Saturday, December 31, 2011


I was planning on sending you a few pictures of my last Christmas in Russia, but i forgot my card reader on the washing machine. bleen.
but here are the captions
1. Our fireplace and Christmas Tree! I'm sure this could make it on the red and green show. We like to sit around the fireplace whenever we're home. Its so cool looking that it even makes us think that we getting warmth from it!
2. Christmas Party at the branch building. There's not enough primary kids to play all the parts... and since we're the foreigners, we gotta be the wise men!
Those captions would be more entertaining with the pictures... but we'll just let that build some anticipation for next weeks letters.

So, it was good talking to you all this morning! I'm not really sure what else to say today... even though i really didn't talk that much.

We haven't been having very much success lately. The two biggest things we try for are to find new investigators and having lessons with a member present. we're "expected" to find one new investigator a day, and about one member present lesson a day. We haven't found any in two weeks, and we haven't had a lesson with a member in 4. So thats a little rough. But i hope it'll turn around soon. Everyone should be less busy after new years. You would expect everyone to be more receptive around the holiday season... but when the focus is on getting drunk and presents on new years, and not the birth of Christ, it just makes everyone busy. Next comes the cold.

The good thing about Christmas being past is getting to eat all the stuff that was in my stocking. We always have good things to eat (candy bars etc.) but this last week anytime we got something we would just put it in out stockings. by the time Christmas morning rolled around we had forgotten what all was in there and so it was actually a surprise!

We finally got the November Liahona and i've quite glad to finally get to read the conference talks. it takes a while... especially since i fall asleep everytime i start reading anything... but i'm greatful to finally have that.

I did open my presents from my GRAND mother and sister. Thank you!!!

well, i do love you all. I'll be glad to be spending next Christmas with my family!

Elder Ellis

Monday, December 19, 2011

Almost Christmas!

Hey family!Before i forget... I’ll be calling next Monday morning at 8 am. I believe that is 9 pm Sunday afternoon in Utah time. I hope that i get to talk to all of you for this :)
This week was pretty... eventful. We got on a bus Wednesday to head to samara, came back on Saturday after zone conference with a new companion, some supplies, a package from Kendra, one from GRAND mother, and finally some letters! I haven't gotten letters in over 6 weeks. Probably be another 6 weeks until i get any more. Being in Kazan does have its price. I've not read any yet, and i haven't opened the packages yet (Christmas is on sun day... so i figure I’ll just wait) we do need some boxes under our tree i made this morning. (The green duct tape really came in handy...)
Elder Johnson is my new companion. He's from Provo Utah. He’s tall and skinny, and drove a black moped. I think we're actually going to get along pretty well based off of the last 3 days I’ve known him. He likes cats. I haven't showed my collection of posters yet... but I’m sure once i do we'll be putting them up on the wall (none of my companions have allowed this so far!) He's been in Russia since May and of course speaks better Russian than i do. Elder Varkenten in our district is the only elder i know that doesn't speak better than i do. Which is rather sad since over 3/4 of our mission is less than a year out.
We've not been having much success lately overall. I’ve gone 3 weeks without having a single lesson with a member present. i think that’s a record. We have Rushania and Artur that are progressing towards baptism quite well. But they can only meet on Sunday. Other than that all the investigators we do have are sick, busy, or just fell off the face of the planet. So our weeks haven't been very successful as far as the indicators are concerned. It would also just help to have a full week in Kazan without any distractions. I’ve been gone every other week (to Toliatti or samara) for the last 6 weeks. And well, my companion has a visa trip coming up in a week or 2.
Well... i really don’t have much else to say.... i do love you all and will be happy to talk to you next week! I hope everyone has a great Christmas!
Love,Elder Ellis

Monday, December 12, 2011


Well, not a bad week. Spent a good portion of it on a bus between Toliatti and Kazan again. The best part was getting stuck for two hours. They don't clear the roads very well and lots of wrecks happen out in the middle of nowhere with help a couple hours away.
Funny lesson we had yesterday. We were meeting with our investigators who know 'the millers' from Utah and trying to set up a baptismal date. They prefer to speak to us in English. They speak quite well, but once in a while the true meaning doesn't quite make it through. We were teaching them the message of the restoration, (paraphrase) talking about how when Christ lived on the earth he called 12 apostles and gave them priesthood authority for baptism and to lead the church. Christ also gave us the perfect example of what we should do to return to live with God. Christ himself, as an example to us, was baptized. After Christ ascended to heaven, people began to reject the apostles and even killed many of them, creating another period of apostasy and the loss of priesthood authority. But 200 years ago, Priesthood authority was restored through the prophet Joseph Smith. Along with it, the Church of Jesus Christ was restored in these, the latter days. Will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by priesthood authority?this really confused them. They couldn't figure out why we were Mormons if Christ himself was BAPTIST... and why were we inviting them to become BAPTIST? i finally caught on and translated 'to be baptized' to 'kresteetsya' ( and "Baptist" to "Bapteest") They are praying about it and will hopefully be baptizED on Christmas eve.So that was the good from the week.oh, I'm staying in Kazan another cycle!Bad part:Elder Bearden is being transferred! I'll be with Elder Johnson next cycle.... he's from Utah. He’s been here since May. That’s all i know about him. I’m a little nervous. And sad that Elder Bearden is leaving... we're practically blood brothers! We tried to call up the line to get permission to actually do the deed.. But the assistants told us that it was forbidden to become blood brothers. I never read that in the white handbook......
my fall count is 1.
Elder Ellis

Monday, December 5, 2011

Reindeer Games...

хелло фамилий!со и фигуред от вхат тхат буттон дос.. хмм... интересинг... унфортанателы и доньт кнов хов то гет ит бачк то енглиш леттерс... со иьлл юст старт а нев они...лове,Элдер Эллис

Kendra was kind enough to translate,
It says.... Hello family.So I figured out what that button does.... Interesting... Unfortunately I don't know how to get it back to English letters... So I’ll just start a new one. Love, elder Ellis.

That was English wording but spelled with Russian letters. And it’s not exact. If you sound it out you sound like a Russian who is working on their English. Like I'm pretty sure the word "just" comes out as "yoohst". With the oo part lower pitched rather than English higher pitched. Figured this would amuse you... Kendra

Back to Dustin...

Hello Family!I won't click that button anymore.It's been a pretty good week... not a whole lot to talk about.... not a whole lot of time.It was a pretty lame week as far as 'key indicators' go. We didn't have any lessons with members present, and we don't have any baptismal dates set up at the time. Our Turkish investigator that was supposed to get baptized this week dropped us. But.. We did have some other successes. We met with our Jewish investigator this week. It was a really great lesson. His questions and concerns were pretty legit, and we were able to answer on them quite well.
Being a Jew, he was a little concerned about the people of the book of Mormon not having the ancient writings (as in the records that the Old Testament... torrah... Koran... are based off of) Good thing God had Lehi forget the plates in Jerusalem so that 1 Nephi 3 emphasizes the importance of those and that they in fact DID have those records with them.
He believes that Christ suffered for sins, but he would rather suffer for his own sins, and not to put the price of his sins on Christ. We were able to explain that well, in fact he would have that opportunity to a degree, but he wouldn't be able to live in the Celestial Kingdom going that route. It was a good lesson. Hope to meet with him again soon.
Our investigator family came to church! Mother and son... friends of "the millers" in Utah. They seem a lot more normal when they are speaking in Russian and not their superior English language. It’s just weird when Russians bust out big English words and correct grammar that’s not commonly used... and all is a British accent. We’re hoping they can be baptized this month.
I bought Russian monopoly today. New Year’s Eve activity when we're stuck in the apartment.This week I’ll be in Toliatti while my companion goes on a visa trip.6 hour bumpy bus rides!
Well... I’m pretty much out of time.
I love you!
Love,Elder Ellis