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, December 25, 2011

Autumn's Annual 2011

Every year, I try to put together a newsletter of events from the year before. Here is a little snapshot of my busy past year!!!

Autumn’s Annual


Seeing God’s Hand at Work in Ghana, West Africa

This has been an extremely busy year and quite an adventure!

As many of you know, I taught for most of the year and really enjoyed my daily time with the kids. I also cared for a small boy at City of Refuge, Edwin, for the majority of the year. Both of these duties came with great joy, but also great exhaustion!! The saying is true, “It takes a village to raise a child”. At CORM, we certainly do work together to raise our children and see God’s handiwork alive and well in their lives.

Here is a little picture of our lives this year.

In January, we dedicated our children’s village site to the Lord and broke ground for all of our projects. We started construction on our two houses and our school and got busy building! We had almost 40 workers on our site everyday digging foundations and building. It was amazing to see the progress as each week passed!

We had our friends from YGAP Australia (Y-Generation against Poverty) join us in February and March. We made a couple trips up to the Volta with them, did some feeds, brainstormed, and overall, were encouraged by their presence and support. We also had visitors come through from Ohio and Semester at Sea around that time. January through June…seemed like we had a constant flow of visitors! Which was fun, but busy!

In April, I was so lucky to be able to have one of my best friends, Katie Majewski, come and visit me in Ghana. She came out to help plan our summer day camp program. It was wonderful to have her out there with me. She made me laugh so much and it was so much fun to show her a piece of my life in Ghana.

April was also busy as we started up our single mother’s program called 7 Continents in Tema New Town. It is our answer to stopping the problem of child trafficking at the root of the issue.

May and June were busy months with more visitors coming through from Finding Refuge, our partner program from Semester at Sea, and my family coming to visit. It was so wonderful to have my mom, sister Brianna, and foster brother Chris, come and spend a couple of weeks with me in Ghana. We had dance parties, a trip to the Volta, games, walks around Doryumu, and so much more. We even got to take a trip to Cape Coast, which was really fun. I think they really got a little taste for my life there. It was such a joy to have them there.

In July, I finished up the third term of our school year. I taught a combination class of our City of Refuge kids. I had 9 students: 2 second grade students, 3 3rd graders, 3 5th graders, and 1 8th grader. It was a busy year, but I was so impressed with the growth of the kids throughout the school year. They did so well!

When the term ended, I took off for the States. I was close to burn out by the time I left, so it was so nice to just get a bit of a break and enjoy some time in all the places I consider “home” in the U.S.

I went first to my friend’s, The Roberts, in Southern California. We joined with our friends from college, The Beatniks, for 5 days up at Big Bear. It was wonderful! We rented a cabin and enjoyed each other’s company for the whole week. It’s so fun now that we have babies added to the mix too. Always someone to cuddle with!

After my time in Southern California, I went to Northern California to visit my friends there. I got to spend some time with PCC (my sending church); friends from my former school (Brentwood Academy), and got to get away with some of my best friends. My friends and I went away to a cabin for the weekend and it was amazing. We rented boats, sang songs and played games, and had an amazing murder mystery dinner one night. It was awesome!

My final trip in August was to Colorado to visit my family. It was beautiful in Colorado and I got to spend a lot of time outside with the fam. We went boating and mini-truck driving. It was such a blast!

When I arrived back in Ghana, it was a pleasure to meet our two newest additions to City of Refuge, Dora and Mary. They were rescued while I was in the States and they are just wonderful girls! It was also so fun to have familiar faces around when I got into Ghana—my friends Christy (from Redwood City, CA) and Tom (from Melbourne, Australia). It was so fun to have them there when I arrived. It gave me a few days to settle in before the busyness of the school year settled in.

With my new role as principal at Faith Roots, my responsibilities changed a bit at City of Refuge. Edwin moved in with Mama Theresia and Daddy Joe, which gave me an opportunity to get more rest. I went from teaching full time to principal all the time. The end of August and beginning of September ushered in time for SCHOOL, SCHOOL, SCHOOL!!! We had to get the school building ready for school to start, make sure teachers were trained, and register students for the term. It was a really busy “welcome back” to Ghana! My days were very long, sometimes quite tedious preparing, preparing, preparing. And, like any first day of school, September 7th came with butterflies in my stomach. About 35 students showed up that first day, but by the end of that first week, our school was already registered with 120 students! Needless to say, it was a pretty stressful first couple of months of school. My role was completely different, more was expected of me, and I was busy every day of the week. But, as time has gone on, I have been able to feel more comfortable in my role and seen the school progress.

The majority of our students have big needs. Many of them come from schools that gave them less than ideal educations (50+ students per classroom with very little quality instruction). There is a lot to battle with students coming from backgrounds like these, but we’re working on creating change! We’ll continue to pray that God will continue to work in their lives.

We had some big events near the end of the year. In November, our baby Princess was adopted out to a family from the States, the Beute’s. We were so sad to see her go, but know that she is being so well cared for and loved so generously in their home. We also hosted a Thanksgiving Celebration for all of our families at school as well as some of our friends living in Ghana. And, at the end of November, we finally all moved out to the Children’s Village site. We moved without electricity, having faith that God would provide it.

In December, John and Stacy and their kids left for the States. I was excited for them to get the chance to spend time with their family. What a treat! It was a little strange being there as the only “obruni”, but I enjoyed my time with the kids and especially liked living close to the school. We finished up our first term with relative ease and December 16th, I headed back out to the States.

I’ve been spending time with my family and loving it! It snowed within my first few days here in Colorado and it has been wonderful enjoying a white Christmas, playing in the snow, and participating in all kinds of our family traditions. I’m planning on continuing my time in the States with a trip to Portland, OR to visit friends, back to Northern California and my home church and friends there, and a final trip to North Carolina to visit my sister Andrea and friends. I plan on returning to the States a year from now, so it’s quite a trip this time!

This year has been a year of joy, heartache, passion, faith, miracles, and so much more! We’ve seen God’s hand at work and tried to follow where he leads. It definitely keeps us busy!

Wishing you many blessings for the 2012 year!


Autumn Buzzell

Keep in Touch!

If you want to be added to my monthly newsletters or monthly prayer team newsletters, please email me at autumnbuzzell@gmail.com.

Keep up with me at www.autumnbuzzell.blogspot.com.

To see what we’re up to at Faith Roots, check out: www.faithrootsinternational.com.

If you want to send a financial donation, write your check to City of Refuge Ministries, memo: Autumn Buzzell, to:

City of Refuge Ministries

PO BOX 91546

Sioux Falls, SD 57109

If you want to write a letter to me, send it to:

City of Refuge Ministries

Attn: Autumn Buzzell

505 Cave Creek Rd.

Loudon, TN 37774

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