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 29, 2012

Discouragement's Cure: Prayer and Laughter

This past week was incredibly discouraging for me.  In fact, I found myself, for the first time since moving here, sincerely considering the possibility that maybe I'm just not supposed to be here in Ghana...maybe it was time for me to return back to the States.

Thursday, our last day of school, we celebrated with a school program, lots of games, and fun, and time with the kids.  It was such a fun day.

As it neared the end of the day, the teacher's started packing up their classrooms and I played with little Calvin (one of the babies that frequents our house as his single mom has worked at our school this past year) in my office.  After all the students and teachers left, I packed up my bag, and got ready to lock the office.  I glanced around at my disaster of an office and realized that my computer wasn't in my bag.  Thinking nothing of it...that maybe I had just left it at home, I packed everything else up and headed home.

But, arriving home, I found my room empty.  No computer.  So, it was back to the school I went.  No computer.  So, back home.  And on and on that little journey happened...three trips back and forth from home to school and no computer.  Finally, I realized that at some point during our busy day at school, my computer was taken from my office.  Computer, power cord...both gone...along with all of the files for next year...months of work.  My only consolation was that my old computer had crashed in December and my uncle was able to put all of my documents from that computer on an external, so while I did lose most of my documents from the past six months, I did have at least a copy of work from the past two years. 

When I headed home, needing to create some contracts for our teacher's meetings the next day (which had already been done on my own computer, but now had to be completely redone on a new computer), I hunted around for one of our school computers that volunteers have been using for various different school projects the past couple of weeks.  To my disappointment, I realized that that computer has been missing for the past week as well.  TWO COMPUTERS...gone...not just my work, but hours and hours of work completed by volunteers to help me with different projects at the school, all gone.

So, I started my contracts from scratch on Thursday night and was up until almost midnight trying to get them done.  Then, up early to cook breakfast for our staff (who weren't too happy about our pancake and egg breakfast--they would have preferred banku for breakfast...sorry, that one is just not going to happen!) to show them appreciation for the past year of work.  It was a nice breakfast, but I dreaded the staff meetings that came next.

John and Stacy had to take off early, so they were only able to be at the school for a little bit for staff meetings.  I had been stressing these meetings for weeks on end, knowing that we were releasing three staff members from our Faith Roots staff.  I have spent weeks and weeks praying over these decisions, knowing it was best for our school, but so hard for me to confront teachers in this way, knowing that my decision would change the path of their life.

Last year, as I was teaching and leading our small home school, I had to let go of two teachers and it was a horrible experience.  In fact, there was such deep repercussions from one of those terminations, that the relationship continues to be a place of hurt for us in our ministry.  I was so concerned that these meetings would have similar repercussions.

But, as we met with the teachers, it wasn't received as I expected, but they accepted it with very little feedback.  It was the remaining teachers that struggled with those decisions, angry and oddly quiet.  As I walked through next years contracts with the remaining teachers, I was really challenged by the perceived impact I had on the teachers this past year. 

I spent a lot of time in teacher development this year and as I discussed with each teacher the ways that I saw them develop in their skills and encourage their leadership in the classroom, it seemed that not even our most successful classroom teachers understood the reasons behind my instruction of the teachers.  Instead, they were grateful to Mr. Francis for his support.  I kept having to tell myself that ultimately, this school has NOTHING to do with me.  It isn't about their opinion of me.  It isn't about whether they understood why I was asking them to do it a certain way or not.  This is God's school.  And it is about HIS CHILDREN.  Yet, it is so hard to pour into these teachers and receive no understanding as to why I asked them to do the things I have asked them to do.

At the end of all the meetings, I went home drained and empty.  I holed up in my room discouraged from the week.  I knew that the enemy was attacking my mind with lies, but it was so hard to believe the truth.  So hard to believe that I made any difference this year.  It was just so hard.  So, I wallowed.  And I zoned out...watching episodes of one of my favorite TV series to take my mind off of it all.

And then, I got a call from one of my new-found friends, Robin Beebe.  She encouraged me and prayed for me and some of those lies slipped away.

And then, Stacy came home and reminded me of truth...that our kids have made so much progress this year...some coming in not even knowing the English language and leaving this year reading and writing!

And yesterday, awwwww, yesterday just brought such peace to my heart. 

We had a day out at the mall yesterday and it was just what I needed.  We relaxed.  We chatted.  Rosemary and I went out to a movie (Snow White and the Huntsman, which was pretty good...different than what I expected, but good!).  And then, when we got home, we spent the night playing a game of Beans, telling stories, and laughing, laughing, laughing.  It was freeing.  And it was just what I needed.

I still don't know if I'm quite ready to get back into school mode (though I don't really have a choice as I'm have interviews this week and meetings with some parents), but I'm feeling better.

So, while I'm still not sure how to start from scratch on some things for next year, I'm at least feeling like it's possible.  Discouragement didn't win.  And I'm grateful for friends who offered prayer and laughter as a cure to what ailed me this week. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Hard Task of Being Away

Sometimes, the work that I do here feels so normal.  It feels like an everyday, breathe in breathe out, type of work.  I see people that I know everyday (now that all these volunteers are here especially) and it feels comfortable.

But, then there are times that it is extremely difficult to be so far away from my friends and family back in the States.  There are times when I'm overwhelmed by the distance between us.  And there are times when I just grieve the relationships that are strained by the miles.

...when a friend announces her engagement to a man I have yet to meet...

..when my family gets another foster child that I won't meet for almost a year...

...when a friend is pregnant with her second baby and I can't be there to walk through the process...

...when grief hits a friend and her family...

...the uncertaintly of finding someone to share my life with...

...when a friend struggles and needs someone to share the load...

...hearing of a friend's decision to move away...

...seeing my nephew and friend's children grow up, and not being there to get to know them...

It's in moments like these when I feel so very far away and in the midst of the hundreds of children I see everyday...it's in moments like these that I feel alone.

I love my place here in Ghana.  I love the work that I do here.  I have known a new way of living by faith and seeing God provide in powerful ways.  Yet, there are times when I just miss HOME.  You know that feeling...where every guard is laid aside and you can completely be yourself?  That homey feeling where you are warm, and comfortable, and completely at ease with life.

I've learned the many homes that I have been given through living here in Ghana, visiting friends in Australia, meeting new people from all over the US, knowing the value of "home is where the heart is".  But, it's in these moments, even though I'm at home in Ghana, that I feel my heart with these friends and with my family.

Sometimes, it's just hard being away.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Being Mama

This weekend, John and Stacy were gone to the Volta with the Ghana Rock team and all of the volunteers went with them.  It was weird to be at home with just the family.  But, with John and Stacy and Lydia all gone, that meant that there was a lot of work placed on me.

Rosemary helped with all the meals and we were able to get everyone fed throughout the weekend.  Friday night, I made a black bean stew for our rice that was kinda like a black bean chili.  Oh man, it was SO DELICIOUS!  Unfortunately, Miracle and Paul hated it.  They don't like black beans, but we made them try it anyway.  They got used to it after awhile.

Saturday night, the Beebe's came for dinner (and showers since their power had been off for a couple of days).  I made a pesto pasta with grilled veggies and some bbq chicken and Rosemary made a salad.  It was delicious!  Again, Miracle and JJ had a hard time eating the pesto pasta as it didn't have enough pepper in it, but it was still yummy.

I had been on Justice duty all day on Saturday and had washed all of the boys clothes.  Man, those three little guys sure do go through a lot of clothes every day.  I don't know how Lydia keeps up with it!  In any case, Justice was a little clingy because he's been getting over a cold, so he was my little sidekick all day.  In the afternoon, all the boys went down for a nap and I found myself even sleeping for a bit (a real treat!).  At night, with the Beebe's (and their yummy popcorn), we watched Mr. Bean's Vacation.  I thought it would be good for the kids since they don't hear much English and Mr. Bean hardly ever talks.  Oh man, it was so funny to hear some of the kids giggling and giggling.  I especially loved to hear Robert, Florence, and DK laugh so hard!

Sunday, the team was headed back and Rosemary prepared dinner for everyone...it was so yummy!  She worked on it all day long.  What a big help she was to me this weekend.

When they finally got back, I realized...wow, this "being mama" stuff is hard!  You are on duty 24/7.  It can be really tiring, but I loved the hugs and "I love you"s at the end of every day.  But, I was happy to hand over parent duty back to Stacy and John. 

One of these days, I'll be a mama to my own little ones...but until then, I'll enjoy the moments when I get to love on these kiddos and still enjoy my time to myself in my room.

The Rescue

As rescues continue in the Volta region and in our oceanside communities, we are being continually challenged by the dark.

I wasn't able to go along on this last trip to the Volta with the Ghana Rock group, but Stacy and John came back so discouraged.  Our regular trips to the outerbank of the lake in the northern Volta area have proven very frustrating.  Children hidden away.  Children literally taken from our arms.  Mother's crying for the release of their children from the burden of slavery while slavemasters continue to hold them in bondage.

One of the Ghana Rock group members commented to Stacy, "How can we take children away from these places if we don't leave Jesus?"

She's so right.  So often we come in, pray with the chief, then start the negotiations...but the only lasting change that we can leave is Jesus Christ. 

We're continuing to learn how to change our approach, to attack the darkness itself and not just those slavemasters holding children captive.  We have to provide some answers to their questions.  And we're praying for wisdom in the meantime.

So, we're still waiting...we're waiting for Kessi (Sammy's brother) who was released to us and then snatched from our very hands...we're praying for the two little girls that are owned by the chief's mother...we're praying for Edem...and we're praying for Delali and his family--that God would get a hold of him and release the slaves we've been working on for the better part of 2 1/2 years.

We're waiting...and we're planning on bringing some crusades to that area...to bring the only life-change that we know is real and lasting...the love of Jesus Christ.

Will you pray with us?


There have been times here in Ghana, when I have been extremely challenged spiritually.  I have felt dry and alone so many times.  Our worship gatherings on Sundays are wonderful and loud and full of beautiful Twi songs, but so many times, I leave discouraged as it just hasn't met that need inside of me for community.

This season, for me, has been incredibly busy, but I feel like, for the first time since I've come to Ghana, it has been a building of community.

We have started a women's Bible Study at the Beebe's house every Wednesday night and it has been so wonderful to get into the word together.  I feel encouraged and a sense of connection that I have been missing since coming here.  So sweet!

And I have had times lately of getting to worship together with volunteers and with the ladies at Bible Study and it has been such a deep time of connection with God for me.  I have missed worshipping with others to songs I know and that speak my heart language. 

I'm just thanking God for the community that is gradually being built up here.  I feel like more and more, God is creating a sustainable place for me to grow here.  Sometimes, it just isn't easy being far from friends and family and the community that I love in the States, but God is such a wonderful God of grace and love...providing just what I need when I need it.

This morning, I'm thanking God for the community he has built up around me here.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


I think I posted about our little Florence after she was rescued a little over a month ago.  I was worried about that little girl so much.  She cried and cried all the time and isolated herself away from the other children for the longest time.

The past couple of weeks, the change has been AMAZING in this little girl.  Even her eyes have changed.  Seriously, everything about her has CHANGED! 

I knew it the day that I walked by her and she grabbed my hand, the first time she had initiated contact with me since she came.

And then the next day, when she said my name as she played with Hannah on the basketball court.

And then the next day, when she laughed and screamed and ran with Uncle Steve after the football through the field (let's just say, that girl can run!).

But, my favorite is when you tickle her and she giggles until she can't breathe, but she doesn't stop there.  No, she tries to tickle YOU! 

To me...Florence represents what freedom looks like.

And it's absolutely beautiful!

Uncle Steve running with Florence and some of our other newly rescued children

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sending Off

I love volunteers coming through.  It's always busy, and can be overwhelming, but it is ALWAYS beautiful to see what God does through them here.

Kika, Andrew, and Kaley Grupe were with us for three weeks and they've made a powerful impression on my mind.  I keep thinking about them each morning when I wake up.

The Grupe's are friends of some of my best friends T and Evan Kolding.  Originally, the Koldings were planning on coming out here for a couple of weeks with a small group of youth from their church.  The planning process had begun and everyone was beginning to get excited when plans changed and the trip had to be cancelled.

But, the Grupe's still wanted to come.  So, we continued the conversation.  When I went through the Bay are in January, we sat down and talked possibilities.

But, their work here really was perfect timing.

They came with bag upon bag of donations and school supplies--much of which Kika had organized from her school (which needs a HUGE THANK YOU from me...they gave us so much here!) and then they set right to work.

Kaley hung out with her dad for a few days, but one day, DK brought me a note for her.  I have to admit that I sneakily read it before I laid it on her bunk (it said something about him wanting her to come and play with all the other children)!  And all of the sudden, Kaley was a regular over at the Freedom Center.  In fact, she began to eat most of her meals there too.  We hardly saw her during the day except to sleep!  Mama Theresia was even proud to let Kika know that Kaley had become a Ghanaian girl!

Andrew's job here was to make a documentary video capturing the full picture of our work here in Ghana.  He spent the better part of each day videoing and editing (and sometimes the better part of each night editing as well).

Kika was a God-send for me.  She was in the preschool class everyday with our teachers and students.  She taught them how to use different materials, helping approach things with a different structure, and then met with the teachers occasionally to have them ask questions and to do a little more training with them.  Preschool has been an incredible challenge for me this year and my training is not in early childhood ed at all, so her experience and love for the children and the work made such a difference.

I love that they each came with a project in mind already.

They were go-getters.  I didn't have a ton of supervisory work, but loved getting to partner with them to help clarify our vision or even to help bring their vision about even more.

And the best part was...I feel like their work was really lasting.  The supplies and trainings that Kika brought will help us train our preschool teachers better and it will help us provide a better, more round, program for the children enrolled in our class.  And Andrew's video will hopefully help us provide a way to explain our work to incoming volunteers, for fundraising, to help raise awareness...

Kaley's biggest wish as we were taking them to the airport was just for "next year's trip to Ghana".

It was the perfect volunteer experience!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Learning about Confrontation

So, I've been faced with some difficult confrontational situations in my near future and I have really been stressing about them. I hate confrontation. I mean HATE with a capital H!!

I think a big part of confrontation for me is that I'm always worried about how the other person will respond...how the relationship will be affected...people's opinion of me...

I guess I'm learning that I can be a people pleaser.

I have been asking for prayer about this issue as I've been working to change a few things here at school and realizing that some things have just been passed over so long that this new school year will really have to address many of the concerns that I am just now getting bold enough to discuss with teachers and staff members.

So, I have been reading through the book of Luke and the other day I reached this passage in Luke 20:

The Authority of Jesus Questioned

20 One day as Jesus was teaching the people in the temple courts and proclaiming the good news, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, together with the elders, came up to him. 2 “Tell us by what authority you are doing these things,” they said. “Who gave you this authority?”

3 He replied, “I will also ask you a question. Tell me: 4 John’s baptism —was it from heaven, or of human origin?”

5 They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Why didn’t you believe him?’ 6 But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ all the people will stone us, because they are persuaded that John was a prophet.”

7 So they answered, “We don’t know where it was from.”

8 Jesus said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.”

After I read that passage, I felt free. 

I realized that I don't have to be concerned with pleasing men when it comes to what is RIGHT in the Kingdom. The work that I'm doing here is for these children. If I don't defend them, stand for what is right and just...even in the little things...then who will? I am only accountable to God. He has given me the position of authority that I am in now and He is the one who leads and guides me forward as we move this school, and these children, forward.

So, I've been able to say things this past week that I hadn't been able to work up courage to discuss before. And I'm trusting that where my courage fails in the future, God will continue to remind me of the authority he has given me in entrusting these children into my hands will continue to spur me forward.

Friday, July 6, 2012

What Brings About Life Change

We have had our friends, the Grupe family, here this past week and it has been such an amazing blessing to have them here.

Kika has been helping in the preschool classroom.  Talking with her about different ideas of how to improve our preschool program, ways to train our teachers, ways to encourage a different language system (not local language, but positive language) in the classroom.  She has been an ABSOLUTE blessing and I am so glad that she came.  She has such a valuable set of tools to help us with our programming here.

And Kailey has been making friends with all the kids.  They are loving time playing with her!  And she has been an incredible support to her dad's project.

Andrew has been here working on a documentary video of sorts about our programs here and what we are doing to help answer the questions of trafficking and orphan care here in Ghana.  He works hard and I'm fairly certain that he'll be able to have the entire video completed before he is even leaving the country.  So impressed with his skill, gentleness in his approach with the children, and care regarding the issues.

Today, I was preparing some of our kids for interviews tomorrow.  We interviewed DK earlier in the week and DK struggled with answering the questions and he was really quiet about his experiences.  We decided that it would be best to prepare students for the questions ahead of time and then work on the interviews during the weekend.  Hopefully if they are more fully prepared with the questions and answers, we'll have a better response.

We are working on interviews for Robert, Dora, Mary, and Abigail.  As I sat down with Abigail, she was open about her life, but I think that it is still difficult for her to verbalize much of what she went through.  She was moved around...sold several different times...and I think she was struggling to remember what happened when.

Dora and Mary were so funny to interview.  Dora really struggles with maintaining seriousness for any length of time, so talking about something serious (as her past was), just doesn't happen right now in her level of developement.

Mary, on the other hand, was quite interesting to talk to.  She told me about how she was taken in the night to Togo and how she didn't want to go, but her father was given money so she was taken away.  She talked about her life fishing there, caring for children, and the abuse that she experienced. 

And when I talked with Robert, well, he brought tears to my eyes.  Robert talked about going to the farm everyday during his time in Boafri in the Volta region.  He didn't remember his parents and lived with his uncle for the majority of his life.  When his hip was injured in a football collision, he had to relearn how to walk.  Once he learned how to walk again, he couldn't farm any longer, so for the first time in his life, at the age of 13, he began to go to school.  He was in school for less than one year before he was brought to live with us here at City of Refuge Ministries.  He said that every night, he prayed to God that God would rescue him and provide a way out for him.  He said when Daddy Joe and Mr. Boewah came to pick him up, he knew that God had answered his prayers. 

I got to thinking about how far he has come academically.  One year of school in the Volta region and then moving to Tema, to a private school there, and then his second year of school was the one he had with me here last year.  This is his third year in school, and I've seen so much progress.

I began to complement him on his hard work and how far he has come.  But, Robert stopped me and said, "It's because of you Auntie Autumn".  Tears filled my eyes as he explained that before I came, he struggled and struggled to understand anything in school.  While school can still be a challenge for him, he has made progress because someone believed that he could do something more!

He told me that when he was in the village, he didn't have any ideas for what he wanted to be when he grew up.  His life was day in and day out...farming.

And today, Robert has this gentle heart...the heart of a pastor and a dream of a future.

I'm so proud of him. 

It is moments like these when I understand that though change doesn't come easily, it is so worth it.  Changing ONE child at a time...it is so powerful!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Some Things I'll Never Get Used To

I had a conversation with Steve a few nights ago and found myself saying, "Some things, I'll never get used to."

It's funny how "used to" things I have gotten during my time living here. 

The heat doesn't bother me too much anymore.  In fact, now that it's rainy season, I often get cold in the night and have to heat some water on the stove for a morning bath.

You get used to the dirtyness of the place and forget to even "see" trash around.  I've tried to be more aware as volunteers have come through, but it is something that just becomes normal here.

I have gotten used to the accent and can hear (and sometimes speak) Ghanaian English pretty well.

A constant barrage of kids, well, I know how to handle that now without too much impatience.

Cold water, electricity that goes out, drinking water for sachets instead of from the sink...all of that is normal now.

I've gotten used to seeing things carried on heads and often help put things on the children's head to carry.

I've gotten used to babies being attached to the back (though our babies are a little big for the cloth, they still enjoy a good backride).

But, in the past couple of weeks, I have seen some things that I will never forget and I don't think I'll ever get used to.

A couple of weeks ago, Stacy and I were traveling back from ladies day out in Accra when we came up to an accident not too far from where we live.  A motorcycle had been hit by a car.  The motorcyclist and it's passenger (a woman) were both lying dead in the middle of the road.  The car was flipped over on it's side in a ditch at the side of the road.  So many were gathered around, but no one was helping.  I could hardly breathe seeing such a sight in the middle of the road, and all I could do was pray.

And just this week, we were driving back from our 4th of July shopping and in almost the SAME spot, a boy had been hit by a car as he was running across the road.  He laid at the side of the road, the crowd gathered around, but no one helping.  We rushed to the police office not too far down from us, and Stacy and John ran inside and the policeman ran out to their cars to check out the situation.

And then on Wednesday, I found out that one of our own was involved in an accident.  One of our boys from school was hit by a motorcycle (a motorcycle without headlights on) the other night.  He was running across the street and was hit.  He was rushed to the military hospital and has stitches all over his body (his face and back primarily) and he is going in for x-rays tomorrow as the military hospital is concerned about some of the bones in his face. 

Yeah, those pictures just don't leave my head.  And I have to continue to pray for the families of these victims and trust that God will do the healing process in our little boy that attends our school and He will also work his healing in the lives of the victim's families from the past two accidents.

I'm learning that here, there is just a different value placed on life. 

So, as I'm seeing this, I'm praying that God will continue to teach his children at CORM and at Faith Roots about the VALUE of life...of freedom...of joy....of health...of truth...so that they will want to reach out to the world beyond themselves.  And may my eyes never overlook the value of ONE child...one person...one soul. 

4th of July Fun

Yesterday, we celebrated the 4th of July with other American friends who are here in country.  It was such a fun day for me as I love to cook and only get the chance to cook every once in a while here.

I went to school early in the morning to get a few things done and then came back by 9:30 to get started on the prep for the day.  We had chicken to marinate, steak and ribs to marinate, BBQ sauce to make, hamburger to prepare, chips to fry, dips to make, tomato and mango salsa to chop up, deviled eggs to devil up, salads to prepare, and all kinds of other goodness to prepare.

Preparing our beef for kabobs...those were some delicious kabobs!

So, all of us here got to work and chopped and diced and mixed and prepared.  And we ended up with some pretty amazing foods!  Our visitors Anna, Noah, and Steve were all in the kitchen with Stacy, Lydia, Veronica, and Lucy throughout the day helping.  It was amazing how much was accomplished with everyone's help.

By 3:00 pm, we started roasting our kabobs and cooking up our chicken and burgers.  Steve helped with the burgers.  Our coal pot BBQ is definitely a different experience than what we're used to in the States, but Steve did a great job helping the ladies with the burgers.

Steve helping with the burgers over our coal pot.

Our friends started arriving in the afternoon and they pitched in with stuff in the kitchen and helped to prepare the set-up outside.  As more and more people began to arrive, it really felt like a party.  When it was finally time to eat...well, the kids were overjoyed. 

Our newly relocated friends, the Beebe's, were super happy to eat some American style food and Mason even commented that he didn't want to stop eating until everything was gone! 

After the children's home dinner, all of the kids came over and started finished up our leftovers...trying our American food (to which some of the new kids absolutely despised) and before too long, all our food was finished (except for the extra large salad that we have camping out in our refrigerator...guess I know what I'll be eating for lunch!).

Before too long, John found a package of sparklers and the kids began to roam around with sparklers in their hands.  It really did feel like 4th of July.  After sparklers came an intense water fight where almost every kid ended up soaked and cold.  Franklin even had to hide from Rosemary's water throwing pursuits.

All in all, it was a wonderful celebration with new friends and for the first time in Ghana, it felt like we had finally created a semblance of a community.  All of us came together with our families because we're Americans, but in reality, we came together in Ghana as missionaries and we work with a higher calling in mind.  It felt so valuable to rest in the fact that even across cultural boundaries, our God is at work and brings people together for his loving purposes.

Awww...what a beautiful picture!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Field Trip and Introspection

Today, we went on an excursion to Tetteh Quarshie Cocoa Farms and Aburi Gardens. It was a fun trip and I'm so glad that we had the opportunity to take the kids on a trip outside of our little boundaries.

It was kind of a journey of introspection for me. I spent much of the day talking with volunteers and the Beebe family about the struggles of running a school here. There is the constant battle of "shame-based" discipline, the issues with staff, the lack of knowledge about the TRUTH...it brought about a whole bunch of insecurities as I looked at what has been accomplished this year and how far it still has to go. It is completely overwhelming at times and addressing issues with staff is not my favorite thing to do. Confrontation is so difficult for me and part of our conversations today just meant so much confrontation for me.

Introspection can be a really good thing. It makes you take a hard look at things going on in your life...in your work...in your family...and it encourages you to bring change to the places that are needing change.

But change isn't always easy. Change is difficult and it is sometimes painful.

And looking ahead at what needs to happen before the start of the next academic year...well, there needs to be a lot of change.

So, while I so enjoyed time with the kids walking through the farm and gardens and seeing the children ask questions and see things that they haven't every seen before, I also was challenged to continue to bring in change into this school, among my staff here particularly.

And it's not going to be easy...but that doesn't mean it won't be good.

I keep coming back to the TRUTH. Perfect love casts out fear. Our children at CORM have already experienced their fair share of fear. So this school should be the place where they experience the perfect love of Christ. And it's there where they can experience true freedom.