Showing posts with label MISSIONARY. Show all posts
Showing posts with label MISSIONARY. Show all posts
Friday, April 8, 2011

Sadhu Sundar Singh Indian Christian Missionary Biography

Sadhu Sundar Singh indian christian missionarySadhu Sundar Singh Indian Christian Missionary
Sadhu Sundar Singh (Punjabi: ਸਾਧੂ ਸੁੰਦਰ ਸਿੰਘ, Urdu: سادھُو سُندر سنگھ; Hindi: साधु सुन्दर सिंह) (September 3, 1889 Patiala State, India) was an Indian Christian missionary. He is believed to have died in the foothills of the Himalayas in 1929.

Name :: Sadhu Sundar Singh

Born :: September 3, 1889

Birth Place :: Patiala State, India

Died :: 1929

Died at ::Foothills of Himalayas

Sadhu Sundar Singh indian christian missionary biography
Biography ::
Sundar Singh was born into an important landowning Sikh family in Patiala State in northern India. Sikhism is a religion, founded about 1699 AD, that teaches belief in one God and rejects the caste system. Sikhs, rejecting Hinduism and Islam since the sixteenth century, had become quite established in the area. Sundar Singh's mother took him to sit at the feet of a Sadhu, an ascetic holy man, who lived in the jungle some miles away, while also sending him to Ewing Christian High School, Ludhiana in order to learn English.

The death of Sundar Singh's mother, when he was fourteen, plunged him into violence and despair. He took out his anger on the missionaries, persecuted Christian converts, and ridiculed their faith. In final defiance of their religion, he bought a Bible and burned it page by page in his home while his friends watched. Three nights later, he took a bath before going to the railroad track to commit suicide. While he was bathing, Sadhu loudly asked who was the true God. If the true God didn't show Himself that night, he would commit suicide. Finally, that night before the break of dawn, Singh saw a vision of Christ with His pierced hands.

Conversion to Christianity ::
Before dawn, he awakened his father to announce that he had seen Jesus Christ in a vision and heard his voice. He told his father that henceforth he would follow Christ forever. Still no more than fifteen, he was utterly committed to Christ and in the twenty-five years left to him would witness extensively for his Lord. The discipleship of the teenager was immediately tested as his father pleaded and demanded that he give up this absurd conversion. When he refused, Sher Singh gave a farewell feast for his son, then denounced him and expelled him from the family. His brother, Rajender Singh had poisoned Sundar's food in hopes to rid Sundar, because Sundar had become a Christian*. Several hours later, Sundar realised that his food had been poisoned, and his life was saved only by the help of a nearby Christian community .Life Message of Bishop Augustine Peters 1930 to 2010.

On his sixteenth birthday, he was publicly baptised as a Christian in the parish church in Simla, a town high in the Himalayan foothills. For some time previously he had been staying at the Christian Leprosy Home at Sabathu, not far from Simla, serving the leprosy patients there. It was to remain one of his most beloved bases and he returned there after his baptism.

Sadhu Sundar Singh indian christian missionary at early ages
Life of servitude ::
In October 1906, he set out on his journey as a new Christian, wearing a yellow robe and turban. The yellow robe was the "uniform" of a Hindu sadhu, traditionally an ascetic devoted to spiritual practice. The young Sundar Singh also viewed himself as a sadhu, albeit one within Christianity rather than Hinduism. This brought him a good deal of attention.

"I am not worthy to follow in the steps of my Lord," he said, "but, like Him, I want no home, no possessions. Like Him I will belong to the road, sharing the suffering of my people, eating with those who will give me shelter, and telling all men of the love of God."

Quite soon he put his new faith to the test by going back to his home village, Rampur, where he was shown an unexpectedly warm welcome.

This was poor preparation for the months that were to follow. Scarcely tough enough to meet physical hardship, the sixteen-year-old sadhu went northward through the Punjab, over the Bannihal Pass into Kashmir, and then back through Muslim Afghanistan and into the brigand-infested North-West Frontier and Baluchistan. His thin, yellow robe gave him little protection against the cold, and his feet became torn from the rough paths. Not many months had passed before the small Christian communities of the north were referring to him as "the apostle with the bleeding feet." This initiation showed him what he might expect in the future. He was stoned, arrested, visited by a shepherd who talked with strange intimacy about Jesus and then was gone, and left to sleep in a way-side hut with an unexpected cobra for company. Meetings with the mystical and the sharply material, persecution and welcome, would all characterize his experience in years ahead. From the villages in the Simla hills, the long line of the snow-clad Himalayas and the rosy peak of Nanga Parbat, rose in the distance. Beyond them lay Tibet, a Buddhist country that few foreigners had already visited. Ever since his baptism, Tibet had beckoned Sundar, and in 1908, at the age of nineteen, he crossed its frontier for the first time. The state of the people appalled him. Their homes, like themselves, were filthy. He himself was stoned as he bathed in cold water because they believed that "holy men never washed." Food was mostly unobtainable and he existed on hard, parched barley. Everywhere there was hostility. And this was only "lower Tibet" just across the border. Sundar went back to Sabathu determined to return the next year.ױ

He had a great desire to visit Palestine and re-live some of the happenings in Jesus' life. In 1908 he went to Bombay, hoping to board a ship to the region. To his intense disappointment, the government refused to give him a permit, and he had to return to the north. It was on this trip that he suddenly recognised a basic dilemma of the Christian mission to India. A brahmin had collapsed in the hot, crowded carriage and, at the next station, the Anglo-Indian stationmaster came rushing with a cup of water from the refreshment room. The brahmin—a high-caste Hindu—thrust it away in horror. He needed water, but he could only accept it in his own drinking vessel. When that was brought, he drank and was revived. In the same way, Sundar Singh realised, India would not widely convert to Western-style Christianity. That, he recognised, was why many listeners had responded to him in his Indian sadhu's robe.

Formal Christian training ::
There was harder disillusionment to come. In December 1909 he began training for the Christian ministry at the Anglican college in Lahore. Singh's biographers depict his experience at college as that of an unhappy misfit. He did not form relationships with fellow students, and only met them at meal times and designated prayer sessions. From the beginning he found himself being tormented by fellow students for being "different" and no doubt too self assured.

Although Singh had been baptized by an Anglican priest, he was ignorant of the ecclesiastical culture and conventions of Anglicanism. His inability to adapt to Anglican life hindered him from fitting in with the routines of academic study. Much in the college course seemed to Singh irrelevant to the gospel as India needed to hear it. After eight months in the college Singh decided to leave in July 1910.

It has been claimed by his biographers that the cause of Singh's withdrawal was due to remarks made by Bishop Lefroy about the requirements of an ordained Anglican priest. The strictures, as the biographers report it, are that Singh was told he must now discard his sadhu's robe and wear "respectable" European clerical dress; use formal Anglican worship; sing English hymns; and never preach outside his parish without special permission. Never again visit Tibet, he asked? That would be, to him, an unthinkable rejection of God's call. The stipulations laid down by the bishop, however, were normative for all Anglican priests of that day in India.

With deep sadness he left the college, still dressed in his yellow robe, and in 1912 began his annual trek into Tibet as the winter snows began to melt on the Himalayan tracks and passes.

Helping others ::
Stories from those years are astonishing and sometimes incredible. Indeed there were those, who insisted that they were mystical rather than real happenings. That first year, 1912, he returned with an extraordinary account of finding a three-hundred-year old Christian hermit in a mountain cave-the Maharishi of Kailas, with whom he spent some weeks in deep fellowship.

According to Singh, in a town called Rasar he had been thrown in a dry well full of bones and rotting flesh and left to die. He claims, however, that three days later a rope was thrown to him and he was rescued. As Singh has been represented by some biographers as a suffering preacher, it is worth recalling that the three days spent down the well bears resemblances to the gospel narratives concerning the death and three days of burial for the Christ before his resurrection from the dead.

At these and at other times Singh was said to have been rescued by members of the "Sunnyasi Mission" -- secret disciples of Jesus wearing their Hindu markings, whom he claimed to have found all over India.

The secret Sunnyasi Mission is reputed to have numbered around 24,000 members across India. The origins of this brotherhood were reputed to be linked to one of the Magi at Christ's nativity and then the second century AD disciples of the apostle Thomas circulating in India. Nothing was heard of this evangelistic fellowship until after William Carey began his missionary work in Serampore. The Maharishi of Kailas experienced ecstatic visions about the secret fellowship that he retold to Sundar Singh, and Singh himself built his spiritual life around visions.

Whether he won many continuing disciples on these hazardous Tibetan treks is not known. Singh did not keep written records and he was unaccompanied by any other Christian disciples who might have witnessed the events.

Footsteps of Christ ::
During his twenties, Sundar Singh's ministry widened greatly, and long before he was thirty, his name and picture were familiar all over the Christian world. He described a struggle with Satan to retain his humility but he was, in fact, always human, approachable and humble, with a sense of fun and a love of nature. This, with his "illustrations" from ordinary life, gave his addresses great impact. Many people said, "He not only looks like Jesus, he talks like Jesus must have talked." Yet all his talks and his personal speech sprang out of profound early morning meditation, especially on the gospels. In 1918 he made a long tour of South India and Ceylon, and the following year he was invited to Burma, Malaya, China, and Japan.

Some of the stories from these tours were as strange as any of his Tibetan adventures. He claimed power over wild things. He claimed even to have power over disease and illness, though he never allowed his presumed healing gifts to be publicized.

Travels abroad ::
For a long time Sundar Singh had wanted to visit Britain, and the opportunity came when his father, Sher Singh, came to tell him that he too had become a Christian and wished to give him the money for his fare to Britain. He visited the West twice, travelling to Britain, the United States, and Australia in 1920, and to Europe again in 1922. He was welcomed by Christians of many traditions, and his words searched the hearts of people who now faced the aftermath of World War I and who seemed to evidence a shallow attitude to life. Sundar was appalled by what he saw as the materialism, emptiness, and irreligion he found everywhere, contrasting it with Asia's awareness of God, no matter how limited that might be. Once back in India he continued his ministry, though it was clear that he was getting more physically frail.

Final trip ::
In 1923 Sundar Singh made the last of his regular summer visits to Tibet and came back exhausted. His preaching days were obviously over and, in the next years, in his own home or those of his friends in the Simla hills he gave himself to meditation, fellowship, and writing some of the things he had lived to preach.

In 1929, against all his friends' advice, Sundar determined to make one last journey to Tibet. He was last seen on the 18th of April 1929 setting off on this journey. In April he reached Kalka, a small town below Simla, a prematurely aged figure in his yellow robe among pilgrims and holy men who were beginning their own trek to one of Hinduism's holy places some miles away. Where he went after that is unknown. Whether he died of exhaustion or reached the mountains remains a mystery. Some said that Sadhu was murdered and his body thrown into the river; another account says he was caught up into heaven with the angels.

In the 1940's Rajender Singh was searched for by a Bishop Augustine Peters a native missionary of South India, who personally found Rajender in Punjab, led him to CHRIST, and also baptized him. This is the same Rajender, brother of Sundar Singh who had poisoned the young Sundar Singh because of Sundar's conversion to Christianity. GOD used Sundar Singh wonderfully with so many miracles and souls that he won to CHRIST.* But more than his memory remains, and he has continued to be one of the most treasured and formative figures in the development and story of Christ's church in India.

THE LIFE OF Sundar Singh
1889 - Born at Rampur, Punjab
1903 - Conversion
1904 - Cast out from home
1905 - Baptized in Simla; begins life as a Sadhu
1907 - Works in leprosy hospital at Sabathu
1908 - First visit to Tibet
1909 - Enters divinity college, Lahore, to train for the ministry
1911 - Hands back his preacher's license; returns to the Sadhu's life
1912 - Tours through north India and the Buddhist states of the Himalayas
1918 to 1922 - Travels worldwide
1923 - Turned back from Tibet
1925 to 1927 - Quietly spends time writing
1927 - Sets out for Tibet but returns due to illness
1929 - Attempts to reach Tibet and disappears


Journey to the Sky, the Story of Sadhu Sunder Singh on Video:

The Story of Sadhu Sundar Singh:

The Visions of Sadhu Sundar Singh:

Wisdom of Sadhu Sunder Singh:

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Amy Wilson Carmichael Indian Christian Missionary Life History

Amy Wilson Carmichael indian christian missionary
Amy Wilson Carmichael (16 December 1867 - 18 January 1951) was a Protestant Christian missionary in India, who opened an orphanage and founded a mission in Dohnavur. She served in India for 55 years without furlough and wrote many books about the missionary work there.

Name :: Amy Wilson Carmichael

Born :: 16 December, 1867


Birth Place :: Millisle, County Down, Northern Ireland

Died :: 18 January, 1951(aged 83)

Died at :: Dohnavur, Tamil Nadu, India

Orphange Location :: Dohnavur, Tamil Nadu, India

Amy Wilson Carmichael indian christian missionary at her young age

History ::
Amy grew up in a big house in Ireland and had lots of fun with her brothers and sisters. But one day her father died, and the family had to move to a big city and a smaller home. They could no longer afford help with the house our garden. And since Amy was the oldest child, she had to help her mother raise the younger children. 

But that wasn't too hard. Amy had learned to love God first of all, and she wanted more than anything to know and follow Jesus.  She loved His Word and believed all His wonderful promises. She wasn't afraid, for she knew that Jesus would be with her always.

She also knew that God wanted her to show His love to others. Once, before her father died, she had traveled to a big city with her mother. They stopped at a tea-room for lunch.  While they were eating, Amy noticed a little girl outside. Her face was dirty and her hair was straggly as she pressed her nose against the window. Her sad eyes looked right into Amy's. 

Amy could never forget the poor little girl. So when she was back home again, she wrote her a special promise. She gave it to God, since she couldn't deliver it to the poor child.
When I grow up and money have,
I know what I will do,
I’ll build a great big lovely place
For little girls like you.
Amy didn't know that one day, God would send her all the way to India to fulfill that promise.

Amy Wilson Carmichael indian christian missionary with children
Walking home from church one Sunday, something else happened that forever changed Amy's life. She and her two oldest brothers -- dressed in their best clothes -- were way ahead of the others, when she spotted a poor beggar woman, dressed in tattered old clothes. Her feet were wrapped with strips of rags, now heavy with mud. Over her bent shoulders  hung a large bundle of sticks.

When Amy and her brothers saw the old woman stagger and almost fall, they hurried to catch up with her. The older boy lifted the bundle off her back, and hung it over his shoulders. The other two each took the woman's arms and helped her along.

Since they couldn't move very fast, other church people caught up with them. A special book titled "Amy Carmichael Rescuer of Precious Gems" tells us what happened next:

    "One by one, church members stared at the strange sight as they walked by. Amy felt her face getting hotter as each person from church passed them, especially when one woman hurried her children to the other side of the road to avoid the four of them altogether.

    "Embarrassed, Amy and her brothers kept their heads down, not even looking at each other and hoping no one important came along and saw them. There was a fountain in the center of the road, and trying to take her mind off walking along beside the beggar woman, Amy studied it closely. It was made of blocks of cut stone, and the water sprayed out from three spouts at its center. As she studied it, Amy suddenly stopped. Someone was talking to her. She clearly heard a voice say,

        “Gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw.. . the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward.”

    "Amy turned to see who was speaking. There was no one there. But she had heard a voice, plain
    and clear. Puzzled, she walked on with the old woman on her arm. As she did, something felt very different inside. Amy was no longer embarrassed. In fact, she walked with her head held high for all to see. The trio escorted the old woman to where she wanted to go and then ran to catch up to their mother and the other children to finish the walk home.

    "After lunch, Amy went to her room. She knelt down by her bed. She knew the words she’d heard at the fountain were from the Bible.... The words were from 1 Corinthians, chapter three, verses twelve through fourteen. Amy read them again. What was their meaning to her? ...

    "After several hours of praying and thinking, Amy finally decided she knew what the words from the verse meant to her. For one thing, she would no longer waste time on things that weren’t important in God’s eyes. When all the things she’d done in her life were finally judged by God, she wanted them to be found worthwhile. She wanted them to be seen as gold and silver, not hay and stubble. For another thing, she would never again worry about what people thought of her. If what she was doing was pleasing to God, that would be enough for her. If other people, even other Christians, didn’t want to walk with beggars, that was their business, but Amy would walk with them."

How did Amy know what was "important in God's eyes?"  She read and learned from His Word. She discovered what God loved! And her goal was to please God, even if it upset some people. She could trust God in all things  because she remembered God's wonderful promise:

     "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9

 Work in India :: 
Initially Carmichael traveled to Japan for fifteen months, but after a brief period of service in Sri Lanka, she found her lifelong vocation in India. She was commissioned by the Church of England Zenana Mission. Hindu temple children were young girls dedicated to the gods and forced into prostitution to earn money for the priests. Much of her work was with young ladies, some of whom were saved from forced prostitution. The organization she founded was known as the Dohnavur Fellowship. Dohnavur is situated in Tamil Nadu, thirty miles from the southern tip of India. The fellowship would become a sanctuary for over one thousand children who would otherwise have faced a bleak future.

In an effort to respect Indian culture, members of the organization wore Indian dress and the children were given Indian names. She herself dressed in Indian clothes, dyed her skin with dark coffee, and often travelled long distances on India's hot, dusty roads to save just one child from suffering.

While serving in India, Amy received a letter from a young lady who was considering life as a missionary. She asked Amy, "What is missionary life like?" Amy wrote back saying simply,
“     "Missionary life is simply a chance to die."     ”

Carmichael's work also extended to the printed page. She was a prolific writer, producing thirty-five published books including Things as They Are: Mission Work in Southern India (1903), His Thoughts Said . . . His Father Said (1951), If (1953), Edges of His Ways (1955) and God's Missionary (1957).

The Widow of the Jewels by Amy Carmichael was first published in the year 1928. By this time, Christian missionaries and the Church in India had laid out a network of secular schools in India that changed the traditional caste-restrictive schooling to caste-neutral schooling. Gandhi had come into prominence in the Indian struggle for freedom from British rule. But he was not yet the unquestioned leader of the Indian masses. The Muslims had not yet orchestrated their demand to carve a Muslim nation for themselves out of British India as soon as the British would leave India. The 1921 Census of India showed that there was less than two percent of total population of India who professed the Christian faith. The English language was well established as the lingua franca among the educated classes cutting across ethnic groups. The zeal for social and religious reform of Hindus evinced in the nineteenth century was being replaced by the zeal to attain political freedom. In southern India, the non-Brahmin social movement was taking roots in a very significant way. There was already talk among the Hindus themselves to abolish the dreadful practice of temple prostitution and the ill treatment of the widows. However, the legislation to ban this practice would come only later on. Amy Carmichael's fictionalized true story happens in this context in the far south, among the Tamils. Unfortunately, the practice of temple prostitution is still practiced in some parts of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh in south India.
Amy Carmichael teaching to poor children
In 1931, Carmichael was badly injured in a fall, which left her bedridden much of the time until her death. She died in India in 1951 at the age of 83. She asked that no stone be put over her grave; instead, the children she had cared for put a bird bath over it with the single inscription "Amma", which means mother in the Tamil.

Her biography quotes her as saying:
“     "One can give without loving, but one cannot love without giving."     ”

Her example as a missionary inspired others (including Jim Elliot and his wife Elisabeth Elliot) to pursue a similar vocation.

Works ::
  • From Sunrise Land: Letters from Japan, Marshall 1895
  • Things as they are; mission work in southern India, London: Morgan and Scott (1905)
  • Lotus Buds, London: Morgan and Scott (1912)
  • Ragland, pioneer, Madras: S.P.C.K. Depository (1922) (biography of Thomas Gajetan Ragland)
  • Walker of Tinnevelly, London: Morgan & Scott (1916) (biography of Thomas Walker)
  • Candles in the Dark, Christian Literature Crusade (June 1982)
  • Rose from Brier, Christian Literature Crusade (June 1972)
  • Mimosa: A True Story, CLC Publications (September 2005)
  • If, Christian Literature Crusade (June 1999)
  • Gold Cord, Christian Literature Crusade (June 1957)
  • Edges of His Ways, Fort Washington: Christian Literature Crusade (1955)
  • Mountain Breezes: The Collected Poems of Amy Carmichael, Christian Literature Crusade (August 1999)
  • Whispers of His Power, CLC Publications (June 1993)
  • Thou Givest They Gather, CLC Publications (June 1970)
  • Ploughed Under : The Story of a Little Lover, Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK) (1934)
  • Kohila: The Shaping of an Indian Nurse, CLC Publications (July 2002)


Website | Amy Songs | Amazon | Books | Fellowship
Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sadhu Sundar Singh - A True Testimony

sadhu sundar singh a true testimonyThe life of Sadhu Sundar Singh(1889-1929) was the most remarkable in it’s Christ-likeness. He was born amidst at the depths of Indian culture and religion, and into a Sikh family. During the early part of his life, his mother would take him week by week to sit at the feet of a sadhu, an ascetic holy man, who lived some distance away in the rain forest.

But with the death of his beloved mother when he was only fourteen years old, the young Sundar grew increasingly despairing and aggressive. His hatred of the local missionaries and Christians culminated in the public burning of a bible, which he tore apart page by page and threw, into the flames.

Yet before long Sundar was intent on taking his own life. Sundar had arrived at a point of desperation: he had decided to throw himself under the Ludhiana express if God did not reveal to him the true way of peace.

At three in the morning he rose from his bed and went out into the moonlit courtyard for the ceremonial bath observed by devout Hindus and Sikhs before worship. He then returned to his room and knelt down, bowed his head to the ground and pleaded that God would reveal himself. Yet, nothing happened.

He had not known what to expect: a voice, a vision, and a trance? Still nothing happened. And it was fast approaching the time for the Lothian express.

He lifted his head and opened his eyes, and was rather surprised to see a faint cloud of light in the room. It was too early for the dawn. He opened the door and peered out to the courtyard. Darkness. Turning back into the room, he saw that the light in the room was getting brighter. To his sheer amazement, he saw not the face of any of his traditional gods, but of Jesus the Christ.

sadhu sundar singhJesus Christ was there in the room, shining, radiating an inexpressible joy, peace, and love, looking at him with compassion and asking, “Why do you persecute me? I died for you…”

From here on the life of Sundar Singh became most Christ-like. Being unwilling to denounce his Master, it was not long before his family had rejected him. Sundar took the saffron robes of the sadhu and began a life of spreading the simple message of love and peace and rebirth through Jesus. He carried no money or other possessions, only a New Testament.

He traveled India and Tibet , as well as the rest of the world, with the message that the modern interpretation of Jesus was sadly watered down. He visited the West twice, traveling to Britain , the United States , and Australia in 1920, and Europe again in 1922.

With the large number of “spiritual paths” and “techniques?, facing the world of today it is of special value to consider the life and insights of one who truly embraced the simplicity, love and freedom offered through devotion to Christ.

“I am not worthy to follow in the steps of my Lord,” he said, “but like Him, I want no home, no possessions. Like Him I will belong to the road, sharing the suffering of my people, eating with those who will give me shelter, and telling all people of the love of God.”

Publisher’s preface from the book, “The Visions of Sadhu Sundar Singh of India” by Sadhu Sundar Singh. Text is public domain.

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