Growing up in the remote Pacific Island nation of the Marshall Islands, Mioshi Anwot faced many difficulties, from abusive older brothers withholding food, to adoptive parents lying to him about his origins. Starting a gang that grew to include thirty men only served to underscore his nights with loneliness, leading him to attempt suicide. But the dramatic circumstances of that failed attempt, and a run-in with some members of the local Salvation Army church, showed him a different path—a path of life.
Read the transcript of the video here:
Majuro, republic of the Marshall islands South Pacific Ocean
Captain Mioshi Anwot: Hello, my name is Mioshi, Captain Mioshi Anwot. A couple adopted me. They had three older sons. Whenever they do something, instead of helping them, my parents called me to go inside and stay with them. And I was just kind of a spoiled kid. That’s why my brothers are getting angry with me. When I start collecting some information from my birth certificate, I started to know that I am from other family. Some of my relatives, they were my neighbors! Every time I play in their backyard, my grandmother tell me, “I don’t want you to go there.” Now I know that they are my aunties and my uncles, and very close relatives.
When they passed away I was in eleventh grade. My oldest brothers now, “It’s time to pay back.” If I don’t do something that they want me to do around our homes and fix something, then I won’t have a meal. So I started to run away from home. That’s the point I start to form a gang members. Thirty young men. I used to force people, like my friends. I tell them to do something while I was waiting and if you don’t get something back, then you’ll get something bad. So this is how I treated my friends. After curfew hours my friends would start to walk back home. One by one. One by one. Just by myself. So I used to go to a government complex and spend most of the night there.
Thinking about where I am from. I don’t have any family. I drop out from school. I don’t have any hopes at all about my future and I tried to commit suicide. I grabbed the electric cord and I peeled it and I put it on. At the time I put the plug in the electric outlet, the general power plant shut down. There was no power from Delap all the way to the end of Rita. God protect my life.
There was a night I tried to find some comfortable place under the porch of The Salvation Army building. I was drunk. I heard people talking. I feel people cover my body and pray. So from that point, I started to change my life. God blessed me with a woman, my wife. She started to take me to church. I joined their choir. I feel like I am in a good relationship with people and they choose us, myself and my wife, to go to Arno to start a ministry there.
When you start a ministry on an island or in a community, you don’t have any members. You don’t have friends. It’s just you and your wife and your child. When we walk from our place to the docks, people used to make jokes about us–about the uniform and about The Salvation Army name. They used to like, “Salute! Hey!” But we just go there and start talking to people. It hurt, but praise God because now there’s two corps on that island. Whenever I’m going to shop in the supermarket, I meet some former friends, and [they say,] “Hey, are you a pastor?” “Yeah, I’m a pastor.” “How? Why? I don’t believe [it]. I don’t believe that you could be a pastor.”
During my lowest period of times, I see God’s hand, how he protect myself and changed my hopeless to hope. I can see that I am in a great family of God.
- See more videos like this in our video feed.
- Have you ever found yourself wanting to volunteer but unsure of what to do or how to go about it? Here’s the key: You can make an impact in the Fight for Good with whatever time and skills you have. Whatever your interest, there is a you-sized need for goodness in the world. Get the guide on How To Be An Impactful Volunteer with 9 habits to make a difference when giving back.
- Did you know The Salvation Army served more than 23 million Americans last year fighting hunger, homelessness, substance abuse and more—all in a fight for good? Where can you help? Take our quiz to find your cause and learn how you can join in today.