Allen and Patty Morell, United Methodist Church of Osterville Partner Church Representatives
Bishop Yambasu was an extraordinary human being and disciple of Christ. We first met him at Floris United Methodist Church in Virginia, in the USA, in 1999. We met him again in Ghana in 2003, before we had ever visited Sierra Leone. Rev. Yambasu (at the time) and his wife, Millicent, had offered for our daughter, Mandy, to come live with their family in Ghana. Mandy had been accepted into the Peace Corps, but when their process was a little slow for Mandy’s liking, she decided she was going to go to Ghana on her own for a year. When we shared this news with our pastor, Rev. Tom Berlin, Tom kindly contacted his friend, John. Little did we know that the generous hospitality the Yambasus extended to Mandy would result in a beautiful long-term relationship and friendship between the Yambasus and the Morells.
Over the past 18 years we have learned and caught so much from the Bishop. We learned that no matter how busy one is, always make time for other people. We learned to be better listeners. We learned that prayer is the key in any situation and often the solution when there are challenges. We learned how to be more flexible. We learned how beloved Bishop was! We were blessed to experience the CRC resident children’s sheer joy and excitement when they mobbed him whenever he popped into the CRC compound, especially when the children were not expecting him to visit.
What did we catch from Bishop J. K. Y. ? We caught his passion for the poor and the vulnerable in Sierra Leone. We also caught his passion for education and vocational training. We caught his performance many times over the years telling a West African folk tale. We caught some of his sermons live and many others we read when John would share the hard copies with us. His voice was unmistakable, captivating, and powerful! We caught his huge smile and his whole-body laugh. We will miss that infectious smile and laugh and never forget them.
We caught his supernatural love for his family – his lovely wife, Millicent, and their six children: Rebecca, Adama, John Jr., Emmanuel, Elizabeth, and Janet, plus his two grandsons. John was a father to hundreds more children and a mentor to many, many adults. We caught his enthusiasm for being an honest leader, and for always being transparent.
In March of 2019 Bishop and Millicent came to our home in Massachusetts to relax and rest. (Bishop was the busiest and most well-traveled person we knew!) There was a little bit of snow when they came, and Millicent and Allen went in our backyard and made a snowman. Millicent was so tickled building that snowman. And John thoroughly enjoyed watching his wife have fun.
We will miss him terribly! Allen, Mandy, and Patty extend our most sincere condolences to the Yambasu Family, the UMC Family, the Child Reintegration Centre Family, the Mercy Hospital Family and all who loved the Bishop. His loss will take a long time to process, but we are confident that we will all be reunited with him one day.