Low, wide mountains, lush green valleys, and beautiful coastlines make up the picturesque country of Wales. Bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and England, Wales is the smallest of the three countries that are part of the island of Great Britain. Most of the people live in the cities, towns, and industrialized areas of south Wales, and the rest of the country is mainly rural.
Richard (11), Ieuan (pronounced Yaen, 9), Robin (6), and Tirion (3), along with their older brother, Geoffrey (13), and their mother (Teresa) and father (Martin), live in southern Wales in Swiss Valley in the city of Llanelli. This active family knows exactly how to enjoy the scenic beauty of Wales. They bicycle, walk, camp, fish, swim, and explore beaches, castles, and museums.
Birthdays, holidays, and other family outings are often spent at their “favourite beauty spot,” an old country estate that has been converted into a park. A typical day there includes the family enjoying a picnic. Then Tirion plays on the playground with her parents while the boys set off on a walking adventure through the forest.
At the trailhead, the brothers select sturdy walking sticks. They enjoy crossing the bridge over the bubbling creek, jumping off fallen trees and logs near the trail, and scrambling up steep hills. They always look forward to finding the “spiderweb,” man-made from ropes, branches, and twigs. Then they eagerly climb or jump up to touch the large “moss spider.”
After the hike, the boys join their sister on the playground and are soon ready to go for a traditional family walk to see the deer and trees and beautiful flowering bushes in the park. When they arrive at their favourite tree, they eagerly climb its huge limbs. And they always stop at the gazebo they claim has to be Mr. Toad’s house!
The gospel is an important part of this family’s busy life. Each morning they have family prayer and study the scriptures. They attend the Llanelli Ward of the Merthyr Tydfil Wales Stake, where Dad serves on the stake high council and Mom serves in the ward Primary presidency.
All the children enjoy singing time in Primary. “On a Golden Springtime” is Richard’s and Robin’s favourite song. Tirion’s is “I Lived in Heaven.” When he is asked to give a talk, Richard always says yes. Each Sunday, Ieuan volunteers to help set up the chairs for Primary.
Family home evening is another enjoyable family activity. The Title of Liberty is Richard’s most memorable lesson. “It taught me to stand up for the Church and for what’s right.”
Everyone agrees that the best outdoor activity is bicycling to the reservoir near their home. Tirion delights in riding in Dad’s backpack. And, of course, refreshments are very important. Mom’s homemade chewy anzac biscuits (cookies) are a favourite.
The family knows that Ieuan is their hearty eater, because he eats everything in large quantities and sometimes eats more than Dad! Richard likes to eat, too. A Welsh fried breakfast (fried eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes, and bacon or ham) is his favourite. He also likes to cook fish with Geoffrey and make cakes, fruit salad, and toast. Robin enjoys prawn crackers and any kind of meat and is trying to learn to eat vegetables. Eating mushrooms and making and eating chocolate cakes are what Tirion likes.
Ieuan is the champion helper of the family. He always does a good job cleaning the bath, vacuuming, drying up (drying the dishes), and helping Robin get dressed. Robin is a good wiper upper and bin (wastebasket) emptier. Richard cleans the car, edges the grass, and tends the vegetable garden. All the brothers take turns caring for their football- (soccer-)playing rabbit, Bobby.
At school, the boys think that recess is the most enjoyable thing to do. However, each has special interests. Richard likes long division and multiplication, and he wrote an award-winning article on airplanes of World War II. A very fast sprinter, Ieuan enjoys studying history. Reading, learning about animals, and going on trips to the Wild Life Park are the things Robin finds interesting.
Being the only members of the Church in their school gives the boys many opportunities to share the gospel, which they gladly do. Ieuan has invited his classmates to his baptism and other church activities. He and Richard play with several Korean children and are helping them practice their English. Richard has had some nice discussions about the gospel with a classmate. Since most of the children do not attend church, they often ask Richard why he goes to church. He gladly tells them about the gospel and invites them to attend church with him.
All of these experiences are helping to prepare the boys to later serve full-time missions. Richard is also saving his money, and he knows how to polish his shoes. Ieuan hopes to go on a mission to a country that has interesting animals, and Robin is still wondering if he wants to live away from home, especially at Christmastime.
According to their parents, each of the children has special qualities that help to make the family active, strong, and happy. A charming little actor, Tirion brings humor and fun to the family. A serious thinker, Robin is the cuddly one who adds love and warmth. Ieuan is an excellent helper, sensitive to others’ needs, and very tenderhearted. Richard is a very sincere and loving young man who is willing and enthusiastic to help. Who wouldn’t want to spend time with this beautiful family in picturesque Wales!