Home Pastors Lake County pastor shares wise words outdoors, while fishing

Lake County pastor shares wise words outdoors, while fishing


Elaine Briefman is a pastor, ordained minister, licensed marriage and family therapist, author, speaker, coach, mentor, fisherman and founder of Fishing4Truthan interfaith online training and mentoring program for Christian leaders.

Camping and the outdoors have always had a special attraction for her. Although she knew nothing about fish or lures, once a friend introduced her to “catching,” her life was never the same.

Her love of fishing and her desire to make creative Christian mental health videos while fishing is what brought her and her 10-year-old cat named Bacon to Lake County last summer.

While part of the appeal is getting out in beautiful places and away from the pressures of life, Briefman confesses that fishing is addictive like gambling, only with fish.

Pamela Harpster, Branch Manager of Management Connections in Lakeport, laughed, “I feel like she would love to be the first Christian fishing therapist – kind of like Dr. Phil on the lake.”

“I had this idea many years ago and called it ‘Float Therapy,'” Briefman said. “Having the visual and physiological experience of boating on Clear Lake would be wonderfully beneficial to help people gain perspective and priority.”

She has videos on various platforms that have been recorded from a boat, dock, and shore, as well as state and county park walking trails.

As for subjects, the possibilities are endless. People have even suggested using biblical fishing analogies.

Harpster, who first met Briefman at a networking event, thinks she can get her message across to the business world as well.

“I can see how the trainings she leads with Christian leaders could easily transfer to trainings for local business leaders,” Harpster said. “His experience, knowledge and insights would be invaluable and could have a huge impact on our community.”

Turbulent childhood

Born in Sacramento, Briefman, 58, was adopted at birth. His adoptive family included two little boys, and his parents fostered many other children.

She was abused by her adoptive father throughout her childhood. The abuse began before she entered kindergarten and continued until she left home as a teenager. In high school, she ran away, got kicked out, started hanging out with the wrong crowd, and did drugs and alcohol.

She briefly dropped out of her freshman year, then decided to return to class to complete her senior year. She graduated, accepted her degree, and drove off, never telling anyone about her traumatic upbringing.

Throughout her childhood, Briefman and her adoptive family continued to attend church, which she says was a distorted view of God and herself.

“I think my biggest struggle today is with what I call ‘reality checking’ because my upbringing was so psychotic and super hypocritical,” she said. “I had a hard time knowing what was really real and what they were faking. It takes a long time to overcome.

Find a new kind of faith

As she continued to work through the confusion and pain, she did some serious research around faith. She was trying to find out what was true versus what was corrupted by her adoptive family.

Briefman was 21 when his adoptive father went to prison. Then, at 22, she came to fully accept her newfound faith as something deep and personal, something no one had ever told her to explore. Faith is for the individual to sail on their own terms.

“Discovering this dynamically changed my understanding of life as a whole and gave me comfort in my unique value to God and creation,” she said.

As Briefman continued to explore faith, life went on.

At 35, Briefman, who has four children, two stepchildren, three grandchildren and three step-grandchildren, was reunited with his birth mother through a half-sister who was also looking for her. They all keep in touch and talk to each other several times a month, even spending vacations together.

“We have dynamically different beliefs and political leanings, but we’ve learned to have healthy, uplifting conversations about these and many other topics,” she said. “In fact, she (the birth mother) was the one who suggested Fishing4Truth as my business name and even helped design the logo.”

Briefman also reunited with his biological father and stayed in touch as well.

Organize events, write books

A graduate of Sacramento State University with a master’s degree in psychology, Briefman is a firm believer that there is unity in our uniqueness. Our sense of self is often damaged, she said, and this prevents us from receiving love, from being free from fear and worry. She will host an online course on this idea known as “identity abuse” on March 15.