By Nel Shallow
I first discovered Amy Carmichael during a time of illness - I needed to rest up and dwell in quietness as I journeyed a long, sometimes dark, road of healing and recovery. My first experience of Amy Carmichael was through her poetry & letter writing;
‘Fold our souls in silence deep’
Her words, often written from her own sick bed where she spent many years ministering despite infirmity, found a place in my heart and soul; a soothing and healing balm to my dis-ease;
‘Come in the stillness, O Thou heavenly Dew, Come Thou to us – to me – Revive, renew’
Amy Carmichael, born in Ireland and served as a missionary to India in the late 19th and early 20thCentury. She ministered particularly to women and young girls, taking a radical stand against temple prostitution, founding the Dohnavur Fellowship, a home and sanctuary for over one thousand children, giving them a ‘hope and a future’.
‘My heart is singing, singing all day long, In quiet joy to Thee who art my song’
Known as Amma, the Tamil for Mother, her incarnational ministry, wearing Indian dress and darkening her skin with coffee, was marked by love and a deep desire to share the good news of Jesus amongst those she felt called to serve;
‘Missionary life is simply a chance to die’
Over the course of my own ministry and service within the church I have found Amy Carmichael to be a
constant companion. Her zeal to share words of salvation have both challenged and discomforted me whilst her gentle poetic verses have led me beside quiet refreshing waters many, many times;
‘Then, like a wind blowing from Paradise, Falleth a healing word upon mine ear’
Amy Carmichael is one of my ‘cloud of witnesses’, a soul sister whose voice echoes over the years with a prodding persistence and a disarming grace. She is a Kingdom mentor from another time who today still guides my own walk with Jesus ‘the Master’ and shapes my contemporary discipleship. One day I will say “Thank you” to her just as I now say thank you to God for her;
‘Upon a life I did not live, Upon a death I did not die, Another's life, another's death, I stake my whole eternity’
Nel Shallow is a Student Presbyter with the Methodist Church and studies at the Queen’s Foundation in Birmingham.