Indonesian couple shows gratitude by serving mission in their homeland

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Contemplating the blessings they had received during their five-year membership in the Church, Edward Adolf and Ritschy Adelina Meulemans of Jakarta, Indonesia, decided how best to show their gratitude — a full-time mission.

Called to the Jakarta Indonesia Mission, they entered the missionary training center in January anticipating beginning their service in Solo on the island of Java. It is an area which they know well since they lived there for three years in the early 1960s. They are fluent in the Javanese language as well as Indonesian, Dutch, English and German. They each have Indonesian and German ancestry.

Their decision to serve a mission came five years after they were baptized. One night last year, Elder Meulemans, who is retired after working for a shipbuilding company, was wondering "What can we give back to the Lord in return for everything He has given us?" Then he received the impression, "Why don't you serve a mission?"

He discussed the question with his wife and they prayed together about it. Their answer: "Just do it."

Their decision to serve a mission happened much faster than their decision to join the Church.

Elder Meulemans' parents and sister, who live in Pasadena, Calif., had joined the Church in the 1970s. They told him about the Church at that time and again later when they visited him in Indonesia.

Between 1978-80, the Meulemans were working in the Netherlands and making plans to immigrate to Pasadena to be with their family. Since things didn't work out with their plans to immigrate to the United States, they ended up returning to Indonesia.

Elder Meulemans had the opportunity to attend Church several times and meet with the missionaries when he visited his family in Pasadena in 1987, but he didn't join the Church then, either.

Finally, another visit to Pasadena for a family reunion in 1994 sparked a change. When he returned to Jakarta, he went straight to the mission home and asked to learn about the gospel. He took six discussions in six days. He didn't ask his wife to join him because he felt that she must feel a personal interest first. But by the time he had finished his discussions, she was ready to contact the mission office to take the discussions herself.

He was baptized in December 1994, with his wife following a short time later.

Before being baptized, Elder Meulemans compiled a booklet that contained everything he had learned from the discussions, together with his testimony that God lives.

The Meulemans, who have one daughter and five grandchildren, are active members of the South Jakarta Branch, Jakarta Indonesia District.

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