BY KABS KANU :
Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to the United States, Mr. Bockarie Stevens, turned gospel preacher and provided much-needed succor and hope to tearful family and sympathizers of the late All People’s Congress (APC ) Washington DC Chapter Leader , Mrs. Mariatu Florence Bobson Bangura, at her funeral held at the Lincolnia United Methodist Church in Alexandria , Virginia , last Saturday.
Mrs. Bangura, a very strong pillar of the APC, died on August 23, 2015 after a brief illness . Her death stunned the entire Sierra Leone community and the leadership and rank and file of the APC.
AMBASSADOR STEVENS PREACHING AND CONSOLING MOURNERS
She was a woman who touched the lives of many people with her good works during her lifetime. It was therefore not surprising that she drew perhaps the largest crowd at a Sierra Leonean funeral in recent times. It was also a most tearful funeral imaginable. Ambassador Stevens’ message of hope therefore factored well into the grief-charged atmosphere and provided a lot of relief .
Mr. Stevens , delivering the eulogy on behalf of President Ernest Bai Koroma and the Government of Sierra Leone , as well as the Embassy of Sierra Leone to the United States, lauded the late woman for impacting the lives of the community and the APC. He praised her for the support she gave to the Sierra Leone Embassy and her readiness to always provide moral support when required. Ambassador Stevens said that the late Mrs. Bangura was always present whenever there was an activity at the Embassy.
Ambassador Stevens also outlined and commended the role played by President Koroma to comfort the family since Mrs. Bangura took ill and when she passed away. The President called the family and spoke to them and consoled them personally.
Ambassador Stevens reminded mourners that the end of man is the grave. He said he saw a brilliant animation at Facebook ( Though he is not a fan of that media ). This animation depicted a big mansion juxtaposed with a lowly dwelling we refer to as “Pan Body” in Sierra Leone and underneath it was affixed the picture of a grave. The Ambassador said that the animation struck him that it was a poignant message that however rich or poor a man, his final destiny is the grave. We will all end up there, he preached . The lesson we must learn from this animation , Ambassador Stevens preached, is that we must impact the lives of others while we are alive .
Realizing that there was so much grief in the church , Ambassador Stevens comforted the family by saying that , as christians, we are taught not to mourn as if we do not have hope. While all the tears and sorrow were going on, the Ambassador further preached , Mrs. Bangura may be looking at us and laughing and saying : “I am here with my maker and I am happy.” The murmurs of approval from the huge congregation demonstrated that the admonition went down well with mourners.
Ambassador Stevens conveyed his deepest condolence to the family of the former APC Women’s Chief on behalf of President Ernest Koroma and the Embassy.
Mrs. Bangura was later buried at the Mount Pleasant Valley Cemetery at Little River Turnpike , Annadale, Virginia.