Tuesday, March 13, 2012

March 9, 2012

Elder and Sister Blattman’s Missionary Weekly Journal
March 9, 2012

We’ve been contemplating on what we consider God’s tender mercies. The Lord looks after his servants, even in our foibles, feeblness, and follies. We continue to experience a series of perhaps not miraculous, but certainly remarkable events that leave us grateful for providence. For this journal entry we have listed some of the many little things that have blessed our lives.
Last week Nancy slipped on a stone and painfully twisted her foot. That was not something she was particularly grateful for, but after struggling back to the car and going to the doctor and hospital for an X-ray, no bones were broken. We were glad of that, of course. However, the next day she tired of looking like she was practicing to be the Easter Bunny by hopping around the apartment and wanted some crutches. That morning as Jim went out for his morning exercise he rounded the corner and ‘discovered’ a new pair of crutches left on the curb in a recyling bin. (It is common practice in Philadelphia for people to put out on the curb items to give away; kind of like a free yard sale)
There have been numerous times we feel like our lives have been miraculously saved on the highways, a feeling strongly reinforced when we see the mechanical carnage strewn along roadsides. Nancy has learned not to say things like, “Look, a policeman with an assult rifle!” while I’m driving on the freeway. I recovered from that bit of inattention just in time to avoid a rearend collision. I count anything that saves our lives as miraculous. –that and the 12 sessions of court required defensive driving sessions I was required to attend while in high school. Just yesterday another driver ran a red light but missed us in the crosswalk. Crosswalks in Philly might be better named crosshairs. Older Philly residents act like a nervous cat getting ready for a cold swim as they tentatively enter crosswalks with the walk signal. We pray daily for safety as we travel and similarly thank God each evening.
And thinking about health, aside from falling in holes aside, we have been in remarkable health. Last year about this time Jim had a bad toothache. Miraculously, there was a dentist across the street who confirmed it hurt when he tapped on the bad tooth with handle of his metal probe. This dentist specialized in root canals, took no insurance (we don’t have any dental anyway), and insisted on $1500 upfront. Even more miraculously than finding the dentist at this point was how quickly the pain became bearable. Then a few weeks ago I broke off a big chunk from a nearby molar and the pain really did completely disappear. I was completely saved from drilling an expensive dry hole into tooth that was just out of alignment.
Our most amazing blessings have come from the many people we have met with whom we have some sort of connection. There are several young men who have served missions in Nevada, one that even served in Winnemucca. One young man, Seth, worked for Elden Crawford and came to church a few times that summer. The counselor in the Philadelphia Stake Presidency to whom we report our callings as stake young single adult leader is the cousin to one of Jim’s best friends when he was in high school. The father of one of the Elders who lived next door to us in ‘the great and spacious building’, as we less than fondly remember our former apartment building, served in Horsham, Australia, just after we left in 1975. We see Will and Jessica’s former neighbors from Provo almost weekly. But our most recent reaquaintance came this last Sunday when a group of singers and dancers from the Polynesian Cultural Center came into the inner city and sat down in the pew in front of us. Nancy asked one of the young people if they knew anyone named Kaka, the name of a Maori family we knew 40 years ago in Australia. She said, that brother on the end is a Kaka. It turned out to be Milton Kaka, who was 8 years old when we knew him. Here he is after a performance at the Philadelphia Flower Show with Elder Blattman.

And here is Milton, sitting on the front of the tractor in Warracknabeal many years ago. You can probably guess which are our children, Matthew and Joseph.

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