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Felix Carey

By White Unto Harvest

(Video transcription)

The year was 1814. The boat was bound for Ava, the capital of Burma. Felix Carey, along with his wife and two children, were anxious to reach their destination. They never made it. The boat capsized and Felix alone survived.

Twelve years earlier, at the age of 8, Felix Carey traveled to India with his father, the renowned missionary William Carey, who helped start the Serampore Mission. While living in India Felix became a scholar in the languages of Bengali, Pali and Sanskrit. Missionary printer William Ward came to India, and under his ministry Felix was saved. Ward taught him how to operate the printing press at the Serampore Mission. It was there that Felix printed portions of the newly translated Bengali New Testament.

In 1807 Felix traveled to Burma and mastered the Burmese language. Realizing the need for literature in many languages, Felix began preparing and translating many materials, including the Gospel of Matthew, the first dictionary in the Burmese language, a Bengal-English dictionary, a Pali grammar book, and many others.

In 1814 Felix was requested to begin a mission work in Ava, Burma. While en route the boat sank and Felix lost everything, including his family, a printing press and a translated manuscript of the Gospel of Matthew. Distraught from losing his wife and children, he resigned from all mission work and translation and became an ambassador to Calcutta. He soon accumulated much debt, began drinking heavily, and eventually lost his ambassadorship. For three years Felix wandered aimlessly until longtime friend William Ward persuaded him to return to the Serampore Mission. Back in India and once again under the influence of Ward, Felix returned to mission work and translation.

On November 10, 1822, at the young age of 37, Felix died of cholera. He was among the first to work in translation and printing, and his work spanned three countries. He paved the way for others, such as Adoniram Judson and Henry Martin. Felix Carey saw the need for literature and the Lord used him in great and mighty ways.

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