Thursday, April 12, 2012

William Carey: Obliged To Go by Geoff & Janet Benge

Recommendation: ***** (5-stars)

William Carey, born in 1761 to weavers in the town of Paulerspury, England, finds himself as a young man attending  a nonconformist prayer meeting, to pray for the American revolutionaries to win. After joining this group of dissenters who read Scripture with the certainty of believing it, William married his first wife, Dolly, and soon after became a part-time preacher. At the age of 26, he spoke the unpopular view of supporting foreign missions, as well as stuyding and writing a manuscript about it. He overcame numerous obstacles, but eventually made it to India with his family, after helping the first English missionary society to be formed and volunteering to be its first missionary. Among the fruit of his labor and influence was sharing the gospel with any Indian people he met, Bible translation into many Indian and Asian languages, the opening of schools and churches, and outlawing the inhuman practices of infanticide and sati (the live burning of a widow along with her deceased husband) in India. He always persevered and kept a strong faith through the deaths of four children and two wives, continuing to serve in the ways God led him.

Positives: All the books in the Christian Heroes series we have read are very well written, with a style that draws our children in  as we read aloud together. This family reading time is often requested and eargerly anticipated, as the missionaries and their lives are painted in a descriptive manner that also teaches histsory and sets the scenes in a way that the reader (and listeners) can better understand what they faced in their day. These true stories are very enjoyable, and more importantly, faith-building, as they display God's unmistakable power in the lives of ordinary people who trusted and obeyed Him. Our children celebrate along with us the victories of souls saved and battles won as they hear of the work of the Holy Spirit through faithful servants.

Negatives: None

Talking Points: There is so much evidence of God's faithfulness in William Carey's life (Psalm 118:1). The Lord's sovereign hand of guidance, provision and timing is clearly shown within details such as when ships sailed, when laws were made, as well as people coming in and out of his life, all directing and affirming William Carey's decisions and actions. As this missionary  faced extremely difficult and heatbreaking situations, such as the deaths of loved ones and the destruction of valuable equipment and papers, we can remind ourselves and our children of the faithfulness and comfort of God in the midst of and despite trials (Hebrews 4:16, 10:35-36). William's heart for the Indian people was a clear display of his compassionate love for these fellow human beings created in the image of God (Matthew 22:37-39). He was an excellent example of one who  persevered and was faithful to the Lord all the way to the end (Hebrews 12:1-2), even ecouraging another missionary from his deathbed in starting another Christian college in India. As this man was leaving, William told him not to speak of William Carey after his death, but only of his Savior (Col. 3:3). This Christian Heroes series is a valuable resource in  providing concrete examples of true heroes of the faith after which we and our children may follow in seeking God's will for our own lives.

Age Level: 9 years of age and up

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