An inspirational Christian biography to share with your family:
An introduction to David Livingstone from Ravi Zacharias (9 minutes) from LovingTheTruth1
Sometimes you wonder how God gives us desire for one subject matter, or another, while we attend school, and, how that eventually plays out in the trajectory of our lives, all under His sovereign plan for our lives. Dr. David Livingston loved science, to the chagrin of his father, who thought it could ruin his son’s faith. Yet, Dr. Livingstone’s science background, especially the fact that he was a medical doctor, was extremely valuable to him in his travels throughout Africa where malaria and dysentery was a regular occurrence . But, even more important was his love for geography, which fueled Dr. Livingstone’s desire to find the source of the River Nile; something which he failed to do, but it took him on journeys across a vast expanse of far off lands. How better to proclaim the Christ he believed in, and worshipped, than by traveling through a vast expanse of land in pursuit of a scientific quest. He did have some success as he eventually charted some previously unknown lakes and river tributaries. (Also, see the second map in this article- it is a hand drawn map by Dr. Livingstone’s own hand, and it has amazing accuracy and precision when checked against later maps). One of the lesser known facts is that the same Mr. Stanley, a journalist who set to find out what happened to Dr. Livingstone in Africa, and who asked Dr. Livingston to please not try and convert him as he proclaimed to be ‘the biggest swaggering atheist on the face of the earth’, four month after meeting Dr. Livingstsone, knelt down on that african soil and gave his life to Jesus.
Dr. Livingstone’s Christian faith is evident in his journal, where one entry reads: “I place no value on anything I have or may possess, except in relation to the kingdom of Christ. If anything will advance the interests of the kingdom, it shall be given away or kept, only as by giving or keeping it I shall promote the glory of Him to whom I owe all my hopes in time and eternity.
Below, you will find some materials which are meant to inspire. They show us the dedication and perseverance of a father of 6, who answered his calling in the 1800′s to be a missionary to Africa- Dr. David Livingstone of Blantyre, Scotland.
A 13 min documentary from the Scotland National Archives
The following are excerpts from Wikipedia:
David Livingstone (19 March 1813 – 1 May 1873), was a Scottish Congregationalist pioneer medical missionary with the London Missionary Society and an explorer in Africa. His meeting with H. M. Stanley gave rise to the popular quotation “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”
David Livingstone was born on 19 March 1813 in the mill town of Blantyre, in a tenement building for the workers of a cotton factory on the banks of the Clyde River under the bridge crossing into Bothwell, Lanarkshire, Scotland. He was the second of seven children born to Neil Livingstone (1788–1856) and his wife Agnes Hunter (1782–1865). Along with many of the Livingstones, David was at the age of ten employed in the cotton mill of H. Monteith & Co. in the village of Blantyre Works. David and his brother John worked twelve-hour days as “piecers,” tying broken cotton threads on the spinning machines. David Livingstone, the great African missionary and explorer, was a student at the Charing Cross Hospital Medical School. His medical studies extended from 1838 to 1840 and records show that he “paid the fees for the full course of medical practice, midwifery and botany.
Livingstone’s father Neil was very committed to his beliefs, a Sunday School teacher and teetotaller who handed out Christian tracts on his travels as a door to door tea salesman, and who read extensively books on theology, travel and missionary enterprises. This rubbed off on the young David, who became an avid reader, but he also loved scouring the countryside for animal, plant and geological specimens in local limestone quarries. Neil Livingstone had a fear of science books as undermining Christianity and attempted to force him to read nothing but theology, but David’s deep interest in nature and science led him to investigate the relationship between religion and science. When in 1832 he read Philosophy of a Future State by the science teacher, amateur astronomer and church minister Thomas Dick, he found the rationale he needed to reconcile faith and science, and apart from theBible this book was perhaps his greatest philosophical influence.
Livingstone attended Blantyre village school along with the few other mill children with the endurance to do so despite their 12-hour workday (6 am–8 pm), but having a family with a strong, ongoing commitment to study also reinforced his education. After reading Gutzlaff’s appeal for medical missionaries for China in 1834, he began saving money and in 1836 entered Anderson’s College (now University of Strathclyde) in Glasgow, founded to bring science and technology to ordinary folk, and attended Greek and theology lectures at the University of Glasgow. It is now known that to enter Medical School he required some knowledge of Latin. A local Roman Catholic, Daniel Gallagher, helped him learn Latin to the required level.
In addition, he attended divinity lectures by Wardlaw, a leader at this time of vigorous anti-slavery campaigning in the city. Shortly after, he applied to join the London Missionary Society (LMS) and was accepted subject to missionary training. He continued his medical studies in London while training there and was attached to a church in Ongar, Essex, to be a minister under LMS. Despite his impressive personality, he was a plain preacher and would have been rejected by the LMS had not the director given him a second chance to pass the course.
Livingstone hoped to go to China as a missionary, but the First Opium War broke out in September 1839 and the LMS suggested the West Indies instead. In 1840, while continuing his medical studies in London, Livingstone met LMS missionary Robert Moffat, on leave from Kuruman, a missionary outpost in South Africa, north of the Orange River. Excited by Moffat’s vision of expanding missionary work northwards, and influenced by abolitionist T.F. Buxton’s arguments that the African slave trade might be destroyed through the influence of “legitimate trade” and the spread of Christianity, Livingstone focused his ambitions on Southern Africa. He was deeply influenced by Moffat’s judgment that he was the right person to go to the vast plains to the north of Bechuanaland, where he had glimpsed “the smoke of a thousand villages, where no missionary had ever been.”
Livingstone’s exploration-southern and central Africa
After the Kolobeng mission had to be closed because of drought, he explored the African interior to the north, in the period 1852–56, and was the first European to see the Mosi-oa-Tunya (“the smoke that thunders”) waterfall (which he renamed Victoria Falls after his monarch, Queen Victoria), of which he wrote later, “Scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight.” (Jeal, p. 149)
Livingstone was one of the first Westerners to make a transcontinental journey across Africa, Luanda on the Atlantic to Quelimane on the Indian Ocean near the mouth of the Zambezi, in 1854–56. Despite repeated European attempts, especially by the Portuguese, central and southern Africa had not been crossed by Europeans at that latitude owing to their susceptibility to malaria, dysentery and sleeping sickness which was prevalent in the interior and which also prevented use of draught animals (oxen and horses), as well as to the opposition of powerful chiefs and tribes. The qualities and approaches which gave Livingstone an advantage as an explorer were that he usually travelled lightly, and he had an ability to reassure chiefs that he was not a threat.
Livingstone was a proponent of trade and Christian missions to be established in central Africa.
His motto, inscribed in the base of the statue to him at Victoria Falls, was “Christianity, Commerce and Civilization.” At this time he believed the key to achieving these goals was the navigation of the Zambezi River as a Christian commercial highway into the interior. He returned to Britain to try to garner support for his ideas, and to publish a book on his travels which brought him fame as one of the leading explorers of the age.
Believing he had a spiritual calling for exploration rather than mission work, and encouraged by the response in Britain to his discoveries and support for future expeditions, in 1857 he resigned from the London Missionary Society after they demanded that he do more evangelizing and less exploring. With the help of the Royal Geographical Society’s president, Livingstone was appointed as Her Majesty’s Consul for the East Coast of Africa. Below-right: Dr. Livingstone’s hand drawn map of Lake Malawi (from Scotland’s National Archives)
In January 1866, Livingstone returned to Africa, this time to Zanzibar, from where he set out to seek the source of the Nile. Richard Francis Burton, John Hanning Speke and Samuel Baker had (although there was still serious debate on the matter) identified either Lake Albert or Lake Victoria as the source (which was partially correct, as the Nile “bubbles from the ground high in the mountains of Burundi halfway between Lake Tanganyika and Lake Victoria”). Livingstone believed the source was further south and assembled a team of freed slaves, Comoros Islanders, twelve Sepoys and two servants, Chuma and Susi, from his previous expedition to find it.
With his health declining he sent a message to Zanzibar requesting supplies be sent to Ujiji and he then headed west. Forced by ill health to travel with slave traders he arrived at Lake Mweru on 8 November 1867 and continued on, travelling south to become the first European to see Lake Bangweulu. Finding the Lualaba River, Livingstone mistakenly concluded it was the high part of the Nile River; in fact it flows into the River Congo at Upper Congo Lake.
The year 1869 began with Livingstone finding himself extremely ill whilst in the jungle. He was saved by Arab traders who gave him medicines and carried him to an Arab outpost. In March 1869 Livingstone, suffering from pneumonia, arrived in Ujiji to find his supplies stolen. Coming down with cholera and tropical ulcers on his feet he was again forced to rely on slave traders to get him as far as Bambara where he was caught by the wet season. With no supplies, Livingstone had to eat his meals in a roped off open enclosure for the entertainment of the locals in return for food.
On 15 July 1871, according to Livingstone’s recently released original handwritten diaries, while he was visiting the town of Nyangwe on the banks of the Lualaba River, he witnessed around 400 Africans being massacred by slavers. The massacre horrified Livingstone, leaving him too shattered to continue his mission to find the source of the Nile. Following the end of the wet season, he travelled 240 miles from Nyangwe – violently ill most of the way – back to Ujiji, an Arab settlement on the eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika, arriving on 23 October 1871.
Although Livingstone was wrong about the Nile, he discovered for Western science numerous geographical features, such as Lake Ngami, Lake Malawi, and Lake Bangweulu in addition to Victoria Falls mentioned above. He filled in details of Lake Tanganyika, Lake Mweru and the course of many rivers, especially the upper Zambezi, and his observations enabled large regions to be mapped which previously had been blank. Even so, the furthest north he reached, the north end of Lake Tanganyika, was still south of the Equator and he did not penetrate the rainforest of the River Congo any further downstream than Ntangwe near Misisi.
Livingstone was awarded the gold medal of the Royal Geographical Society of London and was made a Fellow of the society, with which he had a strong association for the rest of his life.
Henry Morton Stanley meets David Livingstone. Henry Morton Stanley
, who had been sent to find him by the New York Herald
newspaper in 1869, found Livingstone in the town of Ujiji on the shores of Lake Tanganyika on 10 November 1871, greeting him with the now famous words “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?” to which he responded “Yes”, and then “I feel thankful that I am here to welcome you.” These famous words may have been a fabrication, as Stanley later tore out the pages of this encounter in his diary. Even Livingstone’s account of this encounter does not mention these words. However, the phrase appears in a New York Herald
editorial dated 10 August 1872, and theEncyclopædia Britannica
and the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
both quote it without questioning its veracity. The words are famous because of their perceived tongue-in-cheek humorous nature: Dr. Livingstone was the only white person for hundreds of miles. Stanley’s book suggests that it was really because of embarrassment, because he did not dare to embrace him.
Despite Stanley’s urgings, Livingstone was determined not to leave Africa until his mission was complete. His illness made him confused and he had judgment difficulties at the end of his life. He explored the Lualaba and, failing to find connections to the Nile, returned to Lake Bangweulu and its swamps to explore possible rivers flowing out northwards.
David Livingstone died in that area in Chief Chitambo’s village at Ilala southeast of Lake Bangweulu in present-day Zambia on 1 May 1873 from malaria and internal bleeding caused by dysentery. He took his final breaths while kneeling in prayer at his bedside. (His journal indicates that the date of his death would have been 1 May, but his attendants noted the date as 4 May, which they carved on a tree and later reported; this is the date on his grave.) Britain wanted the body to give it a proper ceremony, but the tribe would not give his body to them. Finally they relented, but cut the heart out and put a note on the body that said, “You can have his body, but his heart belongs in Africa!”. Livingstone’s heart was buried under a Mvula tree near the spot where he died, now the site of theLivingstone Memorial. His body together with his journal was carried over a thousand miles by his loyal attendants Chuma and Susi to the coast to Bagamoyo, and was returned to Britain for burial. After lying in repose at No.1 Savile Row—then the headquarters of the Royal Geographical Society, now the home of bespoke tailors Gieves & Hawkes— his remains were interred at Westminster Abbey, London.
By the late 1860s Livingstone’s reputation in Europe had suffered owing to the failure of the missions he set up, and of the Zambezi Expedition; and his ideas about the source of the Nile were not supported. His expeditions were hardly models of order and organization. His reputation was rehabilitated by Stanley and his newspaper, and by the loyalty of Livingstone’s servants whose long journey with his body inspired wonder. The publication of his last journal revealed stubborn determination in the face of suffering.
He had made geographical discoveries for European knowledge. He inspired abolitionists of the slave trade, explorers and missionaries. He opened up Central Africa to missionaries who initiated the education and health care for Africans, and trade by the African Lakes Company. He was held in some esteem by many African chiefs and local people and his name facilitated relations between them and the British.
Partly as a result, within fifty years of his death, colonial rule was established in Africa and white settlement was encouraged to extend further into the interior.
On the other hand, within a further fifty years after that, two other aspects of his legacy paradoxically helped end the colonial era in Africa without excessive bloodshed. Livingstone was part of an evangelical and nonconformist movement in Britain which during the 19th century changed the national mindset from the notion of a divine right to rule ‘lesser races’, to ethical ideas in foreign policy which, with other factors, contributed to the end of the British Empire. Secondly, Africans educated in mission schools founded by people inspired by Livingstone were at the forefront of national independence movements in central, eastern and southern Africa.
While Livingstone had a great impact on British Imperialism, he did so at a tremendous cost to his family. In his absences, his children grew up missing their father, and his wife Mary (daughter of Mary and Robert Moffat) endured very poor health, and died of malaria trying to follow him in Africa. He had six children: Robert reportedly died in the American Civil War; Agnes (b.1847), Thomas, Elizabeth (who died two months after her birth), William Oswell (nicknamed Zouga because of the river along which he was born, in 1851) and Anna Mary (b.1858). Only Agnes, William Oswell and Anna Mary married and had children.
His one regret in later life was that he did not spend enough time with his children, whom he loved immensely
His Christian faith is evident in his journal, where one entry reads: “I place no value on anything I have or may possess, except in relation to the kingdom of Christ. If anything will advance the interests of the kingdom, it shall be given away or kept, only as by giving or keeping it I shall promote the glory of Him to whom I owe all my hopes in time and eternity.
The archives of David Livingstone are maintained by the Archives of the University of Glasgow (GUAS). On November, 11, 2011, Dr. Livingstone’s 1871 Field Diary, as well as other original works, was published online for the first time by the “David Livingstone Spectral Imaging Project – a unique, eighteen-month, transatlantic collaboration between scholars, scientists and educational and archival institutions
A good book detailing the lives of both
Henry Morgan Stanley & Dr. David Livingstone
I found the talk as fascinating as Dr. Livingston’s story, as the author recounted his own trek to the roads and places that Dr. Livingstone once walked. It helped create a picture of the dangers that Dr. Livingstone and Stanley lived on a daily basis- some dangers that are obviously still encountered in the present, as Mr. Dugard says- Africa is this still vast deserted expanse in many places.
You can watch the 44 minute C span video of a talk at Vroman’s Bookstore, where Mr.Dugard discussed his book Into Africa: The Epic Adventures of Stanley and Livingstone, published by Doubleday. The book tells the story of journalist Henry Morton Stanley’s journey into Africa in the hopes of locating explorer and former Christian missionary Dr. David Livingstone. In 1866, in the midst of an exploratory mission into central Africa, Dr. Livingstone vanished without a clue. After years passed without any indication of Livingstone’s fate, an American newspaper publisher sent Stanley on a mission to locate Dr. Livingstone in the hopes that such a captivating story would increase readership. Mr. Dugard tells the stories of both Livingstone and Stanley and chronicles their respective lives in the years after leaving Africa. After his presentation Mr. Dugard answered questions from members of the audience. Click here to watch C span’s video - http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/176539-1
And here’s a 13 minute clip from the Dr. David Livingstone movie (it is available at Amazon for instant download)
How I found Dr. David Livingstone
by Henry Morton Stanley
17 audio chapters