My Mom in Lake Nokomis Chapel

Faith and Hope

Featured Photo: “Look! I found my mom in Minnesota!”

From Elder Ellis:

Hello, all my friends and family! I’m so glad to have to opportunity to update you on my life in the Mission Field! It’s really good because it makes me reflect on the past week. Way better than a missionary journal, although I am still writing in mine. Let’s see if I can do this email chronologically this time.

Today I actually have time to email. We get a normal P-day finally! Last Monday wasn’t anything special, just drop-bys and stop-bys.

Tuesday was a GREAT day! I had language study via Skype on Tuesday and that’s a blast! Joseph is a great teacher and he’s in Provo right now! (If he comes to our house, feed him Pho! I told him to go there on the weekend, if he’s bored.) After that, we proceeded to go down to Savage and visit people. We visited a potential investigator named K___. We’ve taught him two times before this and…well, the first time we taught him, he tried converting Elder Nang back to Buddhism. So I didn’t have a lot of hope for him. Elder Nang and K___ talked for a little bit and then Elder Nang threw the lesson over to me. So I thought, what would benefit him the most?? I showed him a Mormon Message from Elder L. Tom Perry, it’s called “Obedience to the Ten Commandments.” It’s a great video that explains about the societal views on the Ten Commandments. He watched it in awe. He thought it was the coolest video ever. He even related some of the Ten Commandments to some of the laws or rules of Buddhism. After we explained about the Ten Commandments, he said, “I want that video on my phone.” So I proceeded to download the LDS Gospel Library App on his phone and the video too. I also linked it to several scriptures that he could study about the Ten Commandments, including Exodus and Mosiah. It was awesome! We also visited a less active member named N___. She’s a sweet older lady that just can’t seem to make it to church. We shared another Mormon Message with her and she loved it.

Twins Game Ticket
Fun in the sun!

Wednesday was our P-day. WE WENT TO THE TWINS GAME!! According to Minnesotans, we are baseball fans, if the Twins are winning, if they aren’t, we don’t care. The Twins game was so much fun! I actually learned a few spiritual things from that. I’ll touch on that later. So a lot of the missionaries around the cities went to the game. I got to see all the Hmong Missionaries from St. Paul, and Sister Vang! Sister Vang and Sister Nelson are dying in October. I forgot about that! (“Dying” is a term for missionaries that means they are finished with their mission by a certain date, hence they die from the mission field.) Anyway, it was good to see Sister Vang again. Also got to see Elder Anderson, and Sister Pack, who are both out in Crystal. Sister Pack is actually getting transferred into Karen work back in North St. Paul, where I was! I’m excited for her! Twins won the game against the Orioles. I’ll admit, some parts of the game I was a little bored at, but I think baseball is fun to watch. Both teams had some good plays. (I wouldn’t be a very good sports fan, I cheer for both sides when they both have good plays). It was a lot of fun. Except for the fact that everything was so expensive. I expected the popcorn to be laced with gold. $5.00 for a small popcorn! It was $4.50 for a water bottle! I was going to buy a hat, but HAH, nope. Anyway, after the game we had news from President. Elder Wright is getting transferred. Or well, was transferred. Ugh. Time travel makes verb tenses so difficult. Elder Wright is gone is what I am saying. Again more on that later. Haha. Spiritual side of the Twins game. We got to see ourselves on the JUMBOTRON! It was so cool! We got to see so many people in White Shirts and Ties and Dresses and Skirts up on the big screen. It made me realize why we dress so differently. It really does set us apart and people do notice it. We are representatives of Jesus Christ and by dressing in such a way, people notice a difference. Also, people seem to think we are security guards, I got asked like five times for directions on how to exit the stadium. I just went with it and told them how to exit. Haha.

Missionaries at Twins Game
Standing out for righteousness!

Thursday morning we had to take Elder Wright to the church. He got transferred to North Branch, which is actually a ward. So it’s the North Branch Ward. Haha. After that, we had interviews with the President. Those went well. After that, I went on exchanges with Elder Hughes. I was with him up in Minneapolis. That was a crazy story. I happened to exchange on the day that they were doing splits too. So I was on and exchange and splits all in one day. It was good though. I was with Brother Scholley and he’s a cool guy. He’s the new Elder’s Quorum President for the Lake Nokomis ward. Elder Hughes and I had some good talks about life and the mission. He’s dying in three weeks now. So by the end of this transfer. I’m going to miss him.

Looking up in Minneapolis!
Looking up in Minneapolis!

Friday, man oh man, Friday. We got back from the exchange and Elder Nang needed to do some District Leader things, and so I studied language and Skyped with Joseph again. Randomly, the Assistant came and talked to us. They had a few problems. Their investigator needed to be interviewed by Elder Nang, but they needed to go on an exchange with the Zone leaders in Hudson. LONG story short, Elder Nang and Elder Henrie went to Hudson and I stayed with Elder Crapo. Elder Nang and the Hudson Zone Leader would come back and Elder Henrie would stay in Hudson. Elder Nang and the other Elder took a while, so I went with Elder Crapo to a lesson. It was cut short because his investigator had to leave, but it was a good lesson. Then Elder Nang and I went to Shakopee and taught T___ again! WHAT A GOOD LESSON! We taguht her and she asked questions and it was so good. Somehow we went from obedience to the Book of Mormon to Eternal Marriage. That escalated quickly. Anyway, we challenged her to come to church and then went onward to teach others.

Minneapolis I Love the City
Minneapolis! I Love the City!

Saturday was a good day as well. We had weekly planning and helped the Sisters “Heart Attack” a member of our ward who actually lives in the same apartment building as us. Weird. Anyway, then we went and taught S___ T___ and his wife O___. They made us springrolls! They were pretty good! Not quite my mom’s style, but whatever was in them, it was good! We taught them about Faith and Hope. Hence the title of the email. It was such a good lesson. We had a pretty awesome miracle with them this week. So last Sunday, O___ came to church with her son V___. On Monday we texted S___ to ask when we could come and visit them. He texted back, “Wednesday at 3.” We had the Twins game at that time, so we asked if there was a better time. He responded, “I will come to church on Sunday.” We both kind of freaked out at that point. So we asked if we could see him before church. “Saturday at 3,” he responded. I love it when investigators set their own appointments!

Ch___ as Sister Mod
Ch___ as a Missionary!

Sunday. Oh my Sunday. Good and Bad. We get to church early to set up the translation for S___ and his wife. THEY CAME! and THEY BROUGHT THEIR TWO CHILDREN!!! and then one of our older investigators named Ph___ O___ showed up too! IT WAS SUCH A GOOD FEELING!! All of them denied the translation available, because their children would translate for them. Then the talks. I really think they should have a notice in the program about the topic for those unsuspecting investigators. We apparently decided to have a Temple day at the church. So the speakers began to talk about baptisms for the dead and temple ordinances, etc. The poor children trying to translate just gave up after a while because they didn’t even understand. In the Cambodian Sunday School class, Moni (a Cambodian Member) bore her testimony. She started to cry and so did O___. It was the sweetest moment. I don’t know what she was saying, but the spirit was so strong there and O___ could feel it. Then after church we taught B___ and J___. B___ is our Recent Convert and we taught his Grandson too! He’s super cool and knowledgeable and may go on the high adventure this week. Brother Arbuckle joined us for the lesson. It was great! J___ is a member of the TCYSA ward and we were close to his apartment so we dropped by for a lesson. It was a good lesson. Then we had dinner at the Whitney’s home. Sister Whitney works in the Mission Office so it was nice to have dinner with her family and the Sisters.

This week has been a really good week. One message that we share with our investigators is one of Faith and Hope. There is a Mormon Message we share with them that seems to move them every time. It is call “A Mother’s Hope.” I have shared that video with people countless times and they love it. Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf recounts of a time when his Mother lost her children in a train depot. Through her faith and her hope, she was able to overcome her fears and her despair, and find her children again. It has such a good message and I love it. That is my challenge to you this week. Go and watch that Mormon message, “A Mother’s Hope.” It is good!

I love you all and this isn’t the end this week, I have plenty of pictures!!!! Thanks again for all the love and support! 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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