December 2004

Porthole View - December 2004 edition 

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Joy to the World, the Lord has Come!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from our family to yours! As 2004 draws to a close we want to share some highlights from the past year, let you know what lays ahead for us in 2005, and thank you for your partnership in our ministry with Mercy Ships.

Personal Highlights from 2004

Kaleb Timothy’s debut on Dec. 24th 2003 meant that we rang in the New Year with sleepless nights and full days—but most importantly a happy and healthy new addition to the family roster of “K’s”. Kaleb is a happy, alert and active little guy who brings us continual laughter and joy! Curiosity, a voracious appetite, and irrepressible smiles hallmark his first year.

Kaitlyn, on the brink of her fourth birthday, has enthusiastically assumed the role of big sister, relishes her pre-school and ballet classes, and is blossoming from toddler to little girl. Princess, pink, and Barbie are regular themes of her playtime and her active imagination and dancing keep us on our toes. This advent season has been especially meaningful as we’ve seen the story of Christ’s birth through her eyes.

Karen continues with the challenging task of managing an active household. In addition, she co-leads the Van MOPS group, utilizes her nursing skills frequently as both Kaitlyn and Kaleb have battled respiratory infections all fall and plays hostess to a number of houseguests who call 400 Colorado Street their home while visiting Van from the ships or other remote Mercy Ship offices. We’d love to host you as well if you’re in the area… just phone ahead for a “reservation”.

Kreig’s role as CIO for Mercy Ships continues to present opportunities for creative problem solving and innovative thinking. As of January 3rd, he has a new boss: Mercy Ships CEO, Steve Koinis. Steve has already decided that IT is the first area of the organization that he will focus on. For Kreig, this is an exciting development, but it definitely puts him in the “hot seat”!

Daily running (and a recent half marathon), a weekly men’s bible study, and co-parenting of the two “Ks” fills up any “spare” time that he may have after work.

Our favorite story from 2004:

As we receive reports from the Anastasis and other locations our hearts long to be back on the “front lines”, but we know that we are in the right place for now. We are especially encouraged when we can see a direct link between Kreig’s work with technology and the people Mercy Ships serves.

As an example, Mercy Ships recently received a donation of a special microscope from Nikon. This microscope is used to identify tissue samples and can help in making critical surgical decisions. What makes this microscope unique is that the surgical pathologist can operate it remotely while viewing the slide and make the diagnosis - all across the internet in real time. The ship’s connection to the internet runs across the satellite connection that Kreig set up over three years ago.

The old process used to take weeks: Taking a tissue sample, sending it from the ship in Africa to Europe for diagnosis, and waiting for the reply. This new system cuts the process to mere minutes.

Dr. Gary Parker, maxillo-facial surgeon and Chief Medical Officer onboard said, “The [microscope] is incredible. Whilst operating on a nine-year-old girl with a large jaw tumor, I sent a sample of some suspicious tissue to a pathologist in the UK. His advice helped me to decide whether or not to remove the left side of her jaw – while still in the middle of her operation!”

Happy New Year!

We hope this letter finds you each well and that 2005 dawns with joy and hopeful anticipation of the year ahead. Thank you again for your support, encouragement, and friendship—without which our work would be impossible.

Car Update –

Thank you to the many who have contributed to our Minivan Fund. We have been overwhelmed by the response and generosity! We are nearly to our goal of raising $25,000 – only $6,000 short. To contribute: mail a check to Mercy Ships, PO Box 2020, Lindale, TX 75771. Make the check out to Mercy Ships and include a note saying “For the support of the Ecklunds.” All donations are tax deductible. For other ways to contribute (Credit Card, Direct Debit, Stock Gift, etc… ) contact us directly at (903) 963-4450.

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