Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Amy Carmichael : Spiritual Activist by Chris White

If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.  1 Cor. 13:2-3

 “One can give without loving, but one cannot love without giving”  --Amy Carmichael

Amy Wilson Carmichael  (1867-1951) was a well-known Irish missionary to India and the author of many devotional books that continue to read and loved even today.  What is remarkable about Amy’s story that she was an unlikely missionary and an unlikely writer.  She was a devoted evangelist and reached out to the poor and marginalized in England with great effect, but she had very delicate health and was frequently exhausted and bedridden.  God told her to "go“ to the mission field while her own common sense and her closest friends said “you’re not healthy enough to go”.  She went against all odds and against the will of her adoptive father, and ended up in India where she founded Dohnavur Fellowship, a village of refuge dedicated to the safety, education, and evangelization of morally endangered children.  Despite her health issues, Amy was a woman of action and personally cared for all of her children (which numbered in the hundreds) giving time to them every day, counseling them, even hugging them and giving them a goodnight kiss on the cheek.  But right in the middle of some of her most fruitful years of ministry Amy had an accident that greatly injured her leg and essentially left her an invalid for the final 20 years of her life.  Many attempts were made by doctors to fix and heal the leg, but, by and large they failed and Amy was bedridden.  During this time of being forced to slow down, Amy was to write her most well-known devotional books with the help of a stenographer and through them maintained a correspondence with thousands the world over long before the days of email and the internet.  Amy never set out to start of ministry to children or to minister as an author and probably would have preferred to do other things, but she firmly believed she was a servant of the Master and the Master, not the servant, is who decides what work is to be done.  Amy created an environment of family and love in everything she did which is why in Southern India, Amy was renamed “Amma” (mother) for this single woman and unlikely missionary was truly a mother to multitudes.

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