We live in Mwanza, Tanzania, serving with Emmanuel International helping local churches in physical and spiritual ministry.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Walking in the Footsteps

What is it about journeys made in history that we find so fascinating? As the girls and I have taken a week at school to think about journeys, I have been again intrigued by the fascination most of us have for journeys that have been made by people before us and the excitement found in “walking in the footsteps…”

We have looked at the journey of Florence Nightingale from England to France and across the Mediterranean to Turkey to work at the Scutari hospitals in the Crimean War (1856). (Amisadai is now keen to visit Turkey!) Florence had a difficult and perilous sea crossing with an unplanned stop for safety in Malta. We also looked at the three journeys of Paul as he took the gospel from Israel far and wide, across the Mediterranean. All those years before Florence Nightingale, Paul in the first century, travelled those same waters and faced similar difficulties in them. He too found safe land in Malta after being shipwrecked! And now going back to Florence Nightingale in 1856 (when the War ended), who else was travelling back to England on another journey in that same year, but David Livingstone! He came back from Africa to report on his journeys of exploration in the unmapped heart of Africa. And that brings us to today. As we prepare for our own journey to Malawi next month, we map our route along the very same trails up Lake Malawi (Nyasa) that David Livingstone took around 150 years ago. And as we read the life story and study the maps of David Livingstone, we are all excited to be “walking in his footsteps.”

And in the midst of thinking about these journeys across sea and land, across the span of time, I am reading to the girls a chapter every night of “Treasures in the Snow” by Patricia M. St. John. This is about the journeys of two children to find forgiveness for themselves and one another. It all seems to lead to even deeper reflections on the journeys of life … where are we going, what are we doing, what is the final destination and how do we get there? And it does all go back to the question, “Whose footsteps are we walking in?”

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