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, March 3, 2014

Being a Non-Citizen

In 2009, Ghana made this law that all foreigners would be required to get their Non-Citizen Identity Card. It was a frustrating measure as it didn't make sense to us who spend so much money to stay here as legal residents.

Every year, we have to renew our work permit, renew our residents permit, making several trips to immigration and lots of prep and money goes into this whole process.

And when the new law was created and then enforced last year, we were frustrated with the amount required to pay into this simple card on a yearly basis.

Not once had I ever been asked to see my card. Why couldn't they just add it to the drivers license that we also had to get to drive in country (even when some had the international drivers license)? 

It's frustrating to keep up with the constant requirements placed on foreigners living I another country.

Today, Stacy and Johnbull went in to work on my residents permit for this year. And what did they require...the one card I have never been asked for...my non-citizen card, was safely in my wallet and not with them in Accra. This led to lots of scanning and working to figure out how to get them a copy of this card in Accra, juggling bad internet connections, weird scanners, and iPad app downloads.

Needless to say, it finally made it to the hands of the immigration officer, but it made me think how much we take for granted by the ease and freedom and accessibility to living in the US as a citizen there. It gives me eyes to see the struggle of those who aren't citizens and live in the States, working towards a green card or citizenship there. It's just not that easy. 

And I am reminded of the times in scripture that tell us we ARE foreigners traveling in this world...we are aliens waiting to be taken home.  But, we are given free and equal access to the grace and love of our Father. What a gift! 

So, even now, when we live by such challenging rules in a foreign land, when it seems like we are taken advantage of, I can trust the loving hand of God my Father, trusting that I am walking towards His kingdom in the midst of this earthly kingdom. I will look at this card as a badge of honor, reminding myself that I am moving towards my heavenly home.

Father, may it be so.

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