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, November 10, 2015


I would call this season of my life...obedience.

Transition has never been easy for me, and this transition has felt particularly challenging.  I have experienced deep loneliness, longing for something...someone...familiar, and have cried hard, frustrated tears.  I have spent endless hours wishing, hoping, and yes, even praying, for an opportunity to close my door here and return back to the States.

It sounds so harsh as I write it now...so ridiculously selfish.

There was nothing here, in my life here in Ghana, that was particularly challenging.  Our school was running smoothly, with capable staff at the helm.  My little apartment finally came together to look and feel like a home with furniture and decorations, a little haven in the chaos of life.  I met weekly for a women's Bible study, the same weekly meeting that we have been participating in for over 3 years (though many of the women have come and gone now!).  Nothing in particular had changed about my life here in Ghana, and yet, I longed...more than that...I craved life in the States.

That sense of being known.  The independence.  The comfort of access.  The understanding of culture.  Mostly, the people I love and miss.  That space of "home" that sometimes felt like it is just beyond my reach here.

Three of my friends got married in the month of October, two of whom I was supposed to be a bridesmaid in their weddings.  I was a part of their big days in so many ways...from Skype calls to popsicle stick faces...I was "there", but in the ways that it felt like it mattered, I wasn't "there".  I was a mixture of emotions.  Incredibly excited and distraught at the same time.  I asked God over and over again, "why"?  But, I felt as if it all fell on deaf ears.

This discontentedness settled in.   My heart was elsewhere, leaving me emotionally unable to be present here.

I spent one special afternoon, crying in my office with my friend NanaAma, sharing the pain of obedience to this calling on my life.

And it's true, isn't it?  Obedience is sometimes incredibly hard...even painful.

But, pain shapes us.  It's in this place where the real test of obedience comes.  Are we willing to walk in our calling even when it's hard?  Can we say yes when it doesn't feel fair?

I love the title of Eugene Peterson's classic, A Long Obedience In the Same Direction.

This life is a journey...it has its seasons that shape us--some bright and filled with sunshine--and others dark and dreary and cold.  But, it's that holding fast to, that persevering faith, that unwavering obedience that shapes this journey.

Almost six years ago now, I heard God tell me to come to Ghana.  It was clear as day, "Trust and Obey.  This is an issue of obedience."

Immediately, I gave my work notice I wouldn't be returning the next year and began the journey of fundraising and packing up my life and preparing to move to Ghana.  I remember feeling incredibly scared of the unknown.  But, it almost felt easy to say yes when I heard that call.

It is this long obedience that I am learning about now.

The continual yes.

The willingness to continue to walk in obedience, even when I don't know when I will return to the States, or see my family next, or even in the wondering if I will be able to complete the vision set before me.

The continual yes.

This long obedience is resurrecting old fears and insecurities and lies--and putting them to death again.  It is pulling out the places of pride and selfishness that I try to keep hidden and forcing them to be brought to the light.  It isn't comfortable and it isn't easy.

But, I'm realizing, more than ever, it is so good.

I don't have all the answers to my never-ending questions, and I am only beginning to see the end of this season of transition, but I am learning to trust more fully...more faithfully...and walk more vulnerably...more obediently...in this place.

And if I was given the chance again, the opportunity to come here all over again, to walk this road of long obedience, a continual yes...my answer would be the same.  Yes.  Yes, yes, and yes again.  Because even in the pain...in the hard...it is so good.  It is so worth it.