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Hi I'm Jana

I'm from the USA but have made Wales my home. I'm a mother, wife, clinical social worker and a violinist. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I'm an American who moved to South Wales nearly a decade ago following marriage to my British husband. I think many of my friends believe I'm living some sort of Jane Austen romance. I didn't help this illusion by marrying my first love 14 years after we had lost contact with each other. Life tends to have a way of marching on though, no matter where you live. This is now my home, and I couldn't imagine another life. I have three children who are an absolute delight (when I'm not exhausted). There are ups and downs, like everyone has, but I am glad to be on the path I'm following. Prior to coming here, I was working as a psychotherapist in Idaho. I had come to clinical social work while I was doing missionary work in inner-city Houston in Spanish-speaking neighbourhoods. I had been trying to figure out what to do with my life and found myself invigorated through time I spent volunteering at homeless shelters and a refuge for domestic violence. I knew then that my life should be one of service, and I returned to gain my Bachelors and Masters of Social Work degrees. Since then I've worked in several fields including addictions, mental health, child protection, adoption and abuse work. I now run a private practice here. I love the arts and have played the violin in several symphonies. I love to hike, camp and whitewater raft. I also love photography, travel and reading, but mostly I like being with my family and sharing with them. They are everything to me.

Why I am a Mormon

In my professional life, I've seen many horrific things: lives steeped in addiction, abuse, loss and grief. It would be easy to give up hope. However, I've also come to recognize the tender mercies of the Lord. I've seen lives lifted up, hope restored and strength renewed. I've come to recognize there is a healing power far greater than my own. I am a Mormon because my heart tells me there is more to this life than just getting by. My faith has given me a sense of direction and purpose. I've found reassurance and calm in an uncertain world. I've found some understanding of what I'm doing here and where I'm going. I've come to understand how I can build a strong family and a loving marriage that will last forever--not just "till death do us part." I'm a Mormon because it helps me know that I am not alone. It has helped me come closer to a Saviour who understands my heart perfectly, and knows me better than I know myself--seeing through my weakness and self-doubt and still believing in me. I've seen healing, strength and joy come from Him, and I could never step back from that. So I continue plodding forward, grateful for the glimpses of a more eternal plan and the hope that brings.

How I live my faith

It's hard to separate myself from how I live my faith because it has become such an intrinsic part of who I am. There is very little in my life that hasn't been positively impacted by my beliefs. I live my faith by trying more and more to be the kind of person I believe Christ would have me be and serving others. Like anyone, I'm far from perfect, and it's a daily effort, but I try to do a little better each day. One of our leaders said "God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs. Therefore, it is vital that we serve each other in the kingdom." This resonates for me as I have tried to find ways to serve and reach others. I've felt so much love from my church family and from others, so I try to share that myself. I think it's why I chose the work that I do, because it is an honour in my life to be able to be a part of helping lift someone and seeing their lives change. I think my faith has helped me try to see the good in everyone--no matter their circumstances. It's also through moments of daily devotion that I've found direction and meaning. Life just feels clearer as I try to move forward. One thing that helps is that I'm currently serving as a volunteer Sunday School teacher. We're studying the Old Testament this year, and I'm loving delving into the riches of scripture study through this class. There's something that just gets me excited when I'm learning new principles and something profound becomes more clear. That's a great thrill for me. The area that perhaps brings me the most joy is my family life. I married much later than many, but I always felt I had a place in my family and church community before that. Now I'm trying every day to help my own daughters find that same peace I've had. Those moments of hope in an uncertain world can carry them through, so I'm striving to be worthy of helping them find that for themselves. If I can do that one thing, I will count myself a success.

What is the purpose of the welfare services of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

I've been lucky to have worked in the church's welfare system professionally. I love that I belong to a church that practices what it preaches and regularly uses its resources to help people worldwide in times of trouble. There is an extensive welfare system to help the poor and needy, no matter what their faith. It's about strengthening others until they can stand for themselves and helping them meet physical, spiritual and emotional needs. Then they can turn and help lift others in return. Show more Show less