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What is Lent and why is it celebrated?

Lent is a 40-day season that precedes Easter in many Christian denominations. The 40-day time frame is based on the period Jesus spent in the desert fasting while being tempted by Satan, according to the Gospel accounts in Matthew and Luke.
In Western churches, Lent begins on Ash Wednesday (in 2021 falling on February 17) and runs until Easter (this year on April 4), a period of six and a half weeks, and the Sundays are not counted as part of the 40 days. In Eastern Christianity, such as in Orthodox churches, a period called Great Lent begins on the Monday of the seventh week before Easter and concludes on the Friday before Palm Sunday, and Sundays are counted as part of the 40 days.
The word “Lent” is based on an Old English word that meant “springtime,” because Lent leads into spring. In many languages, the word for Lent is based on the word for 40 in Latin or Greek, and in some Germanic and Slavic languages, the name is taken from the word for fasting, which was traditionally the primary observance of this season.

Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent

In the Middle Ages, fasting during Lent often meant that only one small meal a day was eaten, and that meal did not contain any animal products. The day before Lent, as the last day of indulgence until Easter, took on a festival atmosphere and came to be known in French as Mardi Gras (which literally means “Fat Tuesday”) or in other languages as Carnival, from a medieval Latin phrase meaning “taking away the meat.”
The Lenten period is understood by Christians as a time for reflection and abstaining from certain foods or activities is often undertaken. Traditionally, that meant that meat was not eaten on Fridays during Lent. Since fish was not considered to be meat for the purposes of Lent, this led to the tradition of churches holding a “fish fry” on Fridays during Lent. In many communities, gathering at a church for a fried fish meal on Friday evening is a popular Lenten activity.

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You Are Not Alone

During this month of love, Valentines Day can always spark a myriad of emotions for many. Whether you have a loved one by your side, your loved one has passed, or you feel you may forever be alone …remember, seek Him and with Him you are never alone. Here we have listed a few verses to remind you of His presence with you.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare, and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
“God is with you – wherever you may go and no matter what life brings.” Joshua 1:9
“Be strong. Be brave. Be fearless. You are never alone.” Joshua 1:9
“I will never leave you or forsake you.” Joshua 1:5

Keep these with you always in your heart. No matter what you are going through, you don’t have to go at it alone. He is always there and will carry you under his wing through all things. This Valentine’s celebration can include Him regardless of the situation.

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Treatment of Self-Doubt through Christ

It is without a doubt that this year has caused many to start questioning their own abilities and self confidence. Some may argue that a quarantine lifestyle and confinement is unnatural to the human spirit. This is why today’s reading will be all about the treatment of self-doubt, and how God healed Moses.
When Moses expressed his self-doubt to God by asking, “who am I?” God answered him by saying, “certainly I will be with you.” (Exodus 3:12) This is a powerful answer because it shows us that it did not matter what Moses had done, what people had said and what he was currently doing…all that mattered was the presence of God who equipped him with strength.

Challenge yourself to adopt the same attitude!  Do not let the past hinder you, since what matters is whether or not God is with you now. In addition, ignore what people have said about you, because truth is based on God says and whether He is with you.
Do not let your current circumstances make you doubt yourself and your ability to do what God wants you to do. Know that  with God all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26)
If you want God to be with you, draw near to God and He will draw near to you. (James 4:8) We can see that Moses had drawn near to God because he had gone to the Mountain of God in Horeb. (Exodus 3:1)

Therefore, draw near to God by creating time to pray and read the Bible.  Ensure that you do what His Word says since He promises us that, “You will seek me and find me if you seek Me with your whole heart. (Jeremiah 29:13)

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These Top 3 Verses Entering Into 2021

We often hear everyone we know talking about their resolutions for the new year. If we want to really see true newness and change in our lives this year, it takes starting with the only one who can make something out of absolutely nothing, that one is Jesus Christ.

Live in Christ – 2 Corinthians 5: 17

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
We chose this scripture to be first because this is where newness begins, with being in Christ. It is through him that we can begin a new fruitful and abundant life. It’s important that we remember this coming into the new year, no matter what resolutions we have to change our habits!

Praise God – 1 Peter 1:3

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
This new year as we embark on true life change, we should get ourselves into a truly humble position and start off the year with a spirit of praise.

Be New – Ephesians 4:22-24

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
The first scripture we looked at encouraged us to realize that we truly are a new creation. This one encourages us to not only realize that we are new but to keep ourselves from slipping back into the old. This scripture tells us that it’s not enough to just say we are done with our old lives but we need to put them off and put on the new life. Life is about action, not words.

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Seasonal members with the young ones in church

The holidays can be the most joyful time of the year for some and the most painful time of the year for others. For many people in churches and community, the holidays bring a lot of bittersweet feelings as happy memories mix with the reality of loss. This can be mostly widespread among older church members because most of them have already lost loved ones as they have grown older. So, how can we go about including older adults this holiday season? Or how can you get more involved with the younger ones?

Inclusion Not Seclusion

Local churches are to serve as a place of family, community and inclusion where everyone can feel involved, cared for, and appreciated. Unfortunately, this often does not happen with the older population in some churches. Many activities are geared toward the young people, and let’s face it, you need some fairly young people to keep up with those kiddos. Although a church’s children’s ministry does often need younger workers on a full time basis, this doesn’t mean that older members of the church family cannot be involved.

Ideas for Involvement

What about inviting a different individual once or twice a month just to assist for one class? This gives them involvement without getting them overwhelmed with the stress of an ongoing class. When the church is doing a special activity like an outing or a special gathering of some kind, invite the older members to join the fun. Many of them will welcome the opportunity and may make a valuable contribution in ways you don’t expect.
Consider a “Back in My Day” Bible study. Start by taking questions from kids and teenagers about how life was when they were a child or young person. There are lots of great ways to include older members in the kid’s ministry in a way that is not stressful, but rather inclusive and loving. Depending who’s reading this blog, take some time this holiday season to consider how you might involve yourself or how you might get those involved. Include all of the precious members of your community more deliberately.

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3 Ways to Embrace Christlike Humility During the Holidays

During the Christmas season, as we focus on the birth of Christ, it is easy to draw attention to the humility of that baby…to see all of heaven’s wonder “wrapped in swaddling clothes.”
To read the verses portraying a stable, a manger, barn animals, and straw. Here we have listed a few ways to embrace humility during the holidays with family and friends.

One, remember who loves you.

Jesus didn’t have to stand up for Himself because He trusted His Father. When you are God’s, you don’t have to keep score. You know that you are valued – apart from the opinions of anyone else! When you realize just how much God loves you, you care more about loving Him back than you care about loving yourself.

Two, remember where you are.

This isn’t heaven. Even at Christmastime, you are surrounded by sin, pain, and grief. Let that motivate you to forget yourself and be a blessing to others. This isn’t hell. Just like the story of the infamous Scrooge, there is hope! We can reach out, and if we are the ones hurting, we can find comfort in the humility of our Savior coming down.

Three, remember why you are here.

Jesus came to this earth for a purpose, to give us a glorious gift. In the Philippians 2 passage, it says He humbled Himself to be obedient to the point of death on the cross. We are all here to make a choice…will we choose God, like He chose us? Or will we reject His gift?
We all claim that Christmas is a time of love and giving. Yet, it’s still so easy to get caught up in what we want, instead of looking for ways to simply let go of ourselves and love. Take this time to remember these small but grand reminders during these holidays.

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William Carey (1761-1834)

English pastor and preacher William Carey (1761-1834) was one of the foremost Christian missionaries in early 19th-century India. He has often been lauded as the “father of modern missions” thanks to his creation of the Particular Baptist Society for the Propagation of the Gospel Amongst the Heathen (now BMS World Mission), as well as his pioneering work among the people of Serampore. He helped establish the Serampore College, as well as helped fight the ancient customs of infanticide and sati. He lived and worked in India for 41 years, and never returned to his native England.

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The Early Years

William Carey was born on August 17, 1761, in the village of Paulerspury, Northamptonshire, England. He was the son of weavers, Edmund and Elizabeth Carey. Apart from working as a weaver, the elder Carey was a devout Anglican who served as a schoolmaster and parish clerk.

Carey’s interest in science and languages began in his youth. He was interested in and studied botany, and even taught himself Latin and Greek. Because of his family’s poverty, Carey’s parents could not afford to send him to college. He became an apprentice to a local shoemaker named Thomas Old, and later married Thomas’s sister-in-law, Dorothy Plackett.

Carey became the official cobbler when Thomas Old died. It was also during this time that he became involved with Particular Baptists. He met several of the most prominent Particular Baptists of the day, including Andrew Fuller, John Ryland, and John Sutcliff. By 1783, he was already baptized and became an official member of the Particular Baptists congregation.

He served as a pastor of a Baptist church, as well as a schoolmaster in Moulton, a village in Northamptonshire, in 1785. He also served as a pastor of the Harvey Lane Baptist Church in the city of Leicester.

Carey has always been interested in preaching God’s word to others. He published a short book entitled, An Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens, in 1792. Apart from this book, he also spread the zeal for missionary work through preaching. It was during this time that he created the quote, “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God. “

In the same year, he and his Baptist colleagues founded the Particular Baptist Society for the Propagation of the Gospel Amongst the Heathen. The group’s first order of business was to raise funds for the planned mission to India. Dr. John Thomas, an English surgeon and missionary who had a stint in India, later joined them. The members of the group agreed that John Thomas and William Carey would set sail to India and that they would support their missionary efforts.

The Missionary in Calcutta and Serampore

William Carey left England for India in 1793.

William Carey and his family (along with Dr. Thomas, his wife, and his daughter) set sail from England to Calcutta in the spring of 1793. Carey’s wife Dorothy, her sister Kitty, and the couple’s three sons accompanied him to India. Dorothy, who gave birth before they sailed to India, agreed to come with him with great hesitation and trepidation.

The Careys experienced multiple difficulties during their first few years in India. Money was constantly a problem in their household. Apart from working as a missionary, he also had to look for more work to supplement his income. He had to move his family again and again so he could work and support them. 

It was illegal for Baptist missionaries to preach in areas controlled by British authorities. This made it harder for Carey to find a foothold as a missionary in eastern India. To Carey’s dismay, Thomas deserted the mission sometime later. 

A series of illnesses added to the Careys’ miserable life in India. His 5-year-old son Peter succumbed to dysentery, while William himself contracted malaria. Dorothy had been unwilling to come with him to India and was ill-suited in her role as a missionary’s wife. The stress of William’s illness, her son’s death, and her longing for home finally took its toll and led to her nervous breakdown. Dorothy was increasingly violent and paranoid that her husband was conducting affairs with other women, so her husband was forced to confine her in a room for the rest of her life to contain her violent rages.

It was not until late 1799 when things became a little bit better. Carey and his family relocated to Danish-held Serampore, a settlement near Calcutta. Because Serampore was held by the Danes, it was now legal for Carey to proselytize.

Carey was able to secure a position as a teacher at Fort William College. Thanks to this teaching position and the help of fellow missionaries, his finances finally improved. 

He baptized his first convert, an Indian named Krishna Pal, in 1800. Seven years after his arrival in the subcontinent, William finally baptized Krishna Pal, his first Indian convert. 

He published the New Testament in Bengali in 1801 with the help of his friend and printer, William Ward. This was the very first edition of a portion of the Bible translated in Bengali. In the years that followed, Carey and several Brahmin scholars (pandit/pundit) translated the Bible into different languages of India. These include Hindi, Sanskrit, Marathi, Assamese, and other Indian languages and dialects. 

Carey sought the help of the British Governor-General in abolishing the customs of infant sacrifice and sati (widows who self-immolate on their husband’s funeral pyre).

Carey, along with fellow Baptist missionaries Willliam Ward and Joshua Marshman, established the Serampore College in 1818. The school was open to anyone who wanted to train as ministers, as well as those who want to study arts and sciences. His keen interest in botany finally paid off in 1820 when he established the Agri Horticultural Society of India. The organization still exists today and is located on Alipore Road in Calcutta (Kolkata).

Last Years in India

William Carey was forced to cut ties with the Society he founded after several disagreements with the new secretary, John Dyer. He left the mission compound and moved to the Serampore College grounds instead. There he spent his days teaching his students and preaching. He also continued to revise the Bengali Bible he translated so many years ago. 

He died in Serampore on June 9, 1834. William Carey spent 41 years in the subcontinent, never returning to his native England during his lifetime. 

Family

William Carey and his wife Dorothy had five sons (Felix, William, Peter, Jabez, and Jonathan) as well as two daughters (Ann Eliza and Lucy). His daughters both died in England when they were still infants. His 5-year-old son Peter died in India due to dysentery.

Dorothy Carey became ill with fever and died on December 8, 1807. William later married a Danish woman named Charlotte Emilia Rumohr on May 9, 1808. Unlike Dorothy, the 46-year old Rumohr was Carey’s intellectual equal. The marriage was happy overall, and she became a surrogate mother to Carey’s younger children. She died in 1821, 13 years after they were married.

At the age of 62, Carey surprised fellow missionaries when he married a 45-year-old widow named Grace Hughes. What Grace lacked in intellectual capacity or refinement, she made up with caring for William during his last years on earth.

William Carey’s Legacy

William Carey is often called the “father of modern missions.” He is also lauded for his efforts in the abolishment of the customs of infanticide and sati. The Serampore College was established thanks to the efforts of the Serampore Trio (Carey, Ward, and Marshman).

Although he only had an estimated 700 converts, he is still best remembered for putting the Bible into the hands of ordinary Bengalis, Assamese, Marathis, and other people in India.

The genus Careya was also named after William Carey. These flowering plants are native to India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Bhutan, and Malaysia (except Borneo). These plants can also be found in the Andaman Islands.

Carey co-founded the Particular Baptist Society for the Propagation of the Gospel Amongst the Heathen in 1792. The organization changed its name to BMS World Mission, and it still carries out Christian missions all over the world.

References

Picture: Unknown author – William Carey: The Shoemaker Who Became the Founder of Modern Missions; John Brown Myers; London 1887, Public Domain, Link

Mangalwadi, Vishal, and Ruth Mangalwadi. The Legacy of William Carey: A Model for the Transformation of a Culture. Crossway Books, 1999.

Wayland, Francis, et al. Memoir of William Carey, D.D. Jackson and Walford, 1836.

William Carey.” Christian History | Learn the History of Christianity & the Church, Christian History, 30 July 2019, https://www.christianitytoday.com/history/people/missionaries/william-carey.html.

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How to Start Bible Journaling

By journaling, we don’t mean like in a diary when you were a preteen, but as an adult continuing your education and your faith. You don’t have to be a Picasso but a little color never hurt anyone. Anyone can start bible journaling and make it a fruitful and enriching experience.  Don’t forget to keep it fun!

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Have you heard of the term micro bible journaling? This is a simple “note taking” style in the margin columns or white space on the side of paragraphs. This is where you can let your imagination soar. You can draw arrows, personal quotes, doodles, symbols, names, anything! This is to help bring you back here to this part of the book and remember the significance of a  page, paragraph, or line.

Another fun idea to keep things interesting is using “die-cuts…” a new fancy word for stickers. There are sticker sets you can find online that are theme based, color based, and so on. You can find what suits you and incorporate it into your pages for a quick eye-line glance. Plus, it helps keep the creative juices flowing.

Let’s not forget consistency is key! Do this daily. Set aside whatever time frame and range you want that suits your daily schedule and do this for yourself. Not only do you want to keep your faith a primary essential in your life but the activity of bible journaling daily will keep you inspired and with your new creative edge, keep things interesting. This isn’t rocket science but it definitely is a quick way to keep biblical truths fresh and add a pop of creativity to your life.

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Jim Elliot (1927-1956)

On January 6, 1956, a group of American missionaries led by Jim Elliot (1927-1956) welcomed three members of the isolated Huaorani ethnic group in their camp in the middle of the Ecuadorian jungle. The meeting, which was preceded by several gifts from the American missionaries, began on a positive note. 

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Jim Elliot and fellow missionaries believed that the friendly meeting would be the start of the evangelization among the previously uncontacted Huaorani. What was supposed to be another friendly meeting with the tribe ended in tragedy with the murder of Elliot and his friends two days later.

However, the death of Jim Elliot and his friends is not the end of the story. Jim Elliot’s ill-fated mission was only the start of this story of God’s redemptive power even in the face of atrocity.  

Early Years

Jim Elliot was passionate about reaching the Huaorani people with the gospel of Christ.

Jim Elliot was born on October 8, 1927, in Portland, Oregon. He was born to a fiercely devout Christian family. His father, Fred Elliot, served as an itinerant preacher with the Plymouth Brethren, and it was during his travels that he met his would-be wife, Clara. Jim’s older brothers Robert and Herbert, and their younger sister, Jane, regularly attended church. Regular Bible-reading was also a must in the Elliot household. Jim committed his life to Christ early on in his childhood. He was a model student, an eloquent student, and steadfast in his Christian beliefs.

The Bumpy Road to Ecuador

Jim studied linguistics at Camp Wycliffe as preparation for a life of missionary work. His meeting with a former missionary to Ecuador during his stay at the camp in 1950 changed the course of his life. The missionary, who used to minister to the Quechua people, told him of a group the Quechua called Huaorani. The Quechua also called this ethnic group “Auca” (“savages”) because of their violence against other tribes. The young Jim Elliot’s interest was piqued, and it was not long before he made plans to leave the United States to work as a missionary among the uncontacted Huaorani. 

The road to Ecuador was not an easy one. His friend, Bill Cathers, was supposed to accompany him to the country, but the plan was postponed when Cathers announced his decision to get married. In the meantime, Jim worked with a friend named Ed McCully in Illinois. McCully agreed to accompany Jim to Ecuador, but the former’s decision to marry Marilou Hobolth ultimately disrupted their plans.  

Jim became friends with Pete Fleming, a philosophy major who graduated from the University of Washington. He succeeded in convincing Fleming to come with him to Ecuador and establish a mission among the Huaorani people. To his delight, Pete agreed. 

Fleming and Elliot arrived in Guayaquil, Ecuador on February 21, 1952, and continued north to Ecuador’s capital, Quito. Fellow Wheaton alumna and fiancée Elisabeth Howard later traveled to Ecuador to join Elliot and Fleming. From Quito, the trio moved to the Shandia mission station to work with and learn the language of the Quechua people.

They were later joined by Jim’s friend Ed McCully, his wife Marilou, and the couple’s infant son Stevie in 1953. In the same year, Jim Elliot and Elisabeth Howard got married. Valerie, the couple’s daughter was born on the 27th of February, 1955.

Jim Elliot’s team of missionaries grew. He met and befriended a former Army pilot named Nate Saint, who also worked as a transporter of supplies to different missionaries stationed all over the Ecuadorian jungle. Saint agreed to become the official pilot of Operation Auca.

The last member of the team was missionary Roger Youderian. He and his family had been in Ecuador in 1953, but he was dissatisfied with his work with the Shuar people. Nevertheless, he agreed to join Elliot’s Operation Auca.

The Ill-Fated Operation Auca

Operation Auca officially began in 1955. The plan was to search for the uncontacted Huaorani people via plane and drop off some gifts to them to try to win them over. Some of the gifts they offered the Huaorani included pots, salt, kettle, trinkets, machetes, and clothing. 

These gifts were tied to a rope and lowered to curious Huaorani tribesmen who had come to investigate these curious-looking objects given by strange-looking men from a strange flying machine. The missionaries made several calculated drop-offs until it was clear their strategy worked. The Huaorani reciprocated by tying gifts to the rope, and the missionaries saw this as a sign that it must be safe to go ahead and meet the Huaorani on the ground.

The group, which consisted of Elliot, Fleming, McCully, Youderian, and Saint, landed on a camp along a sandy beach on the Curaray River on the 3rd and 4th of January, 1956. After dropping off the missionaries and some supplies, Nate Saint used a loudspeaker to invite the Huaoranis living nearby to come and visit the camp.

It was not until two days later that the first group of Huaoranis accepted the missionaries’ invitation. This group of curious Huaoranis consisted of a young woman, a young man named Nankiwi (most likely the young woman’s suitor), and an older woman (the duo’s de facto chaperone). The missionaries’ fluency with the Huaorani language was limited, but it seemed to them that their efforts were a success thanks to the friendliness shown by the three natives.

After receiving several gifts from the missionaries and spending several hours with them, the two Huaorani youths suddenly decided to leave the camp and return to their village. On the way back to the village, the Nankiwi and the Huaorani girl came across Nampa (the girl’s brother) and a group of Huaorani men and women who also wanted to meet the foreign missionaries. 

Nampa was enraged when he saw his sister with Nankiwi but without a female chaperone. In his fear of Nampa, Nankiwi concocted a story of them being attacked by Jim Elliot and his group. According to Nankiwi, they were separated from the older woman when they fled. Nampa and the Huaorani were furious. They decided to exact revenge by killing Jim Elliot’s group.

The attack happened on the afternoon of January 8, 1956. Jim Elliot, despite having a pistol and using it to protect himself, died after he was speared by the enraged Huaorani. The group also attacked and killed Pete Fleming, Nate Saint, Ed McCully, and Roger Youderian.

The men’s bodies and their supplies were dumped into the river by the Huaorani after they had been killed. Believing that the companions of the foreign men would exact revenge, the Huaorani burned their village in the aftermath of the attack and retreated deeper into the rainforest.

The missionaries’ wives began to worry when they did not receive any word from their husbands during the afternoon of January 8, 1956. Johnny Keenan, one of the missionaries who accompanied the men during the initial contact with the Huaorani, flew to the missionaries camp to see if something was amiss. He saw no signs of Elliot and his companions, so the missionaries wives’ were forced to seek help from the United States military stationed in Central America to help them look for their husbands.

A search party made up of America servicemen and missionaries combed the Ecuadorian jungle for signs of Jim Elliot and his companions. It was not until January 11 that the first two bodies were found. Ed McCully’s body was found the following day, and the last two remains were found on the 13th of January, 1956. The remains of Jim Elliot and his companions were buried at their camp (which they called Palm Beach) on the 14th of January, 1956.

This was not the end of Jim Elliot’s story. His life ended in tragedy, but his legacy was continued and amplified by his wife, Elisabeth. Elisabeth, along with Nate Saint’s sister Rachel, returned to the area and lived with the Huaorani. The women were largely successful in their missionary work, and many Huaorani (including some of the individuals who attacked and killed the men) converted to Christianity.

References

Photo: Fair use, Link

Miller, Susan Martins. Jim Elliot. Barbour and Co., 1998.

White, Kathleen. Jim Elliot. Bethany House Publishers, 1990.

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Amy Carmichael (1867-1951)

Amy Carmichael (1867-1951) was an Irish missionary, author, and founder of the Dohnavur Fellowship in Dohnavur, India. Apart from her work as an evangelist, she is best known for rescuing and providing much-needed shelter to India’s exploited devadasis and their children. She was a prolific author, writing more than 30 books during her lifetime. Carmichael spent most of her life living among the devadasis and their children in India, and never returned to her native Ireland,  Four years before the great missionary’s death, India officially outlawed the dedication of girls to Hindu temples.

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The Early Years

Amy Beatrice Carmichael was born in the town of Millisle, County Down, Northern Ireland on December 16, 1867. She was the eldest of seven children of staunch Presbyterians, David and Catherine Carmichael.  The Carmichaels moved to Belfast around 1883, and it was in this city that they established the Welcome Evangelical Church. It was in this church that Amy first honed her skills as an evangelist and as a missionary. 

Amy’s earliest mission work was the founding of a Sunday morning class for Belfast’s mill girls. These women were called ‘shawlies’ because they preferred to wear shawls instead of hats. The Sunday morning class was held in the hall of the Rosemary Presbyterian Church.

The Sunday morning class was a huge success.  The number of ‘shawlies’ that attended the class grew so much that Amy was forced to look for a bigger place to hold a meeting for 500 persons. As fate would have it, she received a donation amounting to $500 from Miss Kate Mitchell. 

One of the mill owners she ministered to also donated a plot of land where the hall could be built. The plot of land is located on the corner of Heather and Cambrai Streets. The Welcome Evangelical Church established by the Carmichaels still occupies this plot of land in the city of Belfast.

Amy suffered from neuralgia, a condition that often kept her weak and in pain. However, this didn’t stop her from serving those who need to hear about Christ. In 1887, she attended the Keswick Convention where she heard about the founder of the China Inland Mission, Hudson Taylor. Hearing about the legendary missionary inspired her to become one, too.

Among the Devadasis of Southern India

Amy Carmichael was well known for her commitment to advocacy for the vulnerable children of India.

In 1889, Amy relocated to Manchester to start a ministry among the mill girls who worked there. She later joined and trained with the China Inland Mission, but her trip to Asia was postponed because of poor health. She cut ties with the China Inland Mission,and joined the Church Missionary Society instead.

She had a short stint in Japan in 1893 under the auspices of the Church Missionary Society before illness forced her to return to Britain. In 1895, Amy joined the Church of England Zenana Mission. She was sent to Sri Lanka, but ill health once again interfered in her work.

Amy then traveled to Bangalore, India to recuperate and join the rest of the missionaries of the Zenana Mission. It now seemed that her illness was a boon as it was in India that she would finally find her vocation and her permanent home.

While she was recuperating, she studied the Tamil language and preached to the locals along with Thomas Walker, a prominent CMS missionary. Amy and other English missionaries were assisted by several Indian women converts. They later relocated from Bangalore to Dohnavur, Tamil Nadu, where she founded the Dohnavur Fellowship.

Devadasis were a common sight in South India when Amy Carmichael worked there. Devadasis were young girls that were considered by Hindus as female servants of god. Girls, sometimes as young as four, were dedicated or ‘married’ to the Hindu goddess of fertility, Yellamma, and sent to one of her temples to serve the goddess.

Devadasis held a high status in medieval India, and were trained in classical dance and music. They lived in temples, performed and danced in religious rituals, and were supported by kings and wealthy patrons of the temples. But the social status of devadasis gradually diminished. Some became concubines of priests, kings, and other prominent men of their communities. As the centuries passed, the roles of devadasis changed. Instead of dancing and performing religious rituals, these women became nothing more than temple prostitutes.

Most of the young girls given to the temples came from poor families who want to unburden themselves of another mouth to feed. Other girls were daughters of devadasis themselves who had nowhere to go. Many devadasis were nothing more than sex slaves for the men in charge of the temple and prominent men of the village. Many lived their whole lives as devadasis in temples and brothels, while others managed to escape.

One of the devadasis that escaped a temple in Dohnavur eventually sought shelter with Amy Carmichael. Some of the villagers demanded that the young girl be returned to the temple or her family, and they even threatened Amy if she did not give up the child. However,  Amy stood her ground and sheltered the girl in spite of the threats.

This young girl was not the last devadasi Amy Carmichael took under her wing. Several devadasis left the Hindu temples to seek shelter with the Dohnavur Fellowship. Amy and her team of missionaries at the Dohnavur Fellowship also rescued young girls from this plight.

Amy Carmichael never married or had children of her own, but she was ‘amma’ (mother) to the girls under her care. She and other missionaries of the Dohnavur Fellowship donned Indian dresses not only to blend in but also as a sign of respect to the Indian culture. The Dohnavur Fellowship was at first dedicated only to providing shelter for female devadasis and their daughters. It was not until 1918 that the fellowship admitted the sons of former devadasis.

Amy was not just a missionary and a precursor of modern social workers. She also wrote books chronicling her life and her work in Japan and India. A prolific writer, she wrote more than thirty books and devotionals from 1895 until her death in 1951.

Later Years

Amy Carmichael suffered a fall and was severely injured in 1931. Unable to continue her work because of the serious injury, she nonetheless continued to live in India and wrote books during the last twenty years of her life.  Amy died and was buried in Dohnavur in 1951. She was 83 years old. 

References
Picture by: Heroes of Faith, Public Domain, Link

Hill, Myrtle. “Carmichael, Amy Beatrice (1867–1951), Missionary.” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004, doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/59081.

Sharpe, Eric J. “The Legacy of Amy Carmichael.” International Bulletin of Missionary Research, vol. 20, no. 3, 1996, pp. 121–125., doi:10.1177/239693939602000307.