Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Marshmallows and Russians

Hello again!

so this e-mail might be a little shorter because it took it over 10 minutes to log in today... very frustrating.

I'll start off by saying thank you for the cat posters! I LOVE THEM. They are hanging on my wall in our room, much to the disapproval of Elder Rigby. haha. Elder Rigby and I actually get along just fine now. We work well together and I actually enjoy his company. He's still not one of my FAVORITE people, but hey it'll do. So I've been here for over a month now. sooooo long. and yet it really doesnt seem that long. its the weird mission time warp thing going on. this week the older district is starting to trickle out. a few of them are still here, but they will all be gone by friday. Elder Mills and Hagee were made zone leaders and Elder Rhodes district leader. I was very happy on sunday when i realized i had not been interviewed. Also to clear up another couple of concerns, my leg is doing just fine. nothing wrong with it anymore aside from some pretty sweet scars.

We get our mail everyday before lunch and after dinner. we're not allowed to read our mail until after we are back in our rooms at 9:30 each night, and then we are only allowed to write home on tuesdays. so... a lot of times i will forget some of the things that you all write by the time i write back. so if something is important that needs to be answered, just keep writing it! Mom, you've done a really good job of that... haha.

Funny story. The other night i was sitting there eating my huge marshmellows that kendra sent me, and one of the native russians walked in. he didn't really know what it was so i let him have one. HE LOVED IT. so i went around and gave all the native russians some of my marshmallows. they were all amazed and loved them. apparently they dont have marshmallows in russia. I've had a lot of fun getting to know some of these russians and struggling to communicate with them. Speaking of communicating in russian, tomorrow we have to teach the message of the restoration all in russian! eeeekk! so i've been working and praying really hard for some help in that... i'm not too nervous, but i'm not too confident either.

so far we have had to spend 2 full days speaking only in russian. did.... alright... it was a pretty quiet day. one of those days i was playing volleyball and was lined up against elder james. i call him elder lebron james because he is about quite tall, quite big, and quite black. someone set it to him and he went to spike it on me... and i blocked the crap out of it. so i continued to yell "He B Moem gome" which means "NOT IN MY HOUSE!!!!" oh the good things i can learn russian for.

real quick spiritual thought since i am quickly running out of time. (though i should have 10 more minutes.. urg)

last tuesday Elder Jeffery R. Holland came and talked to us. it was the first time since i've been here they've had us all together in the gym for devotional, and it was quite a good one. he talked about not wasting time on our mission because it really is the Lord's work and His mission. The coolest thing was just being in the same room as an Apostle of Jesus Christ. A strong testimony builder for sure.

well 30 secs left. thanks to everyone who keeps mailing me! mail is the BEST thing.. keep it coming

love you all

love elder ellis

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Best and Worst of the MTC


This past week has FLOWN by. it seems like a day or two ago that i was in here typing my fingers off... and here i am again! with that being said, so much has happened this last week. Many of you have asked about the best and worst parts of the MTC. There are several best parts: sunday devotionals, tutor sessions where everything just clicks, getting to write home on tuesdays, dominating in four square and volleyball (thanks for the headband by the way!!!!) and the list could go on and on. the worst part is not seeing familiar faces. Sadly both elder barnes and elder wachob left this week :( but luckily sister whitney ward is now here and elder brett is coming!!!! i'm ver excited for his arrival. also i have found familiar faces in people that i don't actually know. our district leader elder mills looks and kinda acts like owen... only shorter and not as smart. i've also found an adam johnson.... only uglier. one of our teachers, sister pico, is pretty much just an older version of kaytlin knudsen. and a sister from the other district reminds me a lot of paige miley... only she's a harvard grad. actually the worst part about the mtc is the lack of hugs. i love hugs.

From hearing about the weather back home i have become very grateful to be here in provo. the weather has been amazing! my companion who is from utah is always complaining about the heat... but i really have no clue what he is talking about. he should just wait til he gets to rostov (its right on the black sea in south russia... its very humid there and get up to 110 in the summer.) my mission i've heard, not very humid at all and only get up to mid 80s usually. though, my winters will be much worse than his... so.... but that's alright :)

So every wednesday we have whats is called TRC or Teaching R-something Center. its been kinda intimidating going to these as we have to do a 15 minute task in russian and then teach a lesson to a volunteer. last week i was especially worried about it as i could not seem to remember any of the russian i had practiced for that task. the morning of i prayed for help, and then just had faith throughout the day that it would go well. even right up until the appointment i couldn't really remember anything, but i was still faithful that it would go well... and it did! luckily Sister Gonzalez (wife of Elder Walter F. Gonzalez of the seventy) spoke to us the night before about having faith and such in our work. she told us "Don't think about what you don't know. This work is not about you, It is the Lord's work... Be humble but believe in him. Believe that he will perform miracles through you." That gave me a lot of confidence and faith, and so i was able to experiment on her words and found them to be true.

Since then I've not really worried about what to say in lessons or even how well i am learning the language. If the Lord needs me to speak russian to his children, i will speak russian. He's pretty powerful. Since i have stopped worrying so much i have been much happier and the language has come a lot easier for me. I now pretty much understand most the grammar rules and can make my own sentences pretty easily... if i had the vocabulary. working on that. the hard thing about russian is that 1. its a different alphabet 2. EVERY word is conjugated! 3. you dont speak exactly how you would in english... you have to mix up the words you use a lot of the times. for example instead of saying "i have a cat" you have to say "at me (dative case) exists cat (accussitive case)" or "oo menya yest kashka" that's at least the english alphabet version.

other fun stories... im sure most of you know john heder from napolean dynamite (the main character).... but i'm sure most of you didn't know that he is the son in law to a counselor in my district presidency. so sunday he attended our sacrament meeting and ate lunch with us. so that was pretty cool... except for the fact there were elder flocking towards us to try to talk to him.

another fun story if i can get it off in time. kendra sent me a package. in this package she sent me a cell phone. the cell phone is old, doesnt work and didnt have a battery. but i decided that i would carry it around in my pocket and pull it our every once in a while to "text my girlfriend" of course this kinda freaks out some of the other elders. Elder King and Elder Seitz were particularly concerned about this. they are good friends with my companion (who was in on the joke of course) and they feared that both me and my companion might get sent home if the sin continued. so last night they decided to have and intervention. they came to our room and asked about the phone. my companion told them that it was a go-phone from my girlfriend. they continued to tell me that i needed to send it home, to which i told them it was really none of there business and got really defensive about it. the zone leader came in and got in on it too. finally we couldnt keep straight faces anymore and told them the truth. it was rather funny. well i got 20 seconds left so goodbye! i love you all and hope all is well!

WRITE ME LETTERS!!!! especially those of you i have not heard from

love elder ellis

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hey Hey

Another week in the MTC. 3 down, 9ish to go. pray for me! haha! Let's see... i'll start off by answering a few questions.

my leg is doing just fine. it turned out to be a boil... i've never had one of those before? so that was a new, gross experience.

Yes, my sleeping schedule is doing fine. No, I am not sleeping wonderfully. apparently NOBODY sleeps well in the MTC. I havent been able to sleep through an entire night without waking up yet, and niether has anyone in my district. also its a little hard to get to sleep at night. funny how i can sit in class all day fighting just to keep my eyes open, and then at the end of the day when i lay down beneath the stars (glow in the dark) i am exhausted.... and yet i lay awake. finally i fall asleep, and wake up several times during the night. one night i woke up shivering violently. i grabbed another blanket (we have extra since there are only 2 of us in a 4 person room) but that didnt seem to help much. finally i got up and went and put on my dino footie pajamas. THOSE HAVE BEEN A LIFESAVER! THANK YOU AMBER! um.... i dont remember any other questions and i dont have time to look.... so let me know if i missed anything. Also, if you have any questions about anything i will be happy to answer. yes, That includes you Mom. Answering a pestering amount of questions isnt so bad when i'm not "stuck" with you. plus, i only have to respond to the ones i feel like... and there is NOTHING you can do about it. aside from call my branch or mission president and have them lecture me. haha.

lets see... some cool things that happened this last week. Elder Evans of the 70 gave a WONDERFUL talk on the Book of Mormon last week. Did you know there's a lot of really interesting and profound stuff in there? and just in the first couple verses?! it talks about the importance of families, being taught righteously in the home, how God chastens those who he loves, the importance of prophets, and so much more. just on the first page! I never really noticed that before. His talk was AMAZING and brought such a strong testimony that he is truely called of God, that the Book of Mormon is truely the word of God along with the Bible. I wish everyone could come to the MTC to hear some of these devotionals. then again... some are better left unheard... haha. yesterday Thomas Durham gave a talk about the hymn that he wrote in the hymnal.... quite possibly the worst talk i have ever heard. Basically he boasted of his family history as hymn composers, carried on with a lot of musician terms that only those with PHD would know, and talked some more about how great he was. However, you really can learn from ANYONE if you are listening through the spirit. and I did.

Oh, so dad. on thursdays we have to clean our classrooms at night. and well, its both a blessing and a curse to be your son. I definitely have your perfectionist gene. that combined with my experiences cleaning the church building all those times... not good. and yet good at the same time. basically without me our district would get a horrible review everytime. I try to say that with humility. it's true though.

So one thing i have learned these last couple weeks is that i really need a woman in my life to take care of me.... mom, do you have any magic stain remover you can send me? tide to go doesn't quite do the job. I'm really not that messy... in fact none of the stains are from any food that i've eaten. I just always find food smeared in random places in the cafeteria that one would not expect. i hate OTHER peoples food ending up staining MY shirts. heres a few other things i need/ want:

NIKE HEADBAND preferably red with a white symbol. i need to step up my game in SUPER SMASH BALL (like four square, but with 9-10 sections that arent squares formed by cracks in the parking lot, and just a lot more intense) and volley ball. also maybe some tall athletic socks. basically i need to look awesome to play awesome. you could prob find one at nike.

RUSSIAN POCKET DICTIONARY. the ones they gave us are crap. the little red one i left at home is apparently a really good one to use.

APPLE RINGS - i love those

DUCT TAPE - i have need for this

My companion and i are getting along much better now. we work rather well together. infact, our district leader Elder Mills (short owen) said that he thinks we will be zone leaders here next week or so because we are spiritual giants. not sure if i a gree with him, but that was an awesome compliment to recieve from someone i respect. but yes, Elder Rigby and are a getting a long much better. I wouldn't say that i really like him too much.... but that doesn't mean i can't get along with him and work well with him and learn a lot from my experience with him.

Well i'm quickly running out of time. i hope everyone is doing AMAZINGLY. most of you i don't really know about since i've not received letters from the vast majority. letters help keep me sane people!

well love you all! hope to hear from you soon! do good things and keep me in mind


Elder Dustin Wayne Ellis

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

2 Down, 10 To Go

Hello all!

so.... apparently i have a new e-mail account? um... at least thats what it said as i signed in? so if any of you sent e-mails to me this past week... i didn't get them. and well none of you probably should have if you got my e-mail last week saying not to e-mail due to lack of precious e-mail time. Remember to use dearelder.com :)

So another week down in the MTC... 10 to go. goodness gracious. Time in the MTC is such a strange thing. Things that happened this morning seem like they occured a week ago, Things that happened a week ago seem as if they happened only yesterday, and it has felt like i have been in here for months now... yet days at the same time. Through out my stay here at the MTC i have found some funny quirks. First off, sickness spreads like wildfire. One person in our district got a minor cold, and suddenly we are all using tissues like they are going out of style. The only thing that spreads faster than sickness is a song. if you start to hum or whistle or sing a song... within minutes someone will pass by you singing the same song coming from the opposite side of the campus. Now... the MTC is definitely hard work. The days are busy, and so much is being crammed into my tiny brain. ughh... these elders in here are being quite loud and i cant think what to write. um.... lets see... sundays are by far the best days. i thought that p-day would be my favorite days, but i have learned that it is exactly as it is called: a day to prepare. these days are crazy and i hardly have any time to write. sundays are as they are set to be: a day of rest. by rest i merely mean that they are less busy than all the other days. but boy are they still busy! throughout the rest of the week the only thing that seems to keep me sane is sand volley ball and letters. yes, i am becoming quite the avid sand volleyball player... despite my lack of depth perception. i'm getting pretty dang good... and i've only been hit in the face with the ball once or twice due to my vision. its all good. speaking of injuries, i have obtained one. its a really sore red area next to my gash on my shin. i have concluded that it is either a spider bite, a boil, or my wound has become infected.... if its not better by thursday i'm going to go see Sis. Johnson in the medical place (Who i met one of my first days here and we talked quite a bit about owen and his shoulder). lets see.... oh i LOVE seeing familiar faces! its a strange sight to a missionary not from utah. on daniels first morning here i saw him and jason wachob talking and i ran to give them both a huge group hug. then i scurried off to class. this morning i was able to stand with daniel in the breakfast line for a good half hour and talk to him. it was rather nice.... though he made me feel foolish with russian. Russian is coming along.... but boy is it hard. so much so fast. I know i will get it, but only through the Lord's help. I know how to pray, read for pronounciation, bear testimony, introduce myself and tell a little about me, and our district memorized joseph's smiths first vision in 3 days.... a new russian record. Oh the native russian missionaries arrived! I love talking to them... but again, i feel so foolish as i can usually only understand a few phrases. one of the sisters is from a town in the samara mission! maybe i will get to meet her family as she serves in ukraine. from what conversations i have had with them, i have grown to find out that they all love the cartoon "Cat Dog" Bahahahaha! they spent several minutes trying their hardest to talk about it in english with me. the world is a small place i guess? Today we were able to go with them to the temple for them to take out their own endowments... such a neat experience.

another way that i have kept myself entertained is by my color matching. as many of you know, i have 5 colorful watches with matching ties, red orange yellow green and blue. i've not deviated from wearing those 5 ties. i've also added some black socks with color heels and toes, and a matching pen in my pocket daily. i only lack yellow socks and a yellow pen :\ i think i can find a yellow pen in the bookstore, but i might need some help on the socks. ill send home the extra pair sometime so you can have a reference of whaty to get. or i might just take a picture and send that with a letter. speaking of letters, i would like to thank Kendra, Lisa, Mama, Grandma, and Lauren for all sending me letters or packages. They help to keep me sane. the rest of you.... well.... improve. remember how easy dearelder.com is! oh and if you didn't know my estimated departure date is OCT 12... so kendra hurry up and have that baby! My room now feels a little more like home now that i have some decorations in it. thank you kendra. dinosaur pictures, colorful things, and my favorite: glow in the dark stars above my bed.

well time is quickly running out. so i must make ends to this letter. I hope you're getting these? mom, you didnt comment much on this so im a little unsure... but lisa mentioned it i think so you must be.

i hope all is well with everyone. keep in touch. im praying for you. know that i am happy to be here.

hopefully next week's letter will be a little better. love you all!


Elder Dustin Ellis

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I Made It!!!


I am SO glad that it is finally p-day so that i can write home! I hope all is going well there! I don't have much time to write (i spent a good portion of my alotted 30 mins on setting up my e-mail account since I did not know to do this before arriving... bleh) So this e-mail is probably going to be a little bit shorter than i would have liked.

So, I made it!!!! YAY!!!!! Be proud of me!!! I am so far LOVING the MTC. The spirit is so strong here and i have learned so much so quickly! I now know how to bear my testimony, pray, introduce myself as a missionary of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and tell them about my message, Ask if, when and where we can meet and a few other words and phrases. I haven't prayed in english since saturday. My MTC companion is Elder Rigby... like the town in Idaho. He's a pretty neat missionary.... we are working hard on being a unified companionship and seeing the good in each other. Did i mention that we are working HARD at it? So as far as living with him thus far its not been a great experience.. but I'm sure i will grow to love him. This past sunday was fast sunday and i felt as if as senior companion i needed to fast for this purpose. Things are already getting better as I strive to serve him as much as possible. I know that as I serve him i will grow to appreciate him as a servant of God. I need to serve him a lot. haha. Its also hard because we are the only companionship in our room. Most rooms have 2 sets of companionships and so a total of 4 people.

My district is a pretty awesome district. there are 9 of us all together, 7 of those Elders are going to Ukraine - Russian Speaking, and Elder Rigby is going to the Rustof Mission in Russia. It's also in south western russia... down by georgia. So yes, I am the only missionary in the MTC right now that is going to my mission. That'll be interesting. Our whole district is super fast at learning the language. There is another district of Russian speakers who got here the same time as we did, and every time we talk to them about what we have learned it blows them away. I am greatful to be in such a great District.

This first week has been pretty hectic. My e-mail wasn't set up, I've had problems logging into to our language assistance program, and i forgot my pants at home. Mother, I got your letter and I just figured out I got a package... My Pants I pressume? I'll figure out here soon. Also, I have quite the list of things that I am needing from home, so i will be sending you a letter here soon with a list of things i need. oh and also go onto my bank account and change the text message service over to your phone number so you will know when I spend too much!

Like i said, I LOVE THE MTC! I've learned so much and the spirit here is so strong. Sure, its hard being with a new person and not having anyone here that gets me. I need my companion to be Elder Owen Allphin :( I know that we would work so well together and would take things much more seriously than my companion does. He will learn. Today I went to the temple and it was pretty neat being in there with a buttload of missionaries. I look forward to going back each tuesday morning. Oh, if you haven't figured it out by now, my P-days here are on Tuesdays.

If you could, Please respond via dearelder.com. That will give me more time to read what you have to say as 30 mins goes SUPER fast! i want to spend all that time on writing, and not having to read e-mails. Once i leave the MTC I would LOVE e-mails tho. Mom, tell everyone the info they need for dearelder as I am not going to spend time to look it up right now. I'll be writing some letters later on today. I have many people i want to write to, so if you don't get an letter this week hang in there! Well time is running out quickly!!!! gottta go!

I love you all and pray for you ALL THE TIME.

much love,

Elder Ellis

send love back!