It’s about time to discuss a missionary
Due to my natural affinity toward theology and scholarship I often neglect discussions of missionaries (unless they are also theologians). For whatever reason I am not drawn to the significance and impact of missionaries throughout the world. So in order to rectify this situation I decided to write about a man now known as ‘the father of modern missions’, William Carey.
A poor cobbler and a poor cobbler
William Carey was born in England northwest of London in 1761. Due to his family’s lower income and a childhood illness he chose to apprentice a shoemaker. He showed very little aptitude for cobbling but as he grew older and married hoped he could do it well enough to pay for food for his family. During his time as a shoemaker he was able to teach himself biblical Greek.
A poor teacher
Carey realized that he had an aptitude for languages, teaching himself Greek, Hebrew, Latin and several other languages. He started a school hoping to inspire students to learn the languages that were so important to himself. It ended up, however, that he did worse at teaching than he did at shoemaking.
A poor pastor
So he changed occupations once again and became a Particular Baptist pastor. He succeeded less with pastoring than with teaching. So William Carey could have been seen (or seen himself) as a failure, but the struggles are not over.
After reading about the exploits of Captain Cook in the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii), he had a conviction that the church had an obligation to proclaim the news of Jesus Christ to the unreachable people of the world. Many of his friends tried to discourage him from going on the mission field because they thought ‘if God’s wants the heathen saved he does not need you’. Carey replied, “expect great things from God! Attempt great things for God!” He started a missions agency to send people across the world to share the Gospel, and he went with a doctor friend to India.
A poor missionary?
The journey to India and the subsequent life were very difficult. The doctor partner of Carey’s left the mission early on, taking all the money. Personally Carey had one struggle after another: 2 children died, the doctor took off with their funds, he contracted malaria, and his wife battled depression and had to be restrained. Throughout all of these hard times William Carey said, “I can plod”. He was convinced of his mission for Jesus yet his efforts were not showing much results, but he kept on plodding away and thousands of lives were changed. In India he also helped people in the lowest caste system to get them out of their poverty.
“Seventy-six years after William Carey’s death, more than 1,200 missionaries from 160 mission boards met in Edinburgh, England. By that time, the number of Christian ministers living outside Europe and the Americas had increased more than one thousand percent.” (Christian History Made Easy by Dr. Timothy Jones, page 152).
Father of modern missions – missionary in India
Taught himself several (at least 5) languages – so translated the New Testament into 24 native languages of India
“I can plod” – kept plodding his way spreading the Gospel, in the midst of much struggle and hardship.
Please give me comments and suggestions for topics.
Soli Deo Gloria