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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Dr. Livingstone........I Presume!

Henry Morton Stanley meets David Livingstone i...Image via Wikipedia

"Dr. Livingstone...I presume!"

Although historians have doubt about whether those words were truly uttered by Henry Morton Stanley upon the discovery of Dr. Livingstone, one thing that no one can doubt is that Stanley had just finished one of the most incredible journeys in the history of exploration. I have found my fascination on the subject rekindled these past few days as I have been watching episodes on itunes of a miniseries called "Expedition Africa". It is a reality series that features 4 explorers on a quest to retrace the almost 950 mile journey that Stanley took to find Dr. Livingstone.

Just to back you up on the story here, Dr. David Livingstone was a missionary to Africa who had made repeated visits to the continent. Some of his work was for missionary work and some of his visits were for other purposes. At one point in his career, he went back to Africa for the very purpose of discovering the source of the Nile river. Pretty soon communication all between him and the outer world vanished and for 6 years nobody knew where he was. 

Until one day when a journalist named Henry Morton Stanley decided to find out the fate of Dr. David Livingstone. So with just a few porters to assist him, he embarked on a journey to find out what happened to Dr. David Livingstone. The whole journey would take him 9 months. But on the reality series, the explorers would attempt this trek in 30 days.

I must say that this has got to be the ultimate reality show. Because even on shows like "Survivor", the survivors are still somewhat in a controlled environment. The show isn't going to put them through something where they might actually die. Whereas this reality show shows these explorers having to go through crocodile infested rivers, battle malaria, and facing the ultimate challenge which is to get along with each other. The people on that reality series are in a moment where they can truly die.

But what really got to me is here Dr. David Livingstone was in Africa and he was in the need of medical attention. Nobody hears from him in 6 years and only God knows his needs.  I heard somewhere else (and I still have to check the facts) that Stanley arrived just in time to get Dr. David Livingstone the medicine he needed. After watching the reality series and seeing what Stanley must have gone through, that's pretty incredible.

Although the trek took 9 months, there is so much that can happen with weather, nature, wildlife. There were many, many dangers and many things that can delay someone in their journey. What if due to natural disasters, Stanley had reached Livingstone a month later. Would Livingstone still have been alive? But it seems like according to the history books, Stanley is right on time. 

This is another analogy that gets to me because only God knew Dr. Livingstone's need in Africa. And I believe that he stirred on a young journalist to go find him. And  God permitted everything that happened or didn't happen on that journey so that Stanley would arrive right on time to bring Dr. Livingstone the medical attention he needed. There are some reports that even say that Livingstone was a couple of minutes away from death's door when Stanley arrived.

Knowing this comforts me as I prepare to go.  God has already gone ahead of me and has my whole schedule arranged of all the events that will or won't happen when I go back there.  He's arranged the people I am to meet and the connections I am to make. If there is a problem that arises somewhere down the line, I think that God already has arranged a solution to the problem even before the problem became a problem!

Buenos Aires isn't dangerous like the African jungle. But being a foreigner in a 3rd world country, there is lots that can happen to me mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually and financially. My belief is that for my life, there are somethings that I perceived to be good when they were happening to me but weren't. And there are other events that I didn't know were actually good at the time they were happening.

No one can know the length of their days. Only God knows that. But I truly believe that if you are sold out to the purpose and vision of your life and doing what you were placed on earth to do, then when things threaten the length of your days, God will intervene. Just like Dr. David Livingstone. After receiving the medical treatment he needed, he went on to live a productive life for many more years until finally dying while on his knees in prayer (it's historical fact!!!)

I want to live long but if I ever had to choose a way to go, I would love to go while on my knees in prayer. Imagine closing your eyes to meditate and focus and when you open them, you are surrounded by celestial beings.  History also tells that the British claimed Livingstone's body but before his body was returned to England, some Africans took out his heart and buried it in Africa. And that is where his heart is buried today, in the continent of Africa.  If the length of my days were to come to a close, I don't think anyone would have to worry about burying my heart in Argentina, I already left it buried there on my last trip :)

 Tango 2 the Moon
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