God's world is big – here's how we got amongst it ...

Tamie Davis served as a CMS gospel worker in Tanzania from 2013-2023, partnering with Tanzania Fellowship of Evangelical Students (TAFES). Her PhD explores the theology of TAFES women graduates. She is passionate about recognising and heralding God’s work in the majority world church.  

I wanted to be a missionary since I was a child. It was the Holy Spirit’s work, but through my mother. My parents took us along to all the Church Missionary Society (CMS) events as children. And there was this book that my mum read with us called You Can Change the World (now republished as Window on the World.) It had double-page spreads on lots of countries in the world, with their flags and a little story about what life was like for children there. There was also a poem and various bits and pieces about the country, and then prayer points.

We would do one country per week and get to read the story one day and then the poem another day, and pray for the country each time. And it really lifted my eyes as a child to a bigger world beyond my own understanding.

A particularly important country was Bhutan, which at that time didn’t allow Christians in. One of the prayer points was to pray that Bhutan would be opened to missionaries and that the King of Bhutan would allow that to happen. And so we prayed that.

Several years later we heard on the news that the King of Bhutan had allowed missionaries in for the first time. And my sisters and I were like, “We did that! We prayed that prayer and then it happened.” So exciting!

Obviously, there were lots of other people praying for this, but we had a very tangible sense of having been involved in God’s world, having prayed for something, and it happened. And that gave us this real sense of being involved.

Then my family was going to go to the Philippines with CMS when I was a child; it didn’t end up working out – there was a recession and a couple of other things happened, so we didn’t end up going – but we were certainly thinking that way. So we had this connection with other parts of the world.

As a child, I felt like I could be part of God’s mission as well, whether through praying or because my family was going to the Philippines. And so it was always on the agenda for me. I always felt this sense that God’s world was so much bigger than the little patch I was in.

We’re still thinking about this big world that God has and how we can be involved in it.

Years later, my husband Arthur and I were going to go to post-Soviet Europe to be missionaries. We had some language background and we’d both done modern European history at uni – we really liked that kind of thing. We understood that Europe was the new frontier, in many ways, for Jesus, and we were really interested in the post-Soviet bloc.

But then we moved to Melbourne and discovered that we don’t really do long, grey winters very well. It was quite serious for us. We both got quite sick and we just thought, “Oh gosh, we are too soft for Europe. We have to go somewhere where the sun shines.”

If you want to go where the action is, go to Africa.

So, God guided us in a different direction to a different group of people, and we spent 10 years being part of life in Tanzania. We’re currently grounded in Australia, but even now we don’t think, “Oh well, we did our mission thing. We’ve been part of God’s world somewhere else now. Good. Now we can just be in Australia.” We’re still thinking about this big world that God has and how we can be involved in it.

Tamie Davis worships at City Harvest Church, Dar es Salaam in Tanzania

Tamie Davis (with her son Elliott) worships at City Harvest Church, Dar es Salaam in Tanzania

The incredible thing about being in Tanzania is just being welcomed into someone else’s world and getting to be a part of that. Arthur and I always say to people, if you want to go where the Holy Spirit is working, if you want to go where the action is, go to Africa.

We have a sense that we got to join in with what God was or is doing there and it was extraordinary. Often Tanzania and Africa in general are spoken about as a place of deficit, but we really felt it to be a place of richness and sophistication. It was a joy for us to go there and learn and see the Tanzanian missionaries who are at work, both in their own country and moving out as well.

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