Namesake Street in Eau Claire

New Area, New People, New Beginnings!

Featured Photo: I found my “way.”

From Elder Ellis:

Hello all! I made it safely to North St. Paul, as safely as a six-week-old missionary can. First off, it was quite the experience getting to St. Paul. Elder Gardiner and I had to drive from Eau Claire to Oakdale (which is right outside of St. Paul) to pick up an Elder Price who was being transferred too. Those being transferred must go to the mission office to meet for Transfer meeting and then they split up to go to their respective new areas. Elder Gardiner and Elder McConnell (the Elder staying in Oakdale) stayed in Oakdale, while Elder Price and I went to Bloomington. Turns out, Elder Price isn’t allowed to drive, so this six-week-old missionary drove from Eau Claire to Oakdale in one car, and then drove a different car from Oakdale to Bloomington. Yeah. I haven’t driven for eight-plus weeks, so I was nervous. But I survived in the crazy city driving!

Last Photo with Elder Gardiner
Last Photo with Elder Gardiner (for now;)

This new area I’m in is…well, as one of the members of the ward put it, “We are the 12-grain-oat bread of the mission area.” There is SO much cultural diversity, it’s amazing! We live in a nice apartment that looks like it was ripped right out of a 1980s college movie. I swear, it’s stuck in the 1980s. Our bikes have better processing power than our microwave. You have to press like 10 buttons to warm up something for 20 seconds. Right down the hall from us are the Karen Elders. (Karen is a language, not a person). They work with most of the Karen people in the area. Right next door are the Karen Sisters! So we are the only English people working in this area. A block away is the Frogtown Hmong Elders (Elder Vang and Elder Morrow). They live with the St. Paul Spanish Elders. Then the remaining Elders in the district are Hmong Elders. Two more sets. It’s very cool to see all the different people here. A lot of Hmong people. Yeah!

Elder Vang and Elder Ellis
Elder Vang and Elder Ellis

Well, let’s see if I can tell you about events that happened this week in chronological order. To start, Tuesday I had to say my goodbyes to the people in the ward. Those that I could. I couldn’t say my goodbyes on Sunday because we didn’t know for sure if I was getting transferred.

Wednesday, I had to travel and went to the transfer meeting. Elder Stacey spoke to us. He just barely got called as an Area Seventy Member this last conference. That was cool. He talked about how God knows each and everyone of us and how he saved all of us for the latter days, because we are the best! I also got to see Elder Gwynn! He got transferred too! His area actually got shut down. There were a lot of areas shut down because the big wave of people who left right after President Monson changed the age for missions left just barely. So there were a lot of changes made. Elder Gwynn is doing awesome! He’s really come out of his shell and become a talkative and charismatic missionary! I’m so proud of him!

“Because I like to look for rainbows…”

Wednesday night, I got to meet with one of our investigators here in St. Paul. Her name is N___. She is GOLDEN! She has such a desire to be baptized, it’s awesome! She said the first night we met her, “I like the new guy.” She was really good friends with the Elder who I took the place of.

Other awesome things that happened this week: There were five total baptisms on Saturday. Two Karen young men got baptized and three Hmong girls got baptized. It was great! We got to go to both! We brought N___ to the Hmong baptism. Elder Thao translated things for her, because she doesn’t know Hmong, and neither do I! Speaking of which, Elder Thao was with Elder Gardiner before I got to Eau Claire. I finally got to meet him!

This area is great and I’m super excited to serve! I’m saddened that I left Eau Claire, but I know that it’s in great hands! A wise member of my MTC district told us this phrase: Gaze Upward, Look Inward, Reach Outward, Press Forward. So! I must press forward!

Wow. Pardon my manners, but I neglected to even mention my new companion! His name is Elder Anderson. Sister Soe worked with him last transfer because she was in St. Paul before she was transferred to Eau Claire. Elder Anderson is awesome! He’s only been in the area for six weeks, so we are learning the area together still! It’s an adventure!

Elder Anderson and ElderEllis
Elder Anderson and ElderEllis

Last thought of the day! Remember those who help you. Times WILL get tough. Things WILL get harder and more difficult for you. It’s times like those when you need to turn to those who helped you. When it’s hard for you to do something, because you are sad or depressed or discouraged, think about those who helped you. Serve others in your times of need. It will ALWAYS make things better. I can promise you that as you serve those around you, you won’t feel burdened with a load of grief and sorrow. You will be blessed. Always remember Hymn #29, “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief,” and Mosiah 2:17.

Love you all! Keep doing the things you’re doing. I’m very grateful for all the love and support you give to me. See you all in two years!


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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