Meet Zach + Valerie Metz. Aren’t they just the cutest? They also have big hearts. I’m so thankful that our paths have crossed in this little Iowa town. I met Valerie when she was like the coolest person I’d ever seen in this corner of the state. She was waiting tables and we talked about photography and pretty tattoos. We became friends and it turns out she had just moved from California and she and her hubby of just a few months were looking for a church community. They got connected with us and now they’re awesome youth volunteers and worship musicians at our church.
But God wasn’t done with them yet. He was moving in their hearts, and one night over dinner they told us they felt God was moving them to do some mission work this year before Zach graduates college. Now, they’re prepping to spend two months serving abandoned and under-resourced children without families in Burkina Faso, a small but heavily populated country in West Africa. (Near Nigeria, where Joseph was born!) Valerie + Zach are young newlyweds and they’re working to get the funds together to make this mission trip a reality.
I asked Valerie to share her story and her heart, as well as some of the creative ways they’re raising support.
Tell us a little about yourself! I’m a photographer and I just enjoy meeting new people and hearing their stories. I’m barely starting — and have so much more to learn! My dream job would be a traveling wedding/lifestyle photographer, working in ministry at our home church, and get to be a stay-at-home mom. Haha.
Zach is in his senior year at Northwestern and he’s majoring in elementary education with an endorsement in English as a second language. He wants to teach 5th graders and would love to be in a class full of foreign exchange students! He also wants to teach little league baseball and work in ministry at a home church as well. We are currently invested at our home church at the moment at Dover Alliance Church, where we do worship, volunteer with high school and college ministry and we LOVE it. We probably want to go back to California since it is our home but we’re willing to go wherever God wants us to go.
When did you know God was leading you guys to Burkina? Before we got married, I prayed for a husband that would be willing to do missionary work if God called us to do that, so it was amazing to get to know Zach and find out that he worked at summer camps as a leader and has had a heart to spread love to others in other places. I was raised doing missionary work in Brazil, Peru, and Mexico. We prayed for a long time and almost did YWAM but God switched our plans to Envision, a mission organization for millennials in the Christian & Missionary Alliance denomination.
Where will you be serving? We will be in a teeny town called Yako in Burkina Faso in Western Africa. The country has 8 million people and only 14% claim to be Christians. The rest are Islamic.
What will you do be doing? We’ll be staying at an orphanage called Sheltering Wings, where they have children from newborns all the way to 22 years old. We will basically be spending lots of time loving on all of these kids and teaching them about God’s love. There’s a possibility of working with a local church’s youth group, too. Zach’s education is in ESL, and he will be very equipped to connect and teach these kids. Envision puts it this way: Even in difficult circumstances, God is working in Burkina Faso. Local churches across the country are meeting needs and providing hope for many Burkinabe people. National missionaries and pastors are being raised up and trained to effectively spread the Gospel to their neighbors. Wells are being drilled, schools are being built, churches are being planted, children are experiencing love, relationships are being developed, the hungry are being fed, the sick are being healed, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is being preached.
How long will you be there? We will be there October-November 2014. We wish we could stay longer but Zach has student teaching coming up!
How can we pray for you? We need prayers for financial stability. Please pray that God will use us in any way He needs to. We’re praying for our spirits to be willing and compassionate for a community we’ve never been in before.
What ways can we support you financially? We have a secure online account if anyone feels led to donate. If you go to this link, type “ENV- Zach and Valerie Metz” in the “Give to International Workers and Special Projects” option. You’ll get a tax receipt for your donated funds. I am also selling some of my closet items (the dress below is just one item for sale!) and making floral crowns to sell as well ($10-15 in all sizes, including infant and kids!). We are also thinking of putting our musical talents to do good and have an open concert so that’ll be fun!
How can we follow your journey? You can contact our personal Facebook accounts (Zachary Metz and Valerie Metz) or our Facebook page, Love to Burkina. If you want to hear about the orphanage we’re staying at during our trip, you can follow along here.