I'm Here!

I made it!  Safe and sound and so excited.  President and Sister Matsumori and the 3 AP's picked us up and drove us to the temple.  Then President Matsumori gave us some time by ourselves to find a spot on the temple grounds and commit the next 18 months to the Lord.  Such a neat and personal experience.  The temple is BEAUTIFUL.  It really took my breath away when I saw it for the first time.  It's huge! first of all, and I found out it's the tallest in the world, and third largest square footage wise.  It's already one of my favorites.  All of the pictures I've seen of it really don't do it justice.  And inside is just as beautiful and inspiring.  I love it.

I was in President Matsumori's car for some of the driving from the airport to the temple, and so of course he was telling us about the mission, and how it's the best in the world.  :]  He said that for those of us who wanted to serve a foreign mission, we'll get to.  There are so many people from so many places around the world that come to DC. And there have been times when other countries have been blessed with the gospel because ambassadors from those countries came to DC and met the missionaries here, then went back to their country with an open heart.  Our mission has 5 languages: English, Spanish, French, Mandarin, and ASL.  And I learned that I have more proselyting than Visitors' Center time, which I'm excited for.  I'm actually so excited that I get to do both.   

So, after we had that time by ourselves (the last 30 minutes I'll spend by myself for a long time) we came back together as a group and went to I-hop for breakfast/lunch.  Usually I don't like breakfast food, but this time it was delicious.  After that we went to the mission home and they let us sleep for a couple hours.  That was also wonderful, but the best was yet to come.  When we woke up we had a couple hours of training.  We went over car safety and health and some other logistical things, then did some role play.  I didn't realize that role playing was something I was going to be doing throughout my mission, so I'm learning to embrace it and love it.  Maybe when I see how beneficial it is I'll be able to love it more.  During all of this training time President Matsumori was interviewing, and one of the first things he said to me when I went in for my interview made me laugh.  He said that he called you (Mom) and that you told him to give me a challenging assignment.  I really did laugh when I heard that and thought, "Yep, that sounds like Mom."  So I'll have to let you know how challenging this assignment really is.  

Later that night we had a testimony meeting.  To hear the testimonies of all of the new missionaries was such a powerful experience.  I was so touched and it was such a great way to start off the mission.  During the whole day the Matsumories were very kind to us and let us adjust for a bit before starting in strong today.  

This morning I met my trainer: Sister Hazen.  She's from Layton and such a fun, outgoing girl! We're assigned to an area called Olney and we have only one ward.  I actually met some people from the ward at the temple this morning after we got out from a session, so it will be good to see some familiar faces when I go to church.  Actually, I had a little tender mercy this morning.  Right as we came out of the doors of the temple, we ran into a Sister Croft and her husband who work at the temple.  When she saw my name tag she said, "I'm a Welch!" and we talked until we discovered that she and Grandpa are cousins! Her Dad was Golden.  (I think.  I'm pretty sure that's what she said.)  I just have to smile whenever I see Heavenly Father's hand in my life like that.

I got your package.  Thank you so much! I just laughed when I opened it, read the poem, and saw all of the green goodies.  It's funny here, though.  They don't call us greenies, they call us babies, and my trainer is my "Mom", or "Dad" (for the elders.)  I'm not sure if I like baby or greenie better.  Hmmm.

Well, I guess that's about it.  Oh, my address throughout my mission will be the 11700 Falls Rd address that you have.  It's the mission office and our mission is small enough that they just have a senior couple in charge of the mail.  And my preparation day will usually be on Wednesdays, except when I'm scheduled for a VC shift that day. Then it will be on Thursdays.  Tell Ariel congrats for me! She will be great in Japan! 

I love you all,

Sister Katherine Welch 

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