honestly can’t believe that it’s been almost a week. It feels like it, but at the same time it doesn’t.

I am teaching two investigators. (Dad stop crying). One is named Adam. He goes to school at BYU and is studying animation to work for Pixar. He majored in Physics and minored in Math. (Sound familiar?) He has a hard time believing that God even exists! It’s tricky teaching him, but my companion and I are teaching him well. We taught him that God is our loving heavenly father, and about the plan of salvation. He’s great at praying and even prays for us!

Our other investigator is Arnold. One word: OTHER COWBOY! He’s a very old outdoorsman who loves to tell stories. Our first lesson was literally 45 minutes to an hour of old stories of his. We barely touched the surface of the restoration! We are teaching him again tomorrow. Yay!

I finally met Sorella Montagnoli. After being there for 4-5 days, I finally met her! We took pictures so look for them on her email/blog thingy. I won’t be sending any pictures yet, because I am in the MTC for 2 weeks, and I need to buy some adapter thingy that no one really needs. But I am taking a lot of pictures just for you mom!

It is so great to be surrounded by the spirit 24/7. Everyone here is so happy and friendly. Why? Because we all have the same goal! We are all on a mission to serve the Lord for 2 years! or 1.5 years. The first district that introduced us to MTC life was crazy. After they said hi and told us that they are going to be with us for the remainder of their stay (they left this morning for Sacramento, California English speaking), we all thought they were crazy and we were never going to end up like them. Too late. We did. Our district is crazy fun and just like them. Elder Johnson from the other district I mentioned just now is from Minnesota! How crazy is that? He’s actually leaving tomorrow for Fresno, California.

I did meet some Hmong Elders sent to me by God, and also Brother Lor, commonly known as Sam. Oh, and Kelton, too. I mean Brother Abbott. (I probably butchered that spelling don’t tell him). The Hmong missionaries were super excited to meet me! They left this morning too! They showed me a Hmong book that was written, or something of that sort, by my dad and other Hmong elders. Pretty exciting!

Elder Ellis and the Hmong
Elder Ellis and the Hmong

Last thing I want to share with you before I head out. We had a great devotional on Sunday by Elder Stephen R. Allen. He shared about how we can’t let Satan get to us and push our buttons. He is there and knows how to push our buttons and we can’t let him. His wife shared a wonderful quote that I think is great! “Life is like a piano. White keys represent happiness, while the black keys represent sad times in life. But always remember, black keys still make music too!” I just thought that was a great message. Even when we have dark times in our life we just have to remember that those experiences are for our gain.

Final thought for Bishop Whitehead, Thank you so much for everything you have taught me! It has served me well. While emailing the elder next to me saw your picture and said you looked like a stud muffin. Keep up the good work Bishop!

I love you all and I can’t wait to see you all again! I miss you but I know what I’m going is better than sitting around doing nothing! God be with you till we meet again family and friends!

Elder Ellis


Published by

Michael Andrew Ellis

I write literary fiction at the confluence of Mormonism, Hmong culture, and the human condition. Here on, I write about Mormon arts and letters, Hmong history and culture, classic and contemporary literature, existentialism, and my journey as a writer.

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