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, May 17, 2013

Our Greatest Need

At the start of this school term, I identified one of our biggest needs with the work that we do here at City of Refuge Ministries.

Some staff members called me the night before school started to have me come and help work out some problems they were having.  So, Nosa, Lydia, and I hopped in the car and drove over to the staff house and found two of our staff members literally at each other's throats.  It was a little scary to see anger rule in such a way.

The whole 2 hours that we sat there, counseling and talking and trying to figure out what to do next, I worried for the hearts of our staff members.  The problem was solved for the night, but definitely not completely finished.  It was deeper.  Anger rooted down.  Fear deeply seated.

And while we sat there, I was so overwhelmingly sad, knowing that they were both acting out of a place of hurt and pain, not fully understanding the love of Christ--if only they fully understood. 

I realized that one of our biggest needs here is DISCIPLESHIP.  It's not something that can just take place overnight, but the daily discipleship of these men and women and children must be our priority.  I can never bring complete change in someone's life.  In fact, I can't even bring change to my own life.  God alone can bring change.  And until that is understood, our staff and our children will continue to fight and see unchanged results.  They will continue to argue and get offended and be completely frustrated again and again and again.  Until they fully know how loved they are.  Until they fully understand the sacrifice that has been made for them.  Until what they understand in their heads transforms their hearts, there will never be change.

And I will fail.  I am not a perfect example.  John and Stacy lead in boldness, but they will fail.  Cayle and Dawn, who would love nothing more than to disciple our children and staff, will fail.  They are not a perfect example.  Our only hope is to do our best to reflect Jesus, to counsel and train as Jesus did his own disciples.

Right now, it is the one big need that is greatest on my heart.

I know that we will only see Kingdom Culture here at CORM when our staff (sometimes even more than our children) see Jesus and are transformed by Him.

I am reminded of the physical way that we see our children transformed when they arrive.  The first month is so hard, living in anger and frustration, these children lash out in incredibly cruel ways.  And then, we see them soften.  They begin to understand how to communicate.  They begin to see that they are completely free here, taken care of, loved.  They see these things and they begin to melt.  But, the anger still resides there.  The pain is still there.  And in some moments, you will see the rawness of their heart.  Their desire to be with the ones that they love chafes. It hurts to remember what they've been through.  It makes them angry and sad and they grieve.  And there comes a time when they understand that even in the midst of their greatest hurts, Jesus comforts.  Even in the midst of their greatest anger, when their behavior is at its lowest, they see that our love for them does not change...that Christ's love for them does not change...then we begin to see glimpses of their true heart.

And that is my longing for each person that I work with here...that they understand those truths.  In the midst of it all, they would be free...knowing they are loved, forgiven, and walking in grace.  That is when we will see true Kingdom Culture take place in our homes, our school, our lives.

God, may it be so.

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