I asked the authors of Women Behind the Scenes to answer this question: “What were some things that surprised you about deputation?” I can relate to just about all of these responses. If you are a missionary lady on deputation, my guess is you probably can, too! And if you are not a missionary lady, maybe this will help you understand us a little better!
You will only need one Sunday outfit (2 if you dress seasonally). When a missions conference comes along, panic sets in: “What am I going to wear all week?!” A neutral dress with interchangeable sweaters, scarves, and jewelry is a great thing to have in your “on the road wardrobe.”
Nurseries may not be available at every church. Many times, at these churches, if your little one gets especially antsy, someone will offer to watch him in the nursery, and they WILL talk you into it even though you politely and repeatedly resist in an attempt to be considerate (and not seem desperate!).
There are other options than fast food as you travel. A quick Walmart deli-run is an affordable, convenient option or a $5 Hot and Ready Pizza can be a nice treat for your family. Juice boxes and fruit cups are also great to have on hand in order to avoid purchasing french fries and carbonated beverages while running through a drive-thru.
Deputation prepares your heart for the mission field in many ways, particularly by helping you distance yourself from your family and by creating a longing for a schedule and a home.
Your concept of time changes. “It’s only a 4 hour drive to church tonight!”
You will almost always be willing to drive through the night to get home (and to avoid screaming babies or countless “Are we there yet?” questions). Even with 3 hours of sleep, waking up at home is a glorious thing!
Enjoy all the time with your family. You can have the attitude that deputation is exhausting and difficult (especially if you have little ones) or you can focus on the fact that you get to spend much time with your spouse and with your family.
Cooking and house-keeping will suddenly seem like an absolute thrill after much time on the road. You will feel like Emeril as you prepare even the simplest meal. It didn’t come in a paper bag, and that feels like some great accomplishment! BAM!
You will, more often than not, be asked to sing or play an instrument in church. “I can’t sing” may seem like an acceptable answer, but you just might have to prove it!
You can learn very much about your husband, and you can use that knowledge to be a better help-meet. Deputation affords wonderful opportunities to do that in tangible ways- pack the car, get the kids ready, drive, write thank-you notes, proof-read prayer letters, etc.
You will get tired of talking about yourself, believe it or not! You will learn to redirect the conversation and learn more about those who are trying so desperately to learn a whole bunch about you!
Countless people will open up their hearts and homes to you and will do more for you than you ever thought possible. You will make life-long friends, and you will leave for the field with the comfort of knowing that there are several churches back home that would do literally ANYTHING for your family.
No one ever told me that deputation would be so much fun!
Most of these things came as a shock to us missionary wives, but thanks to The Deputation Manual, we were all pretty well-prepared for the major ins-and-outs of the support-raising journey. If you are a missionary on deputation, it will be a great resource for your family. Check it out here!