Bishop John K. Yambasu, Resident Bishop of the Sierra Leone Area of The United Methodist Church and founder of the Child Reintegration Centre, has tragically died in a road accident this morning in Sierra Leone. Just last month the CRC joyously celebrated 20 years since Bishop Yambasu appealed to fellow Christians in the US to come to the rescue of thousands of children left homeless by the civil war, and the mission of the CRC was launched.
"Bishop Yambasu was a kind, insightful, courageous, and gifted leader, befitting of an ardent follower of Christ. He was generous with his life, devoting it to the care of God’s people, the widow, the orphan, the sick and the ill-treated. Those of us who were blessed to walk even a short distance of his journey alongside of him know how deeply he trusted in the goodness of God and the faith he held in the United Methodist Church and the tenants of Christianity. He worked tirelessly to bring hope and healing to a wounded world, traveling far and enduring much to lend his voice to bring the peace of heaven to earth. He wasted nothing of the life he was given. His presence will be missed throughout the world," HCW Executive Director Melody Curtiss said.
"We are two hearts beating as one, two hands with one heart, reaching across the ocean for the love of God's children." Bishop John K. Yambasu
Bishop Yambasu was born in Bo, Sierra Leone and received his primary and secondary education at United Methodist mission schools in Sierra Leone. He earned a bachelor's degree in agriculture from Njala University, and completed his Master of Theology degree at Candler School of Theology, Emory University.
Bishop Yambasu was ordained a Deacon in the United Methodist Church in 1987, and an Elder in 1990. He has served as Associate Pastor at Trinity UMC in Moyamba, acting pastor and circuit minister at Musselman UMC in Freetown, and acting pastor at Mayenkineh UMC in Freetown.
Bishop Yambasu taught in many schools in Sierra Leone, including the UMC Harford School for Girls in Moyamba, where he was senior teacher and school chaplain from 1982 to 1990. He was the Director for Christian Education and Youth Ministries of the Sierra Leone Conference from 1992 until 1998. In 2000, he founded the Child Rescue Centre which became the Child Reintegration Centre, and served as the executive director for the first two years.
Bishop Yambasu leaves behind his wife Millicent, and their five children, Rebecca, Adima, John, Emmanuel and Elizabeth.
Bishop Yambasu's legacy will live forever in the thousands of children and families rescued from extreme poverty and despair by the CRC. He was indeed "father to the fatherless." We mourn with his family and all those whose lives were forever changed by knowing this Godly man.
Bishop John Yambasu of Sierra Leone dies in road accident; he was also chancellor of Africa University (Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church)
By Sharon Gardner, literacy intervention teacher and First UMC of Colleyville Partner Church Representative
Jill Barker, Donna Edwards, Kerry Mueller and I, all educators, had the privilege of being part of a "virtual mission trip" to collaborate with Education Manager Mabel Mustapha and CRC Director Olivia Fonnie. Since the planned July 2020 mission trip to the CRC had to be cancelled due to COVID-19, our plans for a Teachers Learning Collaborative, Phase 3, had to be put on hold. TLC is an initiative for teacher-leaders from Sierra Leone to lead professional development for other teachers from Sierra Leone, assisted by teachers from the US. Olivia and Mabel talked with HCW and asked if we would be interested in collaborating virtually, so that Mabel could share some of the training materials with teachers in schools. Mabel was also interested in learning more about study skill strategies. We met several times online, and it was delightful! We discussed and shared information back and forth to support teachers and students. This was a marvelous way to “go” to the CRC without leaving home, and to be in partnership with our sisters in Sierra Leone.
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