Trail of Obedience to God – Amy W Carmichael

Amy Wilson Carmichael was born (16.12.1867) in Millisle, Northern Ireland. She was the eldest of 7 children of David and Catherine Carmichael. David was a wealthy mill owner who raised his children in Christian faith. She accepted Jesus Christ as her personal Saviour when she was in Wesleyan Methodist School at the age of 13.

Amy took responsibility of her family at the age of 18, when her father died. Then the family moved to Belfast where she identified the need of the poor women who worked in the textile mills and started ministering to them.

Robert Wilson was one of the lead­ers of Keswick movement which supported many missionaries around the globe. He adopted Amy as his daughter who also worked as his secretary. This helped her to get connected to many mis­sionaries like Hudson Taylor, F.B. Meyer and Theodore Monod. She once heard Hudson Taylor share the need in China for missionar­ies. He said, ‘Four thousand souls a day are dying without Christ’. This created a desire in Amy to share the Gospel in a foreign land. She wrote to her mother,

“. . . Everything, everything seemed to be saying ‘Go’, through all sounds the cry seemed to rise, ’Come over and help us.’ Every bit of pleasure of work which has come to me, has had underlying it the thought of those people who have never, never heard of Jesus; before my eyes clearer than any lovely view has been the constant picture of those mil­lions who have no chance, and never had one, of hearing of the love which makes our lives so bright. . .”

Amy applied to China Inland Mission. They rejected her because of her ill health. She suffered from neuralogia, a disease which stimulates the nerves to feel pain which caused her to spend weeks in bed.

As a Keswick missionary with Church Missionary Society, Amy went to Japan. Through her ministry a few accepted the Lord. As she had difficulty in learning the Japanese language and because of her ill health she couldn’t continue in Japan. God had a different plan for her. For a short time she was in Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Then she went to England since Robert Wilson had a paralytic attack. After Robert Wilson recovered, in 1895 Amy was sent to Bangalore, India because of the good climatic condition which would suit her health. She felt very lonely in the company of many missionaries in Bangalore. She wrote about the missionary community there in the following lines…

‘Onward Christian soldiers,

Sitting on the mats;

Nice and warm and cozy

Like little pussycats.

Onward Christian soldiers,

Oh, how brave are we,

Don’t we do our fighting

Very comfortably?

Due to her ill health, some missionaries predicted that she would not stay in India for more than six months. Amy stayed in India till her death for 55 years. She never went back to England. Amy spoke the Tamil Language and wore saree to identify and relate with people to share the love of Jesus.

Amy needed help to learn Tamil language. She requested Walker a missionary of CMS in Dohnavur, Tinnevelly District (Tirunelveli District of Tamil Nadu) to help her. Walker asked her to come to Tinnevelly.

In 1901, Amy met a 5 year old girl, Preena (Pearl eyes) who escaped from a temple, whose mother left her to the god and goddess. The girls who were given to the temples were used by the priests in ritualized temple prostitution.

Amy took care of Preena. Later she understood about Temple prosti­tution. She wanted to rescue such girls. Amy took this daring task as her mission and rescued many girls and even few boys.

Amy said, “One can give without loving but one cannot love without giving.”

She established a home for these precious children in Dohnavur, TN. She also started a school and a hospital. She was often taken to court by the Hindu priests with charges of kidnapping.

George Muller’s life was a helpful guide to Amy. She trusted in God for all her financial needs without asking anyone. In 1931, Amy had a fall that left her bedridden for 20 years. During this period, she wrote many valuable books (Candles in the dark, Edges of His ways, Gold Cord, Rose from Brier, Mountain Breezes, If,) and poems. At the age of 83, on 18 Jan. 1951, Amy died in India.

Amy’s life was a trail of obedience to God which inspired many others to be a missionary including Jim and Elizabeth Elliot.

Will you too walk this trail of obedience? There are still many millions who have not had the opportunity even once to hear or know the love of Jesus.


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