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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Tuesday, September 29, 2015


I remember coming to Ghana with two suitcases, believing that one year was a huge commitment. And it was. It was a huge leap of faith.

I was moving to another country where I had never been before to live with a family that I had only briefly met before to work with children I didn't know and couldn't possibly comprehend the trauma they had experienced.

Within that first year, I started teaching, moved into a home with almost 40 people (most of them being children), started taking care of a baby, and suddenly, my life was not my own anymore.

I belonged with these kids. This CORM family had my heart. And even with all the  hard that were my first years at CORM, I came back knowing that I had somehow found my home here.

I remember going back to the States for Christmas in 2013. When I was making my rounds, I remember grieving like crazy . I felt like, somehow, I was finally choosing Ghana. I emptied out most of my storage items, leaving only a few boxes of books behind. I packed up 7 boxes and moved my life to Ghana. 

Just last year, we opened up our Missionary Apartment complex. They were ready right on time and every apartment was filled the week the building was completed. With the help of my boys, I sanded and filled and painted and washed and swept and mopped. And I moved into my own apartment. 

Having my own apartment has been such a joy. A place to withdraw. A place to be creative and get filled. A place to host. A safe place to welcome others in. 

Just this last week, my little apartment finally became my little home. I was ableto purchase  some furniture from some dear friends who were leaving Ghana and suddenly my little space became a haven. 

If you know me, you will see my heart and soul in my place now. With the people I love eagerly displayed, books and games finally finding a resting place, and my kitchen...oh my kitchen.

So, if you happen to find yourself in Ghana, West Africa and want to stop by for a cup of tea and some good conversation, I have the perfect space to recommend.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Not Alone

This morning, in our worship service, Pastor Dean reminded me of a truth that I think I had forgotten these past few months. 

He talked about our strengths and weaknesses, how Christ is in us, giving us strength to overcome our weaknesses. 

He asked us if any of us had ever felt lonely.

This has been the very force I have reckoned with continually over the last two months.


And when I looked around the room, I saw the hands of almost every person raised high. 

That sense of being alone...it follows everyone at one time or another.

And then Dean reminded us...Jesus has experienced all that we have, and loneliness, He really understood that. He took it with him to the cross. The ultimate sense of loneliness...completely forsaken but still following the call on his life.

I thought about some of he disciples, the apostle Paul...They experienced loneliness amidst the call on their lives. They experienced persecution and improsonment, shipwrecks and separation. 

I can't say I have experienced much of any of that, but I had this revelation in the middle of these thoughts. Jesus knew the most extreme loneliness on earth. He knew it and even in the middle of it, when he felt forsaken, he exhibited the love of the Father. Even in our darkest loneliness, we have that same love of the Father with us, in us, comforting us. 

We are not alone. Ever.

The enemy's tactic is to make us feel that we are the only one experiencing it, but the truth is that we are loved by an ever-present, all-loving, ever-encompassing God who isn't without understanding. He has been here too. And he knows loneliness. 

So perhaps in our loneliness, that is when he is closest.

I am pressing in to that today.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Transition and At Home


It has been an intense month.  It has been filled with many bittersweet tears.  It has been filled with aching loneliness.  It has been filled with the busy preparation for a new school year.  It has been filled with prayers and songs and desires. 

Transition is always incredibly difficult for me.  This time, I felt it was especially difficult.  I missed my family, my friends.  I missed that sense of being known to the very core of who you are.  I missed processing with my loved ones and being loved on in tangible and ever-present ways. 

I know that in some ways, this past month saw oppression, preparing to enter into the community in new and lasting ways through the hiring of ELEVEN new teachers, and preparing for vision-casting to a new staff of teachers who have been hand picked to teach and inspire and encourage and build up our students this next academic year. 

But, as I was talking to a dear friend the other day, I also think that it was a season of grieving what could have been and knowing what is. 

I love my live here in Ghana.  I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am called to it.  But, that doesn't change the fact that is can be very difficult.

In any case, I am finally feeling like I have reached the end of my "transition tunnel" and am out the other side with great hope for all that this year may hold.

This afternoon, some of "my girls" were over here helping clean up around my house.  Mary asked me to put on some music and I gladly conceded.  Before I knew it, Hannah was twirling around in the middle of my living room to Jenn Johnson's "In Over My Head" and I sat in wonder at my girl spinning on her toes, lifting her arms in praise, pouring out her worship before the Lord. 

And in that sweet moment, with such clarity, I felt this sense of relief...I am home.

Finally, after returning to Ghana and being here for almost two months...I finally feel home again.