A missionary couple from Spokane, Wash., were killed recently when the plane they were flying hit an electric pole and crashed in Africa.
Jay and Katrina Erickson, both in their late 20s, had been working at the The Chitokoloki Mission Hospital in Zambia since February.
Jay, a trained bush pilot and aircraft mechanic, was flying the six-seat Cessna June 2 when it struck an electrical pole and fell into the Zambezi River.
"We feel absolutely distraught and completely overwhelmed with sadness, agony and grief over this and so helpless that we could not do something more," an update on the Chitokoloki Mission Hospital website read.
The couple met at Moody Bible Institute in Spokane and were married in 2008. They began a yearlong mission to transport food, medical supplies, doctors and missionaries between the 150-bed mission hospital and other remote outposts.
Those who were acquainted with the Ericksons say they were clearly devoted to their God - and to one another.
"Once when working on the Internet here at Chitokoloki, Jay and I were trying to work through some problems with not a lot of success," one fellow Chitokoloki missionary named Doug Hanna recalled in an online post.
"In the middle of the morning Jay disappeared and was no where to be found," he continued. "When I asked where he was I was told that he went for "tea" with his wife." Read the entire post here.
"Turns out every morning at 10 a.m., he would stop what he was doing, go back to the house and make sure that his wife left with their two young kids were okay and what was going on in their day," he said.
Hanna said that Jay's example made him reflect on how important each and every day is, and how valuable people are over the "things we fill our days with."
"Jay (was) full of energy and ready for anything, and the two of them (were) happy to be serving God and doing something with their lives," he wrote.
In a recent post on the couple's blog, Jay reflected on the idea of death and how it was such a common occurrence experienced by the people they were serving. He ended the post with a brief quote from author C.S. Lewis.
"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," he wrote.
Jay and Katrina were buried together Wednesday at the mission in the same custom as the Zambian people, as was their request.
Their two daughters, 2-year-old Marina and 1-year-old Coral, will return to the United States to live with family.