2016, Here We Come!

Featured Photo: Elder Yang, the Sisters, and I took part in a Nativity with the Knapmillers!

From Elder Ellis:

Well this week was great! I can’t believe Christmas came and went so fast! It was one of the best Christmases I’ve had in a while! There was just so many good things about it! 🙂 So let’s get telling some stories!

This week was amazing! SO MANY CHRISTMAS MIRACLES!

We went with the Knapmillers on Christmas Eve night and performed the Nativity with them. We were shepherds, it was a lot of fun! Then, in the morning, we opened up our presents. I officially have enough socks for the eternities. I needed some socks, so it was good! I got some cool new T-shirts, some new white shirts, some ties, a new scarf and beanie, and candy. There were a lot of good things so I’m grateful to all those who sent me gifts and goodies! Thank you!

We took some time and went up to the Bluffs in La Crosse. It’s the closest thing I have to a mountain out here, and it was beautiful! Such a great view of the town.

Elder Ellis and Elder Yang at the Bluffs
The View
Would you like to know more?

Shortly after that, we were called upon to give a blessing to an elderly woman who was in the hospital Christmas Eve. That was the coolest experience. We were able to help her and comfort her. Her family was there too, so it was a great experience for us all. Then we went to the Grover’s home and played games for the afternoon. We played the great Damooti which is basically just Scum. I kept pronouncing it wrong and calling it the great Bugatti…close enough, right? Anyway, I started on the bottom, got to the middle, was sent back to the bottom, started a revolution, made it to the top, then ended in the middle. It was so fun! Daisy, one of the daughters, she’s 9 or 10, she destroyed us. At first, she didn’t want to play. Then she started on the top and just destroyed us from there. She always went right back to the top when she got placed on the bottom. It was hilarious. We also sampled some cheese and crackers while at their house.

Merry Christmas!

Then after that we had dinner at the Baker’s home. Bishop Baker and his wife have the coolest home. It’s like an old cabin-style home and you just feel at home wherever you are in the house. It’s awesome. We ate dinner and Skyped/FaceTimed home from there. It was good to see my family again! Even Jarek was there…kind of. He sent me a video message via Katherine. It was fun! I felt like I was right there at home with everyone. Laughing, making fun, and just having a good time.


After that, we visited the Xiong’s. They were so good to us. They made us eggrolls and fish and rice. It was delicious, but we couldn’t eat too much. We had a good chat with them. Then we went over to B___’s house and everyone was there! Mai, B___, G___, C___, K___, and family. It was great. We ate more food (I couldn’t even eat anything). She made Pho, Mai made Hmong sausage, and rice. Then we watched Inside Out (Don’t worry. Mission-President approved). Such a cute movie! I loved it! I didn’t cry…that much. The pho I was eating was spicy, so that’s what got my eyes all watery…yeah.

Anyway, Christmas was great! Every time we went somewhere else, it was just amazing to see that the people we were with rejoiced with us about Christ. It was amazing.

Other miracles that happened this week. Man, so on Tuesday night we were with someone helping him home teach and someone called us. We obviously couldn’t answer, so we let it go to voicemail. We checked it after the appointment, and it was in Hmong. So I let Elder Yang listen to it. K___ called us. He’s one of the guys that we play volleyball with. He was also there watching Inside Out with us too. He’s awesome. He called us and basically said, “Hey guys, I’m going through a really hard time right now. Can you pray for me? Also, I want you to come to my house on Thursday and teach me the gospel.” Elder Yang was dancing and shouting for joy. I had to pick my jaw up from off the ground because of this miracle. How often does someone call you and ask you to come over to teach them? Like never. MIRACLE!

On the following Thursday (Christmas Eve), we held a volleyball get together and K___ came! B___, G___, P___, and E___ came and we had some fun! It was great! After that we taught K___. He’s so great! He’s got cousins that go to our church and he just wants to be happy like them. He basically committed himself to baptism. He said, “What does someone have to do in order to become a member of this church?” He agreed with everything we taught him too. He’s the coolest. He also came to church and had the best time. We were a little scared because we had to teach Gospel Principles and it was on temples. We visited him last night at his house and he said, “I want to learn more about temples. They sounds really cool!” We then had a bomb lesson about Jesus and the Atonement. He lives by himself and he even made dinner for us too. He’s the greatest guy ever!

Man, so many miracles I want to tell you about, but your eyes probably hurt by now. I’ll still go with one more… which in reality is like five in one.

Ch___ and K___ are doing well. We visited them this week and taught them about the 10 commandments. Ch___ loved them and wanted to learn more about them. K___ liked them too, he’s pretty Christian already so he knew about them. We set a return appointment for the following day. We then taught the word of wisdom, K___ likes it, but has some problems. K___ is great though, once we work through his problems, he’ll get baptized too. He said, “Why can’t the Book of Mormon be attached to the Bible? It’s all scripture and it’s all true.” Well K___ and Ch___ were going to Wausau for Christmas, so we didn’t expect them at church, but Ch___ came to church! WHAT? Miracle…kind of. Tender Mercy…kind of. He got bit by a dog so he had to stay in town this week. He came to church and loved it. It was great. After church we went to visit him with Sister Lor. He was a little shaken up by the experience of getting bit by a dog, so we gave him a blessing. K___, D___ (his wife), and V___ (D___’s co-worker and friend) were all there. We taught about the priesthood and gave him a blessing. After we did that, V___ came up to us as we were leaving and she said, “Hey guys. I’m really just looking for a church to go to. You guys made me feel happy when you spoke, so I want to learn more.” FLOORED…We got her info, but she lives in Holmen, which is 20–30 minutes away. She comes to pick up D___ for work everyday in the morning, so the sisters will stop by and teach D___ in the morning. She said, “Oh, maybe I’ll come early to see what the sisters have to say.” It was a miracle.

Thanks for your prayers and gifts! Happy New Year!

Goodness, there’s still a lot I want to say, but I can’t. Too much time has been taken away already. Just know that God is real, and he’s watching out for all of us. It’s awesome. This week was amazing. I love you all! Have a wonderful week! And Happy New Year 2016!


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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