by Nancy Tichy, Author for KidZ at Heart International
Don’t you just love those pictures of cute little girls that come across on the internet? I realize that little boys can be ‘cute’ too, but I’m partial to girls because I was raised in my formative years by an aunt and a grandmother. I had only sisters until I was in my twenties when my dear, and only, brother was born, and I was already married. Then, I gave birth to three daughters before the Lord was pleased to send our little family a boy, my only son. So, it’s no wonder that global issues involving women and girls are near the top of the list of my concerns today.
Did you know, for instance, that teaching women to read in remote villages significantly raises the standard of living for all the people, men included? That’s only one reason why international organizations, secular and Christian, exist to promote the welfare of girls and women in those parts of the world where they are most vulnerable.
Such is the case for this organization, SIS (She Is Safe), whose ministry recently established a beachhead of defense for girls in one of the world’s most populous Asian nations. The governor of a region gives permission for their teams to go into schools and teach girls to protect themselves from predators. They present Ten Tips for Safety and alert the girls to a Hotline for Help, adults who will rescue and mentor those who seek help.
Now, here’s something you can share with your girls – and boys, too, if they’re inclined to extend God’s love to their sisters. In much of today’s world, girls in impoverished communities cannot afford to wear undergarments. I’ll admit, I didn’t consider panties an item of defense, but now that I think of it, it makes sense. So the SIS teaching teams not only educate the girls on how they can take defensive measures and find adult protection, they also give each girl participating in their program a pair of pantaloons! You can find a photo of one on the SIS website.
As commendable as this might be, we must admit to the fact that millions of young girls today still suffer horrific abuse in worldwide circumstances too grim to describe. Forced labor that keeps them out of school, sexual assault and kidnapping into brothels, gang rape and even murder are the lot in life of so many. Surely we should cry out against such things and do something, even if each of us can do only a little bit, to better the lives of these girls and young women.
One of my favorite models for this is a woman who is best known today for devoting her life to rescuing temple child-prostitutes in Southern India. She was the oldest of seven children, born in Ireland in the late 1800’s. A ‘high-energy’ youngster who led her siblings on daring and sometimes dangerous adventures, she decided to love and follow Jesus while at boarding school. God revealed himself to her in undeniable ways and even as a teenager she was mentoring her younger siblings in the Christian faith, and reaching out to neighborhood, impoverished children.
She eventually started her missionary career, first in Japan and then Sri Lanka until poor health changed her location, but not her fervor, to Southern India. Once established in a long-lasting ministry and the building of a large center for rescue and redemption of children – even some boys – she never took a furlough. Invalided for the last twenty years of her life, she died in India at age 84 in 1951.
You can find a well-crafted biography of Amy Carmichael on DVD along with accounts of her life in print and her own many books still being published. Share the video widely with your own growing family. Who knows – this may be one thing God will use to build in your girls, especially, a confidence in God’s will for them to do mighty exploits for the advancement of his Kingdom.
Amy Carmichael began making a difference when she was a child. So, too, do many young girls all around the world today. Some of them may still be eating breakfast at your kitchen table. You can prayerfully find ways to encourage and equip them to serve Jesus now and in the future.
“From subtle love of softening things, from easy choices, weakenings, from all that dims Thy Calvary, O Lamb of God, deliver me.” – Amy Carmichael