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2016 Term 2 - Amy Carmichael (1867 - 1951)

"Please help me! Please don't send me back!" screamed 7-year-old Preena as she jumped into Amy Carmichael's lap, clinging to her neck. The little girl had just escaped from a Hindu temple in the middle of the night while her guardians were sleeping.

Preena's mother had given her to the temple priests in hope of winning the favour of the gods. Amy knew this frightened girl needed her love and protection.

Amy Carmichael had come to India to reach those who did not know Jesus. She was sure God didn't want her to marry and have children of her own. But was He now asking her to settle down and become a mother to an unwanted Indian child?

Life in Ireland
Amy Carmichael grew up in a wealthy family in Ireland. Her father owned a flour mill business and she went to the best boarding schools and had much.

One day Amy's life changed without warning. Her father's business began to lose money and closed. He worried so much about his business that he became ill and died.

The family could no longer afford expensive things. Amy had to drop out of school and spent the next ten years helping her mother take care of her younger sisters and brothers.

Life-Changing Events
One cold, dreary day as Amy, her mother and brothers left church, something changed Amy's life. An old beggar woman came staggering out of an alley. Her clothes were torn and mud soaked rags covered her feet. Amy felt sorry for the woman. She and her brother helped her down the alley. When she saw other people from church pass by them, she was embarrassed to be seen with the woman and hid her face. As she continued to walk with the beggar, she heard a voice say, "Gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay and straw -- the fire will test what sort of work each has done. If the foundation survives, he will receive the reward." She turned but saw no one speaking. Amy knew that she appeared kind by helping the old woman, but she knew her heart was wrong. From then on, she decided to hold her head high. She was no longer embarrassed. When she got home, she searched the Bible and found the words she had heard. Amy knelt by her bed and promised God that in the future she would only do things to please him.

Another time she and her mother stopped to have tea and biscuits in a restaurant. As they ate, Amy saw a dirty beggar girl with her nose pressed against the window. The girl, with no food, touched Amy so much that she made a promise that when she grew up she would give her money to the poor.

The Shawlies
Amy became very excited about doing what God wanted. On Saturday nights, she would go with her pastor to poor neighbourhoods to hand out tracts and food to the poor people known as Shawlies. Shawlies made so little money that they could not afford hats so they used their shawls to protect their heads from the cold. They were eager to learn about God. Amy moved into their neighbourhood and slept in bug-infested beds to be closer to them. She prayed about building a church for them but didn't know where she would get money from. She didn't want to ask the rich people in her church who didn't seem to care about the Shawlies. So, she and the Shawlies asked God to provide it and He did.

Amy began to sense that God wanted her to tell people in other countries about Him. There was a problem though, Amy had an illness that made her so sick she had to stay in bed days at a time. Despite her health, she knew she must obey God.

India
Amy travelled the India countryside telling anyone who would listen about Christ.

One day Preena, a little Indian girl, was collecting water for the temple near where Amy was speaking. Preena stopped to listen as Amy told the ladies about her God who loved everybody the same. He didn't put people in different classes as the Indian caste system did. Preena was interested but knew she couldn't be seen listening to the stranger. She remembered Amy's words and hurried back to the temple.

Indian girls were often unwanted and were given to the temple. Because of this, when Preena arrived at Amy's door, Amy knew she could not send her back. She would be beaten, even killed, if returned. Amy could have been charged with kidnapping and thrown into prison. But it was a chance she was willing to take.

Over the 50 years she spent in India, Amy took in hundreds of unwanted children. She became known as "Amma" or mother to them.

Amy Carmichael serves as an amazing role model to our students today. Her faith, servanthood, and dedication to God stands out as a woman whose days were driven for purpose and worth.

Team: Carmichael
Colour: Blue
Symbol: Eagle
Linked with:The Tribe of Dan
Gospel of John

My thanks goes to http://www.christianity.com/church/church-history/church-history-for-kids/amy-carmichael-helped-the-helpless-11634859.html which this story was adapted from.