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Christians You Should Know: Amy Carmichael July 5, 2023

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For with God nothing shall be impossible.” – Luke 1:37

A Snapshot of the Life of Amy Carmichael:

Born: Dec. 16, 1867 – Millisle, Northern Ireland

Died:  Jan. 18, 1951 – Dohnavur, India

Missionary to India and founder of the Dohnavur Fellowship in 1926. Carmichael came to Christ at age 16 while attending a Wesleyan Methodist boarding school at Harrogate. She was called to missions on January 13, 1892, as she pondered the words, “Go ye…” In November, 1895, she arrived in Tinnevelly, South India, after a brief time in Japan, 1893-94 for the Church of England and stayed for 55 years until her death. In 1901, she settled in Dohnavur. Amy formed the Dohnavur Fellowship, in 1925, with the purpose of rescuing children from the corruption of temple prostitute service. Her society became independent in 1927. At first, Carmichael ministered only to the needs of young girls, but later to young boys as well. After a fall in 1931, she became an invalid. Although she had serious arthritis, she wrote 35 books, inspiring devotional material, and poetry still quoted today, including If (1938). She never married.  – (Excerpt taken from the Reese Chronological Encyclopedia of Christian Biographies. Used by permission.)

A Spiritual Application for Our Lives:

The story and life of Amy Carmichael seem to be almost forgotten among young Christians today. The Lord used this remarkable woman of faith in tremendous ways. Carmichael’s courageous heart and fearless work have inspired generations of young people (especially ladies) to launch out by faith.

In Amy’s early years, she longed for blue eyes, but God never changed them from brown to blue. In this small matter, Amy realized how much greater God’s plan is than any human plan. You see, God used her brown eyes to protect her in her missionary work years later. Interestingly, God will give us His own desires as we look to Him. It is a safe thing to trust Him to fulfill the desires which He creates, Amy once stated. Disappointments abounded in her personal life and mission work, yet she understood what it meant to have the right perspective. Of hardship, she said, “There is always something to be happy about if we look for it: Two men looked through prison bars, The one saw mud, the other stars.” 

Volumes were written by her about her life and ministry with the temple slaves in India. They will challenge and encourage you to engage with the wickedness around you with the love of Christ. A heart transformed by the love of Christ will seek to make a difference in the world around it (Jude 22-23).

As far as God’s work goes, do all that God desires for you to do, and avoid that which He has not given you. Carmichael said of her own experience, “No master is responsible for uncommanded work. We find it necessary constantly to ask for a spirit of wisdom and penetration through an intimate knowledge of Him, so that, the eyes of our understanding being enlightened, we may know what we ought to do, and never, through carelessness in waiting upon Him, pledge Him to do what He did not intend should be done.”

Several years ago, we made a special piece that records Amy Carmichael’s Dream. I encourage you to read it, then read it again. It will stir you to engage in the battle for lost souls. 

You may also wish to read the history behind a hymn she had written in the flyleaf of her Bible here.

 A Suggestion for Further Reading…

A Chance to Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael – Elisabeth Elliot (1987)

Candles in The Dark: Letters of Amy Carmichael – Amy Carmichael

Gold Cord: The Story of a Fellowship – Amy Carmichael

Amy Carmichael: Beauty For Ashes  – Iain H. Murray

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