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Home school

One has only to do a cursory read of Jonah or the Acts of the Apostles to realize God is a missionary God. The whole focus of the Bible seems to be on God rescuing for Himself a family from every tribe and nation. We shouldn't be surprised that Christ said that He, "came to seek and save the lost." Before departing He declared to His disciples and in turn the Church, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel making disciples of every nation."

It's natural that at the beginning of a new millennium thinking Christians re-focus on missions. How does this relate to our children and home schooling? Surprising as it may seem, many of the future missionaries in this century will be those who where home schooled! Why? Because the home and the Church will always provide the best environment to nurture and grow strong young Christians with a vision and passion to serve Christ in God's world.

Interestingly, our children are growing up in a world that increasingly sees itself as a "global village." Never before in human history do they have such a window on every facet of the world around us. As Christian parents we can introduce our children into the richness and diversity of our multi-cultural society. This in turn can lead naturally to a missions focus as our children study different nations and people groups. The great advantage of this is that our children learn that just as God has a deep concern for all peoples so should they. In a "me focused" world they can learn to love others as themselves.

Why Focus on William Carey?

Any study of modern missions that fails to recognized its founder is the poorer. Our purpose in exploring William Carey, the undisputed founder of modern missions is because; firstly, Carey is such an abiding inspiration for anyone who goes against the status quo hence his encouragement to today's Christian Home Schooler's. Secondly, as we hope to show Carey's vision of God is intoxicating. It is just the spiritual tonic our often mundane and impotent Christian lives need to arouse within us a vision and passion for world missions. Who then is William Carey?

Carey's Early Learning and Call to Missions.

He was born in 1761 in Paulerspury in Northamptonshire, England. His father was a local weaver and educationalist who later became the local schoolmaster. Young William taught himself to read, developing an insatiable appetite for knowledge. He literally devoured books on science, history and exploration. One incident in his childhood is worth noting. He developed a love for climbing trees only to be badly injured in a fall. Not to be out done he determined to try again and climbed the tree. Here was a young boy of great determination. At the age of 11 he read in a local newspaper about the horrors of slavery. This aroused a life long sympathy for their plight. Through his interest in books he discovered one on Botany written in Latin. Soon he had taught himself not only Latin but also Greek. This proved to be the nursery for his life long passion for foreign languages.

His plans on leaving school where to be a gardener, but instead his father indentured him as a shoemaker. God also had plans for Carey's life at this time. Two things lead to his conversion. Firstly he was convicted of sin after being caught for stealing a shilling from his master. Secondly he worked with the son of an evangelical pastor, Thomas Warr who invited young Carey to a prayer meeting on a national day of prayer, called because of impending war with France and Spain. While at this meeting the verse from Hebrews 13:13 was read, " Let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach." This verse had profound impact on him.

In 1785 he became pastor of a small Baptist Church at Mouton, near Kettering. Ordained in 1787 he joined the local pastors association, which included John Ryland and Andrew Fuller who not only had an influence on him but also supported him in his future missionary endeavors. When he attempted to persuade the association that they should engage in world evangelization he was told, "Sit down young man, and respect the opinions of your seniors. If the Lord wants to convert the heathen, He will do it without your help." This was a serious distortion of God's sovereignty in evangelism, leaving no room for the Bibles teaching on man's responsibility to evangelize.

In 1789 he moved to a troubled Church in Leicester and two years latter published the now famous tract, An enquiry into the obligation of Christians to use means for the conversion of the heaven. Three weeks later he preached his equally famous sermon from Isaiah 54:2 " Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings; do not spare; lengthen your cords, and strengthen your stakes." His two headings were, "Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God." Soon after in 1792 twelve poor pastors formed the Baptist Missionary Society. They each gave the equivalent of $40 to begin the work, a large sum for them and so began a mighty work for God's kingdom.

Carey heard of a Baptist and formal naval surgeon, John Thomas. He worked for the East India Company in Bengal and was fluent in the language. Now he was in England trying to raise funds for a mission to Bengal. He seemed to be perfect and the society invited him to be their missionary. Carey would accompany him to India. Difficulties arose, Dorothy his wife who was pregnant refused at first to go due to France declaring war on England. Finance was also scarce, but finally money can in and Dorothy's baby was born, so she could sail with Carey. On the 13th of June 1793 they set sail for India, Thomas teaching Carey basic Bengali on the vovage.

Carey's Missionary Work in India

The first six months in India where spent in trying to survive. The cost of living was high and goods they had bought to sell fetched little. It soon became apparent that Thomas was unsuitable as a missionary. Dorothy's mental state was causing concern.

In God's providence Carey and Thomas were offered jobs managing two indigo factories in the countryside. The position provided much need money, a work permit and time to begin his missionary work. Then his five-year-old son died and his wife's troubled mental condition became permanent. Despite these incredible difficulties Carey wrote home, "When my soul can drink its fill at the Word of God, I forget all." Then John Fountain a new missionary arrived.

By the end of 1796 he had translated into Bengali nearly all the New Testament and as far as Numbers in the Old Testament and also established small churches for the English residents. In 1799 eight new missionaries arrived, they where imprisoned for mistakenly being "Catholic" missionaries but soon released. At this time the Christian Governor of Serampore, Colonel Bie ask them to establish a Christian mission. So began the work in earnest with Carey and recently arrived William Ward, a printer and Joshua Marshman a schoolteacher.

Carey printed the first page of the Bengali New Testament in 1780. He also preached the gospel and later that year the first Indian convert was baptized. By 1813 five hundred had been converted and baptized. A year before a fire destroyed the printing house and many valuable manuscripts he had translated. Carey wrote to Fuller, " God has a sovereign right to dispose of us as He pleases." Yet despite this Carey set to work replacing the lost manuscripts. Carey died after a series of strokes on June 9th 1834. The mission he established survives to this day.

In Summary

Tom Wells in his book, A Vision for Missions makes a brilliant observation. "God is worthy to be known and proclaimed for who He is, and that fact is an important part of the missionary motive and message. Those who know the most about God are the most responsible to tell of Him." This mirrors so well Carey's motivation, and message and must surely be his enduring legacy to missions today.

Practical Ways of Having a Missions Focus:

The ways this can be done are only limited by your imagination. Here are a few to help you get started.

Community and Church:

Community and Church:Often there are people in your community and church from other cultures, these people often feel isolated and in need of true friendship. By showing them genuine love over time you can have an insight into their culture.

Adopt a Missionary:

Missionary life can be lonely and often difficult. By finding a missionary family through your Church or an evangelical missionary society you and your children can begin to write and pray for them as a family. Then when they return to Australia on furlow you can arrange for them to visit your family and Church and tell of their life and work.

For younger Children

By using images from T.V and the Internet you can introduce them to Children from others cultures, then summarize a famous missionary story that relates to that country. Conclude by praying for those who preach the gospel in that country.

For older Children


You may like to begin with a visit to your local migrant center, often free tours can be arranged. The advantage is that you can meet in a natural setting those recently arrived from other countries.

Reading & Writing Letters:

Set them the task of reading a missionary biography. A word of caution though, many are idealistic in the extreme, use only those stories that show the real struggles of missionary life. By writing letters to missionary children they can foster new friendships and so get to know children in other cultures.

Video and Prayer:

Video TV programs like Global Village on SBS and Foreign Correspondent on the ABC. Next turn to the relevant country in Operation World: A Handbook for World Intercession. By P.J.Johnstone. This brilliant resource book will give you a wealth of facts on the country as well as present the state of Christianity there. You can then pray intelligently with your Children for missions in that country.

Web site on Carey


William Carey: by trade a cobbler by Kellsye M. Finnie, Published by Kingsway Publications, 1986. Reformation Today, The Tenacious William Carey by

John Legg, Vol. No. 90 Pp. 7-14 Mar-Apr 1986.

Paul Thompson. Paul has two adult Children and one teenage son who now attends a Christian School in Australia


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