Sunday, April 24, 2011

Apri l 12 -24

Elder and Sister Blattman’s Missionary Weekly Journal
April 12 - 24

We are having challenges keeping up with our journaling. Sorry, for two people with so little to do it takes us a long time to get it all done.
Dan, Kim, Henry, and Synnova came to see us last week for three days. We got a substitute for one of our classes and took some time off from our monastic pursuits to see the patriotic and historic sites of Philadelphia. We went to Valley Forge, Independence Mall, the Natural History Museum, and we saw Rodin’s “The Thinker”, and we had a quick tour of the Bryn Athyn Cathedral. We did a lot of walking. Synnova and Henry were good sports. They liked the Natural History Museum and riding the train into town the best.

Christ Church – Founded 1695

Synnova Bell Blattman and the Liberty Bell

Carriage Ride on a slow horse through town

Cannon at Valley Forge

Proof that Tyrannosaurus’ were female

George Washington’s head quarters

The original Rodin sculpture

William Penn, George Washington, and Nancy

Rocky Balboa Blattman

He’s clearly the brains behind this outfit

Happy Easter!

HaPpY EaStEr from the Pyrahs! Chris had the weekend off, kids were home, mom was sewing, baking and it was all fun!

This is a picture of Morgan and Chris before going to a Morgan's friend birthday party. It was a Daddy and Daughte theme party!

Monday, April 11, 2011

March 27 – April 11, 2011

Elder and Sister Blattman’s Missionary Weekly Journal March 27 – April 11, 2011
Again, it’s not about where you go so much as the people you meet. The members here in Philly are truly friendly, living up to the name as the City of Brotherly Love. It’s common to get a hug from a stranger in the hallway at church. As we exited the chapel after watching the Sunday morning session of conference a woman walked over to Sister Blattman and gave her a hug, introducing herself as ‘Sister Barry’ and then referred to her husband saying, “And this is the famous Brother Barry.” We were too shy to ask what she meant by ‘famous’ so when we had the Elders over for dinner Wednesday night we asked and they told us that this was the first black man to be ordained to the priesthood in 1978. Apparently there was another man ordained that day in the West but because of the time difference, Bro. Berry is usually given the distinction. The Elders apparently each have their photos taken with him. Our CES director gives us in-service lessons each week that are inspiring. His grasp of history and of the scriptures is remarkable. I don’t think I’ve ever known a professor who has impressed me more. He is a humble and pleasant man with a strong testimony of the gospel. Each week just Nancy and I and sometimes his secretary receive an hour and a half lesson on the content and meaning of scriptural passages. We have taken to studying the information and scriptural passages he gives us during the week. We have discovered much that we had otherwise just passed over. It makes our job much richer and he has left us astonished as to the symbolism and meaning of passages. We count Brother Muldowney’s teaching as one of the highlights of our week. You can check out an article he wrote for the Ensign: September 2002, “Hezekiah’s Tunnel Vision.” Our Mission President, Willaim Schaefermeyer, produced movies for the Seminary and Institute department until he was called last year to be the mission president for Philadelphia. I noticed during the intermission between conferences that some of these videos are being promoted for family use. You can order them for family home evenings and Sunday alternatives to ‘LOST’ from the church website for less than the movies at Wal-Mart. Maybe if you procrastinate Nana and Papa will send you a family copy for Christmas. This week he told Sister Blattman to relax. There really aren’t any rules for senior missionaries. If she wants to watch a little TV, go to a movie, or sleep in, it’s okay. We don’t have a TV but it’s good to know. We had Zakiyah, a grandmother with waist-long dreadlocks, and a church member, for dinner this week. She had a few good laughs at our naiveté about Black people. She is definitely no ‘shrinking violet’ when it comes to expressing how she feels. We showed her all the photos of our children and grandchildren, telling her all the good things, and that took long into the evening. There are two sisters, middle-aged Black women, Paulette and Stephanie, who attend our classes at the North Philly (inner-city) chapel. Two of Paulette’s granddaughters, who aren’t really her granddaughters but among the several waifs and grandnieces that she has taken in over the years, took her car and wrapped it around a telephone pole. As I walk in the morning I notice that this is a popular sport in Philly and the poles are placed right along the roadways to make it easier. Because the girls ran away from the scene – a good thing considering that they were not hurt – the insurance company would not pay in that the car was now involved in a crime, leaving the scene of an ‘axident’. So we give Paulette and Stephanie, her sister, a ride home two or three times a week. These two sisters take care of a pile of kids, none of them their own, in a tiny row house in North Philly. It’s hard to describe these houses or why they were built the way they are, but picture houses squeezed so tightly that all the walls at their sides touch and they are about 15 feet wide at the most. Each is two stories tall, further giving a squeezed look, with a porch wide enough for a single rocking chair. There might be 40 or more of them in one block. The streets are often so narrow that cars are parked on one side half on the sidewalk and there is barely room for a thin car to fit on the remaining pavement. There is no front yard other than the sidewalk and most have no back yard either. Anyway, Paulette is another outspoken Black matriarch who is not afraid of letting anyone know what she thinks and when you aren’t towing your line with enough pull. Her sister Stephanie rarely speaks. We are told that until she joined the church a few years ago, she never spoke. Yet, when called upon, and when we wait patiently for time enough to toast bread, she will respond. And although sometimes terse, like when asked if she knows anything about a certain subject, she is likely to simply reply, “Yes,” with no elaboration, she will read fluently from the scriptures when asked and she will offer beautiful prayers. We are beginning to realize that the ‘riches’ and ‘treasures’ received in missionary work are all about the people we meet and the life stories the

Monday, April 4, 2011

Sam at the Park

I need one of these in the house....