The Nightingale of Sweden
Jenny Lind was an incredibly talented Swedish singer nicknamed the "Swedish Nightingale." She visited Manhattan not long after the cholera epidemic had come to an end. Tickets to her performance were being sold by the none other than P.T. Barnum, and were in such demand he resorted to auctioning them off to the highest bidder. Crowds went wild for Ms. Lind, and if anyone had the right to be a true diva, it was Ms. Lind.
However, she did something quite interesting during her New York tour. Jenny Lind made a surprise stop and the New York Institute for the Blind. There she gave a free performance to the students, and here is what struck me as the most fascinating aspect of this appearance; she allowed the sight-impaired students to come to her and feel her face. That is about the most un-diva like behavior I could imagine.
After facing so much illness and death, Fanny became increasingly considered over the state of her own soul. She had been so busy learning, teaching, lobbying, and nursing that she had forgotten something very important: Fanny realized that she did not have a true love for God in her heart.
Education Made Available
When Fanny was 15, she was given a scholarship to the New York Institution for the Blind in Manhattan. The government of New York decided to give a scholarship to one blind child from every county in the state so they could get an education and learn a trade. This was to be a dream come true for young Fanny!
Many of you may have heard of the blind hymn writer, Fanny Crosby. She remains one of the most prolific hymn writers in American history. Even if you don't spend much time listening to classic hymns, I suspect you have heard of "Blessed Assurance," which was based on her personal testimony.
One major thing that made Bartholomaus so different was his attitude toward the Tamil people. He didn't see them as his inferiors, like many Europeans did. From the time he first landed, he chose to live among the Tamil, attend their school, and really try to understand their culture -- he even studied their religion, to better understand them. The result of his study of Hinduism was simple: everything they had been looking for was in Jesus Christ, and he was delighted to share that news with them.
Sara McCaslin is an engineer, a computer scientist, and a freelance writer.