Falling Asleep

Posted on June 3, 2012


Tonight in Zambia, two little girls will not be put to sleep by their parents. They will never again see them in this life. Cameron “Jay” Erickson and his wife Katrina have passed through death and have entered into the presence of Jesus. Honestly, I hate this about my profession. I hate hearing news that someone has died. It feels like something so wrong. We were not meant to die! We were meant to live forever!

Jay was a student of mine at Moody, a bright young man, often asking questions that I could not answer. He had a heart for the gospel and was looked up to by his classmates. He graduated Moody aviation as a pilot mechanic and went with his wife and two daughters to Zambia with Christian Missions in Many Lands(CMML). With all the difficulties of getting overseas it is a joy to hear of each student joining in the work of the gospel.

I don’t know many details, but on this flight his wife was able to go with him. To take part in the ministry that he was doing everyday, to feel a part of what aviation is doing to further the gospel. I don’t know how, I don’t know why, but they crashed and were both killed.

Jay recently wrote a blog post on death that is providential in its applicability.

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. April 20 2012 http://sites.google.com/site/missionflying/home
Jay and Katrina now have new bodies. And their little girls are left here. Life is not clean cut, it is messy, broken. That is why we need Jesus. That is why we all need Jesus. That is what Jay and Katrina died for. They died taking the gospel to people who needed it, it is not in vain or pointless.
Pray for their families, for their daughters, for their co-workers who will be deeply impacted by what has happened.