ave you ever thought about becoming a missionary—about traveling to a far-off country to tell people about the Good News of Jesus? Well, if you decide to become a missionary, you might have one man to thank. This man is usually called the father of modern missions, and his name was William Carey.
And then He told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.” (Mark 16:15)
William Carey was an Englishman who lived about 225 years ago. He wasn’t always a missionary. At the age of 14, he worked as a shoemaker’s apprentice. Young William worked long hours sewing and repairing leather shoes—all the while with his nose in a book! William loved languages, and as he worked on shoes he taught himself many languages, including Dutch, French and Hebrew.
Eventually William married Dorothy Plackett and he became a full time pastor. He and a few other people began to feel that God was calling them to tell the world about Him.
William Carey felt called to tell the world—and to go to India. His wife, Dorothy, wasn’t so sure that she wanted to go, but eventually she agreed. They and their children set sail for India.
It was very difficult for William and his family. It was illegal to preach about Jesus to the Hindu people living in India. Even the other English people living and working for the English government in India didn’t support the missionaries.
In the beginning, the Careys lived very poorly and often didn’t have enough money for food. William wondered if God had really called him there. He couldn’t preach, because it was illegal. His wife did not like living there, and then, sadly, his young son Peter became sick and died. William didn’t know if God was listening to him at all. He began to think that maybe he should have stayed home in England.
But God was listening, and God sent him to India for a reason. Remember what William did all day while he was repairing shoes? Yes, he taught himself languages. He did that in India, too. William learned Bengali and Sanskrit quickly and well. He learned many of the other local dialects, too. William spoke, read and wrote in these new languages.
Slowly, he realized that his mission in India was to provide the people with the story of Jesus and His love for them—in their own language. If he could not stand on the village corner and preach, then he could translate the Bible into their language. Then the people could read and learn about Jesus. And so he did!
Another missionary was sent from England to work with him, and this man was a printer. Together, the men began printing the Bible in the Indian languages. It was a lot of work back then—they had to make the letters for the press and turn out each page by hand—but they did it!
It took six years before the first Indian man was converted to Christianity. William Carey did a wonderful work. He translated the Bible, and he also inspired many others to become missionaries, too. He proved that the work of a missionary was a good work, and that God did want us to tell the whole world about Him.
Is God calling you to serve him? Listen to his voice, like William Carey did, and make it a wonderful new day—a new day with Jesus!
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