Category: Deep Well Ministries

Fire in the Hole!! … and water, and ice and men with chisels….

Fire in the Hole!! … and water, and ice and men with chisels….

Dear Friends,reifel_5-7-18

Some of our men are back at the Wellington site in Freetown, using fire, ice water, picks and shovels to clear out the granite rock that has obstructed progress between the well and the water. Many wells by now are either dry or muddy at the bottom if they have not been dug far enough because this is the end of dry season and we may have had rain six or seven times since the beginning of November.


Last week the men began to build a large coal fire on this big piece of granite in the hole. Once the fire was good and hot they sent cold water down on top of the heated rock to weaken it. The men then went down with hammer and chisel to break the rock into pieces which are being hauled up to the surface. The irony is having to drive to another town to buy 150-300 gallons of water and huge blocks of ice to bring back to dump down a dry well hole!
This has been several times and Tommy has been sending us updates.

reifel_5-18-18_b_smallIf you look closely at the second picture you’ll see a man is sitting on the other side of a pile of granite. Wonder how heavy those stones are? A small chunk of granite has considerable weight! This is incredibly heavy, tedious work right now. We don’t
normally pursue one hole this way but they are so hard up for water in this urban neighborhood that we feel it is crucial to give this our best shot in Wellington at the Grace CinA Church. The only local well is limited to those who need it for drinking and its recharge rate is not very good right now. We’ll keep you posted on the rest of this project in WELLington… keep it in your prayers too.


Almost two weeks ago Fredica and Tommy went to Tobu to give the mWASH training.
Tobu’s well has given us some interesting issues. For one, it was sunk into incredibly hard, dry clay that has fissures between layers, allowing the collection of water into
a sump, which supplies the well with a steady source of clean water.
There is only a slight scent left of clay, which has put some people off using it, but others reifel_5-7-18_DeepWellMinistriesSLhave opted to steer clear of the old water hole (seen above) and continue to use the well for everything. In the rainy season the river will fill up again and all the junk from
other areas will wash down into it, further contaminating that water. The people who are using the well exclusively have testified that it has improved their health a great deal!

The mWASH program and discussion
about use of the well water vs the water hole has convinced many to begin using the well exclusively and we will
continue to monitor it for silty sediments. Those who attended all thereifel_5-18-18_d_small
sessions received bars of soap for their personal use.
Elmer and I have been busy compiling our reports for the SL Annual General Meeting and ones for the international office as well. This year the AGM will be held in Freetown and prior to that five day event, there will be a special team coming to lead a Pastors & Wives Retreat, including a one day Youth retreat. The CinA Director from England, Freddie Roberson is leading this special program. Pray for good health, excellent
meetings and faithful followers of Jesus Christ to be edified.


THANK YOU to those who contributed to the Sierra Leone Development Fund for wells in April!

… the private donors, whom we won’t embarrass by naming publicly, we REALLY thank God for your partnership in the well work! BIKA BIKA!
…the Hillside Missionary Church family for their generous sponsorship, enabling us to drill another well in Sierra Leone! What a blessing you have been and are to our ministry!
Recently some people have asked us for information about making donations.
If you are interested and want to become part of the ministry here…
…financial Support is sent to:

Christians In Action Missions International

USA– Account M387 (personal) or 387V (truck) or 743 (CinA SL Development/wells)
visit online:, click link to and look for our names
or US Mail: 1318 E Shaw Ave *Suite 308 * Fresno, CA * 93710 USA
Canada Mail: PO Box 344* Chilliwack, BC. * V2P 6J4 (Account 387)
(donations through Canada go solely to ministry expenses, not including vehicle nor wells)



It is a good thing we are a bit ‘grounded’ as far as the office work since our truck has needed some TLC for the last few weeks. In fact Elmer and the mechanic have gone as far as to RECONNECT the truck bed to the frame!
We hope this will make our ride a little quieter- It certainly will help make sure the loads are more secure! We were also getting roasted by the heat coming from the transmission area and found out why and remedied that as well. The next thing to be done is to replace the tires so they are ready for rainy season. Some of you will appreciate the frustration of wearing out a brand new hole saw and breaking four good bits in the process! Thank you to everyone of you who ‘keeps us running’!




Elmer & Joann Reifel: Living Water in Sierra Leone

Elmer & Joann Reifel: Living Water in Sierra Leone


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?


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.


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!


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:
On Facebook:
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


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

– 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,



Meet Abass from Sierra Leone, Africa

Meet Abass from Sierra Leone, Africa

Written by Elmer & Joann Reifel

Dear Friends & Family,

Several months ago we promised to familiarize you more with our well team members.  It seems to me that we got a little side tracked and here we are in 2017 already!  We are going to start with Abass Fofanah, our Well Team Leader.

Abass is 29 and was born and raised in Mile 91, about one hour west of Bo, where we live.  He is the third of six children and was forced to stop schooling in Class 3 (primary levels) due to the War in Sierra Leone.  When the rebels attacked Mile 91 his family was scattered in the bush and his mother was captured by them.  He and a friend named Joseph, whose sister was also taken by the rebels, decided to ‘infiltrate’ the rebels in an effort to free their family members.  After some time they were able to create a way for Abass’ mother to escape but it was almost six months before they found their own escape in the Hastings area, closer to Freetown. Unfortunately, Joseph lost his life to a land mine while trying.

Abass found himself in Freetown, a street boy– no home and no family to go to for some time.  He connected with those who stayed in an area he referred to as ‘the Dockyard’ where many displaced people lived.  At some point he left when cholera broke out.

He was able to learn construction work and save money so that he could go back to school. By this time he was older so he skipped a few grades intentionally and enrolled in Class 6, which he said was a struggle, but he was able to catch up.

In 2004 he learned that his father and family were staying with an uncle in Rokopu so he was able to see them, but he continued to work and to go to school until he sat his WASC (the final exam to graduate from ‘high school’ in Sierra Leone) in 2010.

During the construction work he met John Campbell and joined a well team. From that first well team he met us and eventually became our well team leader.

His wife lost a baby in 2014 so he was a VERY nervous father-to-be in 2016 as she carried their second child.  While I was visiting family and friends in December/January, his little boy “Elma” was born.   Baby Elmer (pronounced Elma) is doing very well.Abass

The most difficult aspect of well drilling for him is either too much rock in the soil or what is called ‘collapsing’ soil, which fills up the hole faster than it can be dug out.  This happened to our third hole in Wonah, causing some MAJOR extra work.

The part of well drilling that he enjoys the most is when the four inch pipe has been secured into the hole and the men have ‘clarified’ it— because at that point he knows that this well is going to be DONE.

Abass is a strong character and a hard worker but he does not appear to be in complete fellowship with Christ yet.  He believes in God, as many do, but the relationship with Christ seems to be missing right now.   Pray that he will be able to commit himself to the Lord “one hundred percent” (his favorite phrase)!

We invite you to partner with us in our Ministry, donations can be made by going online to:

also check out the amazing “Clean Water” video on this site.


depp wellYou know how it is after a big project is done.. time to tackle all the other stuff that waited for the  Big One to finish and seek an opportunity to rest shortly after that.  We took about a week at home to deal with urgent things in Bo before driving to Freetown.  We are still sorting through the details of having a well ministry here so we spent some time with Rev. Issa, the CinA National Superintendent, discussing that and other CinA issues. The truck underwent another mechanical ‘update’; we bought more equipment for our next well project (sponsored by a local missionary who lives in Baomahun, about two hours away); and we enjoyed resting and spending time with a missionary family of seven in Freetown.  We even made it to the beach for the first time in ‘forever’…well sort of. We sat close to it and relaxed but an incoming rainstorm cooled things off too much to go swimming…  North Americans might have enjoyed it but we Africans found it a wee bit chilly!

Next week we are hosting guests from Freetown- missionary friends the first half of the week, then Issa and Daphne Kargbo and one of the members of the Christians in Action SL Board who will be here for five days for the Annual General Meeting.  Please pray for delicate situations to be handled well and resolved and a spirit of unity and fellowship under the authority of Jesus Christ.  In preparation for these guests, God provided a bed for our office/guestroom.  It isn’t ‘compact’ but we quite like it’s unique style and feel much better about having people staying—especially as the rains sometimes are not stopped by our aluminum windows, creating large puddles INSIDE the rooms along the back of our house!

At the end of this month we plan to travel to Baomahun for the next well installation for a local school property.  We will be spending time with the missionaries there as well ~ Stephen and Laura Holt.  They have been working there for over four years.  Wells for schools have presented us with a problem in terms of volunteers to help with clarifying the well.  When that day comes we ideally need twenty men to form two teams, one to rest while the other is running.  Head count right now is five volunteers.  Being a mining community many want to be paid for missing a day at work.  That day might be the day they ‘hit it big’.  So pray that we get enough ‘hands’ to get the job done right.

Within a week of learning that we put a well in Wonah, FIVE more villages refiel maycontacted our Koidu pastor and begged for help with wells for their own villages….THESE PEOPLE DO NOT JUST NEED THE WATER, THEY NEED THE WORD.


  • Supporters who sent funds to help us do some major repairs on the truck in March.  May the LORD make His face to shine upon you and bless you.
  • For friends in Freetown who open their homes to us when we need to spend time in the capitol (hotels are expensive)
  • For mechanics in Bo and Freetown who get ‘er done so we can get on the road
  • For light again after two weeks without (a jeep hit the pole just before our house, snapping it in two. Pole won, jeep lost, two men in hospital)
  • For more missionary friends to fellowship with
  • For pastors’ interests in some of the ideas we have to help with agriculture and ministry in rural areas
  • For being able to help a former, trustworthy employee find employment
  • For an overnight visit from Steve and Sheila & Aaron and Min who made us a stopping place on their prayer journey in Sierra Leone a week ago.  Their love, encouragement, goodies and kimchi, as well as healing prayers really lifted our spirits

reifels It is getting to the time of year that we need to plan for our annual mission house
rental payment. This isn’t just our home, it is our office, storage for well drilling equipment, and a place to start our agricultural projects…in other words, ideally situated for the work that we are doing.   Please prayerfully consider if God would like you to help support our work in this way.

To support the Reifel’s  ministry click here –

26 Days and counting….

Yes, twenty five days since we have had any new cases of Ebola in Sierra Leone! Our faces aren’t ‘purple’ from holding our breath yet but maybe they should be.  We are so ready for this to be over! We are certainly grateful for being this far along without any!  

The last CDC team members assigned to Bo arrived this week and are packing up their bags and freezers here. While some are packing, others are catching bats for research (now there’s an interesting job assignment we’re not cut out for…!). We will miss the times we were able to spend with them. They have worked so hard, working twelve hour days, seven days a week for three weeks or more straight! We are glad for them as they get to return to their families, and for Sierra Leone as it seems that Ebola is almost through here.

September for us has involved reports, finances and the annual renewal of important documents that allow us to work here along with getting the last items for digging wells and our rental arrangement.  We are also reviewing our notes for a Leadership Training program coming up in the last weekend of October for the Emmanuel CinA Church here in Bo. We are expecting fifteen to twenty people from the congregation to attend our classes to learn more about godly leadership.  There are some serious issues that will be dealt with so please be in prayer for the outcome of this training.


Jiya, Joseph, Idrissa. KH site3Our missionary friend, Kayla, who is a nurse/midwife working in Bo, scheduled for a well to be drilled by one of the Willamette (mission) well drilling teams already up and running full time, so we had three of our new crew – Idrissa, Jiyah and Joseph, working with them to get more experience. It was a good experience, though not a fun one, because they ran into ROCK.  Apparently a massive one, about 36 feet below the surface. Granite rock– which made more of an impact on ‘the beast’ – ‘hammer’ than the hammer did on the granite!!  Wow!  So, learning the process and enduring the strain of digging of six or so holes in order to get one good well was a good learning experience, albeit frustrating for them.


Thirty more citrus trees have been planted at the JCC  farm. We have more trees that need to be planted (including an avocado that sprung up 18” during our absence!) but need to wait on decisions made at JCC to know if we should plant there or elsewhere. Their lime trees are producing really well and they have sent out over 400 limes to the school in the last two weeks.

Sunday School is back! Three new teaching volunteers have stepped up and the program is resuming.  I know we had AT LEAST 90 some children in that one room school last Sunday!  Next month we will be bringing in another missionary friend from Freetown, Jayne Smyth, who will spend a couple days training local church leadership how to teach Sunday School.  I am looking forward to that myself!  There is always more to learn!

Health: We  would appreciate continued prayer for Elmer’s lingering health issues resulting from the concussion, and for his allergies to not interfere with the work as much as they do.  It’s very frustrating for him/us.  Most days he is fine, but they are unpredictable.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our Canadian family and friends!  

Thanking God for the life,

Blessings to you…  

Elmer & Joann Reifel

To support the Refiel’s ministry click here –