Erika Lane, Administration Department Assistant
I am honored to be back at Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) as the Assistant to the Vice President of Administration. Soon after marrying my husband, Josh, in 2005, I joined the MAI team. When the first of our three daughters was born, we decided I would become a stay-at-home mom. But in the spring of 2016, I felt a call to return to work, and MAI was hiring. I love being back in the work force—especially with Medical Ambassadors. I still pinch myself in disbelief that my job is to work with an organization doing so much good around the world and spreading the love of Jesus through Community Health Evangelism (CHE). One tidbit of information about me is that my family and I were missionaries right here in the Central Valley of California. My dad served as the Executive Director of Youth for Christ in Turlock. Growing up, I remember helping my family stuff our newsletters into envelopes as they went out to our generous donors. Having this experience as part of my faith history reminds me repeatedly that the Lord provides! One of my life verses is Hebrews 6:19 “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” I’m so thankful for the hope I have in Jesus!
Suzanne “Sam” Howell, Executive Assistant to MAI President/CEO
I grew up in an Air Force family, living in several states and Europe before settling in Merced, CA. After marrying my husband, Don, we joined Wycliffe Bible Translators (WBT) in Huntington Beach, CA, and later Peru, South America, where our first child was born.
We returned to the States, settling into life in my husband's hometown of Modesto, CA. Two more children later, we relocated to Kenya for another missionary stint with WBT. The final move back to Modesto has lasted 20 years, where we raised our family. I worked as a Principal's Secretary for a country K-8 school, then as an Office Manager for a financial planning company.
In 2017 I excitedly joined Medical Ambassadors International as the Executive Assistant to our new President/CEO, Dr. Ravi Jayakaran. My work experience has been eclectic and all people-oriented. God’s gifts to me have been to serve and encourage, which my position at MAI will certainly allow me to continue doing.
Karen Weber, Executive Assistant to Global Coordinator
I have felt so welcomed as one of the newest team members of MAI as the assistant to the Global Coordinator. My role is to give support to our missionaries in the field so they can concentrate on the work of Community Health Evangelism.
My husband, Heath, and I were married in June 1999, and we are raising our very active and full-of-life sons, ages nine and eleven. After studying nursing in college, I worked in the medical field until we made the decision for me to become a stay-at-home mom with our boys. During those ten years, I developed a passion for photography and ran my own photography business. Once the boys started school, I accepted a position with a local school district as a Para-Professional Instructional Aide. I loved working with children, but God began pulling me in a different direction once again. He opened the door at Medical Ambassadors and gave me a new opportunity to serve. I felt so many different aspects of my life and the desires in my heart all come together. I am excited and honored to be able to serve with an organization that reaches and helps so many people around the world, following the example of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Richard "Rick" Thomas Heckathorn
February 3, 1961 - July 11, 2017
Early on the morning of July 11, 2017, MAI’s Information Technology Specialist, Rick Heckathorn, went home to be with the Lord after a battle with esophageal cancer. Rick loved the Lord to the end and is now rejoicing with Him in heaven.
Rick first came to MAI in 2002 as a volunteer, learning the ins and outs of Information Technology. Before long he was on-call with us and then became an employee in 2005. We watched Rick grow in his love for the Lord during those years, until he became an ardent follower of Christ who won many young souls to the Lord through the AWANA program at his church. He lived and breathed his love for God. His heart was for missions. His trips to Uganda, Africa, teaching CHE to South Sudanese trainers was one of the highlights of his life.
Rick’s love and pride in his sons, Kevin and Randy, was evident as he spoke of them often, asking for prayer in their challenges and praising God in their victories.
Shortly before Rick could no longer undergo chemo treatments for his cancer, he took his family to Hawaii. Using a timeshare gifted to him by a member of his church, the family enjoyed an unforgettable experience which will remain with the boys forever. Especially endearing was Rick watching his son, Kevin, ask his girlfriend for her hand in marriage on a beach in Maui. She said yes!
Rick would often choke up in prayer; he was so very aware of the grandeur of God and His mighty saving power. He talked of heaven and a longing to be there, but as the apostle Paul, he also longed to be on earth, spending time with his sons and those he loved.
We say a brief goodbye to our co-worker, Christian brother and friend. We mourn his loss, but “not as those without hope.” We will see him again one day in heaven!