Email September 23, 2013

Hello from Sista Hemull (Australian pronunciation)!

Well, you guessed it! I have survived my first transfer! YAY!! Haha Sister Eldredge and I are still companions for at least another 6 weeks so transfers didn't affect us but I am proud to say that I have been in Australia for 6 weeks! This week was pretty good and very stressful! I saw the mission psychologist again and I cried and cried and cried...but then I got better and things are good now! I got 4 letters this week from my daddy, Mama P, Haleigh, and Grandpa Petersen and I got them on the perfect day so thank you so much! I didn't get any letters out this week because of our zone activity on Monday but I should have time to write today! (fingers crossed) We have two baptisms this coming Saturday for Ajor and Brother Bills! Ajor is an absolute miracle! She is the one who did not have permission from her husband to be baptised but this week we saw her and spoke with her husband and he told her that it was her decision! You should have seen her face light up! Ah! It was so amazing! She was interviewed after churchyesterday and she is set and good to go! I am so excited! Brother Bills is getting married to Sister Gilbert (member) on Friday and then he is being baptised on Saturday and then he is baptising his children next Friday so it's absolute chaos in their home this week but it is beautiful, fun, exciting chaos! Oh, and he also had his gallbladder removed on Thursday...so yeah. CRAZY!!! It is pretty miraculous.

So Michael that I told you about last week was given to the Elders to teach since he is a single man and we found out that he had impure motives and only talked to us because he thought we were pretty. So that is a bummer but our district got a good laugh out of it! I taught a training in district meeting on Thursday and it was the greatest experience ever! I was so nervous but I walked up and totally rocked it! That may sound prideful but I call it confidence...haha which has been a major struggle for me so it is kind of a big deal! But yes, it was great! I taught about how we can get the ward involved in helping our investigators attend church and I talked about ward families and how awesome it would be if they treated our investigators like family and I got super pumped and excited. It was kinda silly but it was really fun!

We had a really cool experience with this one family who has been taught by missionaries for over a year! They are the Atac family and they are a gorgeous African family. The three daughters come to church every week and mutual every Tuesday (yes Tuesday) and they want to be baptised but their parents haven't been on board! So long story short, we went and visited their family and their dad told us that he has a feeling that the church is true and he has only let the missionaries teach him ONCE!  He said he had been thinking about it for a long time and he is ready to learn more! We are hoping that the entire family will be baptised on the26th of October! It is so incredible the impact that one conversation can have on a person! So I want to give you all some advice :) Every time you meet someone, talk to them like they are your family. We are all children of our Heavenly Father and the divine identity that we have truly connects us all in very special and specific ways! Everyone we know is there for a reason!

One more story!! So yesterday I met my dad. Yes dad, I met you!! It was awesome! So every week we are given a list of 5 people who are inactive and we only had one left! His name was Chris Hewitt and he lives in the suburb called Globe Derby Park which is a suburb that we had never heard of and had no idea that people actually lived there but actually the BEST people live there!! It is all huge mansions on horse property and it is green and gorgeous! Chris was baptised at 18 in the year 1975 and has been inactive since then but he has always known that God is looking out for him. He just got out of a messy divorce and he has really started to reflect on the important things in life. Anyway, I had the best conversation with him and I told him that he reminds me of my dad and it was just the best conversation! We are going to visit him later in the week and he is coming to church on Sunday! He is very wealthy but he doesn't care about money! He actually WANTS to pay tithing! He is so cool and down to earth and he wears jeans and a tshirt and it is just so great! Haha so yeah! I like Chris a lot.

I don't have much else to report other than the fact that there are dog cleaners here. There are little stations that are open 24/7 where people go to wash their dogs. It is hilarious! I will take a picture of one today and send it in my email next week! Things down under are remarkable and I am doing quite well! Heavenly Father always makes up for it when I fall short! The gospel of Jesus Christ is real! He lives and loves me!

I hope you all have a wonderful week! I love you all so much!

Sister Shailyn Diane Hamel


Email September 16, 2013

Hello my dear friends and family,


This week was good. I feel super lazy at the moment so I can't promise that I will write a lot but I do want to tell you all about a few things! So I have to tell you more random things about Australia to start with! The dairy products here are so creamy and they make me feel so sick. It is awful! The cheese is bitter and tastes funny but I am getting used to it because I eat a lot of sandwiches because they are pretty much the only thing I like. We eat so many weird meals that I have to eat things like sandwiches and chicken strips to balance it out! Haha speaking of food, we ate at an American member's home last night and we had bacon cheeseburgers and A&W Root Beer! It was the most amazing meal I have eaten here so far! President Butler is an incredible cook and he is a hick and listens to country music and used to rodeo and we get along so great! He know all the good country music! He asked me if I like "King George" and I just laughed. So we sang some George Strait and Garth Brooks and he played guitar and it was like I was home for an hour and, let me tell you, I needed it! It is still raining a ton here and it was raining this morning but its sunny right now! My umbrella exploded so I have to buy a new one. Don't ask me what happened...but I may or may not have gotten really excited about using my umbrella that I opened it a little too violently and it just burst a little bit...Haha anyway, random fact: light bulbs are called light globes here and the speed limits are actual LIMITS! If you are one kph over, you will get pulled over. It's nuts.

I told my companion about the problems I have been having with her on Thursday and that was...interesting. She was super offended but I needed to get it out because it has helped me so much to get over the stupid little things that drive me nuts. We are just so different and it makes me think that she is self absorbed and it makes the stupidest things annoy me...like the fact that she always squints when she talks to me or the fact that she yawns in the middle of every prayer that she offers. Yeah...its stupid. Haha but I am getting over it and learning to love her. She commanded evil spirits to leave a lesson the other day and I am still trying to process it. I don't really know what to think. It could have something to do with our levels of spirituality at this point but for some reason I cannot wrap my mind around raising your right hand and yelling that the evil spirits possesing a less active's body to depart. I have been praying to strengthen my faith to understand better but I am not really there yet. I will keep you updated.

I found out that they weren't kidding when they told us that this was one of the most stressful missions in the world....4 missionaries from my zone went home in just 3 weeks. Missions are really hard for those of you who were wondering. Haha but I am doing really well! Each day gets better and I am learning that the less I worry about what I feel or how tired I am, the happier I am. I was so concerned with being this perfect missionary and not being able to measure up but now I am learning to just be me and people seem to like that much more. I know its silly but it is hard to be yourself when so many people have really high expectations for you! It feels like I am learning to be the person I already was with minor improvements...and the worst thing about it is that I am relearning it every single day! It's exhausting but so rewarding! I love it here! I love Australia! I miss the States like crazy but there is nothing like what I have been called to do! I get to talk to people about hope, joy, and love all day every day and it is great because those are my favorite things! As far as stories for the week, I will just tell a brief miracle from this week!  On Saturday afternoon, Sister Eldredge and I went to follow up with a potential investigator and we had to walk up a massive hill to get there. On the way back down, a man walked out of his home and said hello to us. We said hello and started to walk away but he just kind of lingered there so we decided to stop and talk to him. Come to find out, he saw us walk up the hill and came outside to say hello! Talk about a prompting from the Spirit! So we got to talking and we taught him a brief version of the first three lessons in about 20 minutes. He just got out of a long relationship and is looking for a fresh start and a better life and a way to get his life together again. So we invited him to church the next day and he CAME!!! He is excited to learn more and we set up an appointment to teach him tomorrow and I am really excited! The Lord blesses us so much when we make inspired plans and strive to make our goals! I have such a testimony of what I am doing! The Lord places certain people in our lives for very specific reasons! So the next time you hate someone, ask yourself what you can learn. Haha sometimes that is really hard and maybe they are just in your life to be an example of the person you don't want to be but hey, at least you know!

I got letters from Elder Petersen, Mama P, and a package from Kaylese and Clay and my daddy and I LOVED them! I cannot get enough of the mail! It is seriously so great! Just a heads up, I can't use the forever stamps from the states so if you sent me some, I am sending them back! We have a zone activity today so I don't know how much time I will have to write letters but I will do my best to respond to all of the ones I got! I love you all so much! Adelaide is still cold but it is getting warmer and the sunsets are beautiful! When we are up in the hills we can see the ocean and it is amazing! It's the little things that matter :)

I love you all and am STILL praying for you! Have a wonderful week! :D


Email September 9, 2013

Hello my favorites!

Well I know it has only been a few days but I am actually going to tell a few stories today! Thursday evening was kinda scary...We went to follow up with a potential investigator named Sharron that the Elder's had referred to us. She let us into her home and the moment we walked in, we could just feel that it was going to be a weird experience. She told us all about her life and how her husband of 24 years had abused her and she left him 4 years ago when he hit her son (who was 12 at the time). They are now legally separated but not divorced because her husband won't sign the divorce papers and she is with another man and she kept telling us that she knows that she is sinning but she feels stuck. It was confusing but anyway...her husband tries to break into her home and he broke the front door and she is terrified of him all the time because at one point he had a knife to her throat. On top of all that, she has her 16 year old son's girlfriend living with them because she was abused in her home. The two kids don't attend school and they all drink and smoke all the time and it is just a sad and miserable environment where they all live in fear. We talked about how we can help her and tried to introduce the gospel but she kept going off on weird, drunken rants and confusing us. She insulted my poor companion a dozen times and I felt so bad. She loved me and kept hugging me. Then her son's girlfriend came home and we found out that she had been raped twice and had tried to kill herself many times and she showed us the scars on her arm where she cut herself countless times. My stomach was turning and I burst into tears. I told her that I was going to help her create a better life for herself and that there was hope and I was a mess and she was a mess and my companion was confused. It was just a really crazy experience. I cried all the way home and we set an appointment to see her tomorrow. I want to help her so badly! I don't really know where I was going with this story but I just wanted to tell it...

Anyway, on Fridays we visit a recent convert named Lori. She is hilarious. Her house smells so bad! It is the strongest urine smell you could possibly imagine...and because of that, I am convinced that pee smells worse than poop. Haha anyway,she tells us the weirdest stories about how little kids in the store look at her and say that she has wings and that people that have died speak through her. Crazy stuff. To top it all off, she was baptized in the wrong name so when her birth certificate comes in, she has to be re-baptized...hahaha. Oh! And she got married over Skype. She is just so peculiar but she is a great missionary so we still meet with her because she gives us tons of support and great referrals. We love the weird ones too :) Later that evening, we had an appointment fall through and as we were driving to go see our back-up we found this boy that we had been praying to find for over three weeks since we met him! It was a miracle! He had gotten in trouble so he had to sit outside! Haha we freaked out when we found him and we are going to visit him and his family this week! :) A couple hours after that, we went to see these three Persian women that we are teaching who speak no English AT ALL. We gave them a Persian Book of Mormon 6 days earlier and they had already read more than half of it and they LOVED it! So we were super stoked about that! Since we can't really teach them, we decided to sing to them (of course). We sang four hymns and they were all in tears! It was such a spiritual experience! I wish I could describe how I felt afterward! I was so happy!

Well those are pretty much the only stories worth telling! We had 8 investigators at church on Sunday which was a MIRACLE and they all loved it! We have a baptism this Saturday for Brother Noesbar who is an 82 year old man who has literally been an investigator for over 40 years so we are really excited that he is finally being baptized! He's such a stubborn old man but the Lord is sure mindful of His children! It's incredible! Haha so family, will you please send me copies of all 3 of my talks please??? That would be awesome to have on hand! Oh and everyone should read Enos 1:27 because it has given me a lot of comfort today! Oh and also, women here nurse their babies without covering themselves...in lessons, on airplanes, sitting on a bench, etc. We had one lady nurse while we were teaching her last night. It's a whole different world here. Also, I am super tired of the food here. There is nothing appetizing about it....so today I have planned to buy about 8 boxes of chicken strips. I am really excited!!

Enough about that nonsense! I love you all so much and am so grateful for the mail that I have received! It makes life wonderful! Life is hard but the little good things are exponentially better! Everyone stay safe and thank you for your prayers! I am praying for you always!

Sister Shailyn Shwinn Lyn Shailynny-poo Hamel :)


Email September 5, 2013

Well hi!

Haha so...today we got to go to the temple so that is why preparation day wasn't on Monday! I totally forgot about it until after it was too late so please forgive me! It has been the craziest 10 days of my life so let me tell you all about it!! :) Monday night I had another meltdown but I got over it so it was okay. Haha then on Tuesday I had another HUGE meltdown and my companion and I ended up driving to the mission home and I had a meeting with President and Sister Carter because I just could not stop crying. It was awful. BUT!! The first thing I said to President when I walked into his office was, "I am NOT going home." So yeah...haha I just needed a little extra guidance and help.We talked for about an hour and a half and then he gave me the most personal, incredible blessing I have ever received! I haven't cried sad tears since! We got home after 10 that night so we had to repent but I felt so much better! So because of that, I am now seeing the mission psychologist because well...I'm mental. Not really but I do have severe anxiety. Go figure. She gave me some funny exercises to do so that the meltdowns don't happen again and, believe it or not, they're working. I have a problem with thinking errors and they are really quite selfish so I have been studying charity and humility a lot the past week...haha. I have been so much more positive and happy and it is just incredible! Wow. Anyway, so I ate chicken strips for the first time since I've been here and they were glorious. They are definitely still my favorite food! When I get home, we are all eating kangaroo sausages because they are so good! They have a ton of flavor! I haven't seen a kangaroo or anything yet so that's a bummer but I think I'm going to next week. Don't quote me on that but that's what it sounds like. The one secret about missionary life is that it is the most unorganized organized living ever. Our plans change constantly and we have so much stuff to keep track of and people to see and members to please and a ward mission leader that needs to feel wanted. It all gets very overwhelming but at the end of the day, I love it!

We had companion exchanges on Tuesday and OH MY GOODNESS!! It was the best experience of my life! Honestly. My companion for the day was our sister training leader, Sister Lucas, and I absolutely adore her. She is from Tahiti and she says that our family is welcome at her home anytime (wink). She is 25 years old and she has been serving for about 12 months so she is getting to the tail end of her mission and if I am half as amazing as she is at my year mark then I will be just fine! She helped me feel so comfortable and I actually lead THREE lessons! That is HUGE for me! It was such a great day! We visited this less active sister named Deborah and she was kind of a nut but I love her because she is emotionally unstable just like me! She burst into tears randomly and I talked her through it and now she's coming to church this week and I am so excited. SO excited! Oh, side note...if you want to send me a package, send it to 11 Sommers Avenue Firle, South Australia 5070 Australia. If you have already sent me a package to the other address, that is fine but send all other packages to that one! Thanks! This week I got letters from Elder Petersen, Mama P, Mikelle, and Taylor Welker! It was great! Haha letters are the best thing ever! I am hoping to have time to send out some more letters today but we are super busy and it is already almost 4 and we have an appointment at 6 so we'll see.

So for some reason, I am not afraid to sing for people here. Sister Eldredge and I sing to everyone!! I mean EVERYONE! We harmonize and the whole 9 yards. It's pretty great! Haha she is a Schae Chapman type singer so she gets pretty fancy with her voice. It's no Schae but it'll do for now! I have been serving for over a month now so that is pretty cool! Only 17 more to go! I am going to jump around saying a bunch of random stuff right now but I keep remembering things so bear with me! The chocolate here is gross and if you would like to send me some Snickers...or a Symphony bar or 7 I would not complain! They sell snickers here but they cost too much and I don't want to get fat...but if you send it to me, it will be okay because it's a gift and gifts can't go to waste. Anyway, I watch mormon messages during every meal and I am so addicted! If you haven't watched Mormon Messages on LDS.org, do it because they are so incredible! They get me so pumped about life! The mailmen here ride motorcycles. It's super cool. They are so nice too. They love everyone...which is a big deal for Australia because Aussies are big time haters...in a good way. Horses have a nickname even. People call them trotters and a saddle is called a jinky. Weird. Oh, and shrimp are called prons...and garages only hold cars. The garages are TINY! Oh and trucks are called utes...as in short for utility vehicle. Aussies love to abbreviate. It's fascinating. I still speak with an American accent 100 percent of the time but my personal prayers are said with an Australian accent in my head. It is super weird. I honestly can't help it! Haha if you don't know hymn number 44, you should learn it because it is really good! It's our mission song! We sing it almost every day!

Oh so for you fathers or soon to be fathers, Sunday was Australian Father's Day so Happy Father's Day! (especially my daddy) :D Oh and you mommies out there, diapers are called nappies. It is great. So the news about how I am doing? I am great. I am very happy but 10:30 is way too late to go to sleep. Haha not really but I am so exhausted every night that I CRASH. I sleep very well! I eat a lot of bread and rice and jelly and nutella and bread...but mostly bread. We have a baptism next Saturday and three a couple of weeks later (hopefully). We have one investigator named Ajor and her husband hates us so she may not be able to be baptized but we are praying for her! We love her so much and she is so ready to be baptized! Her children love it too...just her husband is stubborn. Catholic people are super intense...

Other than that, I don't have a lot to share. Sorry I don't have more experiences but those are easier to write in letters so I will send them that way! All is well in Adelaide! It is warming up! It has been about 28 degrees Celsius pretty consistently but today it's rainy and cold again so we'll see what happens! I will be sending another email on Monday so you don't have to miss out on too much! I love you all and I am still praying for you every day! Stay strong and be happy!

Sister Hamel