Email August 26, 2013

Hello lovlies!!

Well, it has been quite a week! Things here are starting to warm up and the sun has finally broken through the clouds! I really hope it last because the cold just isn't very funny to me....at all! Haha I am learning fast and have had about 3 meltdowns about how hard this is and how I just can't seem to figure myself out...let alone open my mouth! We had district finding on Wednesday which is just a nice way of saying TRACTING. Yes I still hate it. Yes it is terrifying. Yes people are horribly rude. Anyway...Sister Eldredge made me knock on a door and talk at our FIRST house and I was mortified. I knocked and a really nice Aussie answered the door which is kind of a big deal because we don't meet nice Aussies very often. Anyway, she was a young mom with three adorable kids that I am not allowed to hold and I stumbled over my words and I am still not sure if what I said made any sense at all. All I know is that I said something about The Family: A Proclamation to the World and then smiled stupidly as she stared blankly at me. Feeling extremely silly, I blurted out, " I'm sorry. This is my first time doing this." She laughed at me and told me it was fine and GUESS WHAT!! We set up a return appointment with her and I love her and I am so excited about it because I was a big girl and I did it all by myself!! Now this might now seem like a very big deal to you but it is HUGE for me because after that, I got about 10 more doors slammed in my face before we stopped tracting because we had an appointment and it was pouring and I couldn't feel my face anymore! So yeah...I hate tracting. Nothing new.

I only get mail once a week and it takes much longer to get here than it does to get there so I have only gotten two little notes from Mama P and that's it but I am hoping to get the rest of your letters and things this Thursday when we have District Meeting! And please keep sending them even if it takes me a while to respond! I am SO busy but getting letters is better than a 5 year old on Christmas! It's so great!

We went tracting again the other day and every single person rejected us. It was awesome...Then we went to follow up with a potential investigator and her husband yelled at us to get off of his property. I almost cried...It was so terrifying! I don't understand why people have to be so mean. I am a sad 19 year old girl for crying out loud! Oh! Speaking of being yelled at, this morning I was vacuuming our car out at like 6:30am and the lady next door screamed at us! She said the 'bloody' word which is like the F word here. So yeah that was scary too...haha I won't be vacuuming the car in the morning anymore....Oh and more yelling....so this week at ward correlation on Saturday with Bishop Ween and the ward mission leader, we got chastised for having too many investigators who wanted to come to church because we didn't have enough members willing to take them. Crazy right!? So after that Sister Eldredge and I felt like we couldn't do anything right because at zone conference on Thursday we got in trouble for not getting enough people to church and then when we had 12 investigators confirmed to come, we got in trouble. It was not a good day...Haha lucky the Elders called us and told us to keep up the good work. I love our Elders. They are so amazing! It's like having my big brothers with me :)

We taught young women's yesterday which was kinda scary since I am pretty sure they all hate Americans...at least that's the excuse I'm using. They didn't participate at all and the leaders were not helping but other than that, it was good. Haha we taught on eternal marriage which was kinda ironic considering we're missionaries aka nuns right now! It was fun to teach though because members are a lot more forgiving than investigators (even if they hate Americans). We fasted this week as well as last week and guess what....Sunday is fast Sunday so yeah we are fasting queens but it is good because we see the blessings almost immediately! Last night we were in a lesson with an investigator and she invited her "brother and sister" from her African village over for the lesson and the brother was actually a preacher and we taught them the first and second lesson AND invited them to be baptized and they accepted! It was incredible! They are excited about reading the Book of Mormon which is awesome because sometimes it is EXTREMELY difficult to help people understand why they need to read it! But yeah it was great! We also had a first lesson with another beautiful African family and the father said straight up, "If this wasn't true, you wouldn't be here." So that was so great and we are so excited to help them and work with them and get to know them! Ah! It's amazing!

So I have decided that I am just about the worst missionary ever because I am terrified of people...just in general. That is what my latest meltdown was about. I couldn't even role play talking to our investigators because I was so nervous about it...but I know it will come and I will learn. Sister Eldredge is great and she pushes me but she is very patient with me so it is great! Hahaha something funny that she always does is that when our investigators don't speak English, she always says Jesus Christ in Spanish and it cracks me up because not a single one of our investigators speaks Spanish. It is so hard not to laugh every time. It totally pulls me out of the spirit in the lesson sometimes which is horrible but it is so funny sometimes that I just can't help it. The confused look on their faces is priceless. I haven't said anything to her about it yet because I love it. Haha oops...does that make me a terrible person? Probably. I will work on that.

Speaking of working on things, I never realized how imperfect I am. This obedience thing isn't hard but it is just so much to remember! We spend so much time calculating numbers and setting daily, weekly, monthly, and transfer-ly goals that are so in depth! It is exhausting but I am learning a lot about organization so that's good I guess! My brain is so tired and I sleep SO well at night but it is great because I know that I am working as hard as I possibly can! Prayers are encouraged and greatly appreciated still though! Missionary work is not easy!! Don't let anyone fool you! But it is so rewarding! I am growing so much and I am almost a big girl about talking to people...well kinda. I'll get it. Patience is the next thing on my list of things to learn!

Well that is all I have for you this week that I can remember! I love you all so much and I will try to respond to all of the emails I got! I have 30 minutes left and 16 emails to respond to so I am so sorry if I don't answer yours! Thank you for all the love, support, and prayers! I couldn't do this without all of you! Cheers!! :)


First email from Australia- Aug. 19, 2013

Hello! (nobody here says hi)

Well after four days(ish) I made it to Adelaide! It's freezing cold and miserably rainy just about every single day and my toes are ALWAYS cold but I'm getting used to it! So for those of you that don't know what happened, on Sunday night I was supposed to leave but my flight to Los Angeles got cancelled so after 7 hours in the Salt Lake City airport all by myself I ended up having to stay in a hotel all by myself. I flew out on Monday afternoon with a few Elders from my zone and we hung out in to LA airport (too scared to talk to people) for about 8 hours. The Elder from my zone got his visa that morning so we met up at the airport and he was my companion (awkward) on my 14.5 hour flight to Sydney. I slept for 9 of the hours and then spent the rest of the time eating and memorizing D&C 121:33-46. It was pretty exciting! Oh! Everyone needs to fly to Australia because Qantas airlines has the most amazingly nice planes ever! They gave me a blankie, pillow, eye cover thing, toothbrush, and toothpaste and they fed us two meals that were actually pretty good! So before I tell you about my experiences I need to clarify a few things about Australia....They have peanut butter and root beer but it is in very small supply. Right now it is 11am on Monday the 19th so you can do the time difference calculation! I have seen zero spiders, koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, or snakes. The accent is contagious but they get offended if Americans try to use it so I try really hard not to...but I really wish I could because it's fun! Haha our apartment is called a flat. A sweatshirt is a jumper. College is called Uni. People do not use linking words like the, a(n), etc. A shopping cart is a trolley. The mall has grocery stores in it. The grocery store is the market. The shopping center is the shops. When you say, "Thank you" they say "That's alright"  instead of "You're welcome." They ask "How you going" instead of "How are you doing?" They are huggers. Nobody is Australia is actually Australian and 90 percent of our investigators do not speak English and it is a little frustrating. I am sure there are a lot more things but that is all I can think of at the moment!

On Wednesday I arrived here with 8 other new missionaries (most of which were visa waiters). We got a bunch of information crammed into our brains and then we got to meet our potential trainers! We had an arrivals dinner with them as well as the mission president and his wife and all the senior couples. After which all of the new missionaries bore their testimonies and we got our companions! My companion is Sister Eldredge who happened to be the only trainer that is from the USA. She is from Utah, She is 20 and she is great. She is very very very very focused which has helped me learn very fast! That night we went to our flat which is only about 15 minutes from the mission home and I went straight to bed! Our area is Parafield Gardens in the Paralowie District!On Thursday morning we got up at 5:30 to have district sport with the Elders in our district which are Elder Taylor (he knows the Petersens and went to Gilbert High) and Elder Reed who are both Americans and Elder Hemi who is from Sydney and Elder Holmes who is from Canada. We also had two other Sisters with us who were traveling to Darwin that afternoon! That day was crazy and I was super exhausted by the end. So far I hate tracting but my companion absolutely loves it. In fact, she says that she has a testimony of it. It's pretty intense. Haha I am sure I will get there eventually. I don't want to spend too much time talking about the lessons we taught but I will tell you that we have 9 baptism dates which is huge and we are working with some incredible families...most of which speak very little English. We meet with two families from Nepal and they LOVE us and are very interested and have baptismal dates but their families will disown them if they are baptized so we are praying that a way will be opened up for them and they will be able to trust in the Lord. We are also meeting with an African family who speak Dinka (sp?) and I am IN LOVE with them! I have discovered that Africans are the most beautiful people on the planet! They are a husband (Joseph) and wife (Ajor) and their two gorgeous babies! Ajor and the children attend church every week and they love it even though they don't understand what they say. We met with them last night and had a member with us who speaks Dinka translate and help them to understand better and it was such an  incredible experience! Ah! I loved it! We are also teaching Tina who is from Zimbabwe and she felt the spirit so strongly in the very first lesson that she already wants to be baptized and she has a date now we are just working to teach her more! She has a Book of Mormon in her language and she is reading and knows it is the word of God! I love her so much! Haha there is nothing more amazing than seeing people recognize the spirit and come closer to Heavenly Father! We are also teaching people who speak Cambodian and Vietnamese and Chinese and the list just goes on! We are teaching so so so simply and it is really hard for people to understand us but they understand the spirit and it is so apparent and beautiful!

Like I said before, Australia is freezing right now! Actually it's not but I hate the cold so it is killing me! Haha the rain is miserable and it is always windy but we are doing just fine. We have a car and yeah it's weird to drive on the left side of the road but you get used to it so quickly! The metric system is going to take a while to get used to but I'll get it eventually...haha the cost of living her is out of control expensive but everyone here gets money from the government. It's a little ridiculous. The toilets flush weird. They don't spin....they just shoot water. It's violent! Haha they don't have central heating so we have a little portable heater that moves from room to room with us in our flat and, like I said, I am ALWAYS cold. We get fed like crazy! There is not a single day this week that we aren't being fed. The members take great care of us! I am going to gain weight. I have no doubt about that! We have been fed dinner more than once in a day because in many cultures it is impolite to say no and here we have to finish our food always so that is kinda killing me!! My stomach is always upset. The water tastes weird and my body is still trying to adjust but hopefully I'll get there. The trees smell funny and the birds have horns...or they're parrots. It's strange. I ate goat meat the other night and it was the most disgusting thing I have ever tasted. I was nauseous for the rest of the night and had to go to bed early because I felt so sick. I've eaten fish twice but I am not sure what kind. It wasn't bad but it wasn't my favorite. We eat a lot of crackers (which are called biscuits) and a lot of sweet potatoes for some reason! We have three sets of missionaries in one ward which is kinda crazy because at home there is one set of missionaries that cover three or four wards! We have 650 members but 500 of them are inactive so we visit a TON of inactive members! There is a lot to be done here in Adelaide. 95 percent of the members in the ward are converts and they are so humble and faithful and have some of the most incredible stories! The ward is interesting and saying damn and hell is not swearing here so they will say it over the pulpit at church...haha it's hilarious! I am already over the jet lag but the days are exhausted! My mission is one of the most obedient missions on the planet and is referred to as the Zion Australia Adelaide Mission. We even have t-shirts that say it on them! They're awesome! On the back they say, "Ask me what happened in 1820." It's fun. I love it.

I have been stressed and pushed to the max these past 5 days but it has been great! It's a lovely place with good people who want nothing to do with us...typical missionary life. Haha I would love it for everyone to send me hard copies of pictures because I was stupid and I brought zero...so I don't have any of your beautiful faces to look at! PLEASE SEND PICTURES ASAP!!! I also would love it if you could send me some global stamps because they are incredibly expensive here. I can't send you and letters until you send me stamps so hopefully that'll give you some motivation to do that! ;) I love you all so much! Life is good but very difficult! I can't wait until I get the hang of it.

Thank you all for the emails and things! It means so much! I miss you all and pray for you often! SHOUT OUT TO MY FAVORITE BIG SISTER KAYLESE!!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY CICI!!! I LOVE YOU SO MUCH AND I HOPE YOUR DAY WAS INCREDIBLE AND CLAYTON TOOK GOOD CARE OF YOU!!!

I love you all! The church is true! The work is hastening! We are so blessed! PRAY! READ! GO TO CHURCH! I will talk to you next week!!

Sister Shailyn Diane Hamel 


Sister Hamel made it to Australia!

Sister Hamel was supposed to leave on Sunday, Aug. 11th to fly to Australia, but she had some unexpected changes. While all alone at the airport, and after she had already called family, her first flight to LAX was cancelled! She only had a little bit of change left for the payphone to try and call the MTC to find out what she should do. She couldn't get a hold of anyone at first and was beginning to worry. The airport was offering her a free hotel room for the night since she had been rescheduled for another flight the following day. After talking with some nice people at the airport and FINALLY reaching someone at the MTC, she was told to take the hotel room for the night. Her mom received an email from the MTC letting her know that an elder would be joining her in LAX to travel with her the rest of the way to Australia. Thankfully, her parents received an email from the mission home on Aug. 14 letting them know she had arrived safely. Here is the letter:
President & Sister Carter with Sister Hamel
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Sister Shailyn Hamel has arrived in the Adelaide Australia Mission safely. Sister Carter and I are mindful of the great trust you have placed in us by sharing your daughter with us. When she arrived, we picked her up from the airport and brought her to the mission office, where she was introduced to the office staff for orientation.

Please note that all mail is to be sent to the mission office:

                Australia Adelaide Mission Office
                Sister Shailyn Hamel
                PO Box 97
                Marden, SA  5070

Encouraging letters from home are a great boost to our missionaries. I am aware that the Lord blesses the families of His servants in many special ways. I have no doubt that you will receive significant gifts from the well of divine goodness during this special time. Thank you for your continued support and your influence for good.

The Mission Office email address is 2014556@ldschurch.org. Should you have need to contact us the email is usually the best and quickest method to use. Missionaries check their personal emails on their preparation day which is Monday.

Sister Hamel will be serving in the Darwin City Sister’s Area as part of the Parafield Gardens area of the Modbury Zone. Her current companion is Sister Allyse Marie Eldredge from Spanish Fork Utah. It is exciting to see their enthusiasm and energy.

Warmest regards,
President Bradley D. Carter

Australia Adelaide Mission Office


First Email- Aug. 6, 2013

Hello family and friends!

I have very little time so I will try to do this as quickly as possible!

Before I tell you about the best 6 days of my life, I have to tell you about the only two bad things about my experience here! Constipation and dehydration. Haha but seriously....it's not fun! Now the good stuff! Day one was NUTS!! We had this little orange sticker on our name tags that basically tells everyone that you're new (we call it the dork dot) and it causes EVERYONE to say, "Welcome to the MTC" everywhere you go. Let me tell you, it gets old! Haha anyway, the first day, we met our District! I am in District 67C which has 4 Elders and 5 Sister. My companion is Sister Stoker and the other three sisters are a trio and they are Sister Cotton, Sister Olson, and Sister Tenney! The Elders' names are Elder Richins, Elder Sharp, Elder Cook, and Elder Nelson and I just love them all! We are already like a family and we have only known them for 6 days! I guess that's not hard when you're with them like 12 hours a day! Our teachers are Brother Church and Brother Gill and I absolutely adore them both! They have completely different teaching styles but they are both just SO GOOD!! Ah! I love them!! Haha we have class for 6 hours a day as well as zone teaching and TLC. TLC is where we teach investigators and we have no clue if they're real or not! Cool thing happened! On Sunday we had mission conference and there was a Korean girl that actually got converted through volunteering at TLC! Haha so I guess not all of us new missionaries suck at teaching! Our investigator in TLC is Rachel and she is the BEST! I love her already and we only taught her once so far...yesterday. But she is so ready to hear the gospel and she is so kind and loving! We really taught with the Spirit which we have been really struggling with so yeah, that was awesome! Our other investigator is Jordan who is actually Brother Gill but they seem like two different people to me! I love Jordan so much and we've taught him 3 times! We committed him to baptism in our second lesson and the Spirit was so strong! He has already made some incredible changes and I am so excited for him to continue to grow closer to the Savior!

I got my itinerary on Thursday and I leave on Sunday evening and I'm not allowed to tell you what time because nobody is allowed to see me off but I will probably give the fam a call to tell them I'm leaving and all that jazz! Apparently having my itinerary doesn't necessarily mean I have my visa so fingers crossed...I'll let you all know what happens with that! I haven't had the orange juice so I can't tell you if the legend of the runs is true or not but yes the chocolate milk is amazing and yes I am eating way too much! Gym time rocks because my companion likes to run so we get to run together and yeah. It's awesome! On Sunday we had a fast and testimony meeting with our zone and that was the greatest hour of my life! Seriously, the Spirit in that room was so strong you could taste it and let me tell you, it was delicious! I've already filled 62 pages in my study journal so you could say that I am learning a lot! Haha it's crazy here and a lot like drinking from a fire hose but I have never been so happy in my life! I am so stoked for the work! I love it!! I was meant to do this! The temple is still closed and since this is my only Pday here, I won't get to attend at all. I spent my temple time watching Mormon Messages on LDS.org and seriously all of you need to do that! They make me cry like a baby every single time! I love it!

I love you all so much and I pray for you every single day at least 8 times! I hope everyone is doing well because I am doing great! We are getting a new sister from Japan today and at least one new district in our zone tomorrow so I'm really excited about that because missionaries rule! This is the most fun I have had and the hardest I've worked in my life but it is so rewarding and I know the Lord is helping me! Good luck at school all you cool kids and be safe!!!

I wish I had time to tell you more but I'm pretty much out because I type too slowly! I love you so much! Thank you for all the letters! I'm getting most of my responses out today!!

Sister Hamel

***A little later, she sent this:
By the way, I am definitely headed to Australia on Sunday!! I love you all!! Haha bye!


Trip up to the MTC

Sister Hamel, her mom, her 3 sisters, and her nephew all drove up to Utah on Monday, July 29th. They all enjoyed spending those last moments together before she was dropped off at the MTC on Wednesday. On Tuesday, Sister Hamel, her mom, and her older sister Kaylese were able to attend a live Endowment session at the Salt Lake Temple while her two younger sisters watched their nephew. It was Sister Hamel's first time in the Salt Lake Temple and it was very special.
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The next morning, they all went over to take some pictures in front of the Provo Temple and the MTC. There is a lot of construction going on up there, so the closest she could get to the MTC was across the street.

Then, they all headed to breakfast and said their final goodbyes before literally dropping her off at the curb.

Goodbye Sister Hamel!!!


Open House

On Sunday, July 28th, Shailyn gave her final farewell talk. She did an amazing job and we all couldn't be more proud of her! Later that evening, there was a wonderful Open House for people to come say goodbye one last time. Many THANKS to Sister Petersen for all of her hard work in putting it together and for hosting it. It turned out great! Here are some pictures of the night.
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Immediately after the Open House ended, Shailyn and her family headed over to the Stake Center and she became Sister Hamel. It was a very special and spiritual experience for the whole family!