After this amazing encounter with her father, Arulai’s faith grew rapidly. She now lived with Amma, and was thankful everyday for her answer to prayer. But she had but one more request. Ever since she had become a Christian the year before, she had wanted to be baptized. But she was underage, and she still belonged to her family’s caste, even though they had abandoned her. Arulai knew her father would never give his permission for her to be baptized.
She had not seen any of her family for nearly six months now. She often thought of her younger sister, Mimosa, and prayed that she too, could one day live with them. But every day, Arulai prayed that she could become baptized with her father’s consent. Days, weeks, then months passed.
One day, Amma came to Arulai with a look of joyful surprise on her face. “Arulai!”, she cried. “A message has just come from your father. He gives his permission for you to be baptized! And he gave no reason at all for doing it!”
Arulai, overcome with joy, knelt down to give thanks to the Lord with Amma. They knew it was a miracle straight from God. Nearly three years had passed since Arulai had first seen the foreigners in her village and had set down her water jug to listen. She could still clearly recall those words she had heard; “I was a lion, and He turned me into a lamb!” Now she was about to be baptized.
Through her happiness, Arulai was barely aware of the fact that her father agreeing for her to be baptized was a point from which she could never return. To a Hindu, having someone in your family who read the Bible was a disgrace. And having someone in your family who prayed to the Christian’s God was even worse. But baptism was the stopping point. A person from a Hindu family who was baptized into Christianity had broken caste forever. But Arulai was so happy that she did not realize all this.
After her baptism, Arulai heard nothing from her family for several months, except form her cousin. Arul Dasan, Arulai’s cousin, had wanted to learn about God too. But when he tried to, his family reacted worse than Arulai’s family had. They tortured him for many days to make him give up the idea. But by a miracle, he had found out about God anyway from the ammal and her helpers.But Arul Dasan could not stay with them, for there was no place for boys, only for young girls.
Thirteen-year-old Arulai was content to stay with Amma and help her with her group of ever-growing young girls just like herself, that Amma had taken in. But one day, one of Amma’s friends decided that if it was at all possible, Arulai and Arul Dasan should see their family one more time. Arrangements were made, and a week later, Arulai, Arul Dasan, and several of Amma’s friends traveled back to Arulai’s village. But when they arrived, things were not good. The whole village had become very hostile to Christians and outsiders, and worse still, Arulai’s father refused to see her. It would be breaking caste for him to acknowledge that he had a Christian daughter. Despite this disappointment, Arulai wasn’t swayed. She had a home now, and a place where she could always live in he light.
Amy Carmichael carefully ascended the rough stone steps and entered the newly-built nursery, carrying a basket of clean blankets in one hand and baby Amethyst in the other. Her closest helper, Ponnammal, followed with more clean blankets and a pail of hot water for scrubbing the floor. As Amy walked to Amethyst’s crib, another lively toddler made her way quickly to the open door. Another one of Amy’s special helpers, a young woman in her early twenties, saw the girl and headed over to her. “Come here, Lulla”, she said, picking the girl up and carrying her outside where most of the other toddlers were playing in the courtyard. Ponnammal smiled as they left. “Arulai is certainly good with the babies, isn’t she?”, Ponnammal asked Amy.
“The Lord knew just what he was doing”, Amy replied, as her mind drifted back to fourteen years ago when the little Indian girl had first seen her, and learned of God’s love.
From the moment Arulai had first learned there was a Living God, she had strived to “live in the light”, rather than in the darkness of Hinduism. And that’s what she had done for the eleven years she had lived at Dohnavur Fellowship, the name of the Christian compound. Arulai was now one of Amy’s most trusted helpers and friends. Amy was pulled back into reality by baby Amethyst’s wail. She gently laid the baby in the crib, and walked to the door.
Fifty toddler girls were grouped under the huge tamarind tree in the courtyard, listening to Ponnammal. She was sitting on a large boulder, narrating a Bible story to the girls. Arulai and three other older girls were waiting behind the tree for their turn to act out the story while Ponnammal narrated. Arulai wad hidden from view from the toddlers behind tree trunk, but from the doorway, Amy could clearly see her. As she stood next to the tree, sunlight filtered down through the thick leaves and fell on her and the ground around her in a soft gentle light.
Amy smiled. “Living in the Light”, she said. “Living in the Light”.
This is a true story from the life of Amy Carmichael, who was a missionary to India for over fifty years in the early 1900’s. She rescued countless children from the evils of Hinduism and poverty in India. She was the “ammal” and “Amma” in the story to Arulai.
Arulai stayed at Dohnavur Fellowship for forty more years, serving the Living God who had rescued her from darkness.
She contracted a fatal sickness when she had been at Dohnavur for about twenty years. She was at death’s door. Even as her coffin was being prepared, Amy prayed for Arulai. The Lord miraculously gave His child of Light back to them, and she served the Lord for over ten more years.
Arulai was surprised and shocked one day, when her sister Mimosa showed up at the gates of Dohnavur with her three youngest sons, aged seven, four, and one. She wanted to leave her two middle sons with Amy, because her husband was not a good man.
Mimsosa had had a hard life. Like Arulai, her family had shunned her when she continued to believe in God. Arulai had not seen Mimosa for thirty years, but every time she had seen her, Mimosa was encouraged. She had been forced to marry a very lazy and useless man, and Mimosa desperately wanted her sons to have a better life. She wanted them to learn to read so they could read the Bible. Amy and Arulai gladly welcomed all of them, but Mimosa insisted on returning home to fetch her oldest son, Rajappan. So Amy took in two more children to care for. In this way, the Lord used Arulai to bring her sister to Him, as well as her cousin Arul Dasan, who was now the grown-up and much-needed boy’s house leader at Dohnavur.
Sadly, Arulai died of smallpox when she was fifty-two, in May of 1939.She had been through typhoid and fevers many times, and her body was very weak. She was buried in “God’s Garden”, the name of the cemetery at Dohnavur.
Amy herself was too sick to attend her beloved Arulai’s funereal, but Rajappan, Arulai’s nephew, stayed with her to comfort her.
Ever since arriving at Amy’s doorstep forty years ago at age twelve, Arulai had been committed to serving God in her homeland.