Sister Karen Kunz, the Academic Office administrative assistant at BYU-Idaho, shared the story of her ancestor to teach students about living a faithful life during a BYU-Idaho devotional on Tuesday, Nov. 21.
Kunz first talked about four-wheeling with her husband and noticing the beautiful surroundings. She said she was prompted to take a picture of a sunflower, but didn't understand why until she was also prompted to do some more research about an ancestor.
"I thought I had read everything about this ancestor, so I wondered why I needed to do anything more," she said. "I pulled up the memories section in FamilySearch on this particular ancestor and to my surprise, found a story that I had not seen before."
She learned that when Rhoda Young and her family arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in the 1850s they had little to eat. They found this sunflower-like bush and started to dig. Young learned the bulbs of the flower was edible. The saints called the flower "Jerusalem artichokes."
"However, the most amazing thing I learned is that it was the same exact flower I had been prompted to take a picture of earlier this summer," Kunz said. "At that moment, I felt the burning power of the Holy Ghost and knew the Lord was trying to teach me important spiritual principles."
In an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio, Kunz said as she's learned about her ancestors an important truth has occurred to her, we need to leave behind stories of faith for our ancestors.
"What will our personal life story be? Will we be a story of inspiration to our posterity? Will we be stories of faith and dedication to the Lord? There's something to looking at their life stories and realizing, 'You know, someday somebody's going to be looking at my life and what's it going to read like?' And that might change your path completely by realizing that. And you might decide that 'Hey, I'm going to have to go down a different path than what I'm going right now.'"
In her talk Kunz shared comparisons she can make with the flower and her ancestor: just as sunlight is a required element for this flower to bloom and grow, so is the light of Christ to each of us; just as this flower consistently blooms wherever its roots are established we must remain firm and steadfast in our faith no matter our circumstances; just as the sunflower requires certain nutrients to grow, we too may be nourished by immersing ourselves in the scriptures and pondering on their meaning.
"We will find solace and strength," she said. "Loneliness and fear will transform to hopeful, joyful, and grateful feelings, not to mention a greater confidence in understanding our eternal role and responsibilities."
She also shared one more comparison - just as the flower fed her ancestor, we can feed others by serving them.
"The decisions and choices we make now, not only affect us, but generations to come," Kunz said.
You can listen to the full devotional talk below.