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.

Friday, November 15, 2013

A Beautiful Morning in Sacramento

Eric's email last week was funny to read and I wanted to share it.  He was concerned that I would be freaking out and ready to pull him from his mission because my baby boy was in danger.... I have to admit that I laughed at his description of the events and his solution to any future events... Here you go:


In the brisk of the October morning here in Sacramento California, me and my companion were exiting the apartment quickly to travel to our next location to teach an investigator. As we approached our Mission Vehicle my observant companion noticed that the glass of the driver side mini window had been shattered!  And the Ogio Satchel and scripture case had been rummaged through and taken apart to search for valuables. We quickly checked the contents of the Vehicle to find that nothing had been taken, not the GPS or a camera! (Not till later did we find that the thief had taken my companions needed Fruit snacks for his blood sugar condition)
Then we called the Mission Vehicle coordinator Sister Cherrington, who was alarmed at the incident and very nicely made sure all, was well before instructing us on what to do next.
We are very lucky to not have had anything of value stolen by this thief. But as we thought more we realized who this wrong doer was. We have a couple neighbors who are sadly very deep into the addiction of drugs. A few nights ago they were fighting... again. And were being very loud, again... But this was different, there was physical action, which included the cries of the male saying he had been stabbed by the female. So me and my companion quickly called the local authorities and informed them of the situation, but of course by the time they got here the situation had completely died down and it seemed as though the male had left the premises. But the Police knocked on our door and we told them the apartment that had the fighting. That was the last event that night. Then two days later this mysterious event happens, where we get broken into but nothing stolen.... These are the conclusions that me and my companion have come up with-
The person who broke into our car, had to have been one or both of these persons. (A simple hate crime, to try and intimidate us for calling the authorities).
What will we do next you might ask? Refer them to the English Elders, as they are obviously in need of the Gospel and the blessings that come from living it." haha it was great, oh the memories.


Friday, October 11, 2013

2 Years and still Clean

Eric went into the doctors this week for his usual checkup and scans.  Where he is in the mission field, I am not involved in the appointments or discussion (Duh!) but received the best voice message from Sister Lewis (President Lewis’s wife) saying that he received a clean bill of health and they celebrated his 2 years of being cancer free.  WOOHOO!!

I was expecting the news of cancer free, but it still is just music to my ears.  In his letter to me last week he said:
“2 years from today I finished up my last treatment.  Now I am on my mission being an old man in the mission (meaning he is on the second half of his mission).  The time is going so fast, but I love every second of it.  The Lord has really blessed me and I am really excited to see what will come next.”

He mentioned in his emails that his next appointment will be in April.  I said “Great that will be your last check up at UC Davis in Sacramento; the one after that will be back here at Primaries!!  He said “Mom now don’t be getting trunky on me!  I still have 9 more months to go before I can come home!”

Okay, but I still can’t help to get excited as the time gets closer for Eric to home.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

New Pictures from Sacramento

I have not hear a lot of new stories, other than to hear that he is doing great and still loving the work.  He did send his SD card with new pictures that I thought I would share.  Hopefully if you are Eric's Sacramento friends and in these pictures, I don't want embarrass you too much.

Once again, I could make up some stories behind these pictures, but will probably get in trouble.  So I won't.  Enjoy these pictures.  I know I did.  I spent about 1/2 hour just going through the pictures and videos... They made my day.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Interesting Week

This week there were a couple of things that really made me excited about the Mienh program in the upcoming weeks. We had heard that there was a group of Mienh people who get together for food and to talk at a local place.  All are welcome, so me and Elder Lassley deiced that we would go and make our presence felt. The room was filled with about 100 Mienh people and they were all talking, which was really loud, but I assure you that as soon as Elder Lassley and I stepped into the room it went dead silent, as they all turned and looked at us. I did the only thing that I could and that was to start talking Mienh to all of them. The room burst into cheers and excitement as they saw a white guy speak their language. One of the people in charge came up and tapped me on the shoulder, I turned around to have a microphone placed in my hand and I was then ushered up to the stage so that I could address the whole group. I was told not to preach, so instead I told them all that we were here to serve them and that we would be back next week. They are now expecting us to sing a song for them.

Cool news, I am now a translator for the state of California in the language of Lao. How did this happen you say? This past week I got a call to go translate, at the state capital, to help one of the Lao members from Stockton to receive their citizenship. He had to take a live test from someone and he needed a translator and they call me. :) It was interesting because we went into the room and they swore us both under oath and then really swore me in good.  Most of the questions on the test were easy but some were hard.  Some of the questions I did not know let alone a Lao guy who does not speak English. He still passed and is now a US citizen :)

Last week he told me about how he is referred to as the “robot missionary” in his ward. This made me laugh, but I have always appreciated Eric’s attitude.  The last thing he wants to do is make the fact that he has a prosthetic leg awkward, instead treats it like a fact of life and can come up with some really funny stories. 

All in all, my missionary in Sacramento is doing well and loves what he is doing.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Biggest, meanest looking, most crazy eyed....

I was out in an apartment complex on my way to an appointment that we had set up, walking along the way, I hear a loud bark, I turned around and I saw the biggest, meanest looking, most crazy eyed, blood thirsty, vicious Chihuahua! And it was coming straight at me. I didn’t think much of it and kept walking when the crazy little thing bit me right on the right leg (I felt it, real leg) that sucker hurt and I got pretty angry at the little rat. I moved toward the rat to punt it over the fence when it ran away and I could not get to it. I thought to myself “gees why did the stupid dog have to bite me and above all why did it have to choose the leg that I would feel!"  

 In a letter from Eric, he told another story that still makes me laugh, here you go:

 I was teaching Relief Society about repentance and the tones in the Mienh language finally got me…So the first step to repentance is to feel a “Godly sorrow”, right?  The word for deep sorrow is “nZauh” which has a mid falling tone.  What did I end up saying, you ask?  Well… instead of saying “First in order to repent we need to feel a deep sorrow”.  I actually said…. “First in order to repent we need to feel our feet.”  Half of the Mienh ladies were deeply confused and the other half were all laughing.  They told me what I said and I quickly corrected it.  That was the first time on my mission that a tone got me… (Probably the first time they laughed about it and told him what he really said).   

When Eric was telling me that he only had 9 more transfers to go, … well I had to figure out when he would be coming home.  I mentioned in my email what date I figured out and he told me to “Stop it right now!”  I know he loves his mission and does not want time to speed up, but I am sure looking forward to the special day in July!!  J

Monday, July 8, 2013

Happy Birthday Eric

Eric is now half way through his mission.  This is what he had to say about that.

The end of the transfer also meant the end of my 9th transfer as a missionary and that means that I have hit my hump mark :( I do not like the sound of that at all, because it just feels like the time is just going faster and faster each and every week. It has also gave me a lot of reflection on how the first half of the mission, I have seen a lot of success but I can also take it to the next level. My companion says I have a hard time with that. He said at times I expect too much out of myself, but I feel that there is a lot more that I can do. Good thing I still have this time to work :)


I asked Eric, through my weekly email, if he had a birthday "veggie tray" and apparently his Lao mom took really good care of him and made him a sugar free cake with lots of fruit.  He said it was very delicious. 
This is the report about the 4th of July:

So this past week was really a lot of fun, it was a bit cooler this week which was really nice and much needed I cannot take many 112 degree days in a row, that's just silly. On the 4th of July they had everyone go to our stake center for a couple of activities, which was so much fun. We played scatter ball for 3 hours, just in case you do not know, scatter ball is everyone against everyone dodge ball and the only way that you win is if you get everyone out, and once you get hit, everyone that you just got out is back in. You can imagine that this makes the game very long and very tiring. I am not going to lie, me and the ole nubby did pretty good for ourselves.  There was one time that I almost got everyone out but one of the elders in my district snuck up behind that one legged guy and got me out, needless to say he will receive a bad transfer report :)haha jk maybe ;)
Can I just say that I can not believe that my baby is 20 years old!!  This is just unthinkable.  Where has the time gone?  I still love watching the people my kids are turning into. It is better than any movie now playing at the theaters.  :)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Half way point

At the end of this next week it will be the end of my 9th transfer as a missionary which means that I will be halfway through my mission.   I do not like saying that and that will mean I’m one of the old missionaries :( that is just a horrible thought. It means it’s time to kick it into high gear ;)

This is usual Me at the end of planning each night :)

 As I looked at the picture, I saw familiar items that were shipped to California before he left…  The green and blue stripped blanket was given to him when he was starting treatments by the Christiansens.  That blanket made the trip to Primaries every time we did… And is now still with him on his mission… I love it!  Maybe it would be safe to say it was more of a comfort for me to see it close by.


Monday, June 17, 2013

Eric Update

Eric has always said that he would live in Arizona because he loved the heat… well I think he is reconsidering that.  Last week it was 108 in Sacramento. 

This is what he has said about what he is working on:

I am really close to finishing up a section of the book of Mormon in Miehn and I can carry it with me and read to all of the mienh people. My testimony of Joseph Smith grows each time that I work on the Book of Mormon.  He was and is a man of God.

I have a few copies in a little booklet of the translated Book of Mormon, that I can take with me to see the  mien people and strengthen them!!!!!!!!!!!! :) This past Sunday in relief society I took the time to really explain the book and to help them get really excited about it. Needless to say they are all super stoked to read from it and I know that it is really going to help all of the mien people progress in the gospel. All of the mien people who are not members ask if they can buy it from me, but I just say if they would all come to church they would be able to read it with us :) hehehe I’m pretty sneaky. The book of Mormon will change the mienh program forever and now we just got to get Salt Lake to give me the go ahead to translate the rest of it :) haha one day when china opens I will :)

It still cracks me up to learn that he is teaching Relief Society.  This is what happened Sunday on Father’s Day.

Much love to the soon to be old man(he was referring to himself) I had to stand up in church to be recognized for father’s day because my Lao mom made me stand up, I told her maybe in 20 years, she replied “I want Lao speaking grandkids in 2 years” haha in her dreams.

Boy he would have to work fast when he gets home to make that request come true.  J  It just warms my heart that he has “moms” on his mission that are taking really good care of him.  It eases my desire to worry about him.

This is Daniel and a new member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints.



Thursday, May 30, 2013

A soldiers return home

I have never witnessed a military dignified transfer before, but it will be safe to say that it has changed my life and view on things.  As we go on with our dailies lives we forget that there is a war going on and men and women are targeted to be killed.  Some escape death, but come home seriously injured where their lives have been changed forever and we still go on with our lives.  I have always appreciated their service, but my appreciation has changed to a more deeper and humbling respect for the sacrifices that have been made in our behalf, so we may go to dinner with our friends and family and catch a movie to escape reality.  Cody Towse was worried that his sacrifices would go unnoticed.  We proved to him yesterday that we do care and we honor him.  We grieve with his family and will miss him deeply.  Thank you Cody. And Thank you to all the many other service men and women who are fighting for not only our freedoms, but also of those around the world who have and are suffering at the hands of evil. 



Monday, May 27, 2013

New from Sacramento

With everything that has been going on with Cody, I have failed to update you on Eric.  Last week he had a really cool email I would like to share.

Oh gees so where do I even begin?! This past week was a really good week in the work, we were able to see a lot of success with 8 member present lessons which really helped a lot of our investigators progress. We were also able to find a few people who make me really excited to teach and get to know them and help them receive the gospel.

We had a very special experience with a lady this past week. We told her to be ready to break down the walls between her and the Savior. Only then will we truly receive the blessing that he wants to give to us. We have really been trying to help her get a true solid answer that the church was true and that she had to be baptized. We meet with her and this is the story that she told us. “ I knelt down just before bed just like I always to, I said a pray to ask God if the church was true and to ask for help in revealing an answer. I ended my prayer and went to bed. As I was sleeping I had a dream that a man of great brightness came and appeared to me with very white hair and beard. The glory of this man was amazing that I cannot explain it. He told me that the church that I was learning about, was His church and that I need to enter into that church. He then showed me two young men in white shirts and ties next to him, they were elders. He then said the words" THESE ARE MY DISCIPLES LISTEN TO THEM".  She knew that the message was from God and that she had to listen to it. I think it was Jesus Christ :)

Eric was made District leader, which generally does not happen to the foreign speaking missionaries in Sacramento.  He has enjoyed learning more about leadership and working with the Mission President. 

This is what he said this week about the Mienh members. 

 All of the Mienh members love me. Ha ha They were all really impressed with how good my Mienh is already and say that I have a lot of potential in the language.  Whatever that means haha we will see what will happen :)


Calvin is the little guy that taught Eric how to pray.  Eric just loves this little guy.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

A fallen soldiers return home

Cody Towse is our friend, neighbor and an American Hero.  Cody was killed in action in Afghanistan last week.  He will arrive back to Utah on Wednesday at noon at the Provo airport.  There will be an honorable transfer ceremony and a military procession from the airport to his home in Elk Ridge Utah.  The procession will go through Main Street in Spanish fork, Salem and up Elk Ridge Drive.  If you are free and want to honor Cody and his sacrifice, please line the streets with your flags to welcome our fallen soldier home. 

The Funeral will be held at Salem Hills High school on Saturday June 1st at 11:00 am.  The closed casket viewing will be on Friday evening May 31 from 6 – 9 pm at 234 S Shayda Circle Elk Ridge Utah.

In lieu of flowers, The Towse family would ask donations be made to the PFC Cody Towse Memorial Scholarship Fund at any Wells Fargo bank branch.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Memorial Day

Memorial Day will have a whole new meaning in our home.  For the 3rd time since Eric has left on his mission, we will need to inform him, that yet another friend of his is no longer with us.  Our neighbor Cody Towse was serving in Afghanistan and was involved in a deadly incident and is presumed dead.  While the Towse family awaits confirmation, our hearts and prayers go out to them.  I have always appreciated all the many tears, sweat and blood that has been shed in behalf of our nation.  But I have never been this close to the tears.

This is PFC Cody Towse

This is the Towse's home as the man from the military was leaving.  It is hard to see him, but this scene strikes fear in any family member that has members of their family serving in the military.

Cody, you will not be forgotten.  We honor you and your friends that have given their all.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Happy Mothers day

Any missionary mom will tell you that they literally wait by the phone for that special phone call on mother's day, well I was no different.  We had a great visit with Eric.  Our experiment with facetimeing with Tonya and Clint while skypeing with Eric did not work well.  So Tonya ended up listening in during our conversation via speaker phone. She did join in the conversation, but was limited.  Here was Eric's testimony in Meihn and Laotian.
It still amazes me that he can say and understand these 2 languages.  I am sure proud of him.
He is doing well and can not believe that he is coming up on his 1 year mark....I can!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Update from Sacramento

Eric gets pretty excited about packages.... especially from girls!!  :)

I have thought about making up my own stories to these pictures, but it may embarrass him, so.....Well he does deserve to be embarrassed...... Nah!

When people ask me how he is doing, all I can say is he is loving his mission!!  These pictures back up what I have been saying... He is just Happy, healthy, and high on life!

I am looking forward to my call on Sunday.  We are going to try something.  While we are skyping with Eric, we will be face timing with Tonya and Clint so they can be a part of the call.  So it should be interesting.  But I can not wait.

In his last email, he added this insight and I was impressed and loved it, so I wanted to share it.

I had an amazing spiritual moment this week.  When I was doing my studies I came across a scripture that really struck me deep to my core, it is in the book of Mormon,  1 Nephi 21 verse 16. It is when the lord is talking and he states “I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands".  Never have I ever read a scripture that has hit me like that one did. It brought great reflection upon my relationship that I am able to have with my Savior, because of His personal atonement.  Not just for me but for all people. I feel now that I truly understand my purpose as a missionary and that is to help people know and strengthen their relationship with the Savior.


How grateful I am for that relationship, and the opportunity to build others.



Monday, April 29, 2013

Lao New Year


This past week was a good week with a couple of great experiences along the way. We had our interviews with President Lewis and Sister Lewis so talking with them was really nice and very refreshing. I also got to go the Lao temple and go to the LAO NEW YEAR festivities! It was so much fun with a lot of crazy Lao people running around. As missionaries we are not allowed to take pictures on holy sites so I did not get any pictures, just know that it was great. For the Lao New Year, to sum it all up, it is just like a really big water fight. haha A lot of water balloons and water guns around. Me, being the puma, that I am did not get hit once, :) which is really amazing considering all the water that is going around. Of course because all the people were Lao, they were all drunk; which was kind of funny. They were also so amazed of the two whites guys who spoke Lao. Word spread quickly and we had a crowd coming to us to come speak Lao as well as taking pictures with the white guys who speak Lao :) ya gotta love them.

I also had the opportunity to do Mormon helping hands on Saturday with the stake; it was so much fun and a lot of work.  Our job this year was to put in new wood chips into 3 parks lots.  This was done with shovels and my back was so sore the next day, as well as today.

All and all it was an amazing week with a lot of miracles. I Love the work of the lord!

  This is the picture of the missionaries working hard.

I asked him if he was referring to Puma, the cat.  His response was "
"pssh, yeah I'm quick and nimble like a ninja! What What !!!! haha"  Glad to hear he is still my very humbled kid!  :)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Laotian and Meihn

In Eric's email, he sent 2 digital files with him speaking Laotian and another one in Meihn.  I was so excited to put these files on the blog so you can hear him, but it would not allow me to.... Does anyone know how to put verbal messages on blogs.  It is pretty cool to hear him speak. 
Laotian is very choppy and at first I thought it was the Meihn since he is still learning Meihn, but that is the way Laotian sounds and Meihn is smooth and actually a beautiful sounding language.
Hopefully I can figure it out and post it. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Favorite moment

One thing that I have been really looking for this week is the things that we have in our lives that are really miraculous. My favorite moment of the week was when we were over at a house with a family that we have been working really close with and they have a four year old boy named Calvin. He loves to say the prayer as we leave. We finished the lesson and the mother said the prayer and Calvin was very upset and started to cry. He wanted to pray so badly but did not have to chance to. I walked over to him and kneeled beside him. As he was crying I asked him if he would help me pray and that I needed his help, he wiped his face and instructed me to fold my arms and bow my head. He led me in the prayer with him saying the words and me repeating to words back out loud. The spirit that came from this little boy’s prayer was so powerful and it was one of my favorite moments in my mission thus far. The Lord truly does want us to be as little children.
This email, was definitely a warm and fuzzy moment.  I could picture Eric kneeling by this little guy and praying with him.  I am sure when he left, that little boy was flying high being able to help a missionary say a prayer.

Eric had the opportunity to spend some time with the mission president visiting some people that Eric and his companion has been working with.  He enjoyed that time and said he learned a lot.  All is well in Sacramento California.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Loss of an Angel

I can't even begin to express the heartache that I am feeling right now with the news of the loss of a champion.

Jake Griggs passed away last night after his brave battle against Osteosarcoma.

 Eric and I had the opportunity to meet Jake and his mom Leisa after learning that Jake was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma.  Jake was a quiet guy, but you could tell that he had a very special spirit about him.  Like all kids who have the terrifying ordeal to face cancer, you take one day at a time.  Jake had many odds against him from the beginning, but was a fighter.

 I received the call from Leisa tonight and I knew from the beginning that it was not good.  Any parent can tell you that their greatest fear is to lose a child and any parent would take their childs  place to protect them and shield them from any pain.  Instead as a parent with a child diagnosed with cancer your role is to stand by your child, pray for your child and do everything in your power to make sure that your child has a fighting chance. 

It is the most terrifying thing to face, but having the chance to raise these special gifts from Heavenly Father is so rewarding.  I know the Griggs family has cherished the time they spent with Jake and the lessons they learned from his short time here on earth and will never forget the pure love they felt as they said goodbye
It is hard to understand why the ones we love so much and bring into this world that we have to say goodbye for now.  My heart breaks for the pain of the Griggs family.  Please pray for them.

Beware of the dog

Believe it or not this actually worked when we got to the house the owner were so shocked and they told us to be careful with their CRAZY dog. I told them that god is looking out for us and that he wants them to learn more about Jesus Christ,  they still declined

I look forward to Monday's where I can hear all the things going on with Eric.... I am such a mom!  I bet this week will have a lot of fun stories.  He was going to translate for Elder Oaks yesterday.  I will keep you updated on how it went.

Monday, March 11, 2013


This week was such a good week in the area we had we meet all of our goals that we set out to reach and we were able to baptize Mia. We invited her father who was not too excited of the idea to the baptism but he came, he left saying that it was a good experience and that he was really happy for Mia. The baptism was really powerful for the mother, Sheng. Most important it was a covenant made between a 9 year old girl and her Heavenly Father, with the gift of her best friend the Holy Ghost. It was a really special experience for all who were at the baptism and I am so grateful to be a part of it.

It looks like Eric's companion "tolerates" Eric's strangeness.  :)
In his letter last week, I laughed, because I can hear Eric's voice as he was telling this story!

While I was doing my language study, I was in the kitchen table when I hear a knock on the door.  I went to open the door to a “J-Dub” missionary who was out doing his required proselyting time.  The first thing he said was “Oh Mormons”.  (I was in my white shirt, tie and full uniform).  It was funny because the first thing that I said in my head was “Oh J-Dub” as we had our silent standoff, I could hear the western music in the back of my head.  He pulled out a card, but I countered with a pamphlet… BOOM!  I Win!  I told him I would take his if he took mine.  He said okay and departed in his shame.  J I am not going to open the door anymore because it just leads to a weird thing like CPS, a news team and now “J-Dub”.  What could be next?

Oh man I miss this kid.  He keeps me laughing even when he is 10 hours and 25 minutes away!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Very Determined

Pictures tell a thousand words.

In my letter I received on Saturday, Eric told a story that went like this:
The first transfer with Mienh is now under my belt, I felt okay where I am at(he had a goal to be able to speak and understand at least 50% of Mienh before his first transfer).  I was out on an Exchange with an English Elder and we came across a Mienh home and I thought “what the heck I will try it out.”  A man answered the door and I started to speak broken Mienh to him.  He stopped me and laughed.  He mocked me and told me that I will never learn Mienh.

Me being the person I am wrote down his address and now his address is up on the wall, right next to my desk where I can see it every day.   One day he will understand the power of God.  I am really looking forward to that day.
Eric is doing well.  He studies Laotian and Mienh for about 5 hours a day, which gives me a headache just to think about it.  He loves the people and loves the work.  He has already said that he is going to extend his mission.  After we were able to speak to him on Christmas, Todd said that the big challenge will be to get Eric home at the end of 2 years.  Eric is already hinting that will be the case.  I WILL drag him home if needed.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Fire Alarm

Today I received a letter from Eric and he had a fun story:
After Church we had a lesson with one of our investigators and we were about half way through the lesson when the fire alarm went off!!  Spirit Gone!

We had to get everyone out of the building and put our lesson on pause for a little bit.  We got everyone out of the church and about 5 fire trucks showed up and did an inspection on the building.  There was no fire, one of the fire alarms just decided to go off.  HA HA Satan thinks he is pretty good.  PSH!  Well he is not!  We finished our lesson in the parking lot and committed this mom and her daughter to a date to be baptized on the 23rd of March.  J Talk about baptism by fire!

In Eric’s email he said that he has enjoyed the letters he received from everyone, and to please keep them coming! 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Sketchy Week

Eric's Email and letter was pretty short this week, it sounds like there was something that happened, but he can not tell me until he gets home... EEEKKK!  He said not to worry, because he was being watched over.  In his letter, he sent home a SD card, so we had a lot of fun  looking through the pictures.  Here are a few.
Right after our Thanksgiving dinner, we have decorated gingerbread houses,this year they had these cute rice krispie trains and I bought a kit for Eric, so he can participate this year... this is his effort!

This is Daryl's effort...

At least the girls took this project seriously!

From what I could tell, this was taken at a Meinh community gathering.  These dresses are amazing.  They also look very heavy.

Here Eric is putting his engineering mind to work against a little girl... I hope she won.
As I looked through his pictures, I had to laugh at his hair.. I think he is really missing Tonya and her magic she can do on his cal licks at the crown of his head.  He has to wear the "Missionary part" which does not work well with his cal licks or so it seems.

Monday, February 4, 2013

The nub buddy

I received a letter from Eric last week and wanted to share a story he wrote about:

We were on our way to the church and I saw that this guy’s car broke down in the church parking lot.  I felt prompted to go talk to him.  So as I walked up to him I noticed something special about him.  He was missing his right leg.  I jumped on the opportunity to talk “Nub” with him.  As I talked with him and we became friends,  I shared a small message with him and asked I could come by and share more.  He said he would love to talk with me more and gave me his phone number and address.  We have plans to go see him this week!  Miracle?  I think yes!

I did ask Eric how this guy lost his leg, and he was caught in a drive by shooting.

In his email this week, he told how the church has touched a ladies life with 4 kids and bore his testimony about his love for the atonement of Jesus Christ.  It was truly deep.  This mission has transformed Eric in ways that I don’t think he even realizes.

I have been working on a project and reading through some of the “Eric Stories” and was reflecting on how far he has come from 2 years ago.  We were both so scared and to be able to stand back and look at the many miracles that have taken place in his life and mine, is truly humbling.  We were changed and Eric was being prepared for an amazing work.  Now to see the “rest of the story” come to life for him as he is on his mission is very humbling for a mom.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The big Dunk

Eric had a great week this week, here is what happened:

So this was an awesome week in the mission, we had a baptism of a 9 year old boy in a family that we have been working with to get them active again.

We have them coming to church again and we were able to baptism the boy in the family. His name is Ben and he is a total stud. We were talking with him about a week ago and we got to the point to where we were able to dunk him and we asked him." hey Ben, when do you want to be baptized?" He was like "how about this Sunday? haha We said sure why not? So he just had his baptism yesterday and I will get to confirm him in the upcoming week.

Yesterday was just as good of day for a 12 year old kid from a less active family that we have been working with, that has come back in to activity. They asked me if i would confer the priesthood to him :) so yesterday I had a baptism and I also got to confer the priesthood to another boy that we have been working with in the English work. It was such a rewarding day and I'm glad it came. I have been soooo busy the past week, a lot of the days we had to skip lunch and sometimes dinner. Our area is soo close to really taking off. we have been working our butts off. Hopefully we will be dunking people left and right. It is all starting to come around.

What an exciting week for him to see the progress.  In his letter last week he said that he has offically started to learn Meinh.  When he went into the mission home to pick up the nessecary tools to learn the langage they gave him a Meinh dictionary and Bible and told him good luck.  He is still with Elder Cheney who speaks Meinh and will remain companions with him until November.  He said that after 1 week, he could read Meinh, but has a goal to be speaking and understanding at least 50% by next transfer.  The excitement just radiates from his emails and letters, I love it.


Monday, January 14, 2013

A little overwhelmed

In today's email from Eric, he definitely sounded overwhelmed.  Here is the news of his new assignment.

So one thing that I have come to realize is that the lord really loves to push me to me limit. Looking back in the past few years I have been pushed to my limit with the chemo, physically, when I was almost ready to give up. Now that I am on my mission he is pushing me spirituality and I am really finding out my true testimony.  I truly am finding out who I really am as a person. So I have physically and spiritually taken care of and I am now working on them all and they say that a mission is all mental right?!  No need to worry the lord has found a way to push me to my limit. This past week I had my interview with President Lewis.  He talked with me about the usual things and such.  Then he delivered the news how I will be pushed mentally.  It went a lot like this: "Elder Merkley, I have really been impressed with the missionary that you have become in the short amount of time, and the lord is also. I have been praying and fasting for you and the lord has told me that you are to be assigned to labor with the Mienh people. The lord needs you to learn the Mienh language in order to serve the people. In this time you are to continue your studies in the Lao and Thai languages as well.  Are you willing to accept this call?" My heart dropped and I took a deep breath and accepted.   He continued “Elder Merkley the lord needs you to do this for his children and he needs the spiritual gifts that you have, with the Lord’s help you will learn all 3 of the language assignments you have been called to do. I promise you that."

 Just when I thought that things could not get any crazier, they did and now the wave of responsibility on my shoulders to carry out the mienh work. In a matter of seconds, I went from being 1 of 6 in the world to being 1 of 2 in the world. This will be lot to take on.

Just a little back ground on the Mienh people, they are from Laos and spend all of their time up in the mountains farming rice. There is no connection between the Lao and Thai language.   The Mienh people are the equivalent to the American Indian in the US but in Laos. And I have been called to speak this language. The gift of tongues is real.

I could feel his anxiety as I read his email.   While he was in the MTC he was told in to be prepared to be asked to learn Mienh.  Which he thought would be way down the road, if the call was even issued.  So this did not come as a surprise to me, but I have so much confidence in him to learn the language.

Every time I speak to the mission nurse, she tells me that there is something special about Elder Merkley, which of course I love hearing and it brings a smile to my face.  Like I have said in the past, I do not know what Heavenly Father has planned for Eric, but it will be fun to watch…. Even if it is from afar.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Video Message from Eric

Here was a message Daryl recorded from Eric while talking to Eric via Skype:
In his email to day he said this about pday's   I have to admit I was not expecting him to feel this way about his pday's.

"This week has been a bit different from the rest of the time I have been on my mission, with back to back weeks of full day pdays.  You think would it would be nice, but no they are not.  They suck I feel so lazy! But its ok they are like the only 2 full pdays out of the year so it is not too bad. It just is not the same when you are not out working. As I get further into my mission I see pday as more of a burden the a relief haha."

We had the opportunity to see some of our favorite friends on Friday.  The Blogetts and Wrights came down and watched a movie with us.  Here is a picture of our morning.

I think we better watch out for Tim, because...  I think he has noticed girls, much to Steven's disgust.  :) Even though I told Tim that girls had cooties, he was not buying it.  Good thing he can run fast again to get away from them.  :)