"Personally, I'm more interested in the historical missionary women who were failures," says Karen DuBert, who serves with team in Mozambique with her husband, Phil. "I guess that's because sometimes I feel like a failure. We don't really have our role [as missionary wives] designed; we have to make it for ourselves."Karen, a stay-at-home mom, has built many female friendships in the port city of Quelimane. Along with an Argentinian missionary friend named Silvia, she visits women in the town jail to teach them the Bible. One woman had stolen a pair of shoes and sat in jail for 13 months before she was brought to trial.Another woman who was being beaten by her husband defended herself by cutting him with a razor, which required him to get eight stitches. The judge sentenced her to two-and-a-half years in jail."There is a lot of injustice going on for everybody," says Karen, "but the women especially have much less chance of being looked out for. A lot of times someone in the court is waiting for a bribe, and these women don't have enough money, so they just sit there."She and Silvia began showing up at the court, pressing courtworkers (and anybody who would listen) to put these women's trials on the docket and move up the dates. The woman who cut her husband had waited in jail for a year before the court sentenced her. She had become a Christian through their ministry, and Silvia and Karen went to the judge and vouched for her. Silvia asked if she could take responsibility for her and take her home as hired help. The prison director said she could, and she was released under Silvia's care after serving one year of her sentence.

Wendy Murray Zoba is a senior writer for Christianity Today.

Related Elsewhere

See today's related articles A Woman's Place and Church Planting in Senegal .

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