My name is Autumn Buzzell and I live and work in Ghana, West Africa with City of Refuge Ministries. Here, I run our school, Faith Roots International Academy, and get to be a part in rescuing and the healing of children who have been trafficked into the fishing trade, orphaned, abandoned, and those who just need a little extra loving. What an amazing gift this life is!

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Sunday, July 17, 2011

And all the rest...

So, I was trying to find individual shots of all the kids, but the ones I had were a bit outdated, and I haven't uploaded my newest batch of pictures. So, I'm going to finish my update on the kids based on the picture of most of our kids at school!

I've given you the story of most of our kids, so here is a follow-up on the ones that I haven't told you about yet...

DK (bottom right) is one amazing kid. DK was rescued with Abigail last June and he is a picture of what God can do in a child's life. He fished for 5 years on the lake (sold into slavery at the age of 5). When he came to City of Refuge, his muscle development was way more than what you should see in a normal 10 year old boy. His language skills were undeveloped as he'd never been to school and he was easily frustrated (often getting in fistfights when he was angry).

Dk is a different kid today. He is DEFINITELY a little brother! He enjoys being pesky, and he does it with a big grin on his face. He is very funny and makes everyone laugh! He loves to play football and he is really very good at it. He also loves to learn and took on the challenge of attending school head on this year. He was able to finish the year accomplishing kindergarten and first grade in one year.

He loves hugs and kisses and sometimes bothers the other kids by chasing after them with a hug or a kiss. You can only laugh at his peskyness sometimes! He is truly a joy and I love to see how God has restored him.

Gradually, I see more and more of God's hand at work in his life. When I told him about a couple friends who were having some pretty scary medical things happening to them, he was the first one to ask their names and he still prays for them every night (even wrote a letter to one of them). Sometimes, you'll catch him in this "sermon mood" where he will just walk through the house preaching. Since his English is still growing, sometimes his sermons are more funny than he even expects! And he loves to sing (usually never the right words), but this boy can praise God! It is just a joy to see the hand of God becoming more and more prevelent in his life as he begins to see that he can be ANYTHING he wants to be!

Mershak (second on the bottom right--next to DK) is such a loving boy. He was an orphan when he was brought to CORM and spent much of his time on the farm that his relatives owned. He didn't have much school experience, but let me tell you--give him a ball and you will see an amazing football player. This boy loves sports! And he is so successful at anything that he puts his foot to!

Mershak was probably the lowest kid in my class. He really had a challenging time this year, but his language skills grew and I know that we'll see more and more progress as time goes on.

Mershak loves to be loved. Whenever I walk by, this 14 year old will be the first one to hold my hand, or stroke my arm, or ask for a kiss at night, or want an extra hug. He just loves love! He is so sweet!

He has a bit of a stutter, but I think that his stutter has more to do with confidence than anything else. When he gets nervous or upset, it is much more prevelant. As time has gone on, I have seen less and less of his stutter and more and more confidence.

Ben (second on the left at the top) is an amazing boy. He loves to pester his other siblings here at CORM, especially Valentina. But, mostly, it's good natured fun!

One afternoon, Ben told me a bit about his family. He comes from a pretty well-known family in the Kete Krachi area, but they have a lot of witchcraft in their family. When his parents died, he was rescued by CORM and we are so thankful that we were able to bring him to live with us. He spent a lot of time on the lake and still suffers from a water-borne parasite that lives in the lake. It effects your liver causing you to urinate blood. A year and a half later, he is still dealing with this issue. We are continuing to pray for his body to be healed!

Ben had a bit of a struggle this year with school. He doesn't really like to pay attention that much and that caused some issues in his scores, but we're going to continue working with him to get him up to where he needs to be!

Aaron is Joseph and Theresia Brabi (our house parents) youngest child. Though he is 11 years old, he is TALL! Everything thinks that he has to be closer to 15 because of his low voice and long legs.

Aaron (third from the left on the top) is very smart and enjoys school. He can be a goofball at times, but you will only see this once you have earned his trust. He has experienced a lot of coming and going of visitors and children in our home and I think that has been a painful journey for him. Because of that, Aaron often distances himself. But, this year, I have seen him come out of his shell. He has really come into his own and I am so proud of who he is becoming!

Valentina (third from the right on the top) is a hard working girl. One night, after she had helped me wash my clothes, we stayed out in front of our compound and we chatted about her life in the Volta. She told me about her dad who died from a bullet meant for another man. And she told me about her mom who died from an illness not long after that. And she told me about her Grandma who raised her and loved her and cared for her well. And then, her Grandma died, and shortly after that, she was brought to CORM. She didn't know what would have happened to her if we hadn't taken her. And she says that she has learned to do more things with us than she had ever learned living with her family in the Volta. She loves her life and this beautiful girl is a joy to have in our home.

Valentina was one of my biggest challenges when I first arrived at CORM. She didn't want to learn from an obruni. She even told me one of my first weeks of teaching that if I caned her, then she would respect me. But, I told her that I would show her a different kind of love. And by the end of the year, Valentina was one of the most respectful girls in my class. What love can do!

I have a few more kids to tell you about, but for this morning (and for my battery), that is enough. I'm so blessed to get to live life with my kids. God is good...

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