Tuesday, September 28, 2010


2 day is a day of twos. as of 2-day i have been here for 2 months. In 2 days i will recieve my travel plans, and in 2 weeks i will be leaving for Russia! You all have no clue how ready I am to get to Russia. The MTC is great, and i have really enjoyed my time here, but.... i'm ready to get out of here. Every day is the same. I've basically lived the same week 10 times now. and with in those weeks it seems like i live the same day over and over. Within those weeks i have gained 10 lbs. a pound per week... not bad. actually i checked that about 2 weeks ago, so i might have gained somemore. its not so much that i eat a lot, its just that i sit ALL DAY LONG. i'm in 2nd place in our district in weight gained. Elder Hansen has 12 lbs gained. I hope to pass him up these last two weeks and become champion. And i'm sure it wont take long for me to lose it all once i get to russia. walking all day, with not a lot of time (or money) to eat. not many members to feed the missionaries.... so yeah... i'm not at all concerned about the weight i've gained. if i was going to south america... it would be a different story.
So this last week has been a pretty good one. I'm not fluent in Russians by any means, but i feel as if i have a good enough foundation to build upon. I can't wait to get to russia and to speak like an idiot! :) I've gotten a good amount of mail, thanks to Heather's roomates and friends. But i'm still waiting anxiously for some of MY friends to write more. but yeah, i'm doing well. I did get a little sick the other day... i won't go into much detail... but lets just say Elder Rigby cursed my bowels because i was making fun of his digestive system. His curse worked. But i'm all better now!!!!! Kendra i'll write you the details as long as you promise not to share with many. The rest of you are probably a little weirded out by that.... Kendra and I are very close. hahahaha.
It's starting to get colder here in utah... especially when we have early morning gym or have to wait outside in the sack breakfast line. But.... I've been very good about not complaining. I know its going to be a lot colder in Russia upon my arrival. I will, however, complain about losing my hoodie. it was my grey converse zip up hoodie... i took it off while cleaning bathrooms and forgot it in that building. I checked lost and found, but to no avail. If you find it, (or one JUST like it) please send it to me. I loved that hoodie :(
So a little about the Russians in our room. I like them a lot. A couple nights each week we play uno with them, but in russian. It's rather helpful. i have the numbers 0-9, and the colors red, yellow, green and blue down pretty dang well. Its fun learning words from them and just learning a little more about what its like to be russian. But... its really hard to get them to be exactly obedient. Elder Lantukh really likes to sleep in, and Elder Nalimov really likes to go to bed late. We do what we can to encourage them to go to bed and wake up on time but not having much success. oh well, i'm sure they will learn. untill then we just have to be extra sure to be good examples.
Have I mentioned how ready I am to leave this place and get to russia? I do know that i will be flying with 2 of the natives to samara. Elder Maximov and Sister........ something. I hope i get better at remembering names. That has always been a struggle for me. Katy Cunningham sure knows that.....
Well i'm going to wrap this up. There's really not much else to talk about.... and i'm running out of time.
I love you all! and hope you are doing well!

Elder Ellis

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Good Friends...

Hello friends and family!
So... I've done a really bad job at writing down thing that i want to share with you this week... so i'm pretty much just going to have to try and remember as much as i can.
We got our roomates! Elders Nalimov and Lantukh. We are trying to get them in habit of waking up on time and going to bed early. They are getting better. But yeah, we have to be extra careful to be exactly obedient as our we will lead them by our examples. I really enjoy having them in our room. for one, the room is warmer with 4 people instead of two. That being said it doesnt smell as good... but it's not horrible. Elder Rigby and i have really enjoyed getting to know them this last week. we've had a lot of fun and they've taught us some russian phrases. some of them they probably shouldn't have, but its ok because i don't remember them anyway. I've learned that i'm really not very good at memorizing russian words. I'm to the point where i can say pretty much anything i feel like... just with poor grammar and simple words. I also speak rather slowly... but i kinda do that in english too. understanding natives speak the language... that will take some time.
So, i realized yesterday one of the blessings of being on a mission. i call it the beard blessing. yesterday, i forgot to shave. When i got to class i felt my face and realized this. after just one day it had come in pretty well... atleast a lot better that it has ever before. I believe that is one reason why we are to shave everyday... just so when we get off our missions we can grow sweet beards with little effort. I'm looking forward to it :)
So, i've recently been reading in 1 nephi in the Book of Mormon... i've never noticed how many principles are contained just within the first 30 or so pages. Just within the first 30 pages I have learned a lot and really strengthed my testimony in Jesus Christ and His atonement. Having the time to study and read from the scriptures, particualarily the Book of Mormon has been such a blessing. I'm really not much of a reader at all... but I do love reading that book. It really helps me to have a much better attitude about things and i enjoy life a lot more. Which is good... because this MTC place is getting kinda old. 8 weeks? Just short of 2 months? I mean, this place is amazing and i enjoy being here... but i'm going a little crazy. I just want to get to russia. but with that being said i know there is a TON more that i can learn while i am here.
Alright so i'll tell you about my best friend. I'm not sure if i mentioned my bear named smelly last week. I believe mom made him for kendra's sock monkey? well... i have him now, and he goes everywhere with me in my pocket. 'smelly' in russian means courageous. when i can finally get around to sending out pictures you will see that smelly makes it into almost all of my pictures. that is, if its not a picture with JUST smelly. but anyways my other good friend is Elder Perry. I think its very appropriate that Last name is Perry and mine is Ellis. Perry Ellis... i believe that's a clothing line. well anyway Elder Perry happens to be nephew to brother and sister johnson that own horseshoe canyon ranch down in arkansas. They are in our stake and were in the young men's / young women's presidency when i was called as a member of the YAC. youth advisery committee. which by the way... i never got my shirt for... and i'm still not happy about it. But i became good friends with them... and behold, (comonly used in the russian language) here there nephew is in my district. he actually worked at horseshoe last summer and plans to after the mission. so i have found a buddy to go canoeing with on the buffalo river in two years. We get along smashingly and have quite the same sense of humor and personality. I believe him, owen, and i will make a force to be reckoned with. unfortunately, he is serving in ukraine. so i wont see much of him until after the mission.
well... That's about all i can think of this week... and i'm quickly running out of time. so i will make and end to my writings.
oh wait... everyone keeps saying i've changed. I'm not sure i agree. i'm still the same old dustin... just i'm focused differently.
well, love you all!

love, Elder Ellis

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Speaking Russian!

Well hello!
No problems with the computers this week, so this will hopefully be a longer e-mail. Well, actually i had to reply to my mission president about if i had recieved a letter or something, so that took a little time.
Well lets see... this last week started off with TRC on wednesday. This is where we practice teaching lessons to volunteers. Well last week again was all in russian, and well.... I don't know that much russian. To make things worse, one of the volunteers we were teaching was a girl that's a native russian.... so she spoke SUPER fast. Many times she would say something and we would look to the return missionary to translate from FAST NATIVE russian into SLOW MISSIONARY russian. lol. She also asked some pretty difficult questions. I remember sitting there thinking, "i'm not even sure I know how to answer that question effectively in english... but in RUSSIAN?!?!" so I said a little silent prayer to be able to answer the question, and then starting speaking. And well, I was definitely helped! That stood as a testimony to me that this is the Lord's work and He is willing to help us out. A point I am very happy about!
Also on wednesday the new districts came in. 3 of them are going to Samara as well, but I havent met any of those 3 yet (they are in another zone that we dont see very much) The first day or two with the new district was pretty nice, It was nice to feel like I knew a lot more than others... but then after a couple days we figured out that most of them have some sort of background speaking the language... whether they lived in russia, taught english classes to russians, or just took several semesters of russian at college. So I was again humbled.
I also finally saw Garon! I've seen him a couple times since as well, mainly on sundays when we watch movies (such as Finding Faith In Christ, Mountain of the Lord, The Testiment, Joseph Smith Prophet of the Restoration) I'm still hoping one sunday we can watch some disney movies... lol.
Lets see... its hard to think of things to say... pretty much everday is the same now... so you've pretty much heard it all before. Oh... its starting to get cold in the mornings (outside, not just in our rooms) So when we have gym in the mornings the sand is SOOOOOO cold on my bare feet. I'm dreading the day they close the field due to coldness... we're cooped up inside WAY too much! I live for the outside world! Speaking of Cold... our room. The first week we got here the temperature in our room was 67 degrees. each week its slowly been making its way down... and we finally hit a record low or 62.3 degrees. we both have two blankets, and i ofter sleep in my fleece footie pajamas... and still wake up cold. Finally we got a good idea on saturday night and put a blanket over the vents in our room. Well, it's working and the room was back up to 66 degrees last night! So i've actually been sleeping quite well! Bad news tho.... we're getting roomates. which means the blanket will come off of the vent, and we will also have to give up our extra blankets. They come today. we also had to consolidate all our stuff in to one closet each. we got really used to our lifes of "luxury" with a closet ofr our clean clothes and one for our dirty clothes... but that all comes to an end today. also instead of having a whole desk to myself, i know only have half.
The neat thing is that our roomates are native russians! which means, i'm going to be forced to talk in russian more often, so i see it as a great opportunity for me to learn and improve. My russian is... tak u tak. or so - so. I can communicate about 85% of everything that i want to say at this point. that doesnt mean i'm using proper grammar, or even the words i would like to say... just getting 85% of my points across. So i am getting better :)
This wednesday we teach again in the TRC, but this time we are teaching the Plan of Salvation in all russian. This message is a lot harder to teach in russian as many of the key words are quite lengthy. Just gotta practice a lot and pray a lot and i'll be ok! Also my study habits are getting a LOT better so russian is starting to come a little easier. still not easy, just not as hard.
OH! Yesterday i got 2 postcards and 2 letters! hopefully my mail drought is over? that was a record for me... but elder hagee got 12 yesterday... soo i'm losing this game. lend me some help? write?
well that's about all the time i have this week! I love you all and miss ya!

Elder Ellis

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Halfway there!

Hello Everybody!
6 weeks down... 6 to go. and then RUSSIA!
I've heard two things about Russian missionaries and having to spend 12 weeks in the MTC. i've heard that 12 weeks here really matures a missionary and allows them to grow up. I've also heard it makes you crazy and the Russian elders are some of the craziest in the MTC. Well, 6 weeks into it... i'm going to have to side with both view points. I've definitely grown a ton in the time i have been here. I feel as though my priorities have been ironed out pretty well. Some of my favorite things are listening to devotionals from leaders of the church, teaching in the TRC, and attending the temple each week. With that being said, some of my other favorite things to do are smash talking everyone on the volleyball courts, acting like a zombie and attacking other elders in the residence halls, and playing with all the toys kendra has sent me. The older district especially loved it when i acted like a zombie. They all agreed I should have gotten here 6 weeks earlier because i would fit in with their district so much better than mine. I agree with them. But alas, they have all left now. we're the older district, and we're getting new missionaries tomorrow.
im pretty excited about the new missionaries we will be getting. we have a few from germany and japan (it would suck to learn a 3rd language in your 2nd language... its hard enough in your first language!) and of all these new missionaries THREE are going to Samara!!!!!! So far i've been the only one going to Samara (wait... elder rosell went there like 3 weeks ago) but anyway i'm way excited for my Samara buddies! Elders Behr, and Morris, and Sister Wilson.
Lets see... oh, i've heard rumor that i'm homesick... and well that's not really true. sorry to anyone that I may have worried. I do enjoy being here a lot! that being said i do miss people from home (especially in this mail drought i've been experiencing lately) and i am very ready to get to russia. But yeah, really happy. My companion and I get along really well now, Russian makes sense (still cant really speak it.. but I understand HOW to), and i have so much junk food and candy (when the older district left they had to lighten their bags... so they left all there food in the free bin... and well, i was first to see it all and so i pretty much took everything i like) so i dont really need treats.... unless you really want to... i wont complain. but i would love more mail! I'm very greedy when it comes to mail... i love it. even if its short, just write! and write often! The other elders are starting to wonder if anybody loves me (ok... not true... but still... i want more!)
Oh, but don't write about your vacation to disney land... Mother. however, do send me something awesome from disney land (which means more than a postcard... but i want a post card too)
Oh i finally broke out my brown suit today! i hated how my shoes matched with it, so i haven't worn it yet... but i fixed it. I got some leather dye and dyed them a darker brown. They're not quite to where i want them to be, but hey... i've got time! untill then they are good enough to wear :)
so with the commencement of this, my second half of my MTC experience, we have begun to do most everything in russian. Each wednesday when we practice teaching in the TRC it now has to be all in russian. Last week was the same and we taught the message of the restoration. it went pretty well. Before hand i was pretty nervous about it because i couldnt really remember all that russian that i had been practicing. so i said a prayer for the spirit to guide fme and to bring to rememberence the things that i had studied. I then went in there with faith that i would do well. When we got in there we soon found out that the 4 return missionaries we weree practicing on were actually Ukrainian speaking. Ukrainian is to Russian as Portuguese is to Spanish... but a little bit more of a difference. BUT even though they werent even speaking russian i was able to pretty much understand the things they were saying, AND i remembered everything i had worked on... even the things i really hadnt studied much at all. It was such a testimony to me that this really is the Lord's work and He is more than willing to help me out in it. As Sister Gonzalez said "Don't think about what you can't do. This work isn't about you. It is His work. Believe in Him, believe that He will do miracles through you" I know that this is His work and that it is very important for me to be here doing this.
well thats all the time we have this week. tune in next week!
love you all!

Love, Elder Ellis