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  • Writer's pictureW. Austin Gardner

Going No Matter What

When William Carey, the father of modern missions, decided to go to India as a missionary, his wife refused to go. She had three children and was pregnant with a fourth. He resolved to go even if he had to leave her and the children behind. Shortly after the birth of her fourth child she gave in and accompanied him to India.3 What followed was a nightmare for her. It started with a five-month sea voyage where she was seasick most of the time. 4 When they arrived in Calcutta, their inadequate funds were quickly depleted, forcing his family to live in a rundown place outside of Calcutta.5 Even worse, the other missionaries lived in relative affluence in Calcutta. His wife complained because they had to “live without many of … the necessaries of life, bread in particular.”6 Dorothy was also afflicted with dysentery and their oldest son almost died from it. Later, Carey moved his wife, infant, and three sons under ten, into an untamed malarial-infested region where alligators, tigers, and huge poisonous snakes were in abundance.7 They moved soon after to Mudnabatti, where Dorothy again became ill. But far worse, their five-year-old son Peter died.8 After this devastating loss, Dorothy Carey’s mental health declined. She never recovered but deteriorated to such an extent that she was described as “wholly deranged.”9 William Carey believed “the cause of Christ” took precedence over his family.

3 Ibid., 116.

4 Timothy George, The Life, and Mission of William Carey (Birmingham, Alabama: New Hope, 1991), 88.

5 Mark Galli, “The Man Who Wouldn’t Give Up,” Christian History 36 (Vol. XI, No. 4): 13.

6 Ibid.

7 Ibid., 13, 14.

8 Ibid.

9 Ruth Tucker, From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya, 117.

Doreen Moore, Good Christians, Good Husbands? Leaving a Legacy in Marriage and Ministry (Fearn, UK: Christian Focus Publications, 2004), 9–10.

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