I love it that kids at TCA study the lives of godly men and women of years past who took the good news of Jesus around the world. As a parent, I enjoy it when my kids coming home and tell what they’ve learned about people who answered the call to missions when it truly meant dying to oneself and saying goodbye to friends and family to be immersed in a completely foreign culture. In fact, do yourself a favor and read about early missionaries like Adoniram Judson (1788-1850, Burma), David Livingstone (1813-1873, Africa), Hudson Taylor (1832-1905, China), Amy Carmichael (1867-1951, India), Jim Elliot and Nate Saint (1927/1923-1956, Ecuador), or Eric Liddell (1902-1945, China). If nothing else, when you meet these heroes of the faith one day, you’ll have an idea of what to talk about!
To save you some time, let me share briefly about the man often called “The Father of Modern Missions.” Born into a poor family, William Carey (1761-1834) obtained little formal education. He was apprenticed to a shoemaker (during which time he became a Christ-follower), but he wasn’t very good and was released. This was followed by an unsuccessful stint at running a school, an unhappy marriage, and the death of a young daughter. He remained a deeply committed believer, but his pastoring attempts were hindered by his “tedious and boring” sermons.
Some might have given up In the face of such adversity and disappointment, but not William Carey. Never one to quit, he established the Baptist Missionary Society and was himself the first candidate to sail to India. During his many years of service, he translated the Bible into Bengali, Oriya, Marathi, Hindi, Assamese and Sanskrit, and portions of Scripture into 29 other languages! And what did he do when he lost ten years’ worth of translation work in a fire? He just started again. God used this faithful, obedient man to impact the earthly lives and eternal destinies of literally millions of people.
Late in life, Carey learned of plans to write his life story. Instead of wanting to be remembered as a skilled linguist, writer or printer, he insisted that the only proper way to describe himself was as a “plodder,” and that “anything else would be too much.” This man who taught himself Latin, Hebrew and Greek, and who was so influential in the lives of many other missionaries wrote, “I can plod. I can persevere in any definite pursuit. To this I owe everything.”
May the people of TCA have this kind of character and faith! May our kids choose as heroes people like William Carey! May kids see their parents and teachers model this kind of consistency and celebrate this kind of faith.
Plod on friends!