Be Ambitious for Christ

My dear brothers and sisters, today I would like to speak to the young people of the Church, including our wonderful missionaries. Of course, brothers and sisters who are young at heart are warmly invited to listen.

Last August 21, President Russell M. Nelson dedicated the beautiful Sapporo Temple—the third temple in Japan. The Sapporo Temple is built in northern Japan in a place called Hokkaido. Like Utah, Hokkaido was settled by industrious, hardworking pioneers.

In 1876, a renowned educator named Dr. William Clark1 was invited to come to Hokkaido to teach. He lived in Japan for just eight months, but his Christian spirit left a lasting impression on his young non-Christian students. Before leaving, he gave his students a parting message that has become immortalized in this bronze statue.2 He said, “Boys, be ambitious!”—“Be ambitious for Christ.”3 His injunction to “be ambitious for Christ” can help direct daily decisions for today’s Latter-day Saints.

What does it mean to “be ambitious for Christ”? Being ambitious for Christ means being motivated, focused, and dedicated to His work. Being ambitious for Christ will seldom mean that we are singled out for public honor. Being ambitious for Christ means that we serve faithfully and diligently in our wards and branches without complaint and with joyful hearts.

Our missionaries serving throughout the world are beautiful examples of those who are truly ambitious for Christ. A few years ago, Sister Yamashita and I served in the Japan Nagoya Mission. Our missionaries were so ambitious for Christ. One of those missionaries was a young man named Elder Cowan.

Elder Cowan with President and Sister Yamashita

Elder Cowan did not have a right leg because of a bicycle accident as a youth. A few weeks after he entered the mission, I received a phone call from his companion. Elder Cowan’s prosthetic leg had broken while he was riding his bike. We took him to a good repair facility, and there in a private room, I saw his leg for the first time. I realized how much pain he had been suffering. His prosthetic leg was repaired, and he returned to his area.

However, as the weeks went by, the prosthesis continued to break again and again. The area medical adviser recommended that Elder Cowan return home for a possible mission reassignment. I resisted this advice because Elder Cowan was a great missionary and he had a strong desire to remain in Japan. Gradually, though, Elder Cowan began to approach his physical limit. In spite of this, he did not murmur or complain.

Again, I was advised that Elder Cowan be allowed to serve in a place that did not require him to ride a bike. I pondered this situation. I thought about Elder Cowan and his future, and I prayed about the matter. I felt impressed that, yes, Elder Cowan should return home and await reassignment. I phoned him and expressed my love and concern and told him of my decision. He did not say anything in reply. I could only

Read more

Ambitious Hawaiian ‘plate lunch’ restaurant opens ghost kitchen in Garland

Hawaiian Bros Island Grill, an Oregon-born restaurant company, just opened a new location in Garland. The founders and brothers Cameron and Tyler McNie own and operate nine different locations all across the Midwest.

They were first introduced to Hawaiian food when their family bought a Hawaiian restaurant in Oregon in 2003. After working at the restaurant for over a decade, the duo decided to start their own concept in the Midwest and they opened their first location in Belton, Mo., in 2018.

“We didn’t know what to expect. We didn’t know if we were going to see 20 customers or if we were going to see 500 customers,” Cameron says. “The first day we opened we saw more customers than we could’ve possibly imagined. I think we served around 600-700 plates that first day.”

The brothers said there was more of a presence of Hawaiian-style food back in Oregon. So, when they decided to open a restaurant in completely new territory, they weren’t sure that their new customer base would be as receptive.

“Belton, Missouri, is kind of a small, rural town in the Midwest,” Tyler said. “And bringing a Hawaiian plate lunch restaurant there, we had responses from people thinking we were crazy opening it out there.”

Cameron says Hawaiian Bros is a unique option.

“We serve a specific niche of Hawaiian food in the plate lunch,” he says. “Poke places are really popular and there is a lot of competition among those. But while that’s definitely another niche of Hawaiian food, it’s significantly different from what we’re doing.”

A standard Hawaiian plate lunch consists of a portion of white rice, macaroni salad, and an entrée/protein. Hawaiian Bros works within this framework, offering different variations of entrées and proteins, from teriyaki chicken (Huli Huli Chicken) to pulled pork (Luau Pig).

The restaurant’s dessert, Dole Whip, is one of its most popular items on the menu.

“People think of Dole Whip and think of Disneyland or Disney World,” Cameron says. “But we’re also selling it and it seems to be a perfect top-off dessert to our plates.”

With a strong set of menu offerings, Hawaiian Bros have successfully opened nine locations in Kansas City, Chicago, Austin, and now Garland. Five of these are brick and mortar restaurants in the Kansas City metroplex, and the Garland location is one of the other four ghost kitchens, which is delivery and takeout only.

The idea of a ghost kitchen appealed to the McNie brothers because of the low cost of entry and lower level of commitment compared to a dine-in restaurant.

“We’re just trying to get some people used to the food and see how the reception in Dallas is,” Cameron says. “But it’s kind of level 1 to what we’re really trying to do in Dallas, which is open 15-20 brick and mortars in the next 18 months.”

Although they haven’t signed any leases for future brick and mortar spots in Dallas yet, they have been touring dozens of sites across

Read more