William ward died of Cholera on the 7th march 1823 in serampore, India. He worked as a printer as part of William Carey's missionary team, and is responsible for producing portions of scripture in up to 26 different languages, so that local people could read the Bible for themselves.
Having had a number of successful printing businesses in the U.K. It was nothing short of compassion that led him to go, and endure through years of hardship, earning little in financial terms and suffering frequent sickness alongside his wife and children.
There was a moment too in 1812 when a fire accidentally started in his Printworks which destroyed everything he needed: printing machines, all the unique letter types for the local languages, paper stock, everything. After building up a successful system over 13 years, he had to start again from scratch.
But even worse than that was this moment that happened shortly after:
"Not withstanding this loss by the fire so great, I felt much more for the loss of my dear child, than for this; she was a charming child, and had entwined herself round my heart so much that I seem never to have seen affliction till this child was taken from me. I had never calculated on the death of any of my family; but had ways been thinking of being taken from them"
He wasn't a big preacher, or a passionate leader, he was simply good at printing. He records in his diaries of times when he seriously doubted his beliefs and wasn't convinced he was suited to be a missionary. But still he served 24 years before Cholera finally ended his ministry.
I've got nothing to add to that except to say: I'm a printer. I'm a Christian. I've got children that have entwined themselves around my heart. I have doubts and am not convinced that I would be suited to a life of mission.
That's why the date of his death is marked down annually in my google calendar. The only significant difference between him and me is that compassion drove him to the other side of the world. Where would compassion take me if I let it? Perhaps it's safer if it doesn't.