Amy Carmichael

amy india

55 Years Without A Furlough

"You can give without loving but you cannot love without giving"

Born in Ireland on December 16, 1867 to a wealthy family, Amy was the oldest of seven children. Her childhood of relative ease ended with the death of her father as she approached her eighteenth birthday. His death plunged the family into financial insecurity and Amy was now faced with the responsibility of raising her brothers and sisters.

During this time Amy was spiritually influenced by the Keswick conventions sweeping through Europe. An emphasis during the conventions included a focus on missions and the needs of the world. During one of these meetings Hudson Taylor spoke of the four thousand who die ever hour without Christ. Amy later wrote in her journal, "Does it not stir up our hearts, to go forth and help them, does it not make us long to leave our luxury, our exceeding abundant light, and go to them that sit in darkness?"

At the age of 24, Amy first set out into that darkness. Her destination was Japan where she served for fifteen months before suffering severe health issues. Although Amy's time in Japan was short, it was a time of much growth and training that would continue to profoundly impact her ministry. It was here she begin wearing the traditional Japanese dress, an innovation that would continue later in her ministry in India. All the workers and children in Amy's ministry wore Indian clothing and had Indian names.

A year later, after receiving medical attention, working briefly in China and a brief furlough at home, Amy set sail for India. At first Amy rejected the idea of India as "much too easy," possibly due to the British presence there at the time. Her first several years were spent as part of an evangelistic team. By 1901, Amy's focus had shifted from traveling evangelism to the rescue of orphans who were dedicated at Hindu Temples to the worship of the gods. This was the beginning of the Dohnavur Fellowship; a group of women dedicated to the rescue and upbringing of these orphans who were used as sexual servants in the temples. Amy's missionary career in India lasted over 55 years without a furlough.

A spirit of service and a love for those who others considered "unlovable" always dominated Amy's ministry even in Europe before she begin ministry cross-culturally. In her early twenties, she worked with a group of young ladies called "shawlies" because of the shawls they wore on their heads. The proper members of Amy's church were shocked that someone would reduce them self to teaching the Bible to these low members of society.

Again in India much of the missionary community shunned Amy's ministry to orphans. Some believed the temple children did not exist while others looked down on the acts of service and emphasis at Dohnavur to the education, physical care and character building of each child. On one occasion Amy asked a visiting missionary to help her carry a bucket, the missionary replied he would rather "carry his Bible." Amy felt that service was an essential part of missionary work, although she did not always readily embrace the sacrifices it took to have this spirit of service.

Once back in Ireland, as Amy and her family were returning from church they chanced upon an old woman carrying a heavy bundle of rags. Amy and her brothers took the bundle and helped the old woman to her destination. To Amy, this act of sacrifice and kindness was "hated." As they turned and walked along, they passed by the other Churchgoers and worried what these "respectable people" would think. Before bringing the woman to her destination Amy and her brothers passed by an elaborate Victorian fountain.

A voice impressed upon Amy's heart the words from 1 Corinthians 3:12-14. "Gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble. If any man's work abide." That afternoon Amy sought God privately in her room anguishing over the idea of what would last in eternity from her own life. The lessons of obedience and sacrifice from that day would echo through the rest of her life.

Apart from the sacrificial love Amy gave so many she is also remembered for her writing. Amy wrote over 35 books from the field, many being written after and accident in 1931 that left her bedridden until her death at the age of 83. Once Amy sent a book home for publication that was denied publication and returned with the request for a rosier picture of mission work. The publisher was worried many would feel disdain at the harsh reality of the mission field she had portrayed. Amy sent the manuscript back without any changes except for title, renaming it "Things as they Are." On writing to missionary candidates she's been quoted as saying, "bring to India a strong sense of humor and no sense of smell." To another candidate she Amy wrote the poignant truth that above all mission work offers one thing and one thing only, "A chance to die."

Sources: Elliot, Elisabeth. A Chance to Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael. Grand Rapids: Revell, 1987. Tucker, Ruth. From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya: A Biographical History of Christian Missions. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1983.

From our friends at the Traveling Team (www.thetravelingteam.org)

Comments (32)add comment

tuul said:

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I love u Amy Charmichael! YOU were awasome woman,.
December 01, 2010

tootloot said:

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UR PURE AWESOMENESS! smilies/tongue.gif
December 04, 2010

amamamamamaaa said:

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smilies/grin.gifsmilies/grin.gifsmilies/grin.gifsmilies/grin.gifsmilies/grin.gifsmilies/grin.gifsmilies/grin.gifsmilies/grin.gifsmilies/grin.gifsmilies/grin.gifsmilies/grin.gifsmilies/grin.gifsmilies/grin.gifsmilies/grin.gifsmilies/grin.gifsmilies/grin.gifsmilies/grin.gifsmilies/grin.gifsmilies/grin.gifsmilies/grin.gif
December 04, 2010

Beatriz said:

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I am doing a project and need alot of information by Wensdaysmilies/grin.gifsmilies/cool.gif
March 07, 2011

Charlaine Siefert said:

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I have been sharing the Good News Child Evangelism stories about Amy Charmichael for over thirty years. How wonderful to know that Dohnavur exists and still provides for children! Her stories have meant more to me than those of any other missionary because I have been allowed to also "rescue" children through other avenues. Praise the Lord for her testimony and encouragement! I only wish I were able to read more of her Books. Raj, Chief of Brigands, seems to be out of print, and of course, the boys all want to know more. How wonderful to know that we will be able to sit and listen to even more stories in Heaven some day.
March 30, 2011

Paulson Livingstone said:

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Just one word......AWESOME.
In fact I am doing an assignment on Amy Carmichael.
October 08, 2011

madison said:

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loved it!!!!smilies/cheesy.gifsmilies/cheesy.gifsmilies/cheesy.gifsmilies/wink.gifsmilies/smiley.gifsmilies/wink.gifsmilies/wink.gifsmilies/cheesy.gifsmilies/grin.gifsmilies/grin.gifsmilies/cool.gifsmilies/cool.gifsmilies/cheesy.gifsmilies/cheesy.gifsmilies/wink.gifsmilies/wink.gif
December 04, 2011

luke Zung Lian Hre said:

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smilies/smiley.gifGod has been glorified through your life "Mama"
January 16, 2012

maggie said:

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it was very interesting and cool !!!!!! thnx sooooooooooooo much!!smilies/grin.gifsmilies/kiss.gifsmilies/tongue.gifsmilies/cool.gifsmilies/wink.gifsmilies/smiley.gifsmilies/wink.gifsmilies/grin.gif
August 30, 2012

maggie said:

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Amma = Mother
September 01, 2012

David H Matier said:

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Amy Carmichael is much to be praised for her walk with God and her bravery as she worked under, what I am sure, were hostile conditions. Lord, give us some young people today that will be willing to give their lives back to God for the work He is calling them to; young people that will be willing to live a life of purity, purpose, and sacrifice for the Lord.
October 21, 2012

Micah said:

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Amy was a great missionary, and a great mother ( Amma ) too. She is my favorite missionary.











January 14, 2013

bob de-vilan said:

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Im doing a project on her and i love her smilies/grin.gifsmilies/wink.gif
February 04, 2013

bob de-vilan said:

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smilies/grin.gifsmilies/wink.gif love her sosooooo much
February 04, 2013

emmy said:

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love ittttttttttttttttttt
March 12, 2013

kylee said:

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amazingsmilies/shocked.gif
April 08, 2013

nona said:

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O_O she is....AWESOME!!!smilies/grin.gifsmilies/grin.gifsmilies/grin.gifsmilies/cheesy.gifsmilies/cheesy.gifsmilies/cheesy.gifsmilies/wink.gifsmilies/wink.gifsmilies/wink.gifsmilies/smiley.gifsmilies/smiley.gifsmilies/smiley.gifsmilies/cheesy.gifsmilies/cheesy.gifsmilies/cheesy.gif
April 17, 2013

Abgail Hyatt said:

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I am doing the wax museum on her. Since I go to a Christian school it's perfect.
May 12, 2013

Zoe K. Palmer said:

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Abgail Hyatt, I go to a Christian school also! I go to Providence Classical Academy on Brownlee Rd. What school do u go 2? Calvary, maybe?smilies/shocked.gifsmilies/cheesy.gifsmilies/wink.gifsmilies/grin.gifsmilies/cool.gifsmilies/tongue.gif
May 15, 2013

Karien said:

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Amy Carmichael was a great person in life. When I was watching her move it help me though life. I wish to meet her in real life. smilies/kiss.gifsmilies/smiley.gifsmilies/grin.gifsmilies/wink.gifsmilies/wink.gif
May 22, 2013

re said:

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i think what amy did was amazing
just think she changed history!
i also are doing a project on her but i am being her for my balloon debate
praise God for amy and others like her
i have always wanted to be a missonary and she inspires me and helps me
to keep that idea in my head
( ever heard about glads alward?)smilies/smiley.gif
June 17, 2013

edgardo said:

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does she have a museum?
July 09, 2013

brookie said:

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thanks so much! you are a big help with my schoolwork!smilies/cheesy.gifsmilies/cheesy.gifsmilies/grin.gifsmilies/grin.gif
November 04, 2013

karen said:

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I hope you have a day!!smilies/cool.gif
March 31, 2014

ryan said:

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it was very interesting and cool !!!!!! thnx sooooooooooooo much!!smilies/grin.gifsmilies/kiss.gifsmilies/tongue.gifsmilies/cool.gifsmilies/wink.gifsmilies/smiley.gifsmilies/wink.gifsmilies/grin.gif
April 01, 2014

Heidi said:

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Amy,
you did a lot work in India and you had an accident in 1931 and you were stuck in your bed. In bed you wrote 35 books about what you did in places you visited.
April 14, 2014

P.J. PATRICK KRANTHI KUMAR said:

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Really you are a Great inspiration
June 20, 2014

K@I+LYN said:

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Im doing a project on her and this was very helpfulsmilies/smiley.gif
August 20, 2014

suzanne said:

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we r from barclay primary school. we r learning about this lady.smilies/tongue.gif
September 29, 2014

suzanne said:

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thislady was amazing
September 29, 2014

mary said:

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hiiiiii. im from barclay primary school. we r doing a project and presentation about her. she is so amazing. i wanna be like her. i wanna travel all over the world. one word...........amazingsmilies/smiley.gifsmilies/wink.gifsmilies/cheesy.gifsmilies/grin.gifsmilies/tongue.gif
October 06, 2014

mary said:

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hiiiiii. im from barclay primary school. we r doing a project and presentation about her. she is so amazing. i wanna be like her. i wanna travel all over the world. one word...........amazingsmilies/smiley.gifsmilies/wink.gifsmilies/cheesy.gifsmilies/grin.gifsmilies/tongue.gif
October 06, 2014

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