"I direct your attention to Africa...I go back to make an open door for commerce and Christianity." David Livingston (1813-1873) spoke these words before an elite audience in Cambridge, England, in 1867, while on furlough from Africa.
Livingston, both missionary and explorer, and trained in both theology and medicine, travelled 29,000 miles in Africa, starting in 1840, in an attempt to reach "the smoke of a thousand villages", where the gospel had never been preached. His goals, in doing this, were to extend the Kingdom of Christ and to see slavery abolished.
In Africa he contended with many difficulties, which would have broken many men: jungle fever, drought, wild animals, superstition, slavery, hostile tribes, foreign traders who opposed his mission and exploited the nationals, and even sharp critics back in England.
He recommended training nationals in order to do away with dependency on the Europeans.
His resonse to critics and others was, "We can afford to work in faith, for omnipotence is pledged to fulfill its purpose."
When he died at Lake Tanganyika, in what is now Zambia, his attendants carried his body 1500 miles to the coast, and later one of them even attended his funeral service in Westminster Abbey, England. His wasted body had been found in a position of prayer. His diary was found to read: "I am trying to establish Christ's Kingdom in a region wider than Scotland...Fever seems to forbid it, but I shall work for the glory of Christ's Kingdom, fever or no fever."
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