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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Monday, January 23, 2012

Back to School and hearing Stephen's Story

I had my first day back at school today and caught up with Mr. Francis about his break during the holidays. It was kinda a catch up day, but I heard a lot of amazing stories about Mr. Francis' trips to family homes during our Christmas break.

One of the stories that I heard was that of Stephen. Stephen is one of the oldest students in our school, but incredibly bright and full of promise. Stephen came to us at the end of the first term and told us that his family was not around and he wouldn't be able to pay school fees. Because of that, we decided to make it a point to visit his home during the Christmas holiday. So, Mr. Francis went to see where he was living. He said that he kinda armed himself, ready to give the parents some tough love about being responsible, but when he saw the conditions of Stephen's situation, he almost began to cry.

Stephen lives in a one room, crumbling mud hut. Some of the walls are not even complete. There isn't much food. There isn't much hope. The mother had left Stephen at the house for the past five months while she tried to go find work. She had just given birth to a baby and needed to find a way to support her family. So, she went away. Stephen fended for himself for FIVE WHOLE MONTHS. Occasionally an uncle would find work and would be able to provide him with lunch fees. And we, not knowing the full situation, didn't know the gravity of what was going on with him at home.

Stephen's mom arrived back home shortly before Christmas. She told Mr. Francis that she has been ill since she left our area to look for work. She depended on the kindness of strangers to get her well enough to move back home. Mr. Francis fears the worst...HIV or another debilitating disease. He said she looked so lean and the baby wasn't well either, probably not being fed enough.

It broke my heart in so many ways...but I also feel hope for Stephen. He came to us and we have the opportunity to perhaps help this family in a way that they never thought possible. We can offer his family what we have and we can show them the love of Christ in a way that they may not have ever experienced before.

So, I'm reaching out...we need to find a sponsor for Stephen. It's a $50 per month commitment for Stephen's school fees, book fees, lunch fees, transportation, after school program, uniform, and various other ways that we can support him and his family. If you read this, would you prayerfully consider offering HOPE to Stephen and his family?

You can contact me at autumn@cityofrefugeoutreach.com or our sponsorship director, Kristin Miller, at sponsorships@cityofrefugeoutreach.com for more information about sponsorships.

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