A U.S. Clergyman, the Rev. Dr. Stephen Green Howard says Christians don’t die, but they just change from one stage of life to the other, while eulogizing Mr. AmbulaiBulleh Johnson – first Internal Affairs Minister of President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf’s Administration.
He said at the funeral rites of former Minister Johnson at the Providence Baptist Church on Ashmum Street on Friday, 14 October that Christians change in a twinkling of an eye, urging the bereaved family and audience to thank God for Mr. Johnson’s promotion to another stage. Rev. Howard said his message was not in the context of what a church that called itself “Never Die” had taught its members in Liberia that “they would never die,” but he was speaking of the fact that the Apostle Paul wrote that Christians can change in a moment and in a twinkling of an eye from mortality to eternality.
Mr. Johnson’s wife, Mrs. Thelma Johnson and his sons were at the funeral – also attended by President Sirleaf and government officials from thethree Branches of government. Members of the diplomatic corps also graced the ceremony in Monrovia during the weekend, before Mr. Johnson was later buried the same day in Kormah, rural Montserrado County.
The U.S. Senior Pastor at the Cornerstone Baptist Church inGreenville, North Carolina had said that healing comes not just in life, but it also comes in death on grounds that death can come as a sweet relief.
He said there were some situations in life that were even worse thandeath. He said Mr. Johnson served humanity with honor and distinction, and commended him for volunteering his time to teach math at his Alma Matter Lott Carey Baptist Mission in Brewerville when there was no math teacher.
Prior to working in the Sirleaf Administration, government’s official Gazette said Mr. Johnson lectured at the Cuttington University College, now Cuttington University in Suakoko, Bong County. He later taught in the Economic Department at the State – run University of Liberia.
He died in his 72nd year in Charlotte, North Carolina of USA on Tuesday, 20 September after a period of illness. Acting Foreign Minister Elias Shoniyin said the late former Minister Johnson was a loyal friend, as he recalled how he inspired his professional work back in 2005 beginning with President Sirleaf’s transitional team.
Current Internal Affairs Minister Dr. Henrique Tokpa remembered Mr.Johnson for championing the enactment into law the Act that established the National Council of Chiefs and Elders. He said it enhanced government’s reconciliation process and put chiefs in the fore front of conflict resolution process; and that Mr. Johnson helped to bring to an end land dispute in Nimba County, while chairing a presidential ad – hoc committee.
The Workers Association at the Ministry of Internal Affairs described the late Johnson as people-centered and did not discriminate among his staff. They credited Mr. Johnson for being the first Internal Affairs Minister to modernize the ministry by setting up computer system for offices.
The workers association said their former boss championed the decentralization process of government and created enabling working environment for all workers, also remembering him for structuring the National Traditional Council of Chiefs and Elders and organizing programs that mitigated land and boundary disputes across the country.
By Winston W. Parley-Edited by George Barpeen