Heroes of the Faith: Amy Carmichael
Amy Beatrice Carmichael is known for her missionary work to India, where she opened an orphanage and founded a mission.
Amy Wilson Carmichael was born on December 16, 1867 in Millisle, County Down, Ireland. She was the daughter of David and Catherine Carmichael. She was the oldest of their seven children and her father worked as a miller.
“One possibly apocryphal story claims that as a child, Amy wished that she had blue eyes rather than brown, and often prayed that Jesus would change her eye color and was disappointed when it never happened. She loved to pinch her brother’s cheeks to make the prettiest color blue in his eyes. But she always repented afterwards for hurting her brother. As an adult, however, she realized that her brown eye
color probably helped her gain acceptance in India.”
The family moved to Belfast when she was sixteen, but her father died two years later.
In the mid-1880s, Carmichael started a Sunday morning class which eventually grew to over 500 people. Two donations, led to the founding of the Welcome Evangelical Church.
In 1887, she heard a missionary speak about missionary work and felt the call. She applied and began her training for missions work. She was unlikely candidate as a missionary due to her neuralgia, which is a “a disease of the nerves that made her whole body weak and achy and often put her in bed for weeks on end.”
She went to Japan for fifteen months but had to return home due to illness. Later, she went to Bangalore, India and found her “lifelong vocation”.
Carmichael herself dressed in Indian clothes, dyed her skin with dark coffee, and often traveled long distances on India’s hot, dusty roads to save just one child from suffering.
She founded the Donhnavur Fellowship in 1901 and worked with girls and young women, saving many from forced prostitution.
“Carmichael often said that her Ministry of rescuing temple children started with a girl named Preena. Having become a temple servant against her wishes, Preena managed to escape. Amy Carmichael provided her shelter and withstood the threats of those who insisted that the girl be returned either to the temple directly to continue her sexual assignments, or to her family for more indirect return to the temple. The number of such incidents soon grew, thus beginning Amy Carmichael’s new Ministry. When the children were asked what drew them to Amy, they most often replied “It was love. Amma (Amy) loved us.”
In 1912, Queen Mary recognized her work and helped to fund a hospital at Dohnavur.
In 1916, she formed the Sisters of the Common Life order.
In 1918, she added a home for young boys.
When asked about missions work by an aspiring missionary, she wrote that it was “a chance to die”.
In 1931, she became bedridden but continued to write. She published over sixteen books. In 1932, she wrote The Gold Cord.
“Carmichael’s lengthy ministry at Dohnavur was sustained through her strong reliance upon scripture and prayer.”
Amy Carmichael died on January 18, 1951 at the age of 83. She requested no grave marker, and instead a bird bath was placed over her grave. On the bath was engraved one word: Amma.
Amy Carmichael was a mother to the motherless and rescued many girls #faithfulheroes #heroesofthefaith Click To Tweet