Year: January, 1899-1904
Amy Carmichael: 30 years old
From Amy's Journal
I have joined the Walkers in their ministry in South India.
In order to help the people of India, I need to understand their culture. Those who live in my village were Hindus.
A Hindu father wanted sons. Many sons. Daughters held little value. At a father's funeral, the sons would be the ones who would pray for him. These prayers were suppose to help him have a better life after his death. The girls were not allowed to pray at the funerals.
If a person born to the lowest cast became ill or needed help, those in higher casts would not give him or her anything. No money. No medical treatment. No sympathy. This was expected.
Hindu families often owed a lot of money for things they bought. In their culture, the women were expected to wear a lot of jewelry. Expensive jewelry. Bracelets from their wrist to their elbow, necklaces, earrings, in their hair, and ankle bracelets. All this jewelry cost money. Lots of money.
A family might starve, but the females in the family would have jewelry.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote you about the time thieves stole the few pieces of jewelry I wore. Actually, I freely gave it to them when they told me to. Those thieves never bothered us again. In fact, they protected us when we traveled since we didn't have anything worth stealing.
The Indian women traveling with me chose to sell their jewelry as well, not to keep the thieves away, but to use the money for God's work.
Because of the huge amount of money many Hindus owed for their jewelry, they took their baby girls to the temple and sold them into a terrible slave system. Not many people knew this was going on. It took me three years to find the answer for why these little girls ended up at the temple.
One day I dressed like the other women going to the temple. I listened and saw terrible things happen to these girls. To save them I waited outside the temple and watched for a family bringing an infant girl.
"Let me take care of her, please." I said softly and holding my arms out to them.
"Why should we give her to you? We can sell her in the temple."
"How much would you be paid?"
They told me the amount. I gave them the money. "Now, give her to me." The family handed me the little girl and walked away counting their money.
The other women from our mission sold their jewels, too. The money helped to ransom the freedom of more little girls. I brought each jewel to my home to take care of her. I gave them dolls, hugs, and fed them. Paperwork was done to let me adopt them. My family grew almost everyday. We listened for news and traveled many miles to the homes of little girls about to be taken to the temple. I offered to pay the ransom for the girl to protect her from the temple. Sometimes we succeeded, sometimes we didn't. If the baby passed through the temple doors we could no longer rescue her.
The little girls who came to live at the mission learned about God's love. They were given a chance to play, laugh, be loved, and be little girls.
Perhaps now you can see why I called them jewels the last time I wrote. Our jewels were used to pay for the freedom of these little jewels created by God.
The newspapers and the churches said I was telling false stories. I was taking the girls away from a wealthy life in the temple and there was nothing wrong with spending money on jewelry instead of buying food for a family.
One day a crowd gathered outside our mission compound demanding one of the girls. I held the little girl's hand and walked out to meet them. "That girl belongs to the temple. Her parents gave her to them," a woman shouted.
"Ask her to choose. She may go or stay. It is up to her."
The woman shouted to the girl, "Come with me, now. You must go back to the temple. You will have jewelry, dresses, and much more."
The girls eyes widened. She buried her face in my skirt. I pulled her away and told her to give an answer. "No. Please. Don't make me go. They are very cruel to the girls at the temple. I want to stay here."
The crowd went away. Another jewel saved. Praise God.
photo 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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