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Thought for the day
The 19th century explorer and missionary, David Livingstone, travelled through south-eastern Africa together with Swahili traders. The Livingstone Online project makes his works available, showing several entries in his field diaries that detail his contact with 'the people from the coast.'
He relied on their local knowledge and also formed strong relationships with some while he tried to discourage the slave-trade. His friend, Mohammed Bogharib, often helped him out of trouble mostly by sharing food. Livingstone seems most grateful, writing in The Last Journals II, on the celebration of Eid ul-Adha, ‘the cookery is of their very best, and I always get a share.’ He even postponed one of his excursions because he was being so well-fed by Bogharib.
When Livingstone disappeared for several years, a newspaper cutting reports that 'the Arabs consider him to be one of them.' This was just before Henry Morton Stanley came across him and exclaimed, 'Dr Livingstone, I presume!'
Perhaps most telling of Livingstone's life in Africa is the care that was taken by the Christian, James Chuma, and the Muslim, Abdullah Susi, to return his remains to Britain. In this way they ensured that he was given a stately funeral in Westminster Abbey, London, on 18 April 1874.
Inscribed on the side of his tomb are the words from John 10 v.16. May these 'other sheep' include Swahili Muslims whose ancestors served and loved Livingstone.
Prayer for the day
Lord, help us not to be self-sufficient in our relationship with You or with our Muslim neighbours. Give us the openheartedness to ask for help and to accept help with gratitude. Help us to reach out to other sheep not of our fold, that they too may become 'Living Stones' … acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:5).
Read more about Dr Livingstone and find out more about the history of Swahili speakers. At the time, Swahili Muslims cared for Dr Livingstone by acting as guide, sharing food, even repatriating his body. Look for opportunities to reach out to Swahili speakers living in Britain from the Coastlands of East Africa And have a go at some Swahili yourself.
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