World Changer Wednesday: Amy Carmichael (1867-1951)

amy-carmichael

I am reminded of the fruit of the Spirit which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22–23). These are the reflection of Jesus Christ. We are to reflect Jesus in all things, and that is also in the fruit of the Spirit.

Not everyone may be familiar with Amy Carmichael or her writings but she is a world changer. There is a sweet vault of wealth that comes from the writings of Amy Carmichael. You read the spiritual riches that she possessed that came from her heart that was joined to Christ. Amy Carmichael is a world changer as she served the country of India by bringing the message of salvation to a dark place.

Amy served India for over 55 years, opening an orphanage and founding a mission in Dohnavur. She was a prolific writer, which includes many books of poetry, her testimony of the mission work, her biography, and devotionals.

My first hearing of Amy Carmichael was as a child in school. The story goes that Amy, who is the oldest of seven siblings, was born with brown eyes but wished she had blue eyes like her brother. She would often pinch his cheeks to make the blue in his eyes stand out. As an adult, she realized that God gave her brown eyes to help her gain more acceptance in India. I don’t know if this story is true. I couldn’t find a credible source either way, but she knew God had molded her and created her to be a vessel in India.

Amy was born in a small village in Ireland in 1867. She was raised in a God-fearing family. God equipped Amy with a strong personality. She left Scotland as she was accepted by the Japanese Evangelist Board, and sailed to Japan in March 1893. Once she entered Japan, she wasted no time going throughout the streets with a translator sharing Jesus Christ. She wore the native dress.

She entered India in 1895, where she remained until her death in 1951. Though her original goal in going to India was not to start an orphanage, God directed her steps. It started when a seven-year-old girl, Preena, came running to Amy to be rescued. Rescued from what? Her family was going to sell her to the temple where she would become a temple prostitute. Though dark, this was the custom in India and Amy would make her aim in caring for the children that were to be forced in this life. She would wear the dress of the culture, and dye her skin with coffee to make her skin darker in appearance to be accepted.

By 1904, seventeen children were under her care. It would continually grow. Amy soon was called “Amma,” which in Tamul means mother. At the mission, her job was to be a nurse to those who were sick, to teach the children the basics, and raise them up in the ways of the Lord. Though Amy never married or had children, God gave her many children to raise as her own. Through Amy’s life, she was able to help thousands of children and to this day, the Dohnavur Fellowship continues.

In 1931, she suffered a serious fall, which would change her daily life. Though not completely bedridden, she was very limited in mobility. She would never recover from this injury, and had another serious fall in 1948. This fall resulted in her being bedridden for the remainder of her life until the Lord brought her home. Through this season in her life, she wrote more than 13 books, which shows her diversity and knowledge.

Her Impact:

You may not be familiar with Amy Carmichael but once you read some of her writings it doesn’t take long to see her impact. Elizabeth Elliot, greatly impacted by Amy Carmichael, said, “With the exception of my parents, there is no one who has more deeply influenced my spiritual life than Amy Carmichael.”

Amy is known to have said, “Nothing is important but that which is eternal.” She lived by that mindset by counting the cost, leaving her home, and living in an unfamiliar place where should would be an example of Christ to them.

Amy never solicited funds from anyone. She never left India and never sought financial help. Amy was encouraged by the way George Muller trusted God for His provisions of the thousands of orphans that were under his care, and she had the same mindset with the ministry God entrusted to her. John 15:7 says, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” That was her motivation.

She had a mindset of prayer and had this motto with everyone who served in the mission:

1) We don’t need to explain to our Father things that are known to Him.

2) We don’t need to press Him as if we had to deal with an unwilling God.

3) We don’t need to suggest to Him what to do, for He Himself knows what to do.[1]

Amy not only left an impact with the thousands of children she rescued and freed from temple prostitution, but left a greater impact through the power of the gospel as many lives were changed forever.

She was in a dark land that was in the clutches of Satan, but we know God is in control and is greater. We must remind ourselves that when it may seem the darkest, light shines the brightest. God has called His church to infiltrate, and that is exactly what Amy did with her life.

She Teaches Us the Importance of Being Steadfast Until the Very End:

It would have been understandable for Amy to go back home to Scotland with her family at any point in her life, but she resolved in her heart that India was her home. I am reminded of what Paul wrote to Timothy in his last letter to his son in the faith. He said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7–8 ESV).

In one of Amy’s poems, she so eloquently portrays her steadfastness by saying:

From prayer that asks that I may be

Sheltered from winds that beat on Thee,

From fearing when I should aspire,

From faltering when I should climb higher,

From silken self, O Captain, free

Thy soldier who would follow Thee.[2]

Amy Carmichael is a world changer. As you read about her life, may it be a fan to your flame of faith as you serve the Lord.

Shadow and shine art Thou,

Dear Lord, to me;

Pillar of cloud and fire,

I follow Thee.

What though the way be long,

In Thee my heart is strong,

Thou art my joy, and song —

Praise, praise to Thee.[3]

[1] Wiersbe, Warren. 10 Christians Every Christian Should Know. Pg. 90.

[2] Murray, Iain H. Amy Carmichael: Beauty For Ashes. Pg. 26

[3] IBID. Pg. 116

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