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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Friday, August 10, 2012

How to Be Me

This season has been challenging for me, but I finally feel like I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

No, nothing has really changed about my situation.  I still have PILES of work to do and not enough time to get it all done.  I have teachers to finish hiring, the school year to plan, trainings to complete, curriculums to write, paperwork to finish...and all before school starts on September 11, with a school administrative staff of...well...me.  Mr. Francis is out with a dislocated shoulder.  Let's just say that I'm so glad that Stacy and Robin are around to give an extra helping hand and so glad for the team of volunteers here to keep the kids busy!

In any case, I think I'm starting to see and feel a little more freedom by realizing a couple of things.

1) This isn't about me.  Which happens to be what I keep hearing over and over and what God keeps showing me...this is about surrender.  The school is going to be fine with or without me.  God is going to work with or without me.  Yes, I want things to go a certain way, but God will do what He needs to do with or without me.  So, this STRESS about getting things done...it just has to be surrendered because if I'm being honest with myself...it's not about me.  And that is actually a relief.  I wasn't the one who has done all this work...God has.  And without Him sustaining me, well, this wouldn't have happened.  And without His faithfulness, this school would not even exist.  He gave the vision and He will bring it to pass.  I'm thanking God for that.

and 2) I have to protect my time so that I can fully engage in my ministry here.  And it's ok to take that time to take care of myself.  Sometimes, that is the hardest part about "taking time" is the guilt that comes with taking time instead of hanging with the kids or working at the school.

This week in Bible Study, we had some visitors with us from an organization that works at putting in wells in communities here in Ghana.   We were reading through Hebrews 4, talking about the Sabbath day of rest, and what that looks like for everyone.  One of the ladies spoke up and said that at her church, they operate on these three ways to take a Sabbath:
*Disconnect daily--turn off the computer, put away the paperwork, take out your Bible, a book or music...and disconnect from the world.  Take an hour before heading back into the ministry (whether that means heading home to minister with your family, or to our children's house to say good night, or whatever that looks like for you) to disconnect from everything that you have been doing that day.  (This is separate from your daily time with God.)
*Withdraw Weekly--take your family or yourself and pull away once a week from anything ministry-oriented so that you can make your family (or in my case...myself) a priority.  This doesn't even have to be a day away, but just withdraw from ministry-oriented stuff and make you and your family a priority for that day every week.
*Retreat Bi-Monthly--Get away for a weekend or even a day every other month. 

This was really great for me to hear from a woman who is a pastor at a church and who understands that great dichotomy between ministry in church, ministry in your family, and ministry for yourself.

Sometimes, I feel like I've lost me in the midst of City of Refuge Ministries.  I love my role here, that I've been welcomed in here as a director, that I get to be a part of the vision of this place, that so many amazing things have happened during my TWO YEARS here in Ghana, but I don't want to lose ME in the midst of all of that.

And those three key things really gave me permission to not lose me...

Yesterday, Stacy and I went to Accra to look for curriculum for the upcoming school year.  We wanted to get stuff done this week so that we weren't waiting until the last minute for all these things to be completed.  With the traffic in Accra, we ended up spending the majority of the day driving around in a taxi, but it really felt like that day to withdraw.  We ate some yummy chinese food for lunch at a restaurant we've never been to before.  We bartered our way through curriculum at the market (I got this compliment..."This isn't your first time buying books."  I felt Ghanaian as I got lower prices than our taxi driver, Joe, could get!).  And we waited for John and our friend Suzanne at a hotel eating french fries and drinking sodas.  It was actually a pretty fun and relaxing day.  A day to do something different.  To withdraw from the ministry, have a little bit of independence, and just be me.

I'm learning.  And it's feeling good.

1 comment:

  1. Autumn, I am so glad you are learning the "discipline" of Sabbath. It is a great way to stay in the marathon race that is ministry. God has used my desire to be "creative" to help me relax and lean into His love for me.
    If you ever get the chance to participate in Ignatian Exercises, I strongly recommend it.