Tuesday, July 26, 2011

July 25, 2011

Elder and Sister Blattman’s Missionary Weekly Journal
July 25, 2011

Summer Seminary
Uku is from Liberia and he came and spoke to our seminary class who are also Liberians. There is a large population of Liberians in Philly. There is even a ward that is mostly West Africans. Uku has been a member for a little over a year and he is getting ready to leave on a mission to Seattle in a week or so. We forgot to take his photo until after the kids left but we have the seminary teacher, Alex Alton, in the photo with us.

The next day, while visiting the Morris Arboretum, Sister Blattman is pictured standing on an elevated walkway in the trees. Notice the white knuckles. This is step one of aversion therapy as a way to curing her fear of heights.

Here we are with our seminary class at the Arch at Valley Forge.

Sister B. is either boxing with gargoyles or she is imitating stone carvers.

Prince and Phillip (twins) want to be gargoyle models for sculptors.
The record heat wave passed by for now. The Elders were told to stay in on the 100+ degree days. We did just the opposite and drove around in our car’s air conditioning for relief and then went to the Harry Potter Movie. Senior Missionaries have a lot more freedom than the young Elders. Back at the apartment we finally got the management to give us an air conditioner. The ones we had just weren’t doing the job and we are a lot more comfortable now.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

July 18, 2011

Elder and Sister Blattman’s Missionary Weekly Journal
July 18, 2011

Senior Missionary Luncheon

Us, the Ashby’s, the Larsons, the Johnsons, Sister Bailey, the Schaefermeyers, Elder Bailey.

We drove to Allentown to have lunch with other senior couples in the Philadelphia mission. We ate at Ruby Tuesday’s and the waitress apparently didn’t know much about Mormons because she kept pointing out the drinks on the menu. The Larsons and Baileys are in the mission office. The Ashby’s and Johnsons are up in the North part of Pennsylvania and Southern New York working on member and leader support. The Johnsons told us they drive 3,000 miles a month visiting people. When it comes to miles traveled, I thought we were trying to give them a run for their money this last Sunday as we traveled downtown three times in one day. It is about a 45 minute trip one way for us to go downtown.

Sunday we attended a fireside by Keith Hamilton, the first African American bishop of the Church and the first African American to graduate from BYU Law School. His parents both died when he was a child and because of that he had a desire to learn more about the doctrine of eternal families when he listened to the missionaries when he was a senior in college. In his fireside he discussed Jesus healing the man blind from birth of whom his disciples asked “…who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind.” He compared this to the often repeated doctrine regarding Blacks that they were less valiant in the spirit world and like the blind man, sinned before they came to earth. Or the similar repeated doctrine that they are cursed because of Cain (their parents sinned). Christ’s answer in John 9:3 is “Neither hat this man sinned, nor his parents; but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” That is, each of us had a choice in our station in life and each of us has a destiny to fulfill. Everyone has certain talents and abilities or opportunities to give and receive service that make us valuable in God’s eyes.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Elder and Sister Blattman’s Missionary Weekly Journal
July 11, 2011

Summer Seminary Class

Briton, Celestine, Phillip, Courage, Prince, Vai Sikahema, Garry, Emmanuel, Alex Alton
Vai Sikahema, a local sports news caster, came and spoke to our summer seminary class. He is a Tongan who played for BYU and the NFL (Phoenix Cardinals then Green Bay Packers then Philadelphia Eagles). He is a member of the Stake Presidency in the Cherry Hill New Jersey Stake. The boy in the black shirt walked about 5 miles to get to class that morning. All of the kids except him are from Liberia or Ghana. When they talk - which is a lot and often and fast – we can’t understand them. They tell us they are speaking English but we’re not convinced.
When we get downtown to the church to set up for seminary we first go into a control room to open the gate and exterior doors. It feels kind of like the prison or jail one sees in movies where the doors and gates are computer controlled. Then we bring in the lunch and set up the chairs, etc. The building is air conditioned so we don’t mind getting there early and enjoying some cool air.

Monday, July 11, 2011

First day of school!

Emily is in 6th grade!
Morgan's is in 4th grade!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Jake's Talk - minus the grand finale he was planning

Jake's Primary Talk Age 4 (CTR 4):

I like to build buildings with my blocks.
Sometimese my buildings are tall like Temples.
But Temples are different and special, and beautiful.
Temples are the House of God.
The Temple is a place where we make promises with Heavenly Father.
If we keep our promises we can live with Him again.
I am preparing to go to the Temple by also preparing to be baptized.
And when I am 12 and I am worthy, I can go to the Temple to do work and fee the Holy Spirit.

and to this point it was going REALLY WELL!
and then he grabbed the microphone....I felt like it was in slow motion....I saw his mouth stretch WIDE OPEN and his nose scrunch and he took a deep breath....do you see what he was planning?
I felt my hand fly up and clamp over his mouth and I said "Amen" and "helped" him down....sigh...we ALMOST made it throught the talk :)

July 5, 2011

Elder and Sister Blattman’s Missionary Weekly Journal
July 5, 2011

The 4th of July is well celebrated here in the birthplace of the constitution. We considered going downtown to the big parades, reenactments, and crowds but then chose to go local and watch a parade in our township. We left out any photos of what seemed to be hundreds of fire trucks.

The costumes are pretty wild on the two groups that must be part of the ‘Mummers Parade’ later on this year in Philadelphia.

Stake President Corbitt, from the Cherry Hill New Jersey Stake was our speaker in summer seminary today. He came and had lunch with the kids, joked around, and got to know them a little. Then he left and came back dressed up as Joseph Smith. His costume was great and it really grabbed the kid's attention. Then he played a game where the kids took their new scriptures and could look up and read any verse in the Doctrine and Covenants and he had to guess the section. If he missed they got a point and if he guessed the section correctly he got a point. First to five wins. The rule was also that he could ask them to read the verse before and the verse after if necessary. He won 5 to 3. Then he went back into character and recited section 1 as if the Prophet was dictating it to a scribe while we read along. The kids loved it.

June 27, 2011

Elder and Sister Blattman’s Missionary Weekly Journal
June 27, 2011

Last week we went to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir concert here in Philadelphia. It was at a covered outdoor arena and Nancy and I had seats in the balcony “nose-bleed” section. One poor woman sitting behind us went into acrophobic hysterics. Her husband kept telling her with no success that she was okay and to quiet down. Some kind people took pity on her and helped her leave. To Nancy’s credit, she held her fear of heights in check.

The Choir has become quite diverse in the music they present. This isn’t your grandmother’s church choir anymore. The African number with many bongo drummers came as a surprise. Some of the leaders who went on and on about music with a primitive beat when Nancy and I were teenagers may have rolled over in their graves over that one. Our favorites were the Negro Spirituals with Alex Boye as soloist. Go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nvslgRx2sE to see Alex Boye.

During the concert I sat next to a man who generously filled me in on much of the sports, popular music artists, and politicians in and about Philadelphia. This fellow and I come from different worlds so I learned a lot, or at least I pretended I knew what he was talking about.

Summer seminary started well with 5 boys. Four of them are African, Liberians I think, and the other African American. We have a hard time understanding them so we just smile and shake hands a lot. We took this week off because of Scout Camp and we are promised 5 additional students starting next week. We are contacting Via Sikahema, the sports caster to be one of our afternoon speakers. We’ll have to remember to take our camera and get some photos to show.