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, September 4, 2013

One Word

In 2004, I had a life-changing experience with God.  He rocked my world, my perceptions, my understandings of his character, my life...

And things began to change for me. 

The summer after God got a hold of me, I spent some time in Kenya.  There, God showed me His Church, the worldwide Bride of Christ.  I was encouraged.  Blessed.  Challenged.  Grown.  And that experience in Kenya left me with a desire to return to this great continent again.

The next year, I spent a summer in Redwood City, CA with Peninsula Covenant Church as a summer ministry intern.  I felt like God called me there that summer to bless.  But I walked away very blessed.  I had come to know an amazing church family, one that I didn't want to leave.

And when I was asked to come back the next summer to help lead the internship, I gladly accepted.  But, I didn't know what was ahead of me then.  That summer was hard.  In almost every way possible, it felt hard.  And at the end of the summer, though I had gotten to experience and be a part of some pretty amazing people's lives and stories, I told God, "I am never going back to that place." 

Lesson #1: Never say never to God.

When I finished my teaching credential, I began to apply for jobs all over the state of California.  The only place that I was able to find a position was in East Palo Alto, a city not far from Redwood City.  And so, the place I said I would never go, God sent me to. 

I spent three redemptive, amazing years in the bay area.  I was a part of the PCC family (and continue to call them my home), lived in the community that I was also teaching in, and looked at my job as an opportunity to love others with the love of Christ.

And then, God called me to Ghana.

There have been extremely tough seasons here.

And there have been times when it has been impossibly easy.

And through it all, I have seen God's calling and design in my life.

My first summer in Redwood City, our pastor, Tony Gapastione, had us choose a "word" that we would focus on throughout the ten weeks.  This was a seasonal word, something that God gave each of us to work on and process through and desire more of. 

My word during that season was joyful.  And when I look back at that season of my life...oh, how God filled it with joy!  In fact, some of the people that I met during that summer are not only acquaintances, but are close enough to be my brothers and sisters...my dearest friends.

And choosing a word became a practice for me through many seasons of my life.  Unveiled.  Pure.  Captivating.  Unshaken.  Faithful.  Surrender (the word I had for almost a year when I first moved to Ghana).  So many words come to mind and bring with them memories of the spiritual journey that God took me on during that season.

Somewhere along the way though, I stopped.  And I sensed that void today...for through that word, I listened more to the voice of the Father.

But, I don't think that God has stopped talking, by any means. 

It seems like lately, He keeps speaking to me again and again...BRAVE.

I write about my adventures here, but if you knew my fearful heart, you would know how brave I am not.

I am scared so much of the time to say or do the wrong thing.  I am scared to "put myself out there".  I am frightened that I will fail.  I am not brave.

But, God calls me BRAVE.  And if that is what He knows I am, than that is what I am.

So, while I live out this next season of unknown, considering how all things will work together with or without a principal...as I learn to trust more and more the Hand of the God who called me here to begin with...as I learn to continually lay down more and more of me (yes, sacrifice again...a constant theme in my life)...

I will live in the word BRAVE.  And I will listen.  And I will allow God to move me.  And change me.  And be my courage.


  1. At a conference I went to recently, one of the speakers was Brene Brown. She said a lot in her talk that I'll never forget, but the standout phrase for me was: "We're never more alive than when we're being brave." Praying for all the new life that is going to flourish in and through you as you live into your word from God! Can't wait to hear more about it in October. :)

  2. I had to think of the Movie "Braveheart", when I read you blog. I believe that being brave does NOT mean that you are not afraid, have no doubts, questions, or struggle with direction and perspective. Being brave means to push on in the face of adversity trusting God to be in control of the outcome. In that sense you are brave, Autumn.