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A Chance to Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael (1987)

af Elisabeth Elliot

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1,197811,866 (4.21)6
A Chance to Die is a vibrant portrayal of Amy Carmichael, an Irish missionary and writer who spent fifty-three years in south India without furlough. There she became known as "Amma," or "mother," as she founded the Dohnavur Fellowship, a refuge for underprivileged children. Amy's life of obedience and courage stands as a model for all who claim the name of Christ. She was a woman with desires and dreams, faults and fears, who gave her life unconditionally to serve her Master. Bringing Amma to life through inspiring photos and compelling biographical narrative, Elisabeth Elliot urges readers to examine the depths of their own commitment to Christ.… (mere)
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Wonderful! ( )
  thesilverofhisfining | Feb 10, 2020 |
A Chance to Die is a vibrant portrayal of Amy Carmichael, an Irish missionary and writer who spent fifty-three years in south India without furlough. There she became known as "Amma," or "mother," as she founded the Dohnavur Fellowship, a refuge for underprivileged children.

Amy's life of obedience and courage stands as a model for all who claim the name of Christ. She was a woman with desires and dreams, faults and fears, who gave her life unconditionally to serve her Master.

Bringing Amma to life through inspiring photos and compelling biographical narrative, Elisabeth Elliot urges readers to examine the depths of their own commitment to Christ.
  OCMCCP | Jan 8, 2018 |
This is the first book I have read about the life and work of Amy Carmichael and I have to say that I was surprised by the content. I feel conflicted as to how to review and rate this book as there were so many positive and negative aspects.

Amy believed she was called to China but subsequently ended up in India where she ministered for 55 years--with over a decade spent as a "shut-in" after an accident. Evangelism had been her focus and I found myself admiring her singlemindedness and lack of interest in material things or worldly distractions. She knew from a young age that she would remain single for the Kingdom. However, shortly into her work in India she became horrified by the plight of a number of children who were used for unmentionable acts at the various local temples--she set about rescuing them. She effectively created an organisation to house these children but referred to it as a "family." She employed staff to help her--the organisation grew and expanded to form "Dohnavur," which still exists as a Christian charity today.

I appreciated Amy's love for those around her and her determination in her work and ministry. Also her faithfulness in prayer and reliance on the Lord in all matters. She lived by faith financially--refusing to even mention needs until they had been provided for after prayer. There are many examples in this book of incredible provision just at the right time and down to the last penny. God obviously had His hand on her ministry and bore with her failings as He does with all of us.

However, I struggled with a number of aspects in her work. She chose to be single for the Kingdom as she believed that God was leading her to do that but then effectively created a single-parent family due to the needs she saw in India. It comes across in the book as if she remained single partly due to her belief that men were somehow inferior spiritually--she believed that some of the passages in the NT about women in the church don't apply to us today. She didn't appear to value the marriage bond especially highly discouraging her staff from marrying and in some cases allowing/causing separation between husband/wife/children for long periods for the sake of the work. One of her long term male workers became conflicted when his wife was asking him to return to England with her and the children and Amy was telling him he should stay for the sake of the life-long call he had received to the work.

Amy took the role of spiritual leader of this large organisation and local Indian men and foreign workers were therefore in submission to her. She ruled over small details almost as an autocrat at times. She did appoint men to preach and teach for seasons but the lines of authority were blurred. She regularly speaks of "words from the Lord" and is always 100% convinced that the leading she thinks she has received is correct. But she has no accountability and doesn't seem to seek advice from anybody. It's Amy's way or the highway.

The way Dohnavur operated has a "cult-like" feel to it, although clearly it was not as they were following the Bible. But they were cut off from the outside world and insulated/sheltered from any and everything worldly. The Bible makes it clear that we should be in the world but not of it. I think changes were made to this aspect of the ministry in Amy's latter years and she endorsed the changes which can only be a positive thing.

I think Amy would've benefitted from friends who were her spiritual/intellectual equals to keep her independent spirit in check at times. She chose not to allow a husband to lead her in that way and it seems that others wouldn't dare to stand up to her--those that did were listened to but largely ignored. Amy was in my view too reliant on her own spiritual discernment.

Having said these things, I think we can all learn from her life, work and mistakes. It is interesting that I didn't have the same reservations about Gladys Aylward whose life and work had a similar independence--maybe because she stuck to her original calling with evangelism as her main focus rather than rescuing and parenting needy children. That said, Amy's purpose in doing so was to bring the Gospel to them. God did bless Amy's ministry and provided for her--she was sincerely doing what she felt He was calling her to do. The area of India was impacted for the Gospel in a big way and the work continues long after her death.

I would recommend this book.
( )
  sparkleandchico | Jun 2, 2017 |
A thorough and complete narration of the life of Amy Carmichael that helps put her writings in the context of the struggles and situations she endured. At points in the middle, however, it does get a little tedious and boring - a bit like life. Still, this is the best resource I've encountered yet on the life of a prolific, inspirational and challenging writer who also acted upon her beliefs. It is encouraging that this retelling is brought by the well-appreciated pen of a woman also influenced by Amy's life and writings. ( )
  J.St.James | Apr 21, 2011 |
a wonderful, inspiring biography of Amy "Amma" Carmichael, missionary to India. Amma was a thoughtful, deep, loving, Godly woman who saught to exemplify God's love in every situation. She was a truly amazing woman, especially considering the time and culture she lived in. Elliot paints Amy as a Godly, loving writer and mother, even while showing some of her faults. Amy was a woman deeply devoted to prayer and doign God's will, not her own. While her faults are clearly visable, no one can deny her deep love of her Savior and Family. Highly, highly recommended! ( )
1 stem AspiringAshley | Aug 27, 2009 |
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Be earnest, earnest, earnest--
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[Preface] To Amy Carmichael I owe what C. S. Lewis said he owed to George MacDonald: as great a debt as one can owe another.
She managed to stuff her two little brothers up through the skylight and then squeezed herself onto the slate roof.
[Epilogue] So she finished her course--Amy Carmichael, one of the tens of thousands of lovers of the Lord who staked everything on His faithfulness.
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A Chance to Die is a vibrant portrayal of Amy Carmichael, an Irish missionary and writer who spent fifty-three years in south India without furlough. There she became known as "Amma," or "mother," as she founded the Dohnavur Fellowship, a refuge for underprivileged children. Amy's life of obedience and courage stands as a model for all who claim the name of Christ. She was a woman with desires and dreams, faults and fears, who gave her life unconditionally to serve her Master. Bringing Amma to life through inspiring photos and compelling biographical narrative, Elisabeth Elliot urges readers to examine the depths of their own commitment to Christ.

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