Sunday, June 05, 2011

William P. Charters 3,May 1922 - 1 June 2011

My dad's funeral is to be held today, at 3:00 p.m. at Emmanuel Church, Lurgan. The following history will be included in the last two pages of the order of service:

Bill Charters was born on 3, May 1922 to Robert Danford Charters and Edith Armstrong. He was the third of four children, the others being Pearly, Bobby and Edie. They grew up in East Belfast. It was the time of the great worldwide Depression. Their family certainly wasn't well off, their father died early of TB, but their mother supported the family by sewing setee covers. She took the children as often as she could to Cregagh Hall to attend their evangelistic meetings. That left a lasting impression on young Bill.

Later, after surviving the German bombing of Coventry, Bill joined the RAF, where he was a member of ground crew, maintaining radios for bombing missions. Some of his friends became pilots -- some never returned from their missions. Once, he found himself alone in the control tower when a whole squadron of American bombers was requesting permission to land. He had no option but to guide them all in, which he did successfully, even though he hadn't been trained for it. Early, during his time in the RAF, he was invited to hear an evangelist, where he made the decision to follow Jesus.

When the War was over, Bill was kept on while his friends were decommission. However, he realised that this was in answer to prayer, because he was to be sent to India. He had prayed for a chance to engage in missionary work. While in India, he, along with a few other soldiers, worked with a local missionary during their off time, making treks to various villages. Bill came away from there with the desire to be a missionary to Tibet.

Once decommissioned, Bill attended Emmanuel Bible School in Northern England. After some time back in Belfast, where he renewed his relationship with Cregagh Hall, and became acquainted with the WEC prayer network, Bill joined WEC with the intention of going to Tibet. However, Tibet suddenly got taken over by China, and was no longer an option. Someone suggested Thailand, so he went there instead.

In Thailand, Bill joined the WEC team, that then consisted of six, including Rosemary, and her mother, Hazel Hanna. Love blossomed, and after a few short months, Bill Proposed to Rosemary.

The two worked as team, making treks to distant villages via foot-path and river, passing out leaflets -- many of their adventures are documented in Rosemary's book, Cracked Earth (available on-line at and in No Turning Back, by Nancy Ashcraft ( ).

Their son, Robby Charters, was born four years into their marriage.

Dissatisfied with the quality of the literature they were passing out, Bill launched into a career of writing, producing testimony leaflets. Bill and Rosemary began producing a regular journal patterned after two similar regional WEC publications, called Soon. Later, they added to this a journal targeted to churches to encourage them to look outward, pattered after Leslie Brierly's Look to the Fields. In addition, Bill and Rosemary translated several books into the Thai language. These ministries continued until the passing of Rosemary, who succumbed to Cancer on the Thai field in 1990.

Not long after that, Bill was invited to teach at a small Bible School in Pak Chong, in North East Thailand, Christ For Thailand Institute. He kept that up until his retirement, however, slowly phasing that out, spending half of each year (the cooler half!) in Thailand, and the warmer half in Lurgan, where he had settled.

Bill's last trip to Thailand was in 2008, when he sent one more time by Emmanuel Church. There he helped a friend, Jim Arnold by translating Bible training material for a small Bible School in Chiengmai, Northern Thailand.

In 2010, Bill's health began to deteriorate. It began with a heart attack in May, and later, developed a fast spreading form of cancer in the thyroidal. By the time it was detected, it had already lodged itself in the lungs. He went to be with the Lord on 1, June, 2012.