Melevaka Vete and Answering the Call to Serve

With an impressive career in the Airline industry, a supportive family within her reach and admiration and love from all who know her, Melevaka Vete seems to have the perfect life. On the outside, everything is thriving, but inside, Mele quietly hears a calling, and feels it gently tug on her heart strings. The tug has led her towards the desire to serve a full time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Did she have the courage to give up everything she knows and holds dear, to serve where ever on the globe she is placed? With a blind step of faith, she’s moved towards her dream, and has answered what she believes is her divine calling. Mele shows us that a dream is more than just a career – it’s a calling, and when it calls, sometimes you just have to close your eyes and take a leap of faith. 

Tell us a bit about yourself, the work that you do, and how you came to follow that path?

Malo e lelei! My name is Melevaka Vete and I’m 23 years old. I was born in Dallas, Texas and raised in Portland, Oregon. From a young age, I learned very quickly the beauty of travel and importance of fueling that hunger of exploration and wanting to learn more.

My parents worked their usual 9-5 by day and were self-proclaimed globetrotters by night. They loved to travel and whisked along their 4 kiddies without any hesitation. I will forever be grateful for that! Because of my parents’ passed-down-love of travel, that ignited my own passion of one day hoping to work in the airline industry. After high school, I moved to Salt Lake City for college and that’s where my career began! It took me three times before I was hired on. I started working for one of the top airlines in the U.S. and haven’t looked back since. I work in Above Wing Customer Service and it entails a lot.

It’s a lot to handle but it’s so worth it. I love what I do! I get to meet people from all over the world and can hop on a plane on my days off and travel wherever I want. My career is truly a blessing! I never take it for granted.

Although my job is very rewarding, I couldn’t ignore the righteous desires of my heart.

I’m a proud member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. When I was 21, the thought of serving a full-time LDS mission crossed my mind. Of course I love the gospel and my savior, but was I truly willing to give up a year and a half of my life for that very reason? At the time I brushed it off — nothing was wrong with my life. I had a killer career, had just been promoted, and everything seemed… right. But even though everything was “good”, that didn’t mean I couldn’t go for better. Fast forward to today and I’m now preparing to leave in two months for my mission to New Mexico.

I’m giving up my career, daily luxuries, my family and my endless travel passes for this dream of mine. Some may think I’m crazy to give it all up. But I know this is what I’m meant to do. I’ve never felt so right about anything else in my life.

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What have been the biggest challenges in your journey so far?

The biggest challenge for me so far in my journey would be staying motivated. I’m a planner. I always have a plan. And a mission was never a part of that plan. There are times where I sit and think: “Okay, Mele, are you sure? Because there’s not backing out now” or I worry myself to sleep with questions of what am I going to do for work when I get back from my mission or what in the world am I thinking that I can just drop everything and go?

However, there’s a quote that has brought me much comfort in this whole process: “come what may and love it”. That simple yet profound one-liner evokes the very attitude anyone should have. I never planned on going on a mission but I’ve come to know trust the timing of my life. When I feel down or that giving up would be the easy way out, I remember why I started this journey in the first place and that makes all the difference.

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What motivates you to push forward with all that you do?

My love for people, my savior, and my future family. I won’t sit here and lie and say that this decision was an easy one. Or that I still don’t struggle with it everyday. But I love our father in Heaven and I know without a doubt that I need this mission in New Mexico way more than it needs me. I love my fellow brothers and sisters so much! I hope one day I have the beautiful blessing and opportunity to be a mother. I want nothing more than to teach my future children that their mother gave every worldly thing up to follow her dreams of helping others and spreading the beautiful gospel.

What advice do you have for young Pacific people who might be thinking of doing the same thing?

My advice to any young Pacific person is to work hard, never give up, and always remember why you started this journey, whatever that may be. The world will question you and your intentions, but only you know the truth. Let that motivate you. Let your drive, your passion, and most importantly, your dream be the driving force of your journey. And most importantly, get to know yourself. Learn what makes you happy and do just that! Rid your life of things that bring you down, toxic relationships, and negative thoughts. It’s amazing what surrounding yourself with good people and vibes can do. When you find yourself and truly know you, no one can take that from you. And that’s an amazing feeling to have.

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We’d like to thank Mele for sharing her story with us! We wish her all the best and cannot wait to hear all about her adventures on the mission field. If you’d like to stay up to date with what Mele is up to before she leaves, you can find her on Instagram

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Arieta Tora Rika is a writer, Pacific storyteller, and Talanoa's Founder. With over 10 years of experience in social impact and non-profit communications across Australia and the Pacific, Arieta has dedicated her career to writing for positive change in vulnerable communities. She is currently a full-time Communications Manager for The Salvation Army Aged Care Plus, part-time student, and sometimes storyteller and cultural advisor for Talanoa.