Missionary who died in plane crash pondered death few weeks ago
The missionary who died with his wife in a plane crash in North-western province last Saturday wrote about death a few weeks before he died, it has emerged.
On Sunday Zambia Army commandos retrieved the bodies of Jay Erickson and his wife Katrina, who died after their light private plane plunged into Zambezi River.
The low-flying plane flew into high-voltage electricity cables and plunged into the river.
Erickson and his wife had been using the plane to transport sick villagers to the hospital when the accident happened.
On April 20, Erickson wrote that he had been pondering about death. In the missionary newsletter of April this year, Jay made the following entry:
“Oddly enough, I (Jay) have been pondering the concept of death since arriving at Chitokoloki. Living next door to a bush hospital, we hear quite clearly the wails of mourning with each death.
And these occur frequently, being about every other day. In addition, I have been reading through Israel’s wanderings through the wilderness and all the times God’s wrath was poured out such that each time thousands were consumed, bitten, swallowed, or otherwise perished. Still again, I have been reading Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis, which though a fictional work, deals philosophically with death. Even in eating meat here when I saw the creature alive that morning reminds me of the topic.
I did not plan the correlation, but it caused me to think along these lines and realize again in a new way that there is nothing sad about the death of a Christian. The only sadness (and I do not intend to belittle this aspect) is in the loss of companionship by those left behind. And yet, to contrast this, the level of tragedy is so vast for the passing of an unbeliever. To borrow from physics, it seems the “equal and opposite reaction.”
It warms my heart to hear the frequent and fervent preaching of the Gospel here. Perhaps it is the real presence of death here that we seem so surgically removed from in the USA which is the motivation. At any rate, I hope it will inspire me to get over those inhibitions which so easily hinder me from speaking.
I will close with a quote from C.S. Lewis which is at the foundation of my thinking: “You don’t have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.” And I know that when this body dies, my soul will get a new one
Jay & Katrina Erickson”
The Ericksons were full-time volunteers ready to bring food, medical supplies, doctors, missionaries, and most importantly, the Word of God by aircraft into areas of the world that would otherwise be extremely difficult or impossible to reach.
At the time of their death, the Ericksons were assisting in the work of the Chitokoloki Mission Hospital.
The mission hospital is located in the remote North-Western province of Zambia along the banks of the Zambezi river.
The hospital offers a 150-bed facility with modern medical equipment, operating rooms, and laboratory. Due to its remote location and the time difficulty of travel by road, the hospital operated a six-seater Cessna 206 airplane.
The airplane brought many of the volunteer professionals to the hospital as well as facilitates the transportation of staff and patients to and from the clinics.
The Ericksons were planning to work with the hospital until February 2013.
According to police, investigation into the aaccident will rely on eye-witness accounts, as the plane did not have a black-box.