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!

Get Involved

Learn More


Friday, October 31, 2014

The Darkness Cannot Handle the Light

My dear friends...I am coming to understand...not just understand, but I have begun to bear witness to...the forces of darkness at work in our world.

The darkness has shown up in some pretty sneaky ways here lately.

In discouragement.

In verbal attacks.

In disunity.

In arguments and misunderstandings.

In frustration.

In dissatisfaction.

But, even more so, I have been coming face to face with the darkness in a very real way. 

Last week, our JHS classes were doing their morning Bible Study when all the way from my office, I could hear shrieking coming from the class. Over and over, more kids began to scream. I wasn't sure what was going on, so I headed over to the class. When I entered the room, two girls were rolling on the floor, sobbing and crying out to Jesus. Others were kneeling down, tears pouring down from their eyes as they worshipped. As the girls cried out on the floor, Daddy Johnbull entered and pulled them gently into his arms, their cries suddenly silenced by the deep love of that touch. The tears, the prayers, the worship...it went on for over an hour and ended with many of them dedicating their lives to the service of the Lord. It was a powerful time and not a single person left with dry eyes. God was present. The room was flooded with a move of the Holy Spirit. 

Afterwards, I asked John what the screaming was all about. He simply told me, "The darkness cannot handle the light."

And I got it.

My first experience with the light meeting the darkness in my own life, it resulted in sobs I couldn't control, in the melting of a single touch, in the pouring out of the darkness in exchange for all that light. And, then, the light. Oh, the light! It brought with it freedom and grace and goodness and life.

But, oh, today, I ran face to face into darkness itself.

At the end of every month, our teachers and oldest students gather together to pray and fast. Today's prayer meeting during lunch was something I had never experienced before.

As we began to press in, one girl began screaming and rolling on the floor. Some teachers gathered around her and began to pray and she calmed. But, as we pressed in farther, praying for deeper things, the girl began to manifest in a very real way. She slithered on the floor, her eyes rolling back into her head, her voice deepening into a growl. As students began to leave for their various classes, this girl began to tremble and shake, the darkness inside throwing her around. She claimed to be over 750 in number. Her voice threw out threats, but the teachers stood strong, declaring truth over her. After almost an hour of prayer over this girl, I felt like I caught a glimpse of her in the back of her eyes. Tears rolled down her cheeks as the demons inside spoke of the places they were dragging her too. I felt the war waging inside as she tried to fight through, to be heard, to be seen. And finally, the 750 said, "We are going". And then, it was as if her chest trembled, sending waves out through her arms, her legs, through her hands, her feet, through her fingers, her toes, and finally she rested. Tears streamed down her face and all we prayed for next was grace. Grace for her. Grace for us. We stood in humble thanksgiving at her deliverance after such a battle.

I had never seen such a real manifestion of the darkness. And to be completely honest, I didn't know how to handle it. I prayed. I spoke out Scripture. I wanted her to hear truth. But, I didn't know how to handle that kind of darkness. I pictured Jesus in such a situation and he spoke with such authority. I suddenly felt so weak, so reserved. I stepped back. I doubted my authority. I watched others handle it while I stood in the background because I thought...maybe this is how it is done in this culture. 

But, after chatting with Stacy about it all, I realized that it isn't about culture. It is about the battle of light over darkness. And Jesus always wins because he HAS ALREADY BEEN VICTORIOUS! It isn't  about how Africans handle the darkness, it has to be about how JESUS handles the darkness. Because HE is all there is. HE is the only answer.

And this only begins the journey.

I think we are only beginning to see the attacks of the enemy.

Because God is moving here.

And God is light.

And the darkness cannot handle the light.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Front and Center

Yesterday's Sunday gathering was a beautiful thing. 

The day before, Johnbull had been driving to take care of some business in Tema and the car started shooting flames out from under the good. He ran out of the car expecting an explosion, and as he was crying and praying on the side of the road, the flames extinguished on their own. Every cable in the car had been burnt to ashes, the flames hot enough to weld pieces of metal to the car's frame. And still, our mechanic was able to fix new cables to the car and drove it home mere hours later.

As John came to lead the service that morning, he spoke about God's great hand on our lives. And he spoke of expecting more from God than what our limited understanding has previously allowed. He spoke from a place of such passion and love that you couldn't help but be moved.

And so we danced. And we sang and we danced.

And when it came time for me to come forward to lead a time of worship, front and center, the Spirit of God fell in such a real way that new songs were sung, some stood with arms widespread, some to their knees, and some fell flat on their faces before our Mighty and Loving God.

There were moments in that time of worship when the love of the Father was so poured out, that though there were still words to lead, tears, that threatened to run down my face, pushed the words to the back of my throat making it hard to even voice anything. All I could do was simply let the guitar speak, because my heart was too full to move past the emotion. It was such sweet and powerful worship.

After the time for worship had ended, it was hard to even meet the eyes of the others present because those moments had been so sweet and so tender and so intimate. 

It is moments like those that make me feel so front and center. Laying it all out there. Trusting that the words being formed on my tongue were what needed to be sung, that the notes played hit the right chords in the hearts of the listeners, that God was moving and not just me. It's a vulnerable thing, listening to the Holy Spirit and attempting to usher them all into the throneroom. 

But that place...oh, it's sweet.

And while I would rather lead from the back of a dimly lit room than in front of a room full of people, I will gladly lay it all down every time when Jesus takes front and center and moves in such a beautiful way.