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, August 26, 2013

Going Away and Coming Back Again

This last weekend, I was blessed with a weekend away.  Johnbull set Stacy and I up in a hotel in PramPram so that I could get a little rest and time away from CORM before school starts up again.  It was such a gift.  Such a gift of time.

Stacy asked me, "What do you want to do this weekend?" and my answer every time was, "I don't know." 

I was working right up until the time that we had to leave, so I hadn't made any plans for the weekend.  I didn't have any expectations.

So, this weekend, it was filled with just that.  No expectations.  Relaxation.  Good food.  Good company.  Sweet time with the Lord.

We spent a lot of time just hanging out watching TV shows and playing games on our ipads.  Spent some time researching ideas for the phonics training (uggg, yes, work on my weekend).  Spent time at Paul and Angie's house one night.  Spent an afternoon at the beach.  Slept on a water bed (kinda weird...didn't those go out in the 80's?).  And most of all, I relaxed.  It doesn't happen for me often around here, but it happened this weekend. 

And it was sweet.

And I'm reminded that these moments to "get away" should not be so few and far between.  To just rest in the simple love of the Father...to surrender and trust that he has this all under control...and to know that everything that I do is simply for His glory...it should be a place that I continually run to.

And so, coming back again, I'm trying to live into that.

I wrote earlier about a principal coming in and working with us.  Well, today she called and said that she might not be able to come anymore.

And even in that, when the burden feels too much to carry, I surrender.  Because God knows WHO needs to be here, even if it's not the one that I thought He was calling here.

So, it comes down to that word again.  A simple word.  A hard word.  But coming back again, it's the word I hear pounding in my ears.


It's all in My hands.


It's all for My glory.


I will equip.  I will restore.  I will give you rest.


It's Yours.

Friday, August 23, 2013


I have had a million ideas pass through my brain of what I could blog about (or should blog about). 

Our basketball camp has been going on this week and it has been awesome. It has been great seeing our kids out running around, learning skills, enjoying themselves. 

John Lamb left with his two kids and I could write about his last week and his insights into our school, our conversations about ideas and change, and about his family and the grace God has given them in the WAIT for their children to come home to their forever family.

I could write about our girl Pamela and the possibilities we are looking into for our girl so that she is safer and better cared for on a regular basis.

I could write about so many things...

But this morning, the word on my heart is "equipped".

Earlier this week, I chatted with John about my educational background. We talked about my experience in the teaching field. And when I think about it, it is so limited. 2 years of private school experience, two years subbing, three years teaching. A bachelors degree. No administration experience whatsoever...in fact, no desire to even be a principal at all.

And yet, here I am, walking into my third year as a school administrator.

I told John how challenging it is...I am not trained to do what I am doing. But the need was there.  I knew that I could teach a class of students and could get them where I wanted them to be academically, but that would only effect a limited population of students. Working this way, i get to see more needs met for our 220 students! Even though I feel out of my depth 90% of the time, I am seeing that that is when God works best.

You may have heard the saying, "God equips the called."

I believe that. Fully.

And I am seeing that more and more.

More and more in me. And am now seeing him calling more and more hands and feet to this place to be equipped.

And so, we will do what he is calling us to do. As He equips us, we are now being called to equip others.

It's this powerful message of constant reproduction...the church being the church...of discipleship...of relationship...of intimacy.

Just in the past two months, we have seen not just one person come to be equipped by God through ministry here, but closer to 10. God is expanding and building and preparing.

It's so good.

So, I will declare myself ready for more...ready for God to move and change and deal with me more (even though declaring that is a little scary because I know He will ask me for more, but in return, I will receive so much more), so that more of His people, His children can be equipped.

We are ready!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Living in Answered Prayer

Since returning to Ghana in February, it has been one of my aims to move out of my role as principal here at Faith Roots and move into a support position in the classrooms, focusing on better instruction and discipleship for students and teachers. 

This has been a step of faith for all of us here.  It means handing over a bit of our vision and trusting that someone else will hold it well.  It means trusting someone.  And I, we, have experienced our fair share of hurt when we have trusted in the past. 

But, God continues to remind us of his faithfulness.  Sometimes we hand over the vision and it is trampled.  But, sometimes, we hand over the vision and it is treasured and multiplied.

That is what I see happening.

When we decided to seek out options to change my position here (and ultimately create the school into a sustainable, living, breathing thing), we walked it out as if the prayer for a God-honoring, trustworthy principal was already answered.  We didn't have the money, but we had to trust that it would come.  We didn't have the person, but we had to trust the he or she would come.

In June, we met this wonderful couple who have spent the past year working with Campus Crusade for Christ in Kumasi and Accra.  Brittany majored in education and has a pure and lovely heart for children.  Stanley's passion is discipleship and outreach.  They came and spent a weekend with us, but their time with us placed a calling in their life for equipping.  They plan on getting married in about a year and moving to North to be missionaries in Ghana's own 10-40 window.  But, they feel called here to be equipped with what they need to GO.

So, while Stanley could have gotten a job paying quadruple what we could afford here, he understood and heard and listened to God's call and is coming here to work in our school office for a year or two.  I have needed an office manager and our CORM admin stepped in this year to help me, but her desire is really to work with Stacy to manage and oversee what is done here.  So, Stanley literally CAME (no seeking out...no putting word out again and again only to be disappointed with what we have found...).  He is starting in September, working in our office, discipling our boys and teachers, and being equipped for his future.

And then came the interviews for principal.  I had 5 choices, and only 3 made it even to the interview point.  And when it came down to it, only one would have understood this position as ministry. 

And so we sat down with Sussie, after two interviews and several phone calls, and we "negotiated" what was possible to bring her here.  We talked about housing and salary.  What we could afford was already 200 GHC less than her current job (and certainly far less than what the job was really worth and what her qualifications really would require).  And then, she told us of another school seeking her out to teach, offering her double what we had the ability to pay.  It felt impossible.

But, we told her to pray about it and ask what God would have her to do.  We only wanted her here if God wanted her here.

And so we waited.  In that gentle tension, trusting that God would provide if this was His plan for this place.

And she called back, with a YES!

And so it begins.

This transition.  This new beginning for this school.  Trusting that God has called these people in.  And trusting them with this vision that God has birthed in us here.  And living as if these prayers we have been praying are already answered.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Last Day of Math Training with John

John has been affectionately called "Prof" this week from our teachers. 

Yesterday, I was lucky to get to sit in on the afternoon session where the teachers simply reflected what they had learned and what they could apply in the classroom. I was encouraged to hear their responses. 

They learned the value of small groups.

Of wait time.

Of allowing the students to think for themselves.

Of meta cognition.

Of using manipulatives.

Of students doing the majority of the learning (instead of teachers doing it for them).

Of conceptual teaching.

Of getting practical with math.

I loved how one teacher put it.  He said, "I learned this week that math is something you can touch and feel."

They want him to come back every term.

I want him to come back too.  Have been so encouraged by his teaching and training.

Now, it's just convincing John (and his family) to get back here as often as possible! 

So, we are talking about some ways to tie in some possible study abroad options for some of his students...some possible ways to get them in for some week long math sessions...and bringing John back with them.

We will see!  

Possibilities abound...

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Day 3 of Math Camp

Measuring body parts

Inches and centimeters

Measuring across

Aunty Minda explaining the measuring project to one group.

Explaining the 5x5 square

Clarifying for Nancy

All the classes at work.

Counting and recording the number of blocks

Shape properties game

Measuring their length on the ball court

Laying down to measure

One on one time with Robert

Reviewing the day with the teachers

So thankful for Professor John!

This is awesome!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

What's Your Personality?

One of my friends asked me awhile ago if I knew what my Myers Briggs was...I know I took it in college, but couldn't remember...
So, I took a free one online...

Here's what I am:

Introverted iNtuitive Feeling Judging
by Joe Butt Profile: INFJ
Revision: 3.1
Date of Revision: 8 Aug 2010

Beneath the quiet exterior, INFJs hold deep convictions about the weightier matters of life. Those who are activists -- INFJs gravitate toward such a role -- are there for the cause, not for personal glory or political power.
INFJs are champions of the oppressed and downtrodden. They often are found in the wake of an emergency, rescuing those who are in acute distress. INFJs may fantasize about getting revenge on those who victimize the defenseless. The concept of 'poetic justice' is appealing to the INFJ.
"There's something rotten in Denmark." Accurately suspicious about others' motives, INFJs are not easily led. These are the people that you can rarely fool any of the time. Though affable and sympathetic to most, INFJs are selective about their friends. Such a friendship is a symbiotic bond that transcends mere words.
INFJs have a knack for fluency in language and facility in communication. In addition, nonverbal sensitivity enables the INFJ to know and be known by others intimately.
Writing, counseling, public service and even politics are areas where INFJs frequently find their niche.
Functional Analysis:
Introverted iNtuition
Introverted intuitives, INFJs enjoy a greater clarity of perception of inner, unconscious processes than all but their INTJ cousins. Just as SP types commune with the object and "live in the here and now" of the physical world, INFJs readily grasp the hidden psychological stimuli behind the more observable dynamics of behavior and affect. Their amazing ability to deduce the inner workings of the mind, will and emotions of others gives INFJs their reputation as prophets and seers. Unlike the confining, routinizing nature of introverted sensing, introverted intuition frees this type to act insightfully and spontaneously as unique solutions arise on an event by event basis.
Extraverted Feeling
Extraverted feeling, the auxiliary deciding function, expresses a range of emotion and opinions of, for and about people. INFJs, like many other FJ types, find themselves caught between the desire to express their wealth of feelings and moral conclusions about the actions and attitudes of others, and the awareness of the consequences of unbridled candor. Some vent the attending emotions in private, to trusted allies. Such confidants are chosen with care, for INFJs are well aware of the treachery that can reside in the hearts of mortals. This particular combination of introverted intuition and extraverted feeling provides INFJs with the raw material from which perceptive counselors are shaped.
Introverted Thinking
The INFJ's thinking is introverted, turned toward the subject. Perhaps it is when the INFJ's thinking function is operative that he is most aloof. A comrade might surmise that such detachment signals a disillusionment, that she has also been found lacking by the sardonic eye of this one who plumbs the depths of the human spirit. Experience suggests that such distancing is merely an indication that the seer is hard at work and focusing energy into this less efficient tertiary function.
Extraverted Sensing
INFJs are twice blessed with clarity of vision, both internal and external. Just as they possess inner vision which is drawn to the forms of the unconscious, they also have external sensing perception which readily takes hold of worldly objects. Sensing, however, is the weakest of the INFJ's arsenal and the most vulnerable. INFJs, like their fellow intuitives, may be so absorbed in intuitive perceiving that they become oblivious to physical reality. The INFJ under stress may fall prey to various forms of immediate gratification. Awareness of extraverted sensing is probably the source of the "SP wannabe" side of INFJs. Many yearn to live spontaneously; it's not uncommon for INFJ actors to take on an SP (often ESTP) role.
Famous INFJs:
Nathan, prophet of Israel
Robert Burns, Scottish poet
U.S. Presidents:
Martin Van Buren
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Fanny Crosby, (blind) hymnist
Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Fred McMurray (My Three Sons)
Shirley Temple Black, child actor, ambassador
Martin Luther King, Jr., civil rights leader, martyr
James Reston, newspaper reporter
Shirley MacLaine (Sweet Charity, ...)
Piers Anthony, author ("Xanth" series)
Michael Landon (Little House on the Prairie)
Tom Selleck
John Katz, critic, author
Paul Stookey (Peter, Paul and Mary)
U. S. Senator Carol Moseley-Braun (D-IL)
Billy Crystal
Garry Trudeau (Doonesbury)
Nelson Mandela
Mel Gibson
Carrie Fisher
Nicole Kidman
Jerry Seinfeld
Jamie Foxx
Sela Ward
Mark Harmon
Gary Dourdan
Marg Helgaberger
Evangeline Lilly
Tori May

Introverted iNtuiting Feeling Judging
by Marina Margaret Heiss
INFJs are distinguished by both their complexity of character and the unusual range and depth of their talents. Strongly humanitarian in outlook, INFJs tend to be idealists, and because of their J preference for closure and completion, they are generally "doers" as well as dreamers. This rare combination of vision and practicality often results in INFJs taking a disproportionate amount of responsibility in the various causes to which so many of them seem to be drawn.
INFJs are deeply concerned about their relations with individuals as well as the state of humanity at large. They are, in fact, sometimes mistaken for extroverts because they appear so outgoing and are so genuinely interested in people -- a product of the Feeling function they most readily show to the world. On the contrary, INFJs are true introverts, who can only be emotionally intimate and fulfilled with a chosen few from among their long-term friends, family, or obvious "soul mates." While instinctively courting the personal and organizational demands continually made upon them by others, at intervals INFJs will suddenly withdraw into themselves, sometimes shutting out even their intimates. This apparent paradox is a necessary escape valve for them, providing both time to rebuild their depleted resources and a filter to prevent the emotional overload to which they are so susceptible as inherent "givers." As a pattern of behavior, it is perhaps the most confusing aspect of the enigmatic INFJ character to outsiders, and hence the most often misunderstood -- particularly by those who have little experience with this rare type.
Due in part to the unique perspective produced by this alternation between detachment and involvement in the lives of the people around them, INFJs may well have the clearest insights of all the types into the motivations of others, for good and for evil. The most important contributing factor to this uncanny gift, however, are the empathic abilities often found in Fs, which seem to be especially heightened in the INFJ type (possibly by the dominance of the introverted N function).
This empathy can serve as a classic example of the two-edged nature of certain INFJ talents, as it can be strong enough to cause discomfort or pain in negative or stressful situations. More explicit inner conflicts are also not uncommon in INFJs; it is possible to speculate that the causes for some of these may lie in the specific combinations of preferences which define this complex type. For instance, there can sometimes be a "tug-of-war" between NF vision and idealism and the J practicality that urges compromise for the sake of achieving the highest priority goals. And the I and J combination, while perhaps enhancing self-awareness, may make it difficult for INFJs to articulate their deepest and most convoluted feelings.
Usually self-expression comes more easily to INFJs on paper, as they tend to have strong writing skills. Since in addition they often possess a strong personal charisma, INFJs are generally well-suited to the "inspirational" professions such as teaching (especially in higher education) and religious leadership. Psychology and counseling are other obvious choices, but overall, INFJs can be exceptionally difficult to pigeonhole by their career paths. Perhaps the best example of this occurs in the technical fields. Many INFJs perceive themselves at a disadvantage when dealing with the mystique and formality of "hard logic", and in academic terms this may cause a tendency to gravitate towards the liberal arts rather than the sciences. However, the significant minority of INFJs who do pursue studies and careers in the latter areas tend to be as successful as their T counterparts, as it is *iNtuition* -- the dominant function for the INFJ type -- which governs the ability to understand abstract theory and implement it creatively.
In their own way, INFJs are just as much "systems builders" as are INTJs; the difference lies in that most INFJ "systems" are founded on human beings and human values, rather than information and technology. Their systems may for these reasons be conceptually "blurrier" than analogous NT ones, harder to measure in strict numerical terms, and easier to take for granted -- yet it is these same underlying reasons which make the resulting contributions to society so vital and profound.
Copyright © 1996-2013 by Marina Margaret Heiss and Joe Butt
What's your personality type?  Do you think these tests are pretty close to how you see yourself?
Felt like mine was pretty close!


Today, I was so excited to be a part of the teachers training, even if it was just for a few minutes.  Dr. John Lamb from UT Tyler, has been with us for five days, planning, preparing, training, and teaching our teachers and students on the magnificent world of math.

Today, as I sat in on the session, I was encouraged to hear the teachers share what worked and what didn't in the morning camp, how to handle difficult students with challenging concepts, how behavior effects learning, the joy of seeing students "get it". 

And then to watch them begin to work out more problems and ideas themselves. Solving their own perimeter and area problems. Working in teams. Beginning to understand concepts differently than they have thought of them before.

This has been invaluable to our teachers and our students. 

Now, I am excited to see them continue to grow and learn and develop and try new ways to teach concepts.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Math Camp Fun

Today was our first day of math camp training for our teachers. It was so fun to see some of our teachers so excited about this training. Our teacher, Sir Justice, was almost running to the class this morning ready for the day to begin.

We started with a basic problem on the board, having the teachers work with pentaminos. They had to problem solve to put them into rectangles. The teachers seriously worked in groups on this activity for over an hour without slowing down. Then out came the tangrams. And they worked some more. 

After lunch, they talked about measurement and area and arbitrary units of measurement. So, they went off to measure the field in footsteps.

On Monday, the teachers will do the same thing with the students that attend math camp. 

So excited!

The teachers are learning and engaged and so I know the students will be too.

He are a few pics of today's...
Our new teachers Aaron and David working with the pentaminos.

Madame Nina and Sir Wisdom working together.

Working in teams.

Measuring and thinking!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Summer Classes

Every summer for the past two years, we have done summer camps. 

The first summer, my friend Katie came out to spend her spring break here in Ghana to plan it all out, and then my friends Victor, Christy, and Amy came out to run the camp in August.

Last summer, I worked on the curriculum with Christy after we spent time chatting about it together in Australia. Then, she came out with a big team and we ran the camp for all of our students, almost 150 kids on our campus every morning participating in games and fun, half of them speaking very little English, but having a blast.

This year, it didn't work to plan out any activities like that, but a friend that we met last year, Abigail, recommended a tutoring camp. And so, we planned out two weeks of tutoring for our students and some of our teachers. It has been so fun to see our volunteers getting time with our students and building relationships with our kids, and the kids learning from the teachers in small group settings. The teachers have tried to develop hands on lessons for our students based on skills that need a little extra practice for our students. The kids are so excited to be playing"games" all day, and I am so excited to see our kids learning instead of bored at home.

It's been sweet and good and also gives me structured time to work on the upcoming school year as we prepare for a new year with new challenges and new students and new teachers and just the newness that each academic year brings.

Working together in small groups to write about the history of Ghana.

Playing around the world with math facts with Aunty Dawn.

Learning about colors and the science of colors with Sir Wisdom.

Small group reading and writing with Aunty Eva and Aunty Valentina.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Oh, Abba.

My family left last night. A bittersweet goodbye. We dropped them off at the airport only to face the airport security guys rushing us through our hugs and kisses and shed tears.

As I live here in Ghana longer and longer, I realize that my dependence on The Lord has to increase more and more to sustain me. The distance from my loved ones hangs before me and I feel the full stretch of it this morning.

But the Lord sustains. Even in the hardest places, the Lord is present.

And I have to trust that truth in the moments of sadness when I just long for the faces and arms of the ones I love.

This morning, as I led worship for my family here in Ghana, God brought to mind the picture of my Abba Father. The Father who thought of me before the world began. The Father who chose me for this time and this place. The Father who holds me close in his arms when I need a comfort that can't be filled any other way. I needed that picture and hold it in my heart as I release my earthly family back home to the US.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

They are leaving

Have loved loved loved having my fam here.

Will miss miss miss them!