“Let us not be surprised when we have to face difficulties. When the wind blows hard on a tree, the roots stretch and grow the stronger, Let it be so with us. Let us not be weaklings, yielding to every wind that blows, but strong in spirit to resist.” — Amy Carmichael
There are many people who set out to change the world and there are those that actually do it. Amy Carmichael was such a person. Now she has faded from the scene and millions of people have never heard her name. She lived a quiet, sacrificial life for the cause of Christ and personifies the spirit of missions and of rescuing helpless people. Amy was born in 1867. She died in 1951. Amy Carmichael is one of India’s most beloved missionaries. She spent 53 years in South India without a furlough, earning the nickname “Amma” or “Mother” from the underprivileged children she regarded as God’s jewels.
Amy really found her true calling in India. She had heard about young girls who were sold by poor families. They were sold to the temples in order to get money for the temple priests through prostitution in Hindu worship. Sometimes they were kidnapped and indeed they were kept there for the rest of their lives. They could never leave. So, she began to pray and ask God, “How can we help these girls?” One day, a woman literally came to her doorstep with a young seven-year-old-girl named Preena. It is a famous story of Amy Carmichael’s. This woman said, “This is Preena. This is her second attempt to escape from the temple. Her mother sold her into prostitution. She escaped from the temple and I found her on the streets. I took her home and her mother returned her again to the temple. As punishment, they branded and burned her palms to where they were just black. They punished her for leaving, for running away.” This little girl must have been a spunky little thing. She ran away again the second time and this woman said, “I found her again and I did not know what to do with her. I know that you want to help us. Maybe you could help this little girl?” She began to take in other young girls. Dozens of young girls were rescued from temple prostitution and hundreds of others from poverty and neglect.
She established an orphanage. She eventually established a medical clinic for them. She established a school for the girls, and she also ended up establishing a school for young boys. Her ministry call, was to rescue these girls, to redeem them, to win them to Christ, to give them a Christian upbringing, and to help them to fulfill their calling in the world.
All this time she was constantly harassed by the temple priests. They burned down buildings. They called her demon woman. They started all kinds of rumors about her. They abused her. They were always reporting her to the government or to authorities. But she stayed. And she stayed focused on taking the light of the gospel to this foreign land. Amy spent 56 years in India. She never went home. She never returned to her family. She remained focused on her ministry.
Amy was also a writer. She wrote something like 40 books.