Tribute to Rev. Herbert Zigbuo by Bishop Innis

A TRIBUTE OVER THE REMAINS OF OUR DEAR FRIEND THE REV. HERBERT S. L. ZIGBUO

By Bishop John G. and Mother Irene J. Innis
June 23, 2012

We have lost a good and dear friend in Jesus Christ, the Rev. Herbert S. M. Zigbuo.

Our friendship with Herbert and Sister Mary, as well as their children, dates back to the late 1980s. Our friendship with them became much stronger when we worked as a staff with love and commitment at the Conference Center in Sinkor. Also, we lived together on the United Methodist Missionary Compound in the spirit of sincere love and unity along with Dr. and Mrs. Frank Horton, Janice McClain, Dr. and Mrs. William Daniel and Wilma Dunbar.

Our community spirit was buttressed by our devotion to prayers. Every evening we went from house to house to praise, thank and ask God for strength, peace and commitment to the work God has called and assigned us. Our prayer life was so strong that anything Herbert and I asked of God for ministry was granted. Therefore, we named each other “HOPEFUL.” When we lived together on the Missionary Compound, the team song of our prayer life was “O How I Love Jesus.” With faith, hope and love, God accomplished great and wonderful things for our respective areas of ministry.

We were united in the name of the Lord. I was serving in the office of Bishop Kulah while Herbert and Mary were serving as co-directors for the Department of Education. Many of you here today can testify how the education department was transformed.

At his Memorial Service held at Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Durham, North Carolina, I said to those assembled,

“We have lost a great servant of Jesus Christ. The people of Nimba have lost a loving and caring son. Herbert was sincere, committed, devoted, accountable, faithful and a devoted husband to Mary and father to his children. His total devotion to the ministry of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was strongly supported by his dear wife Mary. God first in Jesus Christ and second, his wife Mary was the source of his strength for whatever task God had him to perform.”

Herbert’s death is painful. We will always mourn his loss. However, we are joyful for the fact that Herbert died in Christ. He and Christ will dwell together in the Mansion that has long been prepared for him. Irene and our children will always remember the goodness of Herbert. Both Herbert and Mary honored our friendship so dearly that they took our daughters Chenda and Janjay into their home in Wilmington, North Carolina. Chenda and Janjay were airlifted by the US government during the outbreak of the third phase of our civil war in 1996 and the Zigbuos welcomed them and took good care of the children until we joined them in September, 1996. When I had my serious right eye surgery in Worcester, MA, Herbert and Mary flew from North Carolina to come and see us. What a good friend in Jesus! Our friend Herbert, go home and rest in peace.

Sis. Mary and children, please note that even though Herbert is gone, you are our friends forever and ever in Jesus Christ.

May God bless all members of the Zigbuo family.

May God comfort you.

May he wipe away your tears.

Your brother, father, husband, cousin, uncle and friend to all will live on and we shall see him when our journey on earth ends.

Thank you, Bishop Kulah for giving the funeral discourse of our friend. Your leadership as bishop invited Herbert and Mary to serve as missionaries of the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church. We are thankful to the General Board for recruiting Herbert as a missionary. We believe Herbert was the first Liberian missionary of the General Board. We remain grateful to Sis Mary for her role in his missionary journey. Once again our dear friend, you have shown us what it means to be true disciples of Jesus Christ.

Our thanks to Rev. James Labala, superintendent, pastors, officers and members of the Gompa District. Thank you, Rev. Priscilla Jaiah and the Mission Council, Bro. Taryor and staff of the Ganta Hospital for your ministry. Principal and students of GUMS, chair and members of the Board of Ordained Ministry and the Lay Leader of the Liberia Annual Conference, members of the cabinet, Chancellor, director of schools, principals and students, the missionary community, sons and daughters of Nimba as well as all well-wishers, thank you for turning out in such a great number for the funeral and burial services of our departed hero of faith, Rev. Herbert Zigbuo.

Our prayers are with the family and friends of Mary and all who traveled from the United States, participated and witnessed the celebration of the home going of this great servant of Jesus Christ. Thank you, Bishop Kulah. To all government officials of Nimba and the Republic of Liberia, thank you for identifying with us in our hour of grief and pain.

May the peace and love of God be with and grant you safe travel following this service.