How Do You Self Identify?

Funny

Left to right- Micah Metz, Nathan Metz, Gingerbread Man (no relation), Dan Metz, Luke Metz

This is a snapshot of the kind of ridiculous humor my family enjoys. We thought it would be funny if only Dad and the gingerbread man were smiling; it was. The men in our family are serious about our relationships with God and family and how we can make an impact in the world. However, we aren’t serious about much else when we’re together. The women in our lives are much the same but not quite as ridiculous.

Why am I showing you this picture? This was my last Christmas with my brother Nathan and his family for three years because they left for Uganda. I wouldn’t be being honest if I said it was easy. It is one of the hardest things I’ve done in a while. Selfishly, I wish there was a teleporter of some kind so they could do their work there and come back to hang out and share life with us, too. Sadly, that’s not possible.

There’s a lot more to this story than just sad feelings and fond memories. It all started in Van Buren, Indiana, back when I was engaged and waiting for my fiancé, Maggie, to graduate so we could get married. I had a dream of becoming a resident director at a Christian college and felt God really tugging on me to pursue this dream with my all. I agreed to do that and looked for colleges to apply to all over the nation. But in my heart, I refused to leave Indiana.

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Our family in 2010

Meanwhile, God was working in my brother and sister-in-law’s (Jade) hearts as Nathan led worship at his church and they grew in Christ right before our eyes. Their adoption of their son, Ezra, from Uganda and their work in the orphanage there had shown some deeper desires in their hearts for Uganda and for missions.

My brother Luke had been pursuing a job as an actuary where he could use his God given gifts, and his wife, Katie, was doing the same thing as she taught math. They were not too far away, living in Indianapolis and doing what they were made to do; both of them made us very proud.

Lastly, Dad and Mom were a successful pastor and wife for 15 years at a little church called Farrville outside of Van Buren. We had grown up there, and everyone who went there was and are family to us. Life was good, and God was working in our family. We all spent lots of weekends together and stayed very close. Then everything changed.

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Our family in 2017

At church on a Sunday morning, my dad announced that for years God had been calling them into full-time ministry—my dad was a part-time pastor—and they would be leaving the church. It was a bomb shell, and from there my world and our families’ worlds would get much bigger.

In the same year, my parents would move to Cincinnati to become full-time pastors, my wife and I would move to Kansas to become resident directors, my brother Nathan and his family would plan to move to Uganda as missionaries, and my brother Luke’s family would start growing in Indianapolis. What just happened?

God is not tidy and comfortable, He stretches us to make sure that He is who we lean on. John 16:33 (NIV) says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” For years, we had followed our Dad’s— the patriarch —example. And in one fell swoop, Dad left it all and showed us all that following God is a sacrifice.

Moving to Kansas to become an R.D. was probably one of the hardest things Maggie and I have ever done. I’m sure the same is true for my other family members who pursued what God had for them. Hopefully, this gives an insight to what our family has gone through. But I can tell you with great confidence that my family loves Jesus more than we ever did before. For that, we regret nothing.

Of course, my brother moving to Uganda, Africa—across the world—with his whole family is hard; it’s heart wrenching! It does not change the fact that God needs him and his family there now to run the race set before them. 1 Corinthians 9:24 (NIV) states, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.”

I do not tell you this story to praise my family and say we are great; only God is great. Even though I miss them and will miss them greatly over the next three years as their children grow and so do mine—our baby girl will be born in February, and they will not meet until she’s 3—this story is not rare, these sacrifices are not rare. This is the life of a missionary, of so many of our missionaries. I am a missionary. My Dad is a missionary. My brothers are missionaries. Are you a missionary?

ACT: Think about what it means to live missionly. If you need help finding your path or finding out how you can get involved today, contact us at wgm.org/contactus. We would love to help you on your pursuit to win the prize for the race God has set before you.

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The Metz kids back in Uganda ready for school. Photo credit: Nathan and Jade Metz

 

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.