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.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


I just received my email from Elder Eric.  He loves his mission right now.  He loves the people and his companion.  What a great start right?  Here are a few stories from his email.

“This week I had a really cool experience with one of the Lao members in the ward.  I have a little voice recorder that I use to help me in my language study so that I can understand what people are saying better. I went to Maa Pang's house and I asked her to tell me how the church has helped her in her life and to tell me about how she joined the church. First of all, the story about how she came over to America is absolutely crazy and then she went on the tell me about how she joined the church, it is a super long story so I won’t tell you it, but she went on to say that she had cancer and she told us how the church had helped her so much in her life. I heard this and it really sparked my interest of course and I told her my story and experience with cancer. It was so amazing she started crying and I have never felt the spirit that strong as I have been speaking Lao it was so amazing I can’t even put it into words.”

He also had an appointment to meet his new Doctor at UC Davis.  He said that Dr Spraker had actually talked to this new doctor and told her that if she had any patients with Osteosarcoma or Ewings sarcoma to have Eric talk to them.  Apparently she has a patient right now that she wants Eric to meet, but first she needs to get permission from their parents.  So Eric is pretty excited about this opportunity to continue to talk kids through this cancer process he knows so well.  He went on to say “what better way to open people up to the gospel right? I love it because I still get to go talk to kids at the hospital and I love doing that!”

Apparently I will get to learn all the scary stories when he comes home, not to mention the story of getting out of the path of 3 tornadoes.  It is probably a good thing I don’t hear all the stories. 

All I can say is it is a good thing he is in Heavenly hands.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

New food experiences

Even though this picture is not "clear", it is very Clear that his joke on the missionaries that picked Eric up at the airport, was a success and they were all smiles.  If you have not read the story, scroll down a few blog post and read about the "Christmas Miracle" that happened.

Here are all the mighty Laotian missionaries in Sacramento.  The new and the "old". 

This week in Eric's email, he told a couple of stories that are really fun.  So in his words here is the initiation of Elder Merkley.

I walked into this one Lao ladies house for a dinner appointment and the first thing that she said was oh boy I need more rice.  haha which is funny,  cause I already eat a ton of food as it is. 
So they feed us very well.  It is amazing to me sometimes how much these little lao people eat.  They are like 5 feet tall.  And holy cow the food is soooooo spicy.   This week, since I am the new Elder and it was my first time in a Lao members house, I got to have the "honor" of having kii luug which is baby chicken that is still in the egg!!! Lucky me right?! Yeah not so much haha it was weird because you put a small hole in the top of the egg and you slurp out the juice, then you make the hole a bit bigger and it is all down the hatch from there. haha It just slides down the throat all nice like!

That story gives me the "willies"!!  I don't think I could do it.

Here is how his Sundays are:
Yesterday was my first Sunday in the ward and it was so busy.  The first thing that I do for sacrament is, I walk in and sit in the back of the overflow on the left side. Why do you sit  in the back, on the left side you ask? well its because all of the Lao people come and sit in the back on the left side and put on these little headsets. I also get to put on a headset but my headset has a cool little microphone on it. . . . .  so yes I get to translate the whole sacrament meeting live for all of the Lao people. Where is your senior companion you ask?  Well he sits in the back on the right side where all  the mienh people sit and translates the meeting into mienh. So my companion speaks mienh, I speak Lao which equals a lot of  work to be done, double the work in fact.  After sacrament I get to teach Lao Sunday school.  After that I teach Lao relief society also.  How great is my calling? :) I can't wait to see the blessings for me when I get home. haha

Hey Maybe he will be teaching Relief Society here in Elk Ridge 3rd Ward....????  :)
He has already had an opportunity to share his experiences with Cancer with an Uncle to a Lao member who is going through treatments right now.  Just reading about his experience, just touched my heart, because this man not only is going through a tough time with treatments, he was able to talk about the struggles with Eric who understood those struggles.  Eric was able to share with him the strength he received from our Heavenly Father as he progressed through that difficult time.  The man was able to receive a Priesthood blessing from the Elders while they were there.

As hard as it is to have Eric so far a way, it is so touching to hear the stories he has had to be an instrument in our Heavenly Fathers Hands and comfort others.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Eric and President and Sister Lewis

I received a letter from President Lewis along with this picture.
This was taken right before the major accident with the AP's.  :)  I spoke with Sister Nielsen yesterday and she will be staying in close contact with Eric as he continues with his scan and check ups.  She was trying to reassure me that he was well and happy.  I appreciated the reassurance, but I knew that he was doing great.  She also said that he is already very busy. 
Eric is now in Florin California, which is just a few minutes south of Sacramento.  There is so much excitement with the rules changing on when young men and women can now go on missions.  Sister Nielsen said that every mission President is begging for missionaries. It sounds like there will be a large number of new missionaires heading into the mission field.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

California Address

I have been asked a lot lately about Eric's New address, so here you go:

Elder Eric Merkley
California Sac Mission
8267 Deseret Ave
Fair Oaks CA 95628

Monday, October 8, 2012

First Week in Sacramento

I received a great email, not to mention that it was a very long email with lots of stories… my favorite!

Eric has not changed one little bit and has found ways to amuse himself, so here is the story in his words…

We met and had dinner with President Lewis and his wife.  They are really loving and kind people.  The cool thing is when I leave to come home they will leave too, so I get them my whole mission.  So funny story, as we were going home I told the “AP’s” that I had one leg and they asked me if the elders that picked us up at the airport knew about my one leg.   I told them no.  We then spend about 30 minutes coming up with a wonder plan to break it to them!   Wahahaha It went a little like this.  One of the elders had some old pants that didn't fit him anymore so what we did was,  we ripped off the left pant leg and then proceeded to put catsup and pizza sauce all over my leg. :) The AP’s then continued to carry my lifeless body into the house where they lived.  The two elders who had picked me up from the airport starting to scream so loud!!!!   One ran out of the house yelling for help and the other start to go running for ice and to call 911.  Of course before they got to the phone I stopped my award winning performance and came back to life :)   It was a Christmas miracle! After that we went to bed because we had a full day ahead of us.

Oh Man they are in for an eventful 2 years!  He is all settled and have already given blessings and taught lessons.  A daughter from a Lao family has been offered to him in marriage…. OH NO! 

He also found out that all the Lao missionaries get new names.  So he was taken to a very elderly Lao lady and her name she came up for Eric is Somwang, which means “Perfect Hope”.  He said that it is safe to say that he has the coolest Lao name.  I think that it is very fitting.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

"I'll be Back!"

So not only did I get to talk to Eric on the phone today, I received a letter.  In this letter was a drawing done by another missionary.  Here you go, I loved it.
The latest image of the "One legged Missionary." 

And he's off!

Eric just called and he has cleared security at the airport.  He is so excited to be on his way to Sacramento!!  I asked him if the security was a pain to get through with his leg, and he said that after he went through the body scanner, they  swabbed his leg for explosives and that was it, he passed.

So needless to say, he is on his way.  We had a great talk.  He was craving information from home... as if he does not get a lot from me in my letters.  :) He said that he feels like he is alive again and no longer a zoombie at the MTC.  It is interesting how different personalities handle the MTC.  Eric is not one to be saddled in a chair all day long, but I am sure proud of him sticking it out and making it to the end.  Now all the work will begin.