I'm writing you from Tawau, Sabah. That's basically one of the farthest places away (in my mission boundaries) from Johor Bahru, where I was last serving! It's absolutely paradise.
Earlier this week I said goodbye to all of the many members in Johor Bahru, many of whom I have come to love! I visited them all and shared a short message with them before taking pictures and saying goodbyes. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to have served there, but I am also grateful that I have now moved on to a new chapter in my mission. Tawau baby!!!
I flew from Singapore to Kuala Lampur to Tawau! I got up at 5:00 AM and didn't arrive in Tawau until 6:00 PM. I had to cross the border from JB to Singapore, which involved two taxi and two bus rides - all while bringing my bike in a bike box! It was a 12-hour travel day that involved lots of expensive taxis! Also, I had to lug around that bike and my VERY full suitcase for the first 4 hours, so that was crazy!!
My new companion is Elder LaFontaine, a great guy from Michigan! He is 21 and has been serving for nearly a full year. He will hit his 1-Year mark while we are companions! Exciting! He is an engineering major and a lot of fun to be around. I am really grateful for him, and we hit it off. The only problem I can foresee in our companionship is that we both talk so much, and enjoy a good conversation, we might lose track of time occasionally! Haha only kidding! I have a really great feeling about this transfer.
Tawau is an amazing place. Because it is in Sabah, every one speaks pure, clean Malay. Listening to it is just amazing. SO clear! I didn't realize how mushed up Malay in Johor was until I came here. I'm still working on flushing out some bad slang from West Malaysia that entered my vocabulary.
Tawau is a city, but a tiny one at that! It is a city next to the water, and it is really quite beautiful. The church is RIGHT on the water front (see photos below). I feel like I'm in paradise!! The missionaries live in an apartment and just ride bikes everywhere, but it's only about 4-6 miles a day. I have begun to use the speedometer my dad sent me for Christmas, which has been way fun! I've gone about 20 miles since I've been here. (In his last area, he would bike 20 miles a day!) The branch is about 40-50 active members, with plenty of people who were once baptized but no longer attend. So we've got plenty of work to do there, but I also think this area is ripe for the expansion of new investigators! Our two main investigators are both moving, so we gotta find some new ones, haha.
You'll be seeing some crazy pictures over the next little while, so get excited you people back at home! I just realized that my mission is actually going to be wandering around jungles and visiting people in shacks - who have pet MONKEYS. I love it. I'm so blessed.
Talk to you all next week!
Elder Clay Coleman
|The church building in Tawau|
|The view from the church -- literally just across the street from the building|
|A huge monitor lizard...apparently the locals kill and eat them.|