On January 27, 2011 Eric Merkley was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. An aggressive cancer that we hope and the doctors to this point seem confident that is contained to one spot on his leg. Prognosis is good. Treatments and recovery will be long and painful.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Day in the life...

Eric sent home his SD card along with a letter.  This made my day to go through his pictures.  It looks like he is doing well and is happy.  Here are a few of those pics.

Yeah I understand!

He has probably studied harder in the past 5 weeks then he had in his whole entire high school experience.

This is my favorite picture!!  Thank goodness he translated it for me, or it would have gone straight over my head. 

I am assuming these missionaries are the 4 missionaries learning Laotian.

The hard part about getting just the SD card, is you don't have the names and stories behind the pictures.  I am assuming this is Eric's companion.

Eric is still Eric!  I LOVE IT!  The temple looks like a big birthday cake.

In Eric's letter he said that he was the best at reading and writing Lao in his district.  Considering that he is dyslexic and he has always struggled with reading, this is a big deal to him.  He went on to say that the spirit is the best tutor there is so he is in good hands and things are really starting to click. 

The best news is that he is doing well and learning so much.
Saturday will be the half way mark in his MTC experience.  He will be in the MTC for a total of 11 weeks.  I bet Saturday will be a day of celebration for him, knowing he is half way done.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Mom payday

The letter I received from Eric yesterday, made my day. I remember getting letters from Daryl when he was on his mission and thinking this is the greatest gift a mom could receive, because of the things he said. Well yesterday was another great "Mom Payday"

Eric just learned about his friend Morgan Meservy who after serving his mission in Canada and telling Eric at his Farewell that his mission was the best thing he ever did, just passed away from an accident. It had really shaken Eric up, because he really looked up to Morgan. But Eric went on to say that Morgan is now serving a new mission and loving it too.

He shared a very spiritual experience that became a great understanding and motivation for him to stay the course in the MTC. These experiences are moments that bring a mom so much comfort and helps with the ache of missing her son.

Tuesday night, Todd and I previewed the Odd life and Timothy Green. This was a great family film that not only makes you laugh, but makes you evaluate your job as a parent. There was a scene at the end that just brought tears to my eyes, because it has been my biggest fear.  I highly recommend this movie.  With this scene running through my head, it had me very emotional.  Then Wednesday I learned about the struggles that Jake is facing with his battle with osteosarcoma. I was heartbroken, humbled, faithful, a huge gamut of emotions for Jakes family and also for the struggles and triumphs that these kids who have had to face cancer. It reminded me that I do not understand the "Big Picture" nor will I in this life. I have truly appreciated the time that I have had with Eric, Tonya and Daryl. Our kids are a gift from our Heavenly Father to be cherished. As our family has learned and also Morgan's family has learned that life is so fragile.

Please keep Jake and his family in your prayers at this time.  Also Morgan’s family as they are grieving the loss of their son.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Zone Leader

2 weeks ago, I received a wonderful email, but no letter. I thought he must be just really busy. Last week Eric sent me a quick email promising more details to come. I was a little bummed when I left out of town with no letter, but when I arrived home last night, not only did I get that promised letter, I had 4!! 2 from the prior week and 2 from last week.

He sent "The Living Christ" and "Proclamation to the world" in Laotian.
 (I tried to scan the Proclamation, but it did not work.  I wanted you to see the written word he is learning.)  The only way I can read these documents is with an English version right next to it.  J.  Eric told of a story how he was called into the Branch Presidents office. He thought he was in trouble for something, but learned that they were calling him to be the new Zone leader.  He was feeling a little overwhelmed.  He said that it is hard enough learning 2 languages, but now he is responsible for a group of missionaries.  I know he will do a great job. 

Eric has asked for friends and family to write him through “Dear Elder”.  I am not familiar with this web site, but I know a lot of people use it.  McKell said it is really easy.  You create your own account (which is free) and log in, write Eric a letter with all the same address info and they will print off the letter and send them over to him.  It cost you nothing!  J  And Eric gets lots of letters! 
Bottom line is he is doing great excited he has made it through ¼ of his stay at the MTC.  He has even claimed that he has forgotten what the “real world” is like, while still loving Sundays and the amazing talks that are given.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Language is coming along...

Eric emailed me today to let me know that not only was he emailing me, he was emailing me while doing his laundry!  Proud moment!
He is doing great and working really hard learning the language.  It sounds like they are focusing on Thai right now, but it is close to Laotian.  He said that he will be standing in line for lunch and will pull out the flash cards. 

What surprises him the most is that he feels the lessons go right over his head, but when he wakes up in the morning, it has stuck.

He loves Sundays.  He said that it recharges his batteries.  He would love to hear from everyone, as all missionaries do.  So if you get a moment, please write him.