Elder Ellis in the Sun

No Effort Is Wasted!

Featured photo: Elder Ellis in the Sun!

From Elder Ellis:

Hey everyone! It’s been another week already? It’s totally cliche to say it, but I can’t believe a week has gone by. It’s been exciting and just a good week.

First things first! I got to go back to Bloomington this past week and do a new missionary training. I got to see all my old MTC district people! I got to hear stories from Elder Gwynn and Elder Dygert. I got to talk with Sister Coleman and Sister Pack, and well, Elder Cummings is in my district anyway, so I see him every week. But It was so great to be reunited with them and to exchange stories of our mission, even though we’ve only been out a month or so!

I also gave a talk in church yesterday. The ward is SO small. I wasn’t even scared. I honestly thought I was teaching a seminary class. But I love the ward out here. They are so cool. AND four of our investigators made it to church this week! So that was definitely a bonus!

The Lord provides tender mercies for us. I can’t say that enough. Saturday was a crazy day. We were all over Eau Claire and we somehow ended up on the northwestern side of town. It was close to dinner time and we were going to go to a Hmong restaurant on that side of town. I called the Missionary Support Fund number to see how much money I had left on my card to make sure I had appropriate funds for this delicious Hmong food. I called and I had WAY more than I thought I did. So we were going to go there for dinner, but we remembered that we left the Area Books in the apartment. The apartment is in downtown Eau Claire. That’s like too far away. So we were going to go to an Asian restaurant near the apartment, but it happened to be closed on a Saturday. Who closes on a Saturday? We finally decided to just go home and scrounge something up. Like cereal or something. (We left our bread at the church because we had a district lunch there.) We got up to the apartment and there was a HUGE package waiting there for me. I opened it up and it was full of food! Oh, it was glorious! The Lord works in crazy ways to give us what we need, when we need it. Also, thank you to my parents who were kind enough to send that to me. It saved my bacon!

Elder Ellis Cool New Tie
Elders love thrift ties!

Other highlights from this week. We tracted into this sophomore-age kid on Friday. His name is C___. He actually is pretty interested in the Gospel. He says that he is the only one in his family who wants to keep a connection with God. We did our doorstep resto lesson with him. (That’s where you teach the restoration of the gospel on the doorstep of a house – pretty self explanatory.) He loved it and we are returning to visit with him on Saturday. After we taught him a little, we walked with him to check his mail and just chatted with him. As we were exchanging phone numbers, a car shoots past us and totally side-swiped the car in front of us! It destroyed the back light and the driver side mirror and almost hit us too! C___ said he was glad we prayed before that happened. Haha.

Elder Ellis Harry Potter Tie
Harry Potteresque Tie!

Another tender mercy I’ve seen this week. All of our member dinners fell through this week. Even Sunday’s. But the H___s were happy to have us over for dinner last night. They fed us and it was good. We also got to talk with their daughter. She was at BYU for the past semester and just recently got her Mission Call to…. some place in Brazil. I don’t remember the name. I was happy to see that she was just as excited to preach the gospel as any other pre-mission missionary.

This one tender mercy is a long, but cool one. First off, I pulled a Sister Coleman. That’s a term we used in the MTC when we did something that related to something another person did. Sister Coleman told me that one day while she was tracting, she tracted into this older woman who loved their testimonies and the gospel, but she wouldn’t accept the Book of Mormon because of whatever reason. She then shooed Sister Coleman and her companion away and closed the door. Sister Coleman and her companion were walking away when Sister Coleman turned back and said, “Uh no. We are not done here!” She then wrote her testimony in the Book of Mormon and stuck it in the woman’s mailbox. The best part is, if you know Sister Coleman, you’d know that, that is totally something she would do.

Being Awesome
Being awesome!

Anyway, this is my story of pulling a Sister Coleman. We tracted into this guy yesterday. He opened the door and instantly knew we were Mormons. He began to talk to us about Ancient America and Indians and all this other stuff. We asked for his name and he told us it was Tatonkawacon. It means “great buffalo spirit.” Sorry, I should paint a better picture of him. He’s an older man, probably late 60’s. He then showed us all his collectibles and trinkets of Ancient America that he’s collected. We then talked to him about the Book of Mormon and how it’s an account of people in the Ancient Americas and how they came to know Christ too. He thought it would be a good read, but declined. On our way back to the car, I said, “Nope, we got to give this to him.” I took it out and wrote in it, “Give it a read, then give us a call. We promise it’s worth your time.” And then I left it in his mailbox. So who knows maybe Tatonkawacon will actually read it.

Crazy experiences like this make my mission ten times better! I couldn’t imagine what life would be like if I didn’t serve a mission. I love it! Every bit of it! Even down to the the nice people who turn us away because they think we are Jehovah’s Witnesses. They still turn us down nicely though! I know that this gospel is true! I know that we can help everyone around us by serving others in anyway possible. This week has taught me one very important lesson: NO EFFORT IS WASTED. I know that we tracted streets this week and not a single person listened to us. I was discouraged. But I know that no effort is wasted. Maybe we were on that street and someone saw us and remembered to talk to their family who were LDS members. Or maybe it wasn’t their time to be brought into the gospel and someone else will bring them in. But no effort is wasted! I promise!

Eau Claire Skyline
Eau Claire Skyline

I love you all and can’t wait to see you all! But for now I broke your eyes with this long email. That’s just how much I love you all! I hope you guys got a laugh out of this week, because I sure did. Haha! Love you all!


Elder Ellis


Published by

Michael Andrew Ellis

I write literary fiction at the confluence of Mormonism, Hmong culture, and the human condition. Here on michaelandrewellis.com, 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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