Amy Carmichael (1867-1951)
In 1892 Amy, comfortable as a guest in the manor of coal tycoon Robert Wilson, clearly heard God say, "Go ye." She never doubted for a moment God directed her to become a missionary. Even her rejection weeks later by doctors at the China Inland Mission headquarters in London did not stop her. She had powerful friends. Robert Wilson sent her forth as a 'Keswick missionary' to join a mission group in Japan.
During 1893 Amy's work on the north coast of Japan was fruitful, though hardly a success by standards set by missionary giants like David Livingstone and Mary Slessor. Amy could not fathom the language. And she knew she never would. She resigned herself to forever using an interpreter. After one year her health began to fail. "The climate is dreadful on brain and eyes," she explained. But she worsened. Headaches were crushing. Often she was in a bed for a week, sometimes she awoke blind for hours! Could she be too frail for mission work, just as C. I. M. doctors had told her? Like Livingstone and Slessor, she persevered, even sailing to other side of Japan on a new assignment.
Yet she had barely disembarked when she was brought low:
…I collapsed...A touch of fever, then a fainting fit...a terrible
comedown, for I always declared nothing could make me faint.
All such weakminded nonsense I quite scorned...But this time,
over I went and before I came back all the humiliating attentions
attendant upon such departures had been showered upon me
and they left me very wet…
Amid 'wet towels, doleful faces and blurs' she feebly explained, "I lost my parasol aboard ship."
No, Amy was no Livingstone, no Slessor. She was brought even lower yet. She was sent to China, so the C. I. M. doctors there could look after her. Oh, what a burden she had become at 27 in the missionary world, what a privileged weakling, what a failure...
[sources: A Chance To Die by Elisabeth Elliot, 1997, and Amy Carmichael of Dohnavur by Frank Houghton, 1953]
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