Mother to the Motherless: The Story of Amy Carmichael


Belfast, Northern Ireland

   Seventeen-year-old Amy Carmichael and her two younger brothers walked ahead of the rest of the family on their way home from church on a chilly, brisk day. Eager to get home to a crackling fire in the fireplace, they hurried on.
   Until they saw the beggar woman.
   An old woman struggled under a bundle of sticks. She was dressed in tattered clothes, and, instead of shoes, her feet were wrapped in muddy strips of cloth.
   The three siblings wordlessly walked over to help her. Amy’s brother Norman took the bundle of sticks from her back while Amy and her brother Ernest each took one of her arms. They slowly made their way to the alley the woman had pointed to.
   But one by one, other churchgoers began to catch up. Amy felt her cheeks grow hot with embarrassment, as the church members looked away and hurried past them.
   But then something happened. As they walked by a fountain, Amy heard a voice speak the words, “Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.” Amy recognized the words. They were from the Bible, 1 Corinthians 3:12-14. She looked around to see who had spoken, but saw no one. Amy walked on, but as she did, she was no longer embarrassed, but held her head high.
   When she got home, she took her Bible and read the words again. After spending several hours thinking and praying, Amy made a decision. First, she decided nothing would matter to her anymore, except the things that were eternal. Secondly, she would no longer care what other people thought of her, only what God thought of her. From that day forth her life was never the same.
   Amy began by loving her six younger siblings like she never had before. Then she began ministering to the “shawlies”, girls who worked long hours in the city’s factories, too poor to buy hats, so they wore their shawls over their heads, and the other poor of Belfast. Later on, she was in England staying with Robert Wilson, who had become like her adopted father (her own father had died several years before), when she felt the call to Japan. However, because of her health, she was unable to stay more than a year. Shortly afterward, God called her to India, where she would spend the rest of her life.
   She dressed in a traditional Indian sari, despite being frowned upon by other missionaries, and began the Starry Cluster, a group of Indian women who traveled around the countryside, sharing the gospel message.
   But it was when a little girl named Preena came to her, that she began the ministry that would shape the rest of her life—caring for children rescued from temple prostitution. Preena, only seven years old, had been held as a slave in a Hindu temple where she would have become a temple prostitute, had she not been able to escape and come to Amy. Amy had been horrified when she learned of how the children were enslaved and treated terribly and sent word out to other missionaries and pastors that her home was a safe place for children rescued from the temples.
   One by one, more children came. And Amy loved every one of these children the world deemed as worthless. She cried when a baby died and rejoiced when a child came to know Christ. Amy wrote a book titled Things As They Are, telling of the sufferings of the people of India. Later she wrote several more books, telling of her work there and encouraging the people of God around the world. Amy remained in India, pouring out her life for the least of these, acting as a mother to hundreds of motherless children, until her death in 1951. 

   Amy Carmichael’s story is an amazing example of the impact of one life, surrendered to Jesus Christ, poured out for the least of these. She allowed God to open her eyes to the needs around her, her siblings, the poor in Belfast, her home town, and later on, India, caring for children rescued from slavery. I hope her story is as inspiring to you as it is to me!
Always remember, "He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it," (1 Thess. 5:24).
All for Him,
Savannah Jane


Amy Carmichael: Rescuer of Precious Gems by Janet and Geoff Benge

P. S. Art by yours truly.


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