Elder and Sister Blattman’s Missionary Weekly Journal
February 14-20, 2011
February 14-20, 2011
Sister Blattman has been cooking up a storm this week. She fed the Elders who live next door, made refreshments for our classes, baked loads of cookies for Zone Conference, and finished off with cream puffs for the singles branch ‘Munch and Mingle’ this afternoon. With all this baking our apartment has been toasty warm. And even though she isn’t excited about cooking, the both of us are still quite fond of eating.
Our service time at the library was short this week. We will have to build some trust there so the librarians will let us work during the hours the library is open to the public. The librarian has us enter by the back door before hours and as soon as it opens we are ushered out. Maybe they think we’ll be peeping through the stacks at people and saying stuff like, “Hey buddy, want a free Book of Mormon?”
Joseph Bannano was baptized Sunday (20th) in our branch. He claims he is no relation to the Italian mobsters from New Jersey but he’s a big guy, he looks tough, and he definitely speaks with a Jersey accent. There seems to be lots of converts in this mission compared to home. There are many Africans, African Americans (not the same groups and not always friendly to each other) as well as Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, Koreans, and other nationalities that predominate some of the wards here.
A couple times for our daily exercise we have walked about the neighborhood and admired the big old turn of the century homes. There must once have been some sort of zoning ordinance that homes had to be made of stone, 3 stories over basements, and about 40’ wide x 40’ deep. Even subtracting for the thick stone walls, these homes must all have over 6000 sq. ft. of living space. The narrow roads in the neighborhood were built, we are told, following cow trails along creeks between rolling hills. When we walk along we are often on sidewalks with stone retaining walls and we look even farther up on the hillsides to see the big stone homes surrounded by huge trees. Some trees have branches that stretch over the roadway and shade the neighbor’s yards.
A minor miracle has happened to Elder Blattman this week. The dentist’s office manager called at the last minute and said there was a problem with too many appointments and could he wait a few days for the root canal. It felt like the governor calling at 5 minutes before midnight to reprieve an inmate on death row. Meanwhile, although tender to cold, the pain has all but disappeared. It may not be on the scale of raising Lazarus from the dead but we are counting it down as at least a tender (pun okay) mercy. More than the healing miracle, it saved us $1200 since we no longer have dental insurance.
We’ve picked up more students in our classes, nearly doubling the numbers from last week. Some of our students are from the poorer part of Philly and ride a train to get to class. We are starting to feel the pressure to keep up in lesson preparation. If we were smarter it wouldn’t take us so long to develop our plans and make our power point slides.
Keep up the letters and art work. Our apartment walls and cupboards are starting to look more homey. If we get enough children’s art work on our walls we can call our apartment a gallery and charge admission.