Jennifer Jones of Merthyr Tydfil, Wales
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“Jennifer Jones of Merthyr Tydfil, Wales,” Friend, May 1985, 30

Making Friends:

Jennifer Jones of Merthyr Tydfil, Wales

Wales lies on the western border of England and has an area of approximately 8,000 square miles. The Cambrian Mountains cover about two-thirds of the country. To the south, where the mountain range becomes flatter, the town of Merthyr Tydfil rests in a green and peaceful valley. This is the home of Jennifer Jones.

Jenny is nine years old, and she lives with her family on a street called Thornbury Close. Many of her neighbors are members of the Church, and so they sometimes call their neighborhood Mormon Close. As a matter of fact, about twenty children on her street attend Primary with Jenny in the Merthyr Tydfil First Ward.

The lovely Merthyr chapel is not far from Jenny’s home—just down the hill—and is a well-known landmark in the town. It is sometimes used for civic functions. The Trinity College piano exams are held in the building, for example, and sometimes local choirs practice there.

There are two wards in Merthyr, and many of the Church members serve the community as Scout leaders and on school committees.

Wales is known as a land of song. Jenny is studying the piano so that she can be an accompanist in her ward. She practices almost every day and has already passed her first grade music exam. Not too long ago she played for the younger children in Primary. She also plays the violin and the recorder.

Jenny’s ward and the Merthyr Tydfil Second Ward prepare a musical production each Christmas to present to the community. Many schools and groups in the surrounding area attend. Last year they put on the Wizard of Oz.

In the Millennial Star on December 29, 1933, it was recorded, “Proud of its Primary is the Merthyr Tydfil Branch.” The same is said of the Merthyr wards today. For example, when Primary leaders ask the children for volunteers to give talks or to offer prayers, every child is willing. Each happily takes his turn as often as he can. Recently Jenny had her turn, and she spoke about the Creation.

Children in Wales are given the choice of going to schools taught in English or schools taught in Welsh. Jenny and her four older brothers have all chosen to attend the Welsh school. Each day Jenny studies all of her different school subjects in Welsh. She especially likes to do her English workbook and “maths.” On most days, Jenny wears a school uniform, but on March 1, a national holiday, all the girls in her school wear the Welsh national costume.

Jenny and her family have lots of relatives and friends. Rarely does an hour pass at her home without a visit from people she loves and who love her. Jenny’s father is the stake president, and he and Jenny’s mother have tried to make their home a place where people feel welcome, a place where the love and goodness of the gospel is visible in the lives of all the family members.

On the front of Jenny’s home is a sign that reads “Ty-Hapus.” It means “happy house.” All that is best about her country is found there—music, beauty, warmth. And all the best that the gospel brings to the lives of those who live its teachings is also there—hope, peace, love, joy. Jenny would like to visit other places and make new friends everywhere, but for her there is no other spot on the earth like Ty-Hapus, a warm and welcoming place.

Photos by Janet Thomas and Vivian Paulsen

On March 1, a national holiday, Jenny wears the traditional Welsh costume to school.

Jenny and her Grandma Jones wait for Primary to begin.

A Welsh “love spoon” is often given in friendship to visitors and guests. The heart represents love, the keyhole a willingness to provide a home.

Many children of Merthyr attend school in this castle.

Row houses in the town of Merthyr Tydfil.

Dressed in her green and red uniform (the Welsh colors), Jenny leaves for school.

Jenny attends church in the Merthyr Tydfil First and Second Ward chapel.

Jenny at the organ in her home.

Just down the hill from Jenny’s house is President David O. McKay’s ancestral home.

A Welsh miner’s lamp. Mining is the main industry in Merthyr.