"Young man, sit down! You are an enthusiast"
William Carey was born in Northamptonshire, England. He was just an ordinary boy and when he left school aged 16, Carey became a shoe-maker’s apprentice. Two years later, he attended a prayer meeting that would change his life forever. Here, he committed his life to Christ. He became an avid reader, ploughing through the Bible and he also loved to read stories of the explorers discovering new parts of the world.
Bit by bit, Carey became gripped by the realization that thousands of people around the world had never heard the gospel and he became convinced that it was the responsibility of the Church to do something about it.
He brought up the subject at a meeting in 1786, asking if the commission from Matt 28:18 was still relevant for the church today.
“Young Man. Sit Down! You are an enthusiast. When God pleases to convert the heathen, he will it without your help or mine”, said the Chairman.
Carey though, was undeterred. He went on to write and print a tract, published in 1792 where he wrote up the arguments for mission.
In 1793,aged 32,Carey set off for India, with his wife Dorothy and three sons.
From his diary in Feb 1795 he wrote
“This indeed is the Valley of the shadow of death for me...Oh what would I give for a sympathetic friend to whom I might open my heart.
But God is here, who not only has compassion, but is able to save to the uttermost”.
Life in India was hard.
Conflict with the authorities, financial problems, terrible heat, and frequent serious sickness, all took their toll.
Carey had to bury his youngest son Peter, who died aged 5 (with his own hands). His wife Dorothy suffered from mental illness (when she saw Carey burying their Kid she became mentally ill).
Carey persevered. He learnt the language and spent hours in Bible translation work. In the evenings and weekends he would go out preaching on foot or horseback. It would be seven years before there was a single convert!
Carey and his team produced numerous manuscripts and translations in many different languages. These included dictionaries, grammar book, and whole versions of the Bible in different languages.
But disaster struck in 1812, when a huge fire broke out destroying most of the work that represented decades of painstaking translation.
He started again. From scratch.
Carey showed incredible perseverance and unswerving devotion to the Lord and to his work.
He rebuilt the printing press and went on to produce masses of books and he published translations of the Bible into forty Indian languages! Incredible!
Because of Carey, many missionary societies were formed in the UK and USA.
Carey was truly a pioneer, a hero of faith and has been named the ‘father of modern missions’.