Her early lifeAmy Wilson Carmichael was born on December 16, 1867 in the small village of Millisle, County Down, Ireland to David and Catherine Carmichael. Her parents were devout Presbyterians and she was the eldest of seven siblings. At the age of twelve, she was sent to a Wesleyan Methodist boarding school in Yorkshire, England. There, at the age of fifteen, during a children's service, she heard a song "Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so". In the quiet moments following the song, Amy Carmichael realized that in spite of her mother's teaching that Jesus loved her, she had never invited him into her life.
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Robert WilsonIn 1884, Amy Carmichael’s father died when she was eighteen years old. After her father's death, she was adopted and tutored by Robert Wilson, cofounder of the Keswick Convention. One story of Carmichael's early life tells that as a child, she wished that she had blue eyes rather than brown. She often prayed that Jesus would change her eye colour and was disappointed when it never happened. She loved to pinch her brother's cheeks to make the prettiest colour blue in his eyes. But she always repented afterwards for hurting her brother. As an adult, she realized that, because people from India have brown eyes, she would have had a much more difficult time gaining their acceptance if her eyes had been blue.
Welcome Evangelical Church in Belfast
|Amy with children|
Missionary dedicationAmy continued at the Welcome until she received a call to work among the mill girls of Manchester in 1889 before moving onto missionary work. In many ways she was an unlikely candidate for missionary work. She suffered neuralgia, a disease of the nerves that made her whole body weak and achy and often put her in bed for weeks on end. It was at the Keswick Convention of 1887 that she heard Hudson Taylor who was the founder of China Inland Mission, speak about missionary life. Soon afterwards, she became convinced of her calling to missionary work. She applied to the China Inland Mission and lived in London at the training house for women, where she met author and missionary to China, Mary Geraldine Guinness, who encouraged her to pursue missionary work. She was ready to sail for Asia at one point, when it was determined that her health made her unfit for the work. She postponed her missionary career with the China Inland Mission and later decided to join the Church Missionary Society.
Missionary Work in IndiaIn 1893, Amy Carmichael travelled to Japan as a first Keswick Missionary with the Church Missionary Society for seventeen months. Then moved to Sri Lanka after a brief period of service at Ceylon in Sri Lanka, she found her lifelong vocation in India. After spending less than two years in Japan and Ceylon, she was forced to return to England because of poor health. In England, she was commissioned by the Church of England Zenana Mission. In November 1895, she again left England to work with the Church of England Zenana Missionary Society in South India.
Amy Carmichael’s final days