As I tell people about the round-the-world journey that led to the forthcoming book and DVD Epic: An Around-the-World Journey through Christian History (please pre-order it now!), the most common question I get is this: What was your favorite place? Obviously I got to see and experience a lot as I traveled 24 countries across 6 continents. I saw so much of the world, so many of its beauties, and so many of its treasures. In all that I saw, what stood out the most?
I suppose the answer probably varies a little day-by-day but almost every time I find myself drawn back to southern India and Dohnavur Fellowship where missionary Amy Carmichael lived out the great majority of her life. I had already traveled through Northern Ireland to see her home town, to see the church she founded as a young lady, and to read through her precious, marked-up Bible.
And then it was off to India where we traveled to the country’s southernmost tip. From there we drove inland a couple of hours until we arrived at the gates of Dohnavur Fellowship. Though it had been founded over a century before, and though its founder had been dead for 70 years, it was not only still in existence, but seemed to still be thriving.
There were still children living on its grounds, though local government had said it could no longer care for orphans. There was a large hospital with modern surgical theaters. There was a home for lepers. There was a church. There were godly people who spoke of the gospel and lamented the encroachment of unsound theology within India’s churches. Perhaps most moving of all, was Me-Malar who had been brought to Dohnavur as a young orphan, who had been welcomed by Carmichael herself, who had grown up there, and who had dedicated her life to it. She was a beautiful, powerful link between the past and the present.
Of course there was also an object in Carmichael’s quarters that stood out to me and that proved to be exactly the kind of object I had come to discover, to study, and to write about. But I suppose to learn about that, you’ll need to read the book and/or watch the documentary.