Amy Carmichael Amy Beatrice Carmichael was a Christian missionary. She served in India for 55 years without furlough and wrote many books about the missionary work there. Amy Carmichael was born in Ireland in 1867. She attended Keswick Conventions and after conversion was led to work among the poor in Belfast. Sensing the Lord's calling to mission work, she applied to the China Inland Mission. Her health prevented her from going to China, though she eventually accepted a position with the Zenana Missionary Society in India from. After a bad fall in 1931, Amy was often restricted to her room where she wrote of suffering and patience. Her passion for scriptural study and prayer sustained her through unimaginable pain and guided her strong will and determination in her serving the children of southern India. Carmichael worked with orphans in Tinnevelly and then established an orphanage in Dohnavur caring for girls who would otherwise become temple prostitutes. Later the orphanage accepted boys as well. She never returned to England after arriving in India and died at the age of 84 in Tamil Nadu. She wrote prolifically, publishing nearly 40 books. Amy wrote “If” for the community she led with the hope of stimulating and deepening love in herself and her team. Loving deeply is always a challenge, especially among those with whom we live, and those with whom we work. Her desire was to encourage those who “are distressed by past failure and tormented by fear of failure in the future.” She wants us to be assured that grace is always available. Failures do not need to defeat us.

How "IF" came about in Amy's own words

“One evening a fellow-worker brought me a problem about a younger one who was missing the way of Love. This led to a wakeful night, for the word at such times is always, ‘Lord, is it I?’ ‘Have I failed her anywhere?’ And then sentence by sentence the ‘If’s’ came, almost as if spoken aloud to the inner ear. What do we comprehend, what do we know? “Confounded and abased, we enter into the Rock and hide in the dust before the glory of the Majesty of love – the love whose symbol is the Cross. And a question pierces then: ‘What do I know of Calvary love?’” Amy wrote that these "IFs" were not for immediate read and digestion. Rather, she intended for them to be read and savored as we mulled over and over their provocation to know Christ and Him crucified and thus increasing our capacity to love Jesus and His Great Commission.

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