Article 1: There Will Come a Time When You Will Serve
Submitted by: Sister Kristine Saunders, PCC Archives
Elder Paul and Sister Harriet Kirkland, who have been serving as senior missionaries at the Polynesian Cultural Center as part of the newly formed Laie, Hawaii mission for the past 17 months, will complete their time with us on June 1, 2022 and return to their home in Santaquin, UT.
Imagine that you grew up on the east coast, are newly married, a new member of the church, and you find yourself living in Deer Lodge, Montana. As a new member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you are diligent about studying the gospel and listening to messages of modern-day apostles and prophets. Your new husband comes home at the end of the day and you say, “I would like to serve a mission.”
Your husband pauses and says, “Okay, but we only got married in May.” To which you answer, “Yes, but you’re supposed to serve the Lord first.” He then asks for clarification, “Are you talking about a full-time mission now?” You answer, “Yes, if the branch president will call me, will you support me?”
The new husband remembers the advice his father-in-law gave which was basically, “she doesn’t understand ‘NO’.” He then realizes, “I’m not going to be the one to tell her no,” and says, “Certainly, if the branch president calls you, I’m there.”
He makes the necessary arrangements for his wife to have a missionary interview. They attend together and the wife says, “I would like to be called to serve a full-time mission.” To which the branch president responds, “How old are you and how old is your husband?”
“I am 26 and my husband is 30.”
“Why do you want to serve a mission at this time?”
“I didn’t grow up in the church and I would like to serve a mission to bless other people’s lives. Will you call me?”
“At this time, the church doesn’t separate couples. I admonish you to have children and continue growing in the gospel. I promise you there will be a time in your life when you will be called to serve.
That week in 1977, Sister Harriet Kirkland started a fund at the bank where she worked in Deer Lodge for their future mission. For 40 years Sister Kirkland added to the fund and moved it around as the family moved from place to place. That fund supported their mission at the Polynesian Cultural Center.
When Paul Kirkland grew up in small town, Arco, Idaho, the Vietnam conflict affected young men wanting to serve a mission for the church. That limited how many young men could choose a mission over military service. The decision was made that Paul would volunteer for the military and his younger brother was called to serve a mission in The Philippines. While in Vietnam, Paul was able to take R&R in The Philippines twice and go on missionary splits with his brother.
After his tour of duty in Vietnam, Paul returned to Idaho and attended Ricks College. During his second year, he wondered if it was time to serve a mission. When he heard that Elder Boyd K. Packer of the Twelve would be on campus, he requested a meeting with the apostle. When Elder Packer heard that Paul was 24 years old, he said, “I would never discourage anyone from serving a mission, but I encourage you to finish your education, get married, find meaningful employment, and have a family. There will come a time when you will serve.”
When that opportunity finally arose, Kirkland’s had two requirements:
1) Their special needs son may need to accompany them; and 2) They wanted to learn other cultures without leaving the United States. Since their special-needs son decided not to come with them, they needed to be able to respond quickly to an emergency, if necessary.
The Kirkland’s sent in their application with Hawaii as their number-one choice because their son could come with them and work in PCC Culinary Services. The many cultures found at the Center also filled their second requirement. They were assigned to a Samoan ward, and even though they only understood about 20% of what was being said, “It has been a rich cultural experience.”
In many ways, life prepares us for senior missionary service. For 20 years Paul worked as a National Park Ranger, four of them in maintenance building roads, trails, and campgrounds. Harriet was a stay-at-home mom for 11 years raising their three children, when an accident took most of Paul’s eyesight. The family moved to Payson, Utah where Harriet started working for Novell as a contact center supervisor handling customer calls.
When the Kirkland’s arrived at the Polynesian Cultural Center Elder Kirkland was assigned to the plant nursery and Sister Kirkland was assigned to Guest Relations working with customer complaints. Elder Kirkland was initially puzzled about his assignment. “In the national parks God takes care of the plants. I just take care of them if they catch on fire.” He was told that their problem with fire ants was close enough, so the nursery it was. His skills with maintenance became his calling.
Because of the COVID shut-down, the structures in the nursery had fallen into disrepair. Elder Kirkland became known for “McGivering” anything that needs repair. Sister Kirkland was very good at dealing with customer complaints. With her prior experience, she learned to balance guest requests with PCC needs. She worked with her team to determine what is right and what is fair. As missionaries their motto was, “I’ll go where you want me to go.” Elder Kirkland learned about tropical plants. Sister Kirkland learned about the PCC culture and standards when dealing with guests.
Elder Kirkland also found working with BYU-H students “very rewarding. I gained an understanding of where they have come from and how hard they worked to get here. They have such a desire to learn and grow. They want to accomplish more for their families and home countries. I have been able to help them broaden their horizons.”
Sister Kirkland found working with the other missionaries an absolute highlight. They “blessed my life. The quality and caliber of the other missionaries from diverse backgrounds is awe inspiring. I have made many forever friends.”
This is a working mission and senior PCC missionaries need to make their own opportunities for spiritual experiences. “It has been a total joy to live where I can see the beach out one window and the temple out the other. We have been spiritually fed by attendance at devotionals, family home evenings, temple attendance and time for scripture study. We feel spiritually stronger and most importantly, our example for our kids and grandkids becomes a part of their heritage. As our daughter says, ‘we are contributing to our celestial 401k.’”
The Kirkland’s are going to a new home, travel and temple work. Elder Kirkland will continue his before-mission calling he started with a grandchild, building homes for homeless elves, fairies and gnomes. “There is nothing sadder than homeless wee folk.”
Article #2: New Employee Discount Opportunities
Submitted by: Eric E. Workman, Executive Vice President & CMO
Aloha PCC Ohana,
In our new post-COVID world, it has often been impossible to use your Employee Discount Card which has, in the past, allowed you to buy tickets at a high discount, but only on the day of the visit IF tickets were available. Also, many Kamaaina, our Island Ohana, have not been able to come to the Center when we are sold out. This is just not right and the President’s Council has been working with Sales & Marketing to find solutions.
The following are three things we are doing to improve the situation;
- A block of 200 Islands of Polynesia Tickets per day is now being held in reserve for PCC Employee Discount Card holders and our friends and family members. These tickets can be purchased in advance—not just on the day of visit. Kamaaina will also have access to this reserved block of tickets, but not at the same deeply discounted Employee Rate.
- A special block of 20 Gateway Buffet Tickets per day has been created to allow employees and Kamaaina to purchase the best buffet on the Island at a 20% discount. These tickets can also be purchased in advance. While both employees and Kamaaina can purchase tickets from this block, we are not going to promote this to Kamaaina until we better understand employee demand.
- A block of 142 “Partial View” seat tickets for the HA: Breath of Life show is now available at the employee rate of $10 per ticket. These tickets can also be purchased in advance, not just after 6:00 p.m., on the day of the performance, if available as has been the case in the past. This allows you to make sure you and/or your friends and family members have a reserved seat in the show. Once the show starts ushers may direct those in “Partial View” seats to better empty seats in the same seating section without any additional charge if seats are available. Kamaaina will also have access to this block of seats for advanced purchase, though not at the same deeply discounted Employee Price.
“What is a ‘Partial View Seat’?” It is a seat along the outer edge of Sections 1 and 5 where some very small parts of the show may not be easily visible at some point during the show—not bad seats, just not the best seats. At $10 instead of a minimum of $89.95, an 86% discount, they are a great deal!
Tickets must still be purchased and picked up at the Box Office. You will still need to show your Employee ID and a valid Employee Discount Card to verify the purchase. The 50% Off All-Day Packages offer listed on the Employee Discount Card is still valid for use when there is availability.
You can call Reservations at (808) 293-3333 to purchase and reserve in advance any of the three Employee/Kamaaina tickets mentioned. The tickets must be paid for at the time of order.
We hope these changes will make it easier for you and your family and friends to visit the Center.
This is just one small way to say “Mahalo Nui Loa” for all you do to make the Center successful and WOW our guests each and every day.
Eric E. Workman
Article #3: Wednesday Schedule for Summer 2022
Submitted by: Eric E. Workman, Executive Vice President & CMO
The Polynesian Cultural Center will be operating on the following nine Wednesdays during the Summer of 2022:
- Wednesday, June 29, 2022
- Wednesday, July 6, 2022
- Wednesday, July 13, 2022
- Wednesday, July 20, 2022
- Wednesday, July 27, 2022
- Wednesday, August 3, 2022
- Wednesday, August 10, 2022
- Wednesday, August 17, 2022
- Wednesday, August 24, 2022
During the nine weeks of the Summer of 2022, that include the Wednesdays listed above, the Center will operate on a six-day week schedule.
We will also be open on Wednesday, November 23, 2022 in lieu of Thursday, November 24, 2022, which is Thanksgiving Day.
It has not been determined yet whether the Center will be opened during any Wednesday in December.
Article #4: Kalua Pork Recipe with 4 cooking methods and video!
Submitted by: Quinney Suaava, PCC Blogger
Looking for the most traditional, yet easy main dish for your next ‘luau’? In this blog from the Polynesian Cultural Center, you’ll learn a traditional kalua pork recipe that you can cook using any of 4 different methods along with a how-to video! Read the full blog here!