Bill was a native to England. He was born in Manchester, England (about forty miles from Formby where Bill and Lois ministered from 1992 – 2003). His parents, with Bill and his sister Ann, moved to the States when he was a young boy and settled in Muskegon, Michigan. It was there that his parents were saved, and where his father led him and his sister to the Lord.
His father studied for the ministry and took his first pastorate at the First Baptist Church in Newaygo, Michigan. The family then took up missions work and moved to Ghana, West Africa (formerly the British Gold Coast), where they served as missionaries with Baptist Mid-Missions for twenty-five to thirty years. Bill spent his teenage years there and was exposed to the need of missionaries among the Muslims of the southern Sahara Desert, far to the north of where they lived in the Gold Coast.
Bill came back to Michigan to finish high school and met Lois. They both attended the Baptist Bible Institute and, Bill, the School of Theology (now Cornerstone University here in Grand Rapids) in the early 1950s. They were married on July 17, 1953. In 1955, Bill and Lois were accepted as missionaries with Evangelical Baptist Missions (then called Christian Missions, Inc.). They went to France in 1956 for a year of French language study and then on to the French Sudan (now the Republic of Mali) in West Africa. They ministered there for almost twenty years, mostly in the village of Niafunke where the Sahara Desert meets the banks of the Niger River.
After the years in Africa, the Carmichaels visited some relatives in Scotland. While there, the Lord spoke to Bill and Lois’s hearts about the spiritual need in the United Kingdom. They moved to a suburb of Edinburgh, Scotland, called Currie. There a church was established that is continuing on today under the ministry of a Scottish pastor.
They were in Scotland for eight and a half years when the board of EBM asked Bill to return to the States and serve at the home office of EBM in Kokomo, Indiana, first as Candidate and Deputation Secretary and later as Area Director for Europe. While there, Lois served as secretary in the office. This lasted eight years. Toward the end of those eight years (1988–1989), they were asked to go back to Mali for a few months to oversee the building of a mission station/guest house in the capital city of Bamako. The Carmichaels served there for a year.
In 1992, the Carmichaels went to a church in Formby, England. Formby is located in the northwest part of England, just north of Liverpool. The church was started by EBM missionaries who had to leave because of health reasons. The church grew during the Carmichael’s ministry, and in 2003, they felt that it was at a stage in its maturity where it could go ahead on its own. An interim pastor preached until a full-time pastor could be found to shepherd the small flock. Now, in 2014, the church has called its first full-time pastor, Timothy Lister. When the Carmichaels first went to Formby, Tim was a young lad of about age 10. Later, he came to the States, attended Moody Bible Institute, and did his pastoral studies near Chicago. He and his wife are now ‘back home‘ in Formby as pastor of the church he attended in his childhood.
After forty-eight years of serving with Evangelical Baptist Missions and being Maplelawn missionaries since 1956, Bill and Lois Carmichael wrapped up their ministry in Formby, England, and relocated to Kokomo, Indiana. Bible Baptist Church of Kokomo asked them to have a ministry among their senior saints and helping with visitation and the missionary committee. They also did volunteer work at the mission agency home office as needed.
As of January 1, 2014, Bill has officially retired as an Associate Pastor of Bible Baptist Church, Kokomo, IN. Even though they are ‘retiring’, the Carmichaels will still be doing many of the same ministries in the church as before – now as a layman. They recently (in Feb./Mar. 2014)visited the mission fields of South Africa and India. In May of 2014, they will be visiting Israel. This is a retirement gift from Bible Baptist Church.
When Evangelical Baptist Missions closed it’s doors in 2012, the Carmichaels joined Ambassadors International Ministries, Inc. of Longmont, CO. Along with their ministry at Bible Baptist Church of Kokomo, IN, they will be visiting supporting churches to express their thanks and heartfelt appreciation for the many years of “teamwork,” faithful prayers, and financial support. They will also be representing AIMI in churches.
Maplelawn owes the Carmichaels a debt of thanks and gratitude for playing a small part in its ministry around the world. They close a chapter rich with examples of servitude and love for their Savior.
Maplelawn has been supporting them since 1956. They had their first meeting with us in the old, old building of Godwin Heights Baptist Church.
Lois and Bill were accepted by Christian Missions, Inc. (later called Evangelical Baptist Missions) in November of 1955.