Tuesday, September 18, 2012

President Celebrates his 3rd Birthday in Poland.

Time flies when you are in the Mission field! Yes, President turned ??? today and was able to celebrate it with some very special people that are dear to him (because it was P-DAY!)
It was a beautiful day...a perfect day for a 'grill'. Our Assistants (Elders Jensen and Basha) are always more than willing to 'man' the grill....hamburgers, hotdogs and.. ...chicken were on the menu. Like I mentioned, President was able to spend his birthday with some of his favorite people...the Jarosz' are at the top of the list! President Jarosz is the 1st Counselor in the Mission Presidency. Both of these great people are such a HUGE help to us.
With the food on the table, it was time to eat. All the missionaries from Warsaw were invited to attend on this beautiful P-Day. We appreciate the Jensens (above) coming early to help get things set up. Sister Jarosz visiting with the Sisters serving in her Branch (WarsawI)...Sisters Sheahan and Packard. The Sisters from Warsaw II (Masters and Holmgren) and Elders Hayes, Bokinsky, Dopp and Pofelski. Even Elder and Sister Peck were able to close the mission office for a short time and come celebrate with us! We appreciate all the work they do to get this mission running in good order.Elders Dopp, Jensen and Hooker enjoying some lunch. As did Elders Baranowski and Manwill.
Elder Pofelski and his companion, Elder Bokinsky were SO hungry, they forgot to take off their backpacks(!) before grabbing something to eat. With everyone fed and visiting, it was time for a Birthday Surprise! While President was distracted......the Elders snuck outside to unload the 'surprise' from the transporter!
It is big, and it is heavy.....it took all these Elders to get it to the backyard of the Mission Home. Setting it up to present the special gift to President. A very large wood statue, a Polish soccer jersey signed by the mission and some wonderful birthday 'letters' from missionaries serving throughout Poland were presented to the 'Birthday Boy'. Now....it was time to place the statue in it's rightful spot in the Mission Home. Of course, that would need the help of some strong missionaries.
We're almost there....you can do it, Elders! 'Marcin the Missionary' (that's what we have named him!) is almost in place. This is where 'Marcin' will stay until he is shipped home to Vegas...the foyer of the Mission Home. But this is not the end of the story....'Marcin's 'beginnings' began several months ago... President Nielson telling the story....which began last April 2012.
Ever since we have been in Poland, we have been looking for the 'perfect statue' to take home with us. We didn't want something small....we wanted something with some substance! Last April as we were driving from Poznan to Bydgoszcz to meet with Missionaries, we saw this figure in someone's front yard. We decided to pull over and see who in the area made this. We talked with the nicest man. He spoke no English and our Polish is minimal, but we were able to explain what we were looking for- someone to carve a figure for us. Finally, this nice man gestured to follow him in his car. So off we went... and did we ever have a ride through the forest and parts beyond... As we followed this man, our only reassuring thought was, "We can't get too lost, because we have our GPS. We can at least get back to Poznan". We finally arrived at this marvelous mansion and wondered what was going on. Around to the side and in the back was an older man who was the "woodcarver". We tried to explain what we wanted and just couldn't communicate very well. We marked the place in our GPS and thought perhaps one day, if we had the missionaries with us, we would bring them to this place and have them explain what we were looking for. We left thinking it was a fun trip... and we did find our way back to the main highway. Then months later we were traveling on the same road and saw a pin marked on our GPS screen. We remembered that the "woodcarver" place was close by in the forest, AND we had Elders Myler and Basha with us! We headed out again into parts unknown... just as it was getting dark. We arrived at the home. As President and Elders Myler and Basha went to the door to find the 'woodcarver" in the side hut, they were literally attacked by BEES. I wish I had had a movie camera. I have not seen anything as funny as these three running and swinging their arms. (It was every man for themselves!) As they approached the mansion, the BEES flew off and everything was fine. They knocked. A window opened, and a voice yelled out that the "woodcarver" didn't live there. He resided in the little hut around back. So they went to find him. After some communcation problems, deciding what President wanted and agreeing on a price, a deal was agreed upon. Thank you, Elder Myler, for negotiating! This is Antonio, and he was working on this figure for someone else. President told him what he wanted and Antonio said it would take him about 2 weeks to find a tree and another 6 weeks to carve the figure. Check back then. Guess what? As crazy as the story is, it worked out. President has his statue....a 'missionary' holding a sickle (representing harvesting the land...those that are looking to follow the Savior) and a Polish Book of Mormon. And it was a surprise!!!!!! A big THANK YOU to Elders Basha and Jensen for making this happen! 'Marcin the Missionary' is now a part of the family! He will be stained and finished next year when he dries a little bit more.
(FYI...the woodcarving story doesn't end here. I 'commissioned' my own woodcarver to make ME a statue.....I will 'unveil' it in a few weeks!)


  1. I love the statue!! What a great story! I can't wait to see yours. And then hopefully it will end with the woodcarver getting baptized! : )

    Did John tell you guys that Mitchell got his call to Culiacan Mexico. He leaves Jan. 9th. He is so excited and we are nervous and excited!

  2. That is the most awesome statue ever!!! Can't wait to see it on display in Las Vegas! Happy Birthday from Las Vegas President Nielson!

  3. Yeah, it looks like one of those throw back statues. I think it most resembles our former missionary Darin Hillyard....


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