Hi I'm Janice Vail
I was really scared to leave Portland and go to BYU all alone. Even though my mother was not a Mormon and did not want me to leave home to go to college she let me go. When I got there I prayed and asked the Lord to help me and had a wonderful experience of Him coming and comforting me and helping me know I was not alone. I had a wonderful experience at BYU. I met my husband there. We got married when we were seniors because he got drafted into the Army. He went in right after our honeymoon and we were separated for several months while he was in Basic Training. Then we were finally able to be together on weekends while he was at AIT and Officer Candidate School. Then we spent a year at Ft. Benning, GA and had our first child. Then he went to Vietnam and I was alone again for a year. When he came home we lived in Salt Lake them moved to Kernersville, NC Back to Utah for a few years and now we live in the Seattle, WA area. We have 6 wonderful children. I love serving in the LDS Church. I have spent much of my time working in the Primary Organization with the small children. I have also worked with the deaf and know American Sign Language. I interpret the music for the deaf member in our ward. I love to cook. I love to crochet Afghans for my family and friends. I have made homemade quilts for my grand children as well. I love light houses and we often go visit them because there are so many of them here in beautiful Washington State.
My parents were divorced when I was young and my mother was a member of the Catholic Church. She taught me to pray and instilled in my very high moral values. She did not attend church herself but as I got older she encouraged me to go to church and let me go to any churches that I wanted to visit. I attended many different churches. I found each one of them very different and none of them gave me the feeling that I had found what I was looking for. As a teenager I met a friend who was a Mormon. Her family was very kind to me and helped me feel like a part of their family. I spent a great deal of time with them and started going to the LDS Church with them. I felt very comfortable there and enjoyed going. I also met another family there at the LDS church who took me in. They had daughters about my same age and I became good friends with them. Because I was an only child and my mother was a very hard working single parent I spent a lot of time with my two new LDS Families. Eventually as I prayed about the teachings of the church I gained a very strong testimony of the truthfulness of what they were teaching me. The missionaries taught me but my mother would not let me join the LDS church. Finally when I was 16 the missionaries fasted with me and we prayed and asked Heavenly Father to help me show my mother that my joining the LDS Church was the right thing to do. I wanted to be a member of His church. After we prayed and fasted I asked my mother again and she consented to let me be baptized. That was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. Being a member of the LDS Church has done more to bless my life and the life of my family than anything else I have ever done. I am especially grateful for the opportunity the LDS Church gives me to be married in the Temple not just until death but for time and all eternity. That is a blessing beyond measure to know that we can be an eternal family together in the next life too.
I decided early in my senior year in High School that I wanted to go to BYU in the fall of 1963. In September, I packed my belongings and rode down to Provo with a family who was also taking their daughter to BYU. After I arrived at my student housing and had taken my things up to my apartment, I had an overwhelming feeling of fear come over me. Here I was (1) almost 1000 miles from my home and family (2) living with 5 girls I did not know (3) about to begin college study with 14,000 other students (4) in a dorm where you had to cook-clean-do laundry-budget money… in other words totally take care of and be responsible for myself. I found a quiet, private place and knelt down to pray. As I was praying and asking the Lord for help, a thought came into my mind. “YOU CAN DO IT!” Tears filled my eyes and peace came into my heart. I knew at that moment that He knew who I was and that He loved me and wanted me to succeed in my life. I did not grow up in an LDS home and so I did not have a father who could give me a father’s blessing before I left for school and I felt Heavenly Father blessed me that day to have that blessing which carried be though many challenges that came my way in the coming months.
Our family, like many others, is scattered all over the United States. Our children have had to go where the work took them. So we are not able to have a family like we had in the old days were all the family gathered at grandmothers house on Sunday for Sunday dinner. Because of that we have become very close to what we call our "CHURCH FAMILY" because we see them every week. They have become very close friends and in a sense are our second family. I have had many opportunities for service in the LDS Church and in that serving have become even closer to our church family and friends. Much of my time in the LDS Church in the past has been spent working with the youth in the organization we call the Primary. That is the organization that the children under the age of 12 attend each Sunday similar to Sunday School in other churches. I have been the president of that organization and have also had many callings as a teacher of the children. I very much enjoy working in the nursery where we teach the 18 moth old to 3 year olds. It is amazing how quickly little children gain a love for the Savior and want to do all that they can to live a Christ like life. It is very rewarding to help the parents of our church teach their children moral values and faith that will help guide them through the trials of life. I have also worked in the church with the deaf. For six years my husband and I attended the Deaf Branch of the LDS church. We learned American Sign Language and became very close friends with the members of the church there in the deaf branch. Many of them are still dear friends to this day. I had the opportunity while serving with the deaf to be the head of our women’s organization called the Relief Society. That organization helps the members of the church with humanitarian needs, learning how to be better mothers and wives, how to be better home makers, how to build your self confidence and self worth.