Date read: 03.25.2017. How strongly I recommend it: 7/10.
The ripples of Amy Cramichael’s blessed life testimony have stretched far and wide. Once hidden in an obscure region of India where few dared travel, her stories have now been shared across the globe. Christians—men and women from nearly every demographic—will be encouraged by her life and storytelling abilities. This particular book, however, in all its antiquated ways may be difficult for the modern reader to absorb. But if that slight hump can be traversed, the reader will be profoundly affected by the faith and character of a woman who gave herself wholeheartedly to the service of God in an unknown region nearly a century ago.
Amy Carmichael stands out as one of the greatest missionary communicators in recent history. It is rare to find an individual who is not only called to missionary service, but is also able to adequately articulate the experiences from the far-off regions where they serve. This, to me, is praiseworthy. And this book is praiseworthy, too, telling of the rescue of Indian girls (and later, boys) who were to be married to the gods and used as vestiges of idolatry. Though the words are not mentioned in the book, today’s terminology to describe the author’s missionary service would be along the lines of “anti-trafficking” or “justice ministry” or the like. This is the story of human injustice and the fellowship that sought to rescue marginalized children.
I must point out that though the threads of this mosaic are artistically arranged (literarily speaking) the narrative is a little hard to follow. Clarity as to what the fellowship’s actual purpose was (from what they were rescuing these young Indian children) is nebulous. Be it the antiquated vocabulary or linguistic style (I am unsure), I find it difficult to understand the specific peril that the children were actually saved from. I do wish the the author would have spelled it out in clearer terms. What the fellowship was to become, however, is a different matter: it is one of joy in united Christian service among unreached peoples of 20th century India.
As mentioned above, this book lacks no creativity in its linguistic expression and verbose descriptions. The author was a master at capturing the moment, drawing in the reader, and ushering one into the awe of the Divine. Have a dictionary handy as you read! You will at once feel like a student of the English (perhaps even the Tamil) language.
The antiquity of this book is evident in its language and form. This is far from your “modern reader” and can feel quite off putting to some (perhaps many). Old quotes, anecdotes, or poetry open each chapter. The writing style can be difficult to digest and the poetry, though passionate and persuasive, may necessitate a slower pace or quick re-read. Call me an “old soul” but I rather enjoy antiquated texts like these. Still, there was a bit of strain to comprehend the full meaning of particular texts.
After reading this book, I found a deeper appreciation for the missionaries of old—those who have gone before me to pioneer uncharted territories. This book is a honest depiction of the struggles of cross-cultural missionaries, both of the inner turmoil and the outward battles. I learned of the miraculous through this book: the donations and faithful gifts from afar, the salvations among hard-to-reach people groups, the placing of the plow to the ground and rare over-the-shoulder glances into the past. These things inspire me. I know that they will inspire you as well.
10 POINT RATING
I give Gold Cord a 7/10.