NEW VIDEO! We're back in Indiana surrounded by friends and family, iced tea, Oreos and endless hot showers. To say we have been welcomed back is the understatement of the year. God has provided a free home and vehicle for us to use for entire time we are in America! It's going to be an awesome furlough! As we begin connecting and reconnecting with new and old friends we must admit that a big piece of our hearts remains in Uganda. Check out this video that some Taylor University students made about our family! We're looking forward to connecting with you folks over the next weeks and months!
Monday, June 27, 2016
This is not an end. It isn't full circle. These aren't goodbyes. Books have chapters but chapters are both an end and a beginning. Twenty-one months ago our family opened a new chapter here in Uganda. Today we aren't closing it, we are beginning again. When we first left America we never really left. Now that we are leaving Uganda we feel we aren't really leaving here either. We have two homes. Our American home is populated by friends and family. Our Ugandan home is populated by a different set of friends and family. This first term could have been a disaster but it wasn't. It could have ended early but it didn't. We could have been discouraged and broken but we aren't. Yes, we're tired. Yes, we struggled at times. No, everything did not go perfectly. In the end (which isn't an end) we look back and see the grace of God that orchestrated relationships and storylines of redemption, healing and growth. In just a few moments we head toward the airport to leave this country, our home, and head to Indiana, our home.
Over the next several months we will spend our days building a team of people who want to join us in the work. We've been hugely blessed by incredible support throughout this first term and we anticipate much of the same thing through the next. We are currently 72% funded for our next 4-year term. We are optimistic that number will rise quickly with God's help! If you have watched this ministry over the past couple of years we encourage you to take part in it and help us return to Uganda in 2017! Here is the link to join us: WGM.org/Metz
We love and appreciate you all!
Photo by: Helen Manson
Saturday, June 11, 2016
Eleven years ago we did not begin planning for today. When I watched my bride walk down the isle I had no thought of Africa. When we dated we didn't talk about what kind of tires we should put on our vehicle that would help us get out to the villages. When she asked me about my dreams I didn't mention any of the things I do now. I'm certain that when I saw her the first time I didn't think "check out that missionary". Today was not our idea. Tomorrow isn't either. God has brought us together and set us on a path. The past eleven years of marriage say very little about Nathan and Jade. It is our hope and prayer that the next eleven say even less about us. This marriage, these children, the arms, legs, voices and partnerships formed in our familial love are all a part of God's hand at work. Monday morning we begin two weeks of packing and preparing to return to America for a year. I can think of no better way to celebrate our anniversary than to thank God for the work He has done through us in our first term. This is what we were built to do. The greatest accomplishment of our marriage, the truest picture of its health, is to complete and conquer the work God has set before us. After our year in the States we will be returning to Uganda for another three years of work. We anticipate with optimism and excitement the victories down the road. In all those things to come, God be glorified.
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Yesterday we capped off the end of this discipleship group with a Memorial Day party at the Metz house. We played basketball, yard games and ate some good food. These university students are such an awesome group of people. It's been a privilege to get to know them! As we close out this chapter with their group, I've been reflecting on the things I've learned about discipleship.
Discipleship isn't a scheduled meeting time, it's life together. It isn't a book to read together, it's a way of life. It isn't impersonal, it's intimately personal. It isn't academic knowledge, it's the wisdom of experience. It isn't theoretical, it's practical in every way. It isn't organized, it's responsive to the moment. It isn't man's idea, it's God's plan for man. It isn't fruitless, it's fruitful even if we can't see the fruit. It isn't additions by a strong leader, it's multiplications by an indwelling Spirit of God.
I'm proud of this group of students. One of the last things I heard in my house was the question, "Can we start our own groups right away?" I was speechless. Seriously. I wasn't sure if it was a serious question. Eventually I responded with a massive understatement, "Um, yes, that would be good." In this process of discipleship I have found that the process is mutually, powerfully, internal and divinely changing for all parties involved. As a parting gift the group gave me a handmade picture made from banana leaves that shows a group of people with the words "African Discipleship". Incredible. What an awesome memory and inspiration for the future!
Friday, May 27, 2016
For seven years James and his 10 relatives have been living in a 400 square foot UNFINISHED home. A four foot gap between the brick walls and tin roof ceiling allows for rain and mosquitos to pour in from outside. Malaria and colds are a common occurrence in their family. In fact, one of James' baby sisters is at the clinic now getting treated for malaria. The unsealed dirt floor is a breading ground for jiggers (a tiny parasite that burrows into feet). One of James' brothers has 20 jiggers in his tiny little feet.
Why are we smiling so huge today?!! BECAUSE JAMES' HOUSE IS GETTING FINISHED! I cried nearly the entire hour ride to his house in anticipation of seeing the work being done. The body of Christ has rallied around this family! Before leaving I went on a walk with their pastor and he shared, "Madam Jade, the community has been watching you and your friends bringing this action gospel to this family over the last year. They see that God's love did not end on the Cross. Over the last year our church has gained 10 new believers through this families testimony."
Monday, May 23, 2016
“We’re tired of being tortured by this gospel.” These words woke me up this morning. Yesterday I traveled a few hours to the East to visit a beautiful little church nestled in a lush valley. Pastor Francis was as tall as I am, dignified and confident in his stature, humble and engaging in his demeanor. He started the church on the corner of some land he owns. Two weeks ago he found an old copy of the Discipleship Manual I wrote last year. Sunday morning he stood, paced the front and told his congregation why we (the missionaries) had come. He said, “We’ve had people in here telling us to give money and claim a miracle! We’ve had people shouting about prosperity in here! And for what? Oh no, we don’t want those miracles anymore. We’re tired of being tortured by this gospel. Today we have a new reason to celebrate, a true Gospel we can listen to!” The rest of the service was dedicated to the teaching of holiness, the rich, deep, truth of God’s saving grace. As I preached, I watched their reactions to hearing about sanctification for the first time. I watched eyes tear up at a description of a deeper maturity, a greater freedom, a holy life made possible today. And all this happened in the face of poverty. There was no gift, no mention of money or healing and no empty loud promises. We spoke only of the Gospel, as it is written in the Bible, and they cheered and waved their hands and scribbled vigorously in their notes.
God has confirmed again and again how necessary the holiness message is here. I’m so thankful to be a part of this!
Thursday, May 5, 2016
4/18/16: With every "yes" that I say to Jesus, He takes me further and further into the outer edges of society. I first brought The Dignity Project to boarding school children, then orphans, then impoverished village women, then prisoners and now the mentally ill. It's been a progressive movement to the outside.
Today I spent my day in the largest psychiatric hospital in Uganda. Over 650 people find refuge there. Men and women who are survivors of genocide, war, human trafficking, abuse, trauma and neglect fill the wards. "These people are shunned from society. They feel utterly forgotten," my friend shared.
Soon after I arrived I found the staff making sanitary pads for the patients out of cotton and gauze. I was so happy to see first hand what the women normally use. It really is quite a creative use of medical supplies! As you can imagine, the patients and staff were absolutely thrilled to receive new reusable sanitary pads that don't leak and last years with proper care.
After one woman received the first pair of underpants she has had in SEVEN years she started dancing. I was so moved by her joy I started dancing with her! It was a taste of Heaven dancing in her celebration! I am telling you, it was as if she won the lottery. The ladies could not believe the care and detail that was put into these Dignity Kits made by you all! I am so proud of you!
Next week I have the honor of going back to the hospital to train a group of 12 women how to make our Dignity Kits. Several of the women are soon to be resettled back into their communities and want to make them for a sustainable income.
There have been times when I have been ashamed to tell people what my job is here. I usually say something like, "I am a reusable sanitary pad missionary of sorts". Today I have never been more proud of my title.
4/28/16: Within the first 5 minutes of being at the physictric hospital today I learned that a woman had just taken her life. A woman fiercely loved by God. A woman shunned from her family and society simply because she has a 'mental illness'. Today I walked around the hospital and my heart broke thinking of the injustices that take place in this country that I love. "Where is Jesus", I wondered?
Today I saw Christ in the nurses as they tenderly leaned over in love helping me teach the women how to trace, cut and sew. I felt His warmth as I lingered long in the embrace of a woman who so desperately needed a hug. I saw redemption in a man who was once a tailor until a mental illness changed his life; he is now the tailor of the hospital. The experienced tailor worked magic on the machine and blazed through one product after another. I heard the voice of Jesus in the mouth of a woman who had no idea how much I needed to be encouraged.
One woman fluffed her posture up like a flamingo and said, "When I have these Dignity Project sanitary pads on, I can just stand up like this." Another woman said, "I think if I were a high jumper I could jump high without having a problem!"
Okay seriously, I know those quotes are ridiculous. But do you realize where they are coming from? We journey into some of the darkest pits this world has to offer and put courage and confidence into those people who are forgotten and lost. To hear anything positive come from their mouths is a sign to me that God is there, loving and moving, spreading Himself like a warm blanket over the coldness that plagues us.
My heart hurts, my feet hurt. I'm tired and emotional and confused. It could be worse and I won't stop. Nathan and I are convinced that this life means nothing if it isn't given to the benefit of the lost for the growth of the Kingdom and the glory of our Lord.
5/5/16: For the last 3 weeks I have been working with a group of 4 women who are soon to be resettled back into their communities. Our hope is that they will make our reusable sanitary pads as a way to earn a sustainable income. Each week I help them perfect one part of the sanitary pad pattern. We don't move on to the next step until the current one is mastered. These ladies are meticulous and take their time on every stitch they hand sew. The results they are producing are BEAUTIFUL! I am so proud!
Today the ladies wanted me to read The Psalms to them as they stitched. I read one Psalm after another and explained verse after verse to them. It was so sweet! We shared our struggles and dreams with one another. We talked about how Jesus is our hope, our salvation and our joy. One lady shared about how Jesus is the only One who 'fully understands' her. We all nodded in agreement.