David Livingston - First To Cross Africa With The Gospel
By: Mrs. J.H. Worcester, Jr.
David Livingston was born in Blantyre, Scotland on 19 March 1813. He was raised in poverty. His parents were both devout believers and his father was a strict tee-totaler. David was an avid reader and had a thirst for knowledge. He studied books of science and travel but readily avoided religious topics until he discovered Dicks "Philosophy of Religion" and "Philosophy of a Future State", the latter with which he credits with leading him to the Lord. Once he was saved, he gave himself over to God and to missions completely. He felt called to China and began to study medicine to that end. Before he could depart the opium trade closed the doors to China. It was at this time that he discovered the stories of Robert Moffit, a missionary of 23 years in South Africa. Thus began Livingston's interest and fascination with the "Dark Continent". Livingston received his medical diploma in November of 1840 and prepared for his journey to Africa. On 20 November 1840 Livingstone was ordained a missionary and in December he left for Algoa Bay. Upon his arrival in Algoa Bay, he immediately proceeded to Kuruman, a point approximately 700 miles north of Cape Town, arriving there in July of 1841. It was here that Livingston spent time learning the language and customs of the people he was to spend a lifetime working with in his ministry. Livingston's missionary life is typically divided into four distinct periods.
A time of ordinary missions work
First great journey under the London Missionary Society
Exploring of the Zambesi as head of a Government expedition
Journey under the Royal Geographical Society
A time of ordinary missions work
In 1843 Livingston met Sechele, the Chief of the Bakwains, a man that was to become one of Livingston's greatest friends in Africa. In June of that year Livingston received permission to go to the Valley of Mabotsa and establish a work there. The biggest challenge to working in the area was that it was infested with lions. In the efforts to clear the area of lions, Livingston received a serious wound to the left shoulder. The wound left him maimed for life and it was this wound that helped to positively identify Livingston's body after his death 30 years later. The next year he was married to Mary Moffit, the daughter of the missionary who's influence had sent Livingston to Africa. Due to conflict with a colleague, Livingston left and went to Chonuane, to work with the Bakwains, Sechele's tribe. The work here was short lived due to a severe lack of water. Livingston made the decision to move his work to Kolobeng and the entire tribe decided to go with him. Livingston built a new house here and it would be his home for five years. It was here that Livingston saw the first fruits of his labor. Sechele, the Chief of the Bakwains, accepted Christ. Livingston then had the task of educating him in Christians ways, dealing with issues such as telling him that he could not as chief command his people to accept Christ. Sechele was baptized in 1848. One of the issues Livingston had been dealing with was Sechele's many wives. It would be an insult to send them away and Sechele struggled with this. It was finally just prior to his baptism, that Sechele sent all but one wife back to their familes with letters of apology that he could no longer keep them as it was only proper to have one wife. Many of the tribes people started believing that Livingston had an unnatural hold over their Chief and were saying things that Sechele said he would have had them killed for before he was saved. In 1881 Sechele was still living with his one remaining wife and still professing a Christian life. The work among the Bakwains was slow but Livingston was patient and wrote in his own journal the following words, "Nothing will induce me to form an impure church. Fifty added to the church sounds fine at home, but...
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