William Carey was born in 1761 to Edmund and Elizabeth Carey, who were weavers in England. As a child, he was keenly interested in Botany and he possesses a gift for language, teaching himself Latin.
He apprenticed in a local cobbler's shop, and enthusiastically took up the faith, and though little educated, the young convert borrowed a Greek grammar and proceeded to teach himself New Testament Greek. Carey's family sunk into poverty and stayed there even after he took over his uncle business.
He married Dorothy in 1781 had seven children, five sons and two daughters; both girls died in infancy, as well as son Peter, who died at the age of 5.
He further studied Hebrew, Italian, Dutch, and French and became a preacher, later he was ordained at one of the Baptist Church in England.
The Baptist Church Annual General meeting was held in 1787 and he raised the question of whether it was the duty of all Christians to spread the Gospel throughout the world. Then the president of the council retorted: "Young man, sit down; when God pleases to convert the heathen, he will do it without your aid and mine." But Carey persisted.
One day Carey preached a pro-missionary sermon in 1789 by using Isaiah 54:2–3, in which he repeatedly used the epigram which has become his most famous quotation: Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God which resulted in the formation of Baptist Missionary Society in 1792.
Then Carey at the age of 32 came to India and landed in Calcutta (1793) and he sought means to support themselves and a place to establish their mission.
Carey's early years there was miserable. He lived with people ravaged by extreme poverty and diseases. There were years of discouragement (no Indian convert for seven years), debt, disease, deterioration of his wife's mind, death, but by the grace of God — and by the power of the Word — Carey continued and conquered for Christ!
He learned Bengali with the help of a pundit, and in a few weeks began translating the Bible into Bengali and preaching to small gatherings.
Meanwhile, the Baptist missionary society had begun sending more missionaries to India. Carey was followed by William Ward, a printer; Joshua Marshman, a school teacher.
In December 1800, after seven years of missionary labor, Carey baptized his first convert, Krishna Pal(Dalit), and two months later; he published his first Bengali New Testament.
Once settled in Serampore, William Ward set up the printing press at the mission center and translated the Bible in Bengali, Sanskrit, and other major languages and dialects.
Joshua Marshman opened schools for children, and Carey began teaching at Fort William College in Calcutta.
William Carey had laid an impressive foundation of Bible translations, education, and social reformation.
He also used his influence with the Governor-General to help put a stop to the practices of Infant sacrifice and Sati, after consulting with the pundits and determining that they had no basis in the Hindu sacred writings.
Carey and Marshman found “ Serampore College” in 1818, a Bible College for Indians to train indigenous ministers for the growing churches.
At the age of 73, Carey died in 1834. He has spent an active 41 years serving the Lord in India. He never returned to his home town.
Carey is honored with a feast day in the Calendar of Saints of some churches of the Anglican Communion on 19 October.
In Carey's lifetime, the mission printed and distributed the Bible in whole or part in 44 languages and dialects.
The Famous author, John Brown Myers entitled his biography of Carey, William Carey, the Shoemaker Who Became the Father and Founder of Modern Missions’.
William Carey was one of God’s giants in the history of mission and evangelism. Let us remember these missionaries’ lives and dedicate our children for mission and evangelism in India.