Elmer & Joann Reifel: Living Water in Sierra Leone

Elmer & Joann Reifel: Living Water in Sierra Leone

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reifel_5-7-18April 2018

“YOU ARE INVITED” was what I said to my okada driver just before he dropped me off at church this week.  As we came to a stop he took note of the name of the church (Emmanuel Christians in Action) and paused, obviously thinking.  So, I did the customary thing and invited Musa to church.  He said he would come next Sunday… and we sincerely hope he does!

In Ghana and Sierra Leone at least, it is common for someone to ‘invite’ people to church, or to eat with them when food is being served or purchased.  One is not obligated to partake of the food but in Sierra Leone, a church invitation is normally accepted — which seems to lead to a sort of ‘church hopping’ situation for some individuals who have not found the ‘right’ place for them yet.   On Sunday it made me think of how Jesus has ‘invited’ us to heaven, through faith in Him and His sacrifice for our sins.  This invitation has been ‘open’ for generations but one day will close for each one of us.

Sunday afternoon after church there was a funeral for one of the young men from Emmanuel CinA who died as a result of a freak accident on the 19th.   The church was packed. His wife is still in the hospital undergoing treatment and was not able to attend.  Michael was involved with the music ministry, played the drums with passion and loved soccer as well.  He was a good natured man, admired by many for his talents and his humor.  Our hearts go out to his wife Marie Francis, their families, the church family and the students he taught next door, at the Ken Weibe Primary School.  Young deaths hit hard.

We also just learned while writing this letter that Pastor Yambasu’s Muslim father also passed away.  He had been in poor health for some time.

One man was young, the other was elderly but neither were ready… Following Christ is a decision we all have to make before we die. Have you made yours?

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Thank you for praying for the elections in Sierra Leone. The opposition party won, bringing in a new President, and a new political party. The elections were peaceful for the most part and we thank God for that.. One person told us though, that memories of the war among the older generation kept violence to a minimum. The new Parliament opened yesterday. Pray for the new government as they begin to lead and that they would look to God for guidance.

reifel_5-7-18_CMissional Water Access
Sanitation Health/Hygiene

Tommy and Fredica carried out the first missional WASH training in Kakama from April 20-22. An estimated fifty people from Kakama, Sembehun and Foya villages attended this free training which helps people understand the reasons for taking certain hygienic precautions and how that will improve their health. They are shown that God’s Word also addresses such things and people are taught how to apply them to daily living so their overall health and well being improves. Statistics tell us that access to clean water improves health 21-22% but mWASH training increases their health by 68%!reifel_5-7-18_E

Many illnesses are associated with things that have nothing to do with medicine- superstitions still carry a lot of influence over village life. By explaining cause and effect at a basic level, we hope that each village where we have installed a well will make huge improvements in general health and hygiene standards.
One of the new ideas is hand washing with a “tippy tap” (pictured on the right) – a hands free method created from local items. If soap is not available, wood ash can be used! It isn’t that people don’t wash their hands at all, it is just that they don’t always do it when they should and they don’t always have the facility to make it convenient… and as we know, children ALWAYS need to be reminded!

As a nurse, Fredica has the advantage of additional medical training that she can employ when some other questions come up.  She shared that lack of feminine hygiene can cause miscarriages due to infections but training women to wash things well and hang them in the sun to sanitize them can change the outcome of a pregnancy. It also helped that Pastor Jonathon (seen in the blue CHO t-shirt) also had mWASH training and contributed to the sessions as well.

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In order to keep the well ministry and mWASH training going we need sponsors.
Please share the following information with your book club, your church, your friends, your mates (in the British sense of the word!), your fellow teachers or doctors… just imagine what a difference a well makes in a community for long term health benefits!

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Consider that this RIVER in Kakama is typical of many villages and where they get ALL their water from year round (the first picture was taken in January).  The last two photos show that same water source in April, during dry season.

In the rains the river bed fills up but the water will be typically dirty with moving particles of soil and debris.

The FANTASTIC update from Kakama is that since they began using the well water there has been NO diarrhea, NO itchy skin, their bodies look healthier and THEY FEEL HEALTHY! Isn’t that WONDERFUL?

reifel_5-7-18_DeepWellMinistriesSLBE PART OF THIS TRANSFORMATION and help us supply wells for other village communities:

Sembehun is a good sized village with a medical clinic in it — and the town’s one well is dry. They have asked our team to come back to help them. The cost to refurbish the well is $2500-3000. If we have to install a new well, the cost is $4500.
Foya is another neighbor to Kakama. They have no well at all. $4500 is needed to put in a new well for them.
A Baptist Church in Mile 91 has been pleading for help in their area for months (and this will not be a simple solution due to the region). They travel two miles to get water even though they live in a large town. Estimated cost $4500.

Are you up for a challenge?
Does bridging the gap to better health in Africa stir your compassion?
Here is a challenge we ask you to consider, if you haven’t donated to a well yet…
DO THE MATH: 1 well @ $4.500 serves 500 people @ $9.00 per person
1 li bottled water = $2.29; at 4 per person = $9.16
1 gallon water = $1.63; at 5 gal/day/person = $8.15

How many people could you help the next time you BUY water for yourself?
On the go? Forgot to pack it? Too warm to drink now?
Can you afford to spend $9.00 a month for 1 person?
Consider sponsoring a family of five if you can afford more.
… Many, many more villages like Kakama need wells.
They are willing to help us install but they need YOUR help to pay for the team and equipment.
Only 5% of money sent into Christians in Action for wells is kept in the US for administration costs.
In sponsoring a well, you:
*     Provide clean water to a community
*     Provide incomes for seven people
*     Support the local CinA conference

USA Donations – visit: cinami.org
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DeepWellMinistriesSL/
Specify Account “743 Sierra Leone Development and Relief” to sponsor wells,
OR use mailing address: 1318 E Shaw Ave *Suite 308 * Fresno, CA * 93710 USA

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Prayer Requests:

Marie Francis, Michael’s widow and their famreifel_5-7-18_Hilies. Francis and Michael had been married just over a year.
Pastor Yambasu and his family
Daphne Kargbo, our National Superintendent’s wife continues with medical treatment in the US
Jacobus Kotze, Elmer’s South African friend since school in Nigeria, and his host and ‘enabler’ during his medical trip to South Africa. He is currently battling cancer
Kevan and Priscilla’s wedding plans to come together for June

Praises:
– limited violence during election runoff and since
– safety over many miles of traveling
– for the love and light shared by certain members of the Bo church
– a source for more TEE books has finally been found!

Serving Sierra Leone together for Jesus,

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