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Elder Rasband’s message of love for young adults in Hawaii

Elder Rasband speaks to Polynesian Cultural Center, BYU–Hawaii student mentors of their purpose

LAIE, Hawaii — The Polynesian Cultural Center showcases traditions, ancestors, family, journeys, love and growth. 

Through crafts, colors, clothing, patterns, presentations, songs and dances, the young adult employees — many of whom are BYU–Hawaii students — share the spirit of aloha with visitors every day.

While on assignment to Hawaii, Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spent a few minutes with around 100 cast members in a devotional before an evening performance on Thursday, Feb. 8, and gave them a special message from the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve.

“One, we love you,” he said. “We love you from wherever you come and wherever you are going back to. And we want you to take your spirit and all that you’ve learned here and take it with you through the rest of your life, too.” 

Elder Ronald A. Rasband speaks into a microphone while cast members listen at the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie, Hawaii.
Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles addresses the cast of “Ha: Breath of Life” during a devotional before the evening performance at the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie, Hawaii, on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024. | Didier Pedron
Elder Ronald A. Rasband smiles as he listens to a Fijian song at the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie, Hawaii.
Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles listens to a Fijian song during a devotional before the “Ha: Breath of Life” performance at the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie, Hawaii, on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024. | Didier Pedron

Second, he thanked them for bringing their gifts and talents to BYU–H and to the Polynesian Cultural Center. “Thank you for all that you do. You bring glory to Jesus Christ by what you do.”

Lastly, he told the young adults how needed they are in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “We need you now and we need you for the rest of your lives.”

While the object of the Polynesian Cultural Center is to help college students pay for their education, it builds unity by promoting love, peace and fellowship among people of different cultures. Attracting millions of visitors, the center recently celebrated its 60th year.

A group of young adults wearing traditional Fijian dress sing a song at the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie, Hawaii.
Cast members of “Ha: Breath of Life” sing a song in Fijian during a devotional before the evening performance at the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie, Hawaii, on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024. | Didier Pedron
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Thinking celestial through Holokai 

Elder Rasband also spent time Thursday with another group of young adults who are mentors for the Holokai Foundations class at BYUH.

Holokai means voyage in Hawaiian, explained Sisilia Kaufusi, a junior from Laie studying social work. She was one of the first students when the class started and now is a mentor for freshmen taking the class.

“The class helps students learn their personal voyage here at BYU–Hawaii and as they find their path for the future,” she explained.

Elder Ronald A. Rasband meets with Holokai Foundations mentors on the campus of BYU–Hawaii.
Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, center, meets with Holokai Foundations mentors on the campus of BYU–Hawaii in Laie, Hawaii, on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024. With him are his wife, Sister Melanie Rasband, center left; Elder Mark A. Bragg, General Authority Seventy and his wife, Sister Yvonne Bragg, sixth and seventh from the right; BYU–Hawaii President John S.K. Kauwe III and his wife, Sister Monica Kauwe, center left; and Sister Haylie Chase of the Young Women general advisory council. | Monique Saenz, BYU–Hawaii

The class is taught by BYUH President John S.K. Kauwe III and academic vice-president Isaiah Walker, and it is required for freshmen, who learn about campus resources, create individual vision statements and plan for their futures. 

Kundan Yadav, a junior from India studying information technology, said these principles are all taught with the foundation of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

“I have learned for myself how to plan for my life ahead — not just to be successful in school, but the other facets of life as well,” he said.

Kaufusi said she can see how building a strong foundation helps her “think celestial,” as Church President Russell M. Nelson taught in October 2023 general conference.

She said Elder Rasband’s visit also helped her as she mentors the other students in her care. 

“Knowing that he is an Apostle, a literal Apostle, is amazing, and so is knowing that he has taken that time to share that love for us, and remind us of the love and guidance we can share with the students as they are coming in.”

Elder Ronald A. Rasband gives a fist bump to a BYU–Hawaii student on campus.
Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles meets with Holokai Foundations mentors on the campus of BYU–Hawaii in Laie, Hawaii, on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024. With him are his wife, Sister Melanie Rasband; Sister Haylie Chase of the Young Women general advisory council; Elder Mark A. Bragg, General Authority Seventy and his wife, Sister Yvonne Bragg; and BYU–Hawaii President John S.K. Kauwe III and his wife, Sister Monica Kauwe. | Monique Saenz, BYU–Hawaii

Elder Rasband will speak to the whole campus during a devotional on Friday evening and the Church News will provide coverage of the devotional.

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