Sunday, 26 October 2014

Amy's numbers

Amy Carmichael (1867-1951) is one of the most wonderful people that has ever been born on this island.  She is best known for her missionary work in India and her adoption of many destitute Indian children.  I recommend Janet and Geoff Benge's book on her life.

Before she worked in India Amy served as a missionary in Japan.  On one occasion she took a mission trip to the village of Hirose.  There were only nine known Christians living there.  Before setting out she spent a day praying about the trip and felt that God had promised her one convert as a result of the trip.

The Christians in Hirose had invited their friends to come hear Amy speak but only one Buddhist woman showed up.  By the end of the night this woman had become a Christian.  Amy had the convert that she believed God had promised.

Four weeks later Amy felt that she should make another trip to Hirose.  After another day of prayer Amy felt God promise her two converts as a result of the trip.  When she arrived she found that the woman who had become a Christian on her last trip had shared her faith with a friend who now wanted to come to faith.  Later that day Amy got to speak to an old woman who wanted to become a Christian.  Amy had her two converts.

After a further two weeks Amy returned.  This time she felt that God had promised her four converts.  But hardly anyone turned up at the first meeting that was organised for her and no one come to faith there.  Amy still believed that God would give her four converts.  To make matters worse the local Christians felt that Amy was making it too hard for people to become Christians with her insistence that those who come to faith must burn their idols.

At another meeting on that trip Amy spoke to a room of blank faces.  To everyone's surprise at the end of the meeting a woman who was seated in the corned of the room said, 'I want to believe.'  So after the meeting Amy spoke to the woman alone and then the woman's son came into the room and started to listen.  Both became Christians. 

As she set off to where she was staying the night she stopped into to the home of a local Christian to share the good news.  'I am so glad you came,' the local man said, 'I have a guest here who wants to know how to find the way to God.'  She had her third convert.  But God had promised four!

By now it was very dark.  Almost all the local Christians had joined them in that house.  Amy asked if anyone knew of if there was anyone interested in becoming a Christian.  One man spoke up, 'my wife is, she wants to become a "Jesus person", but she is out of town and will not be back for a week.'

Amy was puzzled.  God had promised four new Christians.  How could this man's wife be one of them if she wasn't even in town?' 

During that night Amy kept waking and praying that God would lead her to a fourth person who would become a Christian.  Then, at first light, a servant knocked on Amy's door with a urgent message.  The man's wife had returned home unexpectantly and she wanted to talk with Amy.  She told Amy of her desire to become a Christian.  As God had promised there were four converts as a result of her trip.  What more could she have asked for on her twenty-sixth birthday?

On the next trip to Hirose God promised eight converts ...


No comments: