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, June 4, 2012

This is what it's all about...

Ale left on Thursday and Steve Peake came in on Friday and friends of ours, Mike and Rachel Collins, came and spent some time with us the past few days.  It has been this awesome flood of encouragement and familiar faces and such a joy.

And yesterday and today have just been a couple of those days where you realize what this is all about. 

Yesterday, we went back to the Laloyna area where we have been doing a lot of education to talk about human trafficking with families there and to investigate certain situations where children might be too vulnerable to trafficking and need rescued.  We'd planned this education in a village with a name I can't pronounce for quite a while and were surprised when we showed up that no one was there.  So, we waited for a little bit, and then got started with the few parents that were around.  Eventually, more and more people came around as John got started talking. 

When he finished talking to the families about the importance of education, the life of the children on Lake Volta, and the opportunities available to those that are educated, questions started popping up everywhere.  These men and women really thought through what John said, processing and wondering how to make this possible for their children.  One man wondered what else they could do to make sure their kids were enrolled in school when the monies for uniforms and exam fees aren't available due to poor fishing or salt fields that aren't producing.  Hard questions...  And what do we do about a boy who is 15 and refuses to attend school any longer?   How can you force someone to go to school when they don't want to any longer? 

And we don't have the answers to all of these questions.  We don't know what other things can be brought into those communities so that money can be provided for children to attend school.  We don't really have an answer to a child who refuses to go to school.  But, we know that God's dreams are bigger than what we even know and that these kids deserve more than what they're currently getting,

So, we interviewed families and heard story after story and we prayed for discernment on who should come and who should stay.  And we ended up bringing one little boy with us.

Benard is eight years old.  His front teeth still growing in and knobby knees, Benard spent 5 years on the lake until he was brought back to live with his sister when his parents died sometime last year.  He had been sent to the lake when he was 3.  You can still see the effects on his body...parasites in his belly, ringworm on his head and skin, and no schooling or language skills.  His sister came with us to see what he lives so she can come visit again.

After the education in that village, we headed back to Laloyna to pick up Rapheal, who we identified last week and wanted to pick up with us this week.

Rapheal is somewhere between 10 and 12 years old.  His parents moved to Cameroon and left him with his great-grandparents, his guardians all over 90 years old and one of them blind.  When we approached them about Rapheal, they said that he hadn't lived there in over six months.  He had been homeless, begging for food from local film crews filiming for a Ghana film somewhere down the ocean side.  But, he has happy to be coming with us yesterday, turning in his seat in our bus and giving me a thumbs up on the ride home.

And when I came over this morning to say hello to the kids, the best greeting to start my day was Rapheal's smile as he flew at me with a good morning hug.  And Benard's timid way, telling DK that it was the first time he had ever used a tooth brush.  And the joy I saw as they played football with the school kids during break.  And their goofy laughs as they looked at videos on Edgar's phone from earlier in the day.

This is what it's all about...

And then to come home from school today to find a little boy sleeping on Aunty Portia's back, baby Joel.  Just a year and three months, his parents both gone, his grandmother was unable to care for him any longer and some local friends brought him by to stay with us.

This is what it's all about...

The stress and loneliness and frustrations of working in this country can frequently get the better of me.  But, I have to realize...this freedom is what it is all about.  Where children can be children.  Where children get the opportunity of a future they never had before.  Where the option to be sold isn't something they have to worry about anymore.

This is what it's all about...

Thank you God that you are a God of Justice...

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