Virginia Stewart Metzler, nicknamed
“Ginger,” was born in Houston, Texas. After high school, Virginia
married John Thomas (Tommy) Barnett, Jr., a pilot, and moved to
Liberia, West Africa. There they served as missionaries with R. G. LeTourneau for two years. After Tommy’s untimely death, Virginia
moved back to the U.S. with her two small children, Vicki and Randy.
Virginia met Les Metzler after moving to
California from Texas. They have now been married 52 years. Virginia
and Les served as missionaries for 14 years with Wycliffe Bible
Translators and the Summer Institute of Linguistics, including six
years as support missionaries in the Philippines. Les and Virginia
are the parents of two married children and an adopted daughter
Hannah-Joy, a pre-med student. They are grandparents of eight
grandchildren. Besides being a wife, mother and grandmother,
Virginia is an artist, writer, a Bible teacher and a discipler of
women. "God has been good to me all the days of my life! I have
never doubted God’s care for me or for my family members, as well.
His provisions for me, I have never doubted. I had read the account
in Matthew about the birds and how God cares for them and because I
believe the Bible, I trust Him to take care of me."
Matthew 6:26 says,
“…are you not worth much more than they?”
dad was a farmer. Actually, he was a sharecropper who farmed about
fifty of the ninety-eight acre farm owned by our local banker. Dad
would go to the bank and borrow seed money on his handshake. In our
family, the emphasis was on core-values such as truth, honesty,
integrity, and keeping one's word. Loyalty and trust were high on
that list as well. Our parents had taught us those things, among
many others and they were part of our lives and were enforced daily.
We may have been poor but we were expected to live our lives above
and beyond reproach.
I was about the age of
ten or eleven when my dad said to me, “I've spent my whole life
building a reputation of dignity, honor, honesty and keeping my
word. Don't you ever do anything to bring dishonor to my name or my
reputation!” His admonishment haunted me all during my youth and to
my knowledge, I have kept his reputation intact.
Simple lessons I learned
from living on the farm. Most of them had a spiritual application
that only in my later years, have I been able to fully appreciate or
even grasp. Strange, isn't it how a simple statement can leave a
“ripple” effect in a person's life? It would be the same as tossing
a rock into a lake that sent out ripples that grew wider and wider.
Eventually, one little pebble affects the entire lake. Also, there
are “ripples” in our spiritual insights or assessments; they can be
seen in EVERYTHING. But we must open our eyes and hearts to see
My dad used a horse to
plow back in the late forties. And I loved to follow him in the
fields as he plowed with ole Clyde. I loved the feel of the cool,
damp, newly plowed ground beneath my toes and the smell of the
freshly turned soil. I would stretch my legs as far as possible to
fit my own small feet into my dad's bigger footprints.
But ole Clyde was a story
all of his own. The name Clyde stood for Clydesdale because that was
his pedigree! Those huge horses with their big, hairy feet are
massive and strong. My dad rescued Clyde from a life of being used
as a logging horse. There they worked him very long, hard hours
every day. The loggers were not always kind to horses like Clyde.
My dad's purpose in
acquiring Clyde was to use him as a plow-horse. But it was not an
easy task to plow with ole Clyde. His feet were so large that he
managed to step on almost every delicate plant my dad had planted in
our fields. Dad used some choice words with Clyde but ole Clyde
didn't seem to mind at all. I always felt that ole Clyde was smiling
as he plopped those big, hairy feet down the rows with Dad walking
with the plow behind him.
When I was about seven
years old, I was following my dad one morning as he plowed with ole
Clyde. But on that particular day Clyde had a mind of his own. If
Clyde decided the way to go, that was the way Dad went. More often
than not, Clyde resisted Dad's tug on the reins. Sometimes Clyde
would drag my dad behind him as my dad fought to regain control of
him. I must repeat myself and say, Clyde had a mind of his own!
Clyde did what Clyde wanted to do! For no reason at all, Clyde would
take my dad on unscheduled romps through the fields. Dad was
pleased those hair-raising jaunts!
One day as I followed my
dad in the fields, I began to pummel him with questions. I had
always heard, “timing is everything” but what does a seven year old
know about timing? I'm sure there must have been a better time than
when my dad was being dragged all over the south forty by that
humongous hunk of horse flesh. Kids are filled with questions, at
least this kid was! I said something to my dad (who was trying to
plow), when he stopped Clyde, turned to me and said, “Virginia, you
ask more questions than a New York lawyer!” Then he said something
that took me more than a few years to truly understand its meaning;
he said to me, “I cannot plow and turn to answer your questions. If
I turn to look or talk with you, Clyde will turn around, too. Once
I've begun to plow, I can not look back.”
Years later, as I
sat reading my Bible, I came upon a verse that riveted my attention.
The verse took me back to those times my dad plowed with Clyde. It
“No man, when putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is
worthy of the kingdom of God.”
The Lord revealed to me the truth spoken to me so long ago; it was a
beautiful moment. I learned that I needed to take charge of my
relationship with God and keep an undivided focus on Him. It is
impossible to follow Christ while looking back at the world or
anything I've left behind me. That was the reason Lot’s wife was
turned into a pillar of salt! She not only looked back at Sodom and
Gomorrah, she grieved-over having to leave that very sinful place.
for us is to “set our sights” on Him and never waiver in either our
journey or our devotion to Him.
To the Top