Minnesota’s Hidden Gems!

Featured Photo: “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” John 4:14.

From Elder Ellis (email dated 6/6/2016):

Hello everyone! It has been yet another week now. I can’t believe how fast these weeks are going. I swear I just wrote you guys. Haha, well, this past week has been amazing! So let’s get started on this week!

Last Monday was awesome, we went to the arboretum and walked the paths. There was a lot of beauty and a lot of plants! It was beautiful. Minnesota has a few hidden gems. I was beginning to be jealous of the beautiful views from Lucia in Italy. 😉 Minnesota is beautiful too!

“Oh, how lovely was the morning…”

P___ is doing amazing this week! We had a wonderful lesson about the baptism interview questions and service. She’s prepared for baptism and we are so excited for her. We also invited her to come with us to serve at Feed My Starving Children. Feed My Starving Children is a non-profit, Christian-based organization where we pack food for children in third-world countries like Haiti, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Cambodia, etc. This week we packed for Haiti. P___ came and joined us at Feed My Starving Children, and she loved it! I’m so proud of her and happy she is doing so much to work towards baptism! Woot! We just had her baptismal interview last night and she passed with flying colors! She’s all set to be baptized on this Saturday! 🙂

So another miracle happened to us this week. This woman named C___ came to church in the Waconia ward last week. She called us and wanted to meet with us because she lives in our ward boundaries. We met with her this past week and she is GOLDEN! She has had missionaries over before and she just wasn’t ready to be baptized. We talked to her and she had some questions, but knows pretty much everything. She’s read the Book of Mormon all the way through already. It’s awesome. We’re excited for her. We decided to invite her to be baptized and she decided on the date of August 24th! Which is also her birthday! Woot woot! We are looking forward to working with her. Alyssa Lyman, who is preparing to go on a mission, took C___ to the Singles ward yesterday, so she is getting well acquainted with people!

Life came sometimes be a maze. Let Him help you find the Way.

We also visited M___ this past week. She was going through a tough time and really needed our lesson. She was crying and told us that she was so happy to see us. She lost one of her sons recently and she is still mourning over him. It’s wonderful to see the gospel working in the lives of others.

We had a lot of time to do ward list contacting. It’s where we basically take names of people on the ward list that we don’t know and we visit them. We try to find out if they are still there, alive, interested, or moved. So we did a lot of that in Excelsior on Saturday. That is where we found some pretty awesome views of Minnesota. Excelsior is the northernmost part of our area. It’s about 10 miles away from home, which doesn’t seem like a lot to those who don’t have mile restrictions, but we end up going to Excelsior about once a week. Excelsior is beautiful. It’s right on lake Minnetonka and is soooooo pretty. We found some cool people in Excelsior too. Funny story though, we were looking for a certain woman and knocked on her door. A man opens up and says, “What do you want?” We responded by asking if the woman lived at this address or if she moved. “Nope. She’s dead.” And then he shut the door on us. So that was awkward.

Arch or animal?

We went to a Buddhist mindfulness center this past week too. We meditated with them. We met the Buddhist monks in downtown Chaska one week and talked with them. They told us to come by sometime. We did, and they asked us a lot of questions. Their questions really began when they offered us tea and we declined (#WordOfWisdom). So we got to share our beliefs with them. And meditated with them. That was…good. Except my foot kept falling asleep when I crisscrossed my legs. Haha, but that’s okay, it was a good experience. And how often do you get to say, “Yeah, I meditated with Buddhist monks in Chaska, MN”?

We also were able to meet with our friend E___ this week. She’s doing great! She asked a lot of good questions and we were able to help her understand more about our church. She’s really looking for a good community and just needs some good friends. We told her to just come to church! That’s where all the friends are!! Haha. She’s wonderful though, she’s invited us over for dinner with her family this next week! Yay!

Perfect invitation for missionaries!

I think that’s really all for this week. We’ve had a lot of fun and I’m so happy to be serving a mission. It’s seriously the greatest. Best 15 months thus far. Speaking of 15 months, I’m approaching the single digits of months left. Crazy. Also my trainer, Elder Gardiner, and my Hmong brother, Elder Vang, finished their missions last Wednesday. Time goes by so fast. Don’t blink or you’ll miss all the good parts! Oh! I almost forgot, we got a different Elder out in Waconia now. It’s Elder Bezzant! Guess what? We went to high school together. Ashton Bezzant. It’s so weird, I just want to call him Ashton. Not Elder. But it’s cool to reminisce about high school, which was two years ago. Man, I’m getting old. Anyway. It’s fun to see a familiar face. We’re going to have fun this transfer! Woot!

Elders Ellis and Bezzant!

Thanks for all your love and support! I hope you all have a wonderful week! Look forward to next week’s email with details of P___’s baptism and pictures too! 🙂 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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