Lotus Buds by Amy Carmichael is one of the first books she wrote about her children and describes the early childhood experiences of some of the first children she rescued from temple dedication. It is, primarily, about children and anyone who reads the detailed descriptions of the children’s individual characters and their daily lives will quickly understand that Amy loved those children very much. The book starts out with an introduction from 1912 by Amy that describes the book as a soldier’s letter straight from the battlefield. I have no doubt that she often felt like a soldier as she daily fought for those children’s lives and safety.
The first chapter of the book describes in poignant detail how Amy Carmichael learned that these Temple children, seemingly in bondage to an evil power, in fact belonged to God and that she was simply to go and claim His own possession. The second chapter immediately jumps into the stories of the children. Interspersed throughout the book are beautiful photos of the children, their caregivers, and the land surrounding Dohnavur. Each picture tells a story by itself. Even though the pictures are black and white, the children look so happy and alive that it is hard to believe these pictures were taken around 100 years ago.
The children were raised at Dohnavur in conditions that would be considered poverty by Western standards, yet happiness was the rule and God provided for their needs through prayer. Older Christian girls and women cared for the children, most of them remaining single for this special work.
The book is full of stories of rescuing children from dedication to the temples, which often meant reaching the mothers of those girls before the temple women did. The mothers did not wish to keep their babies, yet persuading them to give their babies to such a place as Dohnavur where the child would be cared for instead of to the temple where little girls were raised to take part in all kinds of vice was very difficult. Yet it was often accomplished, and rescuers frequently returned to Dohnavur with a baby in their arms. You can read some of these stories here and here.
Amy Carmichael did not content herself with simply rescuing children from the temples. The book also tells how she and her coworkers carefully documented whatever evidence they could find regarding the temple trade in little girls in hopes of providing the documentation government officials needed in order to outlaw the practice. At the time the book was printed all of Amy’s efforts to change legislation had been futile, however, I do know that at some point the practice of temple dedication was effectively outlawed. I have no doubt that Amy Carmichael’s work resulted in better lives for little girls throughout India.
Original copies of this book are rare, but can be found here. You can read the entire book here online as well. Take the time to read the stories of the deliverance of so many children. If you ever struggle with your faith and trusting God, read this book. These stories of a century ago show us today that God is very, very real. He is still working. And He still loves children.