We are thrilled each time we are selected to review any of the YWAM Publishing titles, whether Christian Heroes: Then & Now or Heroes of History . This time around we were given the title Christian Heroes- Amy Carmichael: Rescuer of Precious Gems and its corresponding study guide.
These titles are loved. When a new titles comes into our home, or appears on the shelf at the library, it immediately ends up in a bedroom being read. I don’t even see the book until the oldest giggly girls has finished it. This book on Amy Carmichael was no different.
YWAM Publishing is a company that is committed to publishing materials that encourage Christians to make a difference in this world. The focus of their materials is prayer, mercy ministry, homeschooling, evangelism, and discipleship. When you purchase from YWAM, you are also sending money to help the needy around the world as a portion of every dollar spent is directed towards YWAM’s ministries.
This is the story of Amy’s life. From a young age, Amy knew God was calling her to a life of serving him. She began serving him simply, by helping others carry hard loads and listening to his word. She then began serving the shawlies, those who worked harder than most to provide for their families and we looked down upon by many Christians at the time. In helping the shawlies, Amy began to face some of the backlash that she would face all of her life – the Christians who were supposed to love everyone and help them cause problems for Amy because they did not want those “dirty” people in their buildings for worship.
Amy trusted God and he got her through a lot – buildings that needed built, ill health, and many, many other things. Amy knew that God was calling her to go to a foreign mission field and she just knew that it was in Asia. Even after being turned down by mission groups situated there, Amy decided to just get there and leave it to God to figure out where she would be and who she would work with. God did. And Amy spent time serving others in Japan, until she got ill. Again. She returned to the UK to recover.
After a time, Amy ended up in India. It turned out to be the place God had been preparing her for. Amy saw the great need in India and began her work there with diligence. She took in those whose family abandoned or disowned them, which was not unusual for Indians who chose to become Christians, if they were not killed by their families. Amy continued to teach and trust. Through her trust in God, many came to her to be loved and to learn of God.
After going to India, Amy never left. She served those in India until she died. Amy became Amma (mother) to hundreds in India, rescuing temple children from a life of horror or loving those who were unloved by their families.
The YWAM biographies make fantastic unit studies. The curriculum guide that you can purchase for download to go along with book features a format that gives plenty of suggestion for you to pick and choose those parts and activities that benefit your students. I did not print the entire guide; rather, I printed those pages that we were going to use for our study.
We chose to use Key Bible Verses, Chapter Questions, Student Explorations, and Social Studies. There are also sections on Display Corner, Community Links, Related Themes to Explore, and Culminating Event. There are appendixes for books and resources and answers to chapter questions.
For Key Bible Verses, the girls each chose at least one verse from those that were important to Amy Carmichael and illustrated it. I also asked them to memorize it. Chapter Questions was a section we actually did out loud. We had a book conversation one day and used these questions to guide the discussion. These can be used a variety of ways and the answers are in one of the appendices.
For Student Explorations, there are a large number of possible activities for the student to choose from. There is no way a student could tackle all of these hands-on projects. The options include essays, creative writing, charts, graphs, audio or visual projects, arts and crafts projects, or language examples. Miss E chose to illustrate a couple of the language examples and also chose to work on some needle work. Miss L chose to make a birdbath out of materials we had in the yard. Miss J looked up information on some of the jewels and precious gems that Amy named her children after. We also visited a gem show and looked at some of the gems from the book.
In tackling the social studies section, we used the printouts that came with the study guide, printing out a sheet to fill out on India and three maps. The girls each researched information on India and completed that sheet. They also used an atlas and online searches, plus a map in the book, to mark the maps with places that were important in the story of Amy Carmichael. It is good to know where places are in the world and, since we had studied India last November, it was a good way for us to relate the story to places we had talked about during that study.
We chose not to do a Display Corner and the Community Links since we had done that last November with our India study. The Display Corner is just that – a place to put a variety of items that relate to India and the story. Community Links is a section that encourages you to find places and people within your community that might have something to do with your study, in this case it might be an Indian restaurant or a religious group to visit. Related Themes to explore touches on other ideas and topics related to the story and gives a few resources for that. The final section we did not use, again because we had done something like this back in November, is to create a big final event celebrating all that was learned.
The curriculum guides to go along with these books do a great job of broadening the horizons of the students, pulling in ideas to help the reader better relate to all that is happening in the story. These unit study/study guides can be as in depth as you desire for them to be but I would definitely suggestion using them, as they open up the discussion and ideas.
Miss J (age 9) – It was really fun and it kind of hung me when we couldn’t read another chapter. I learned a lot about Amy Carmichael. She was a very nice woman and she took care of many children, about 500. I think kids ages 5 and up would like this book.
Miss L (age 11) – I think that one of the reasons I enjoyed reading about Amy Carmichael’s life is because she trusted God so much in everything she did. That is a really admirable quality. It also lead to many unique situations in her life that don’t happen to other missionaries or in other Christian’s lives. Most of the time it is easy to forget how it would be if we did everything for the faith and how different that lifestyle would than what most of use are actually living. I liked reading about her because she always did her best no matter what the situation was and recognized that she needed to be doing all she could all the time. I think this make her really interesting to read about and it put her in a lot of situations that other people would not be willing to enter. You see multiple examples of Amy’s willingness to do whatever it takes, even if it makes her different than everyone else. I like how the book covered a lot of things in her life that might seem insignificant or just straight out different from everyone else but she didn’t care how small it was. One thing I like about these books is that they tell the story to inspire you and I think Amy was a really good role model. Once you read the book about here, you can’t really imagine what the series would have been like without her.
Miss E (age 14) – I really liked how Amy did not give up. I really like reading and learning about other cultures and Japan and India are some of my favorites. I like that the biography is written more from Amy’s point of view. It is more like a story so it is easier for me to read and understand. I like all biographies but it is easier to read when it is written like a story.
My own – I really enjoy reading the YWAM biographies on Christian Heroes. They put before the girls quality role models and people who trusted God to direct their lives and their paths. They are interesting and exciting, keeping the girls’ interest and spurring them on to read and understand more about the world that is much bigger than what we know.
YWAM is coming out with two new biographies shortly: Benjamin Rush (Heroes of History) and John Newton (Christian Heroes). We have reviewed YWAM titles in the past, including Gladys Aylward, Clara Barton, and C.S. Lewis. We also have a large number of these biographies on our shelf. We definitely recommend them!
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