At a deputation event yesterday, a lovely and very supportive older woman asked me, ‘What does your husband do?’ At first I was confused. ‘We’re both going to Tanzania,’ I said. Then I worked out, she was asking because she’s assuming that Arthur’s the ‘missionary’ and I’m ‘the wife’.
That’s how ‘missions’ used to be — like, back in the 50s — they’d list the man as the missionary, and after his name there’d be a little ‘w’ (for ‘wife’) if he was married. These days, both partners are seen to have a significant role to play, regardless of who is the official visa holder. CMS talks about sending families.
Anyway, I said that we’d be working in student ministry together at a university. That’s reflected on our residency permits as well – Arthur and I both had to fill one in. (Although admittedly, I went on Arthur’s as ‘accompanying wife’ but there was no place for me to write about my ‘accompanying husband’ on mine!)
Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.