Elder Melus finds life as a missionary in British Columbia, Canada easier than his life in his South Pacific homeland Palau Micronesia. “Here in the mission, we sleep on beds. I didn’t in Palau. At home, I woke around midnight to go spear fishing with my family. Fish are active during the day but sleep in the night. That’s the best time to fish,” he explains. Then at 4:30 a.m. he went into the fields with his mother to help with the garden before she and his father went to work for the day. “It was really hard, but that’s what we did to provide for the family of six children. We have no fridge, so we fish every day.” Elder Melus made dramatic life-changing decisions after realizing that his wayward life needed straightening out. Now he rises early for the Lord transitioning from fisherman to a fisher of men.
“I just came from hospital and I want to change. Can you help me?” Elder Melus asked his Uncle. Assured by Elder Melus sincerity, the uncle retrieved a big book. “This is what you call the Bible. This can change your life, read it.” Uncle said.
I told my parents about my lessons with the missionaries and my changes, but my parents still didn’t believe me. The sisters kept teaching me and invited me to be baptized. At my baptism, I cried all night and into the morning and prayed 10-12 times because I felt so good. One week later I realized the gospel changes lives and I wanted to share it. I asked the missionaries for pamphlets and pictures of Christ and went around telling people how to change their lives. Some of my friends saw I’d changed. I gave them a picture of Christ and invited them to change. After a month, two of them came to me and asked how to join the Church. I taught them to pray and read scriptures and called the sisters to teach them. I soon baptized them. Two other friends wanting to change were also baptized.
After three months I received my call. I took the missionary couple with me to surprise my family. I didn’t know that my parents were members of the Church already. They hadn’t been to church for a while. I knocked three times before my father opened the door. ‘Go away we don’t want you to come here anymore,’ my dad said. I showed them my mission call and told them, ‘I’m going to be a missionary.’ It took the missionary couple to convince them. My mom and dad started crying. ‘Mom and dad I tell you the truth I am changed and going to serve a mission.’ My parents asked if I really wanted to do this. They pointed out that I didn’t have white shirts, pants, ties, scriptures anything. I told them I just wanted to serve a mission. They said they couldn’t help because they didn’t have any money. I said, ‘Okay, I will trust Heavenly Father. He will support me’.
I didn’t ask for anything from anyone at church, but in December one of the missionaries gave me some luggage. One week later the missionaries gave me six pairs of pants and some ties. At church, the missionary couple gave me a white shirt. After that people started giving me stuff like extra socks and a suit. My uncle gave me a watch. I didn’t have any cash, but I still trusted the Lord.
Two hours before I left for my mission, standing in front of my house hugging everyone goodbye a member whose son is serving a mission came by and handed me an envelope with cash. I thought it was $20-30, but at the airport when I looked in the envelope I found five hundred dollars. I realized I had everything I needed to serve a mission. I went into the washroom, locked the door, kneeled down and gave thanks. I was so happy. I said goodbye to my family and flew to the mission office in Guam to be set apart. Canada is cold and I didn’t have a coat. Two senior missionary couples took me to a mall and bought me a warm coat and two sweaters.
Before Elder Melus left Micronesia his Branch President told him to learn English well so he could help complete the translation of the Book of Mormon into his native language when he came home. Before he left Elder Melus was promised that his family would be blessed.