Bishop John Yambasu of Sierra Leone gives the sermon during morning worship at the 2016 United Methodist General Conference in Portland, Ore. File photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.

It is with personal, heartfelt sadness that I must report the sudden, tragic death of Bishop John K. Yambasu, the Resident Bishop of the Sierra Leone Area of The United Methodist Church, who died in a road accident on August 16 just outside Freetown while on his way to preach a funeral service for one of his ministers.

Bread and Water for Africa® has been working with the United Methodist Church of Sierra Leone for more than 12 years where we are partners in health care having shipped hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of medicines, medical supplies and equipment to UMC-SL clinics over the years, as well as education and emergency relief support.

Through our partnership with UMC-SL, our shared mission is to provide and deliver quality, compassionate and personalized health care services to the impoverished people in the communities such as Rotifunk, Kulanda Town, Manonkoh, Jaiama Nimikoro, Taiama Town and Moyowa Jong where they operate clinics.

As the UMC-SL noted in May, the result has been an uninterrupted supply of drugs, making for the constant availability of essential medicines always at the ready and allowing for fees to be affordable to even those of low income, or even free for the impoverished, while maintaining a high standard of quality care.

This partnership has provided “immediate emergency care for thousands of vulnerable Sierra Leoneans who were in desperate need and experiencing life-threatening health conditions,” stated the UMC-SL.

“The donated medicines and medical supplies were well-timed and with the colossal need, consequently produced a significant effect on the eight United Methodist Church Health facilities at this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. Patients – women, children, adolescents, men, and the elderly, now received free treatment with medicines. Once more, thank you for your continued support.”

I had the honor of meeting Bishop Yambasu about five years ago on a visit to UMC-SL clinics supported by Bread and Water for Africa® and found him to be, as expected, very kind and genial, and a great soldier in spreading the gospel of Christ, as well as a visionary who cared deeply for all humanity, especially his people of Sierra Leone.

Bishop Yambasu, who would have turned 64 on August 24, was well-known and beloved throughout Sierra Leone and the United Methodist Church community worldwide.

“Bishop Yambasu’s untimely death is stunning news to The United Methodist Church. Bishop Yambasu’s undeniable love and passion for the church has been evident in his area and throughout The United Methodist Church,” said Council of Bishops President Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey, who also noted that her heart aches for Bishop Yambasu’s family.

“Our hearts are broken, and we’re devastated by this sudden departure of Bishop Yambasu. This is a great blow to the people called United Methodists! It is our hope and prayers that God will comfort the family in particular and The United Methodist family at large. May his soul rest in perfect peace,” said Bishop Samuel Quire of the Liberia Episcopal Area.

But perhaps Bishop Billy K. Simbo, Bishop Emeritus, Sierra Leone Conference, Church of the United Brethren in Christ, who described Bishop Yambasu as a true brother and friend, put it best when he stated, “HE DIED IN ACTIVE DUTY!”

With sad regards,

Bethelhem Tessema

Executive Director

Bread and Water for Africa®