What youth and young adults learned in a #QuestforConnection during RootsTech Connect

As youth and young adults concluded participation in “Our Quest for Connection” — a series of challenges to discover more about themselves and their families during RootsTech ConnectElder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles invited them to consider two questions.

First, “What have I learned?” And second, “What will I do with the things that I’ve learned?”

“I promise inspiration will attend you as you reflect on and review the notes that you may have taken and identify what stands out to you and what you have learned,” Elder Bednar said during the wrap-up event on Saturday, Feb. 27. 

“But even more importantly, this experience is not intended to simply help you gain additional knowledge in your mind; it is to be reflected in your faith in the Savior as a principle of action.”

Elder Bednar invited youth and young adults to take the lead in the gathering of Israel — what President Russell M. Nelson has described as “the most important thing taking place on earth today.” 

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks to youth and young adults during the "Our Quest for Connection" wrap-up event on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021, at RootsTech Connect.
Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks to youth and young adults during the “Our Quest for Connection” wrap-up event on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021, at RootsTech Connect. Credit: Screenshot ChurchofJesusChrist.org

Technology-savvy youth of today are “not constrained by some of the traditions of the past,” Elder Bednar said. In rising up and seeking inspiration, “you will influence the lives of more people than you can ever imagine.”

Young Women General President Bonnie H. Cordon and Young Men General President Steven J. Lund were featured in a panel discussion with seven participants from around the world. A video montage showcased other youth and young adults who completed various challenges and posted on social media using #QuestforConnection. 

Elder and Sister Holland take viewers on hometown visit around St. George during RootsTech Connect Family Discovery Day

President Cordon told the panel she participated in the “Food for Thought” challenge and found an old family recipe for apple pandowdy — a deep-dish spiced apple dessert covered with a rich crust.

As she prepared it, she said she reflected on her ancestor Naomi who wrote down the recipe. She wondered how Naomi must have made the dish without the conveniences President Cordon had in her kitchen. 

“I was amazed at how I felt so connected to Naomi Larsen through this challenge as I made this apple pandowdy,” President Cordon said. 

President Lund acted on the “Resume Connection” challenge by sending his mother a letter on her 89th birthday. In the letter, he recorded his earliest memories of their first home in Santa Rosa, California. 

He said the letter led to a phone conversation in which they continued to recall memories together. “It was surprising to me how that sort of bound us together. My mom and I are very close, but this is a very special thing to take time to do. 

“Now I’ve expanded my little personal biography of my very first memories in my very first house with hers, to create a little bit more complete story.”

Young Men General President Steven J. Lund speaks to youth and young adults during the "Our Quest for Connection" wrap-up event on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021, at RootsTech Connect.
Young Men General President Steven J. Lund speaks to youth and young adults during the “Our Quest for Connection” wrap-up event on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021, at RootsTech Connect. Credit: Screenshot ChurchofJesusChrist.org

For the “Art Inspiration” challenge, one participant said he learned a song on the guitar his grandfather used to play. Another wrote a lullaby for a new niece and recorded it for her family. 

After an unexpected snowstorm in her town, a young woman said her idea for the “No Place Like Home” challenge took a fun twist. Instead of doing a cleanup project, she and her friend took pictures of their favorite places close by. “It was kind of a failure, but then turned into a success,” she said. 

“Family history work is not just boring stuff,” one young man learned. “We’re not just inserting names. There’s so much more we can do. And it’s so much more fun.”

Another said: “I would say family history is contagious. And I think it’s part of that power that comes with the Spirit of Elijah.”

Thinking back to the “Food for Thought” challenge, a young man said, “In a way I feel like we’re our own little recipes.” 

In learning about ancestors’ attributes or personality traits, one might see they have “a little bit of sugar” from one family and “a little bit of eggs” from another, he said. And learning what makes one’s recipe unique “really gives you a new sense of identity.”

“We all want to belong,” President Cordon said. “We all want a sense of someone noticing or being aware of us. And I think it’s amazing as we do our family history, and we jump into challenges and we investigate, we realize that we are loved — not only by our family, but we’re loved by our Heavenly Father. …

“For me, family history increases my understanding of who I am as a beloved daughter of heavenly parents.”

President Lund added, “Family history is encouraged upon us because of the blessing that it can be and that the Lord intends it to be in our lives.”

10 challenges

The series of 10 challenges and wrap-up event are available at RootsTech.org/OurQuest:

  • Food for Thought:” Make a favorite dish or try a recipe from your family. 
  • Graveyard Adventure:” Visit an ancestor’s headstone or help clean up a local cemetery. 
  • No Place Like Home:” Take photos or create a virtual tour of your hometown. 
  • Their Stories:” Interview a family member or record yourself sharing an ancestor’s story.
  • Resume Connection:” Reconnect with an old friend or family member.
  • The Big Picture:” Share a photo from your past or re-create an old photo. 
  • Your Story:” Write a story from your life in a journal or make a quick life sketch.
  • Art Inspiration:” Create a piece of art that reminds you of your family or write a song. 
  • Magnify the Past:” Use record hints on FamilySearch or index a batch of records.
  • Note to Self:” Write yourself a letter or create a time capsule of things important to you.

Content can be used for future youth activities, family home evenings, ward activities or other purposes.