Textbook Perfect

Scared for their son, Ezra, but trusting in God, Nathan and Jade Metz were stuck between trusting in God and fearing the unknown. With nightmares waking and thoughts of what could be, the journey has not been without its challenges. What would their son be like after his brain surgery? The answer is in the title of this post, but it is also so much more. Read on to learn as Nathan tells how God performed a miracle in little Ezra’s life.

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Photo credit: Nathan and Jade Metz

“Among our children we’ve witnessed optimism and hope that builds such powerful encouragement and strength within us. Prior to the surgery they said things like, ‘Today is the day Ezra will be healed!’ and ‘Ezra just had the final seizure of his life.’ It does Jade and I a lot of good to hear such positive, faith-filled perspective from our children. Jade and I have handled the process in our own ways with ups and downs, highs and lows. This morning I testify.

“God’s promises are full and final. He does not struggle to remain faithful to us. His love is complete. Less than 48 hours after his surgery, Ezra has no bandage on his head, walks around his room with ease, plays games with us, speaks, eats and exceeds nearly every expectation we had for him at this stage. The doctors agree. And so in a few hours, we are going home. Is he fully healed? We won’t be able to make that kind of statement for quite a while. Following the surgery, the doctor said she has every reason to believe that this surgery has cured his epilepsy. Is God faithful? I testify today: God is faithful. God is good. I am a father full of joy and thankfulness. We are parents full of praise and relief. We are a family covered in love, hope, and peace.

“Medically speaking: Ezra’s left hippocampus was removed in a ‘textbook perfect’ surgery called a Left Temporal Lobectomy. He now has a circular scar above his left ear about the size of a baseball with a small line in front of his ear. The incision is not stitched. Instead, they use a special ‘super glue’ with antiseptic in it that will hold the skin in place and fall off on its own once the wound is healed. He will have about two weeks of ‘taking it easy’ at home before returning to school and moderate routine activities. It will be about a month before he is riding his bike or jumping on the trampoline. Three months from now, his brain will be fully healed.

“Jade and I have been so incredibly encouraged by our family, friends, and community. We spent the day of surgery with 15-20 who came to sit with us in the waiting room. As other families came and went we sat in waiting for one of the longest surgeries of the day. I can’t imagine going through such a scenario on our own. Community changes everything. As Ezra moved from his post-op bed to the ICU to his recovery room we enjoyed a steady stream of visiting friends with balloons, Legos, cards and meaningful time. Behind the scenes, there were hundreds and hundreds of you praying from all over the world. We are thankful for those who came, those who prayed and all who stood in support of Ezra and our family. Please join us today and praise our Father for what the doctors are calling a ‘textbook perfect surgery’, a ‘perfect CT scan’ and a ‘perfect recovery’. What an awesome, powerful experience this has been.”

Praise God! How wonderful He is to heal! Yesterday, as my nephew Ezra hugged me in my office for longer than expected, my heart rejoiced. It is so good to have him with us, and I am excited to see how Ezra will grow and change as he heals. I can’t imagine the joy Nathan and Jade must be feeling, but their journey, in some ways, has just begun.

ACT: Will you pray for Ezra’s recovery and for the rest of the Metz family as they work together to support him?

Needs are Met and Seeds are Growing

This month in our theme #GoGrowChange, we have been focusing on the topic of “seeds”—ministries that have started in the past year or few years and are beginning to take root and grow. I encourage you to listen to Jade Metz, WGM missionary to Uganda, as she talks about the Diginity Project. Nathan and Jade serve in pastoral training and compassionate ministries. 

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Dignity Project AGM 2016 Report by Jade Metz

“Shortly after our last AGM in December 2015 Caroline Ouma, Winnie Mugisha and I distributed 75 Dignity Project Kits to new and expectant moms on the maternity ward at Naguru Hospital and the Kisugu Clinic. We prayed with the families and even got to name a couple of babies!

“In January Caroline Abbo and I were invited by Rev. Martin to put on a Dignity Project training at his church. The ladies had been using the products for a few months and were eager for us to teach them how to make the reusable pads. Twelve woman attended the training!

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“In February Chalapi Uganda hosted a Dignity Project training in Kasese. Fellow missionary Meg Rambo, visitor Andrea Vinluen and I trained 50 men and women. Chalapi aims ‘to see a better living environment and dignity for prisoners, ex-prisoners and the underprivileged population.’ It was a perfect fit! We trained the attendees as well as distributed 50 Dignity Project Kits. The following day we went with a group from Chalapi to distribute kits and Bibles to 16 inmates in prison. On that day God showed me that this project is not about the pads, it’s about teaching vulnerable women about Jesus! The pads are a way for me to get into places to meet with women who feel like they are too far from God’s reach. Twelve women gave their life to Christ that day! May God be glorified!

“From April to June I spent nearly every Thursday volunteering at Butabika Hospital training 4 patients. The director shared with me that the women were using cotton wrapped in gauze during their periods and that he wanted the women who were mentally able to use our products. Every Thursday the women and I would work on one step of the pattern and perfect it. I read my Bible to them while they worked on the pattern. They loved listening to me read and would ask many questions about the Scriptures. One of the patients that I taught was Anita, Idi Amin’s daughter. Once again, God put me in a unique place to share the love of Christ with women who felt hopeless,
ashamed and outcast. What an awesome God!

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“In May I distributed 150 kits to expectant and new moms on the maternity ward at Naguru Hospital. The moms and nurses on these maternity wards love these products! In June four of the women from Reverend Martin’s church came to my home to celebrate! They had been practicing their sewing skills for 5 months and wanted to show me their completed pads. We enjoyed a meal together and played yard games. They shared with me that they are now making the pads to use as a ministry tool for the
young girls in their community. God is good!

“God is so creative! I’m so grateful He uses simple things like reusable sanitary pads to reach His children!”

Here I Am. Send Me to Where I Am.

Local missions is something that seems very scary to many of us. At first, this statement might catch you off guard, but I challenge you to really think about what it means to serve the least of these right where you are. Being in the homes of those whom others may view as undeserving, detestable, dangerous, evil, sick, etc., can feel uncomfortable. We know the truth—that we are all loved by God more than we can imagine—so did God call us to follow His calling but only if it’s comfortable?

This month we have been focusing on the topic of “dirt” (how God works through the hard times, the challenging things, the valleys of our walk where we need Him most) in our theme #GoGrowChange. I encourage you to listen to Nathan Metz, WGM missionary and pastor, as he talks about sending you right where you are. Nathan and Jade Metz are missionaries to Uganda, serving in pastoral training and compassionate ministries.

“Nathan was challenged by our pastor from Marion, Indiana, to answer the question, ‘What would you do if tomorrow God called you to Marion instead of Uganda?’ Applying basic missionary strategies to hometown neighborhoods, Nathan unpacks a theology of missions with practical and meaningful application. Watch below!” Jade Metz

This video is from Nathan and Jade’s ministry blog and is courtesy of Brookhaven Wesleyan Church.

As you think about this sermon, ask God to open your eyes to what He has called you to today—right here, right now—and ask the Holy Spirit to move in you.

The Trauma of Ministry

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God calls all of us to the mission field, whether it is in our hometown or across the ocean. For Nathan and Jade Metz, the call led them to Uganda, Africa, where they focus on pastoral training and compassionate ministries. In a post from their ministry blog, they speak about the difficulties of a life lived on the field. Read on to learn how God allows us to feel great sympathy and deep pain for those we build meaningful relationships with daily.

“I’m traumatized.  God directed me into the dark.  I trusted Him and I took His hand.  He led me to a place I didn’t know, to people with their problems and their pain.  His love stretches to the ends of the earth and in that end His servants toil, sharing the Gospel for His glory.  So I’m a soldier.  I’m a fighter.  I’m traumatized.

“There is a trauma in ministry that is rarely spoken of.  Perhaps it is an embarrassment to some.  Perhaps it is misunderstood.  For many, it marks failure and signifies the beginning of the end.  Ministry to the Lord has stripped me of comforts and turned my life upside down.  In the evening hours I reach for a pillow but I am hemmed in by sadness, sickness and loss.  Not mine.  Theirs.  The ones I came to love. Their pain hangs across my shoulders like dead weight, like a waterlogged carpet.  In our meal time I stretch my hand across our shiny table to a pan full of food but I find hunger and my hand is begging.  Not mine, though.  Theirs.  The ones I came to love.

“In this ministry of love I am caught up in the whirlwind of wanting but not having, hurting but not healing.  Their pain is my pain.  Their trouble is my trouble.  When I look at my ankle I see the foot of James.  His was crushed by a father with a hammer in a drunken rage.  When I look at my children I see them wandering the streets, sifting through piles of fly covered refuse in search of anything with value.  When I bathe in the comfort of my home I’m covered in street runoff that provides the only water source for whole communities in our city.  Their pain is my pain.  It’s the trauma of ministry.

“In the 3 years of Jesus’ ministry he saw and heard much.  In his humanity, surely he felt the trauma.  Countless numbers of sick and diseased people flocked to the face of Jesus for help.  Imagine what he thought as he laid down each night; their desperate faces flashing in his eyes.  He felt the pain of being hated.  He felt the deep distress of confrontation and public hostility.  He carried the enormous burden of love and compassion toward a people wallowing in a broken world that groans for deliverance.  Jesus endured the trauma of ministry.

“I saw a truck on the side of the road.  The cab was collapsed from a head on collision.  A short distance further was a second truck with a similar appearance.  These two giant forces hit each other so hard that they were both crushed.  Trauma goes both ways.  Yes, there is a trauma in ministry.  The weight of the broken world hits the minister so hard that pieces shift and change and break.  However, the trauma goes both ways.  The weight of the Gospel hits the broken world so hard that pieces shift and change and break.  This collision sparks with light and draws the eyes and turns the necks of everyone who is near.

“So, I’m traumatized.  This ministry has hit so hard that my pieces are broken.  My fabric is torn.  In my prayer I ask God to pick my head up out of the pain around me.  He says, ‘No.  Keep your head down.  Stay in it.  I’ll hold you up.  Let’s love them together.’  To God be the glory.  Great things He has done.”

Do you want God to do great things through you? WGM can help you on that journey. We can help you find God’s call at http://www.wgm.org/serve. Check out the site, look at the options, and pray hard about what God is calling you to. There is someone out there waiting to hear the gospel from you and to see Jesus in you.