Salone News

A personal tribute to Bishop John K. Yambasu

17 August 2020 at 15:36 | 1721 views

By Bishop Billy K. Simbo, Bishop Emeritus, Sierra Leone Conference, Church of the United Brethren in Christ.

Bishop Yambasu (photo) was someone I came to love and respect for his vision, drive, and great desire to see the work of God move in a forward direction not just in his native Sierra Leone, but all over Africa and beyond. We had a deepened personal relationship outside of our episcopal ties as fellow Bishops. I am a few years older than he is, and we are both Mende men, so he always fondly called me “Ngor Billy” (Big Brother Billy).

I have lost a true brother and a friend, and the United Methodist Church has lost a giant.

I have spent a lot of time reflecting on the manner of his death, he was killed in a vehicle accident (Sunday August 16) on his way to preach at the funeral of one of his ministers. HE DIED IN ACTIVE DUTY!

In my lifetime I have lost family members, a wife of over 42 years of marriage and several friends along the way. But Bishop Yambasu’s death shook me this morning when I read it on Facebook. In many years of ministry and preaching, I like other preachers warn of the certainty of death and the fact that we should be ready at any time, but at times like this our faith is challenged, and we are driven to the teachings of the Bible which tells us that our Heavenly Father makes no mistakes.

It is not for us to understand, because we are limited in our perceptions. We never get to see the end from the beginning as God sees. When I was a youth, our Youth Group had gone on an Easter weekend outing to Lumley Beach, I saw two close friends struggling in the water. I dove in and was able to save one of them and the other one drowned. That shook me up. Jacob Barnett was a good kid and he loved the Lord in his steadfast quiet way. It took me a while to get over his death.
Today, I have been reminded of this passing and these two songs have been running through my mind:

*When The Morning Comes*
We are tossed and driven
on the restless sea of time;
somber skies and howling tempests
oft succeed a bright sunshine;
in that land of perfect day,
when the mists are rolled away,
we will understand it better by and by.

By and by, when the morning comes,
when the saints of God are gathered home,
we will tell the story how we’ve overcome,
for we’ll understand it better by and by.

Trials dark on every hand,
and we cannot understand
all the ways of God would lead us
to that blessed promised land;
but he guides us with his eye,
and we’ll follow till we die,
for we’ll understand it better by and by.


*Farther Along*
Tempted and tried we’re oft made to wonder
Why it should be thus all the day long
While there are others living about us
Never molested though in the wrong

Farther along we’ll know all about it
Farther along we’ll understand why
Cheer up my brother live in the sunshine
We’ll understand it all by and by

When death has come and taken our loved ones
It leaves our home so lonely and drear
And then do we wonder why others prosper
Living so wicked year after year

When we see Jesus coming in glory
When he comes down from his home in the sky
Then we shall meet him in that bright mansion
We’ll understand it all by and by



Some day we will understand it all, but till then let those of us who are left behind live our lives serving and working for the Kingdom of God. Let us live each day as if it were our last on this earth.