by Nancy Tichy, Author for KidZ at Heart International
Huge parades displaying mighty military power. Dainty baskets of wild flowers left anonymously on neighbors’ doorsteps. These contrasting celebrations are not the only way to remember today’s date on the calendar – or in our lives. A little known fact: on May first, 1873, a famous man breathed his last on this earth and entered into the presence of His Lord.
His life was spent in Scotland and Africa during the tumultuous years of our nation’s early history. We remember him as an explorer and we admire his dedication as a missionary. Possibly the greatest reason we should honor him is for the impact he had on stopping the slave trade. His name was David Livingstone.
One summer, on home leave in the U.K., our family happened onto the village in Scotland where David Livingstone was born and spent his childhood. They honor him there with an interactive museum and have kept the room (yes, one room!) his parents called home just as it was in the early nineteenth century. It was a moving experience for us because Africa had become home for us by then, the other side of the continent from Livingstone’s travels, but home nonetheless.
In one place in the museum we found a glass case with his diary open to the entry he penned on the day he learned that his beloved wife, Mary, had died. We admired dioramas of his adventures in the jungles of East Africa (mostly Tanzania, today) – especially the one depicting his encounter with a lion from which he never fully recovered. It was a moving experience for us, and we were so grateful we had noticed the sign at a crossroads pointing in the direction of Blantyre.
Why not take some time this month and learn more about this remarkable man? You can find an abbreviated biography on line at Wikipedia. Print out a copy of it and read it together. You could even use the four-point formula we introduced earlier to make this man come alive for your kids. (engage the text, explore the context and story, experience the meaning and embrace the Savior)
Many reasons can be given for pointing to David Livingstone as one of western civilization’s greatest heroes. He survived a childhood that was marked by poverty and hardship. At a very young age he began work in the mill with his father. He also attended school and became an avid reader.
His parents were godly people and his father, especially, passed on to David a deep love for the Bible. As a young man he traveled all the way to Southern Africa. There he learned of people who knew nothing of Christ. This drew him to East and Central Africa where he trekked over many treacherous miles along jungle trails.
We usually celebrate the birthdays of famous people. Could it be that we might also take note of their death days? For it’s what happened between those two dates that enriches our lives and helps direct our weaving of the tapestry that will someday hang between our two dates.
All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:16