Year: December, 1895
Amy Carmichael: 28 years old
From Amy's Journal
Well, that is what everyone else says I am but I don't feel that way at all.
The mission compound here is strictly run with English rule. The missionaries have their daily schedule, which, for the women, involves walking about, stitching, conversations in the parlor, afternoon teas, cricket matches, discussions about politics, meals etc.
I spend most of my free time learning the local language. Still, sigh, I was expected to live as a proper British woman.
I was told that the caste system of India pressured the English to live like this. I didn't understand. I asked if there were new convert classes for me to visit. They practically laughed at me. "There hasn't been a convert here in a long time. Really, Amy, you are asking quite too much, you know."
During the rainy seasons, the British took vacations at a resort high in the mountains. I was given permission to ride my own horse while the three other missionaries rode in chairs on long poles, carried by Indian servants. It took thirty-six servants to carry everything four missionaries needed to the hill station in Kotagiri so the missionaries could rest.
Rest? When would the servants rest?
The girl who was assigned to be my servant, Saral was forced to walk with the other servants. That was when an idea came to me. While I worked in Japan, I noticed the Japanese people didn't listen to me when I wore English clothes. I returned the next time wearing Japanese clothing and found many Japanese willing to listen. What changes would there be if I did that here.
What if I dressed in the Indian clothing, would the Indian people listen to a message about the God who loves them? And what if I lived with an Indian family, wouldn't I learn the language faster? Another thought hit me. The English missionaries would never allow this. They would say acting in anyway not British shuns Queen Victoria and the empire.
I had to do something. When we arrived at Kotagiri, I saw few Indians. And those I saw kept their eyes to the ground, refusing to look up at me. They hid in fear of being punished for being seen.
I didn't treat Saral this way. She was a friend, like Misaki San in Japan. I wanted to share my room with her, but was told this would be an outrage. The only way to calm everyone down, sad to say, was to have Saral stay with the other servants. There must be a way to break down the barriers.
While in Kotagiri, I spent my days studying the language. During my free time I went for walks with Saral. We walked to another hill station where Keswick-style meeting were schedule to take place. Thomas Walker was the scheduled peaker.
I expected Walker to be an old man because he knew the local language even better than the local people! For someone to be that smart and to have worked in India so long, he had to be old. But when he stood on the platform, I saw he was only a few years older than me and his message energized me with hope.
Maybe Thomas Walker was the one who could help me be a real missionary to the Indian people.
photo labeled permission for reuse.
Resources used for this series:
Benge, Janet, and Geoff Benge. Amy Carmichael: Rescuer of Precious Gems. Seattle, WA: YWAM Pub., 1998. Print.
Davis, Rebecca Henry. With Daring Faith: A Biography of Amy Carmichael. Greenville, SC: Bob Jones UP, 1987. Print.
Dick, Lois Hoadley. Amy Carmichael: Let the Children Come. Chicago: Moody, 1984. Print.
Meloche, Renee Taft., and Bryan Pollard. Amy Carmichael: Rescuing the Children. Seattle, WA: YWAM Pub., 2002. Print.
Wellman, Sam. Amy Carmichael: A Life Abandoned to God. Uhrichville, OH: Barbour Pub., 1998. Print.
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