Well, I'm sad to say that today does happen to be one of the random days that I'm e-mailing earlier than normal becaaaaause...
I got transferred!
Yup, it's true, no Christmas in Tawau for me, which is sad, but it's ok because at this very moment I'm writing you from the lovely big city of Kuala Lumpur where I've been assigned as the Singapore mission's newest Zone Leader! So, that's very, very exciting. It's crazy to be out of Tawau and into the biggest city I've lived in in my entire life (I think! I actually haven't been able to get a really accurate idea of what the population is here yet, so I don't really know if it's bigger than Singapore or not. Definitely more spread out). I'm super excited to be here though. KL is a very cool city and I think there's going to be a lot of opportunity here to do some awesome missionary work.
I can't believe how diverse it is here. I think I told you a couple of times when I was in Singapore that that was the second most diverse city in the mission, and it's definitely true. Kuala Lumpur seems to be the melting pot of all of Asia with everything that Singapore had and a whole lot more. Our condominium here has a lot of Iranians. The area we live in is known as kind of the Korea town of KL. There's Nigerians all over the place here to work or study, and last night I got to teach my first Iban family. So, should be pretty awesome. Definitely very different.
Well, I haven't been to church yet, but I've heard that the branch is actually about half ex-pats (Including Brother Doxey! I'd forgotten that you told me they lived here). Unfortunately it means my first few weeks here I might not to get to meet a lot of them with so many going back to America for the Christmas season, but eventually I should be able to get a good taste of what it's like to be back in America. So ex-pats is a first for me on my mission.
We also have not only another pair of missionaries in our branch (another first for me), but they're Sisters (another in a whole series of firsts. I've never served with Sisters before). So, lots of things to get used to, but it should be absolutely awesome.
My companion here is named Elder Peterson. He's from Layton, so it's kind of fun to be with someone from close to home. We also had the same trainer (Elder Merrill), which makes us 'brothers' in the mission. Elder Merrill's 'youngest child' is also in this zone, and the area I'm serving in now was actually Elder Merrill's last area. So lots of family tradition here. We just need to get the 'grandchildren' into the zone and we'll be able to have a whole family reunion.
Well, I just got here yesterday afternoon, so I haven't had a whole lot of time to experience the city yet, but hopefully next week I'll have a lot of interesting things to write about. Later today we're going to go to a giant market called 'Pasar Seni' to have the callouses eaten off of our feet by a million little fishes. So that should be an interesting experience! I guess it tickles like crazy...So, lots of very exciting things this week.
Saying goodbye to the people in Tawau was pretty tough. It helps though to have guessed a few weeks in advance that my time there was running out (although I never thought I'd be come to KL). Transfers are just part of missionary life though, and I think the branch is in very good hands with Elder Cazier and his new companion. I'm so grateful for all the things I learned about and the ways I grew in Tawau. I think that little city on the Indonesian border is always going to have a special place in my heart. I loved it a lot there, but KL is going to be awesome too. I'm very, very excited about serving here
Welp, that's kind of the news for the week. Before I left Tawau we started to work with an awesome investigator who came to us pretty much ready and willing to be baptized. She's set up to be baptized on January 1st (can you think of a better way to start the new year?), and things are looking really great for her. The three Ibans we taught here last night all accepted baptismal dates for the early part of January. They all have such strong faith, and it's awesome to meet people so prepared for the missionaries. It will be awesome to get to know them a little bit better.
Hey, did you know you could put a bicycle on an airplane? I had no idea, but now that we carry bikes with us from area to area, that's how they get them from place to place! We just packed it up into a box (that was really too small for it), and loaded up on the airplane as an extra very large piece of check-in luggage. They charged us extra, but it really wasn't even that bad. It's was kind of funny to see the look on everyone's face walking around the airport with a huge box though. The taxi driver was understandably less than excited to take it. It all worked out just great though. We don't actually use bikes here in KL, but they moved it with me anyway just to make sure I'd have one if my next area requires one.
Well, I'm really humbled to be in my new area. Elder Peterson is an awesome missionary and I can already tell that I'm going to learn a LOT from this companionship. It's funny, Elder Peterson is from the group right in front of mine (two months older than my group), and other than a couple scattered missionaries (I think literally two), they're the oldest in the mission now. Someone from their group just became AP. So that makes our group the second oldest group in the entire mission. Absolutely unbelievable.
OK, well I love you so much! Don't worry about not getting time to send the extra e-mail, I snuck up on you! I love you so much and I'm so grateful for all you support and love. Hope you enjoy the twelve days of Christmas! I know that this church is the only path to the greatest lasting happiness in this life and in the life to come. I'm so grateful to get to be here helping the people of KL come unto Christ. Look out Big City, here we come!