Andrew Melsen serves as LDS missionary

Elder Andrew Melsen, who is serving for two years in Arizona as an LDS missionary, stands in front of his church, the Columbiana Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Elder Andrew Melsen, who is serving for two years in Arizona as an LDS missionary, stands in front of his church, the Columbiana Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

By PHOEBE DONALD ROBINSON / Community Columnist

Andrew Melsen graduated in 2013 from Shelby County High School and is a member of the Columbiana Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Today he is Elder Melsen serving in Arizona, the first student in eight years from SCHS to serve as an LDS missionary. “I knew that I wanted to go on my mission after high school,” said Melsen. “I had heard that this time to get away from the world will prepare me for life as I serve people. For two years, I will totally focus on my mission for the Lord. I will do my own cooking, cleaning, live with new people as I totally take care of myself. I hope to grow spiritually and feel that this will be a life-changing experience for me. I am the first person in eight years to serve as a missionary from SCHS.” Melsen has to raise the money for his support as well as his clothing which has a code of dress: white shirt with tie, black, gray or khaki pants and dress shoes. He also needed a bike supplied by close family friend, LDS member Clem Muck. Melsen was ordained with the “Blessing of the Priesthood” before he left for his mission to Arizona by Muck, who stood in the gap for Melsen’s grandfather, Lloyd Carlson, who died January 2014. “When I ordained Andrew, I blessed him to remember the counsel and example of his grandfather,” said Muck. “I told him to be encouraged by the reflective thoughts of his grandfather’s guidance to him and that he should always ask his Heavenly Father to guide his decisions and activities as a missionary.” “My blessing was very sacred, very spiritual and very special,” said Melsen. “Andrew will make a wonderful missionary,” said President Peter Johnson, Bessemer Alabama Stake. “Just to note, the Columbiana Ward will send out three men this year to serve missions: Andrew, Kody Pettit and Eric Embry. They are remarkable young men who have made the sacrifice to serve our Heavenly Father in this capacity. We are proud of each of them.”