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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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A Conversation on Polygamy

Today, I had two conversations with people about the polygamy that is so commonly practiced here in Ghana. 

A pastor friend of ours came in to chat with me about an upcoming outreach today and somehow, we started discussing some of his church members that have students here in our school.  We talked about one particular man who has 4 of his children in our school.  3 of these children are from one wife, 1 from another.  He explained that this man has four wives.  His first wife has 11 children, his second has 10 children.  This man's goal is to have 50 children.  Even now, he has a new girlfriend.  He relies on stealing oil from the vehicles at the quarry during his shift as a night-guard to help cover the expenses of his children.  The wives are frequently fighting amongst each other, a competition set for who can give him the most children.

When this pastor confronted him about the situation, the man's only response was, "If you can't accept it, I will move to another congregation."

And a teacher came in today for his one-on-one time with me.  When I asked him what he wanted me to pray for him and he told me about his father, who recently married a second wife in secret.  He heard that his father was engaged and he snuck into the wedding and watched his father marry another woman.  And this, after 20 years of marriage to our teacher's mother.

When our teacher confronted his father, the father's only response was, "I don't want to see you again."

To many, they say this issue of polygamy it is cultural.  It's accepted and so it continues.  A man can choose to marry more than one wife if he so desires.  A woman is given promises and sweet words.  She might have a say in who she marries, but so many are easily persuaded or once a dowry is paid to the family, the choice is no longer their own.

It is a matter of discipleship.  It is a matter of self-worth.  It is a matter of understanding God's individual and infinite love for their lives.

How can that be communicated when one fathers 50 children?  What understanding of God does a child get in that case?  What is communicated to the woman and the children...the first wife, the old family?

What are your thoughts on polygamy?  What are some of your messy answers to these messy problems?

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