Dennis Metzger grew up in Indiana in a family with strong Church of the Brethren beliefs. Because of that, he was eligible to request conscientious objector status when he became eligible for the draft in 1968. Dennis felt called, instead, to serve in Vietnam, and after receiving training at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Maryland, he spent the next five years in northern South Vietnam helping farmers develop irrigation projects for their villages. In 1973 he married a South Vietnamese women he had met at a Christian church in Tam Ky, and they spent the next year living in Taiwan. They returned to the U.S. in 1975.