When my husband and I were at training college there was also a Japanese man, Saturo, and his family there. All of us students were split into groups to take it in turns with chores round college (such as gardening, serving dinner), and we used to have meetings to plan out rotas and special worship services that we might organise as a group. At one meeting of his group Saturo explained he couldn’t make the next meeting, but not to worry as “I send wife instead”. And indeed he did. She duly came to the next meeting, represented him, and took back to him the information he needed to know. I always thought that incident said something rather lovely about their relationship, and about sharing in ministry, but “I send wife instead” did become a catchphrase round college for a while!
I’ve been the wife being sent this week. I took a ‘phone call from a funeral director about a funeral from outside our parish but where the family had specifically asked for my husband as he had had some contact with them previously. Knowing my husband can’t do it, I offered my services, and indeed the wife has been accepted as a reasonable substitute! I visited the family yesterday and met four generations of females together, complete with grand-daughter and great-grand-daughter – so sweet!