Tag: Elmer & Joann Reifel

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: cinami.org/reifel

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 – cinami.org/reifel.html

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 – www.cinami.org/reifel