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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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Refuge Worship

Keliy and I have been talking about recording some music for quite some time. I have wanted to get our music put together for a "live" album to bring back with me when I go home. But, time...

There is never enough time. 

But, I am on break now. It's a busy break, filled with making plans for the time away and working on our yearbook. Oh, the never ending work of this place!

But, we set up our house the other day and started laying down some tracks. It's exciting to see this come to life. And I can't wait share our hearts with people in the months to come.

Refuge Worship, a live worship album, coming your way!

Our Ghana home recording studio, mattresses over the windows and everything.


UuMy sweet friends Serena and Drew came to visit last week.

I met Serena my first year of teaching in East Palo Alto. We had all just started teaching and we were in for a surprise that year. My first year teaching there was met with many tears and frustrations and I wondered if I was cut out for this teaching thing. 

My second year, Serena and I started a little prayer group that met in my classroom once a week before school started. I had no idea that that sweet time of prayer would build a friendship of mutual respect, love, laughter, support, and encouragement through the years.

We saw each other through a lot of seasons. Both the dark ones and the ones filled with all kinds of light.

Serena is one of those people you feel honored to know. She holds tightly to her passions, her love for the Lord, and encourages others to walk in them with her.

When I met Drew, he taught PE and was our behavior specialist at our school. When Serena told me that they were dating, I felt nothing but joy for her. This man is simply good. He is such a good man and desires such goodness for those around him.

Serena and I have talked about her (and her hubby, Drew) coming to visit for such a long time, it was a dream come true for all of us. 

And yet, her and Drew literally came on my busiest week of the year so far. I mean, run around, lose sleep, pull your hair out, crash when you hit the pillow, kind of crazy week. I felt terrible as they had traveled so far to see CORM, to see me, to love on our kids, and I probably spent all of a hour with them the whole week.

Here is the thing with friendships such as this, they make you feel incredibly honored to have them a part of your life. These two served without any expectations and with such passion and dedication. There was nothing I could say to express my deep love and gratitude, but simply that I was so honored. And I know that those who got to meet them, they felt so honored because these two overflow with so many sweet and wonderful gifts. 

Serena and Drew did a few murals in our office!

I am excited to see them when I come home to the States in my upcoming trip, to speak over them the gift that they were during their time here and how honored I am to call them my friends.

I am so blessed.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Some days...

Some days it rains.

And you spend the day in your pjs watching movies.

And you need to cook chili for the campus and warm them up.

And wear a hoody.

Even when it seems rediculous...we still get cold here after a good rain.


Sunday, April 5, 2015


I am certain that one of the sweetest gifts in this world is friendship. It is one of those gifts that can't be understood with numbers, runs deeper than blood, and heals the heart as almost nothing in this world can.

My sweet friend, Kat, just left Ghana after spending a little over a week with us here.

We were looking through pictures from our college days, admiring our short, crazy hairstyles, and choice of clothing. We reminisced about our road trip to Prescott, Arizona. We caught up on each other's families. We laughed at a million things together. We worshipped. We danced. We talked until late in the night. We prayed for each other and shared tears over the hard things in life (or should I say the "heart" things of life?).  We celebrated with the sweet moments like hugs from our littles, desperately needed organization, our Thrive girl's tea party, Katty meeting her sponsored child, washing the feet of these kiddos, speaking out the many ways God has moved here at CORM over these years. 

It was incredibly special.

I watched her sometimes, while I was busy catching up on my 50+ emails, or working with a kid, or chatting with a staff member It was so surreal to have her here, yet she remains the woman of beauty that I have always known, chatting with our staff, making people feel loved and included and known, sharing her pictures of Zeke and her husband, Isaiah, with everyone that was willing to watch. In fact, some of our kids even had her videos memorized by the time she left, asking her at dinner each night for the video of Zeke walking 2 steps or the video of him laughing with his daddy. She loves to share her life. 

I was just so grateful to have my worlds collide. For others to get to experience the wonder of friendship that I have known in Kat these past 15 years.

And while I was so sad to see her go this morning, I was incredibly grateful for the time, knowing the sacrifice of leaving her little one, her husband, completely trusting God for full provision. And I know, that I know, that I know, that her visit here only strengthened our friendship, only widened our circle, only deepened the level of love and trust.

Somehow, I have discovered the best of friends are the ones that stretch across the miles and the time and never let the distance get in the way of the love.  Whether they "come" physically to touch and see and feel and smell and taste, or whether they "come" with words of encouragement and prayers and the sweetest updates from back home, I am blessed with some pretty amazing friends.

Today, I am incredibly grateful for their presence in my life. They make all the difference.