We are Stephen and Laurie Erickson with our two daughters, Karin and Johanna. In 2003, after working as an architect for 20 years, I received a pink slip and suddenly was unemployed. But God provided me with small jobs to pay the bills while, unknown to me, He was preparing us for cross-cultural mission work. An elderly saint in our church said to Laurie one day, “Maybe God wants you to be missionaries. Do you get the AFM magazine?” I attended a Christian men’s conference and heard a fiery young preacher talk about the need for missionaries in unreached areas of the world. But it was another eight months before I started thinking seriously about AFM. One night, I experienced some serious doubts and prayed for clarity and assurance that God was leading. Before dawn the next morning, I woke up realizing I had just seen myself in heaven surrounded by a dozen PNG men thanking me for coming to share the gospel with them.
Now we’ve been working with the Gogodala people since 2007. We’re building a training-center campus that will also serve as a camp meeting facility. Twelve young men from Kewa village are helping us. None of them were church members before, but now, nearly all of them are baptized. Our plan is to use the training center to equip local missionaries to take the everlasting gospel to other villages up and down the Aramia River.