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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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Hitting close to home

Today was the medical clinic here at the school for Faith Roots families and Doryumu residents.  It was awesome.  Dr. McMicheal and his family joined us for the clinic and it worked out perfectly.  They saw SO many people come through today.  I don't know that I could even keep track of the numbers.

The hardest part for me was the fact that if there were any problems with families...well, it became personal.  For some reason, we did the clinic in the Volta and it was so different to just talk to people you didn't know about news that could potentially change the rest of their life.  And then, to talk to these people--families that you see day in and day out...students that you pray over...families that you talk to as they come to visit in the office. 

Let's just say that it was an emotional day for me.  To find out that some are HIV positive...it was absolutely heartbreaking to me.  I had a hard time managing my emotions the rest of the day.

I watched one of our students, an orphan who is considerably neglected in the home, be diagnosed with HIV.  We didn't even have anyone to tell.  No guardian came to see to him.  We walked him through the line, made sure he was assessed by the nurses and seen by the doctor when it came to an angry looking sore on his leg.  When the diagnosis came back, I started tearing up and had to walk away for a little while.  I thought about his already painful life, and was just sad.

I know that HIV can be managed.  We work with an amazing program called the West African Aids Foundation and they do SO MUCH to help change the stigma of AIDS here in Ghana, providing education and counseling and treatment.  And so I'm praying for our friends there and the future ways that we can be involved in helping to defeat the stigma of HIV here in Ghana and in our community.  And I'm also praying for my little student, the one who is alone and I'm praying that God would be so present to Him, and to us, as we continue to serve "the least of these".

Before the day ended, it became still more emotional for me.

I wrote a month or so ago about some students of ours whose mother had passed away after being sent away to a shrine.  The boys have yet to have returned to school.  It has been something I have been so concerned about, knowing that the boys hometown is near the lake and the possibility of them being sold into slavery.

Yesterday, I had Mr. Francis call the father and tell him to bring the children to us today to talk about options for the family.  The man was pretty set on leaving his children here with us, but after hearing his story, we decided that he was simply being irresponsible and unwilling to stand up for the future of his children.  So, we decided that we would fully sponsor all THREE of his children at school (we'll be looking for two sponsors since one of the kids is already sponsored) and he will be required to take care of his children at home.  It took some convincing, and we're worried about the outcome, but we're going to give it a try. 

In the end of that meeting, we just had to tell the father--the only thing that would change his heart about taking responsibility for his kids is Jesus.  He needs to know and understand Jesus' love and that will change his ability to parent. 

And really, that is what it's all about.  Today, hit a little close to home for me with everything, but it is about the love of Jesus.  It's HIS love that covers our students when they test positive...it's HIS love that covers our families when they lose someone in death...and it's HIS love that leads parents to become role models for their children.  So, it will be HIS love that I dwell in tonight as I pray for the future of some of our kiddos and families.

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