On March 9, 1841, the US Supreme Court voted to release from an American prison a group of folks who'd been called slaves. Slavery was still legal in many parts of the world including America. Transporting people with the intent on enslaving them was a violation of international law. The order was given to release 35 people (the original number was 53, but while on the voyage or in prison, 18 of them perished.) Funds were donated by compassionate folks to finance their return trip to Sierra Leone.
On July 2, 1839, a group of 53 Africans were forced to board a slave ship bound for Cuba. Some had been kidnapped, others sold to pay family debts and a few were captured in war. After being sold to a couple of Cuban plantation owners, they boarded a ship bound for the other side of Cuba. A few days after leaving shore, the group mutinied and took control of the ship. They ordered the plantation owners to take them back to Africa. Eventually the wandering ship was overtaken by the US Navy in waters off of Long Island, NY - a long way from Sierra Leone. The name of the ship was "Amistad." which is Spanish for "Friendship."
Upon their release, the Africans were accompanied by American Missionaries on their return voyage. After arriving in Freetown, Sierra Leone many of the freed people went back to their families. Some stayed with the Missionaries as they established the Komende Mission. Komende in Afrikaans means "forthcoming, approaching, coming, nearing, imminent, future, impending, oncoming, near, prospective, advancing, progressing, at hand, close, docking, looming, next, rising, in the cards, in the offing," It's used to mean: "The upcoming generation is expected to be well-informed."
One of the abducted children was named Margru which meant "black snake" in her language. The missionaries gave her a new name, Sarah Kinson. Sarah in the Bible means "lady, princess, noblewoman" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of Abraham's wife, considered the matriarch of the Jewish people. She was barren until she unexpectedly became pregnant with Isaac at the age of 90. Her name was originally Sarai, but God changed it at the same time Abraham's name was changed (see Genesis 17:15). Sara Kinson was educated in America and returned to Africa in November 1849 as the "schoolmistress" of the Komende Mission's new girls' school.
We found that to be a fascinating story. Before we move on to make some deep observations, lets look at two other small, seemingly low impact stories.
- Everyday I walk the grounds where I live to check the status of the spring bulbs that I planted last fall. Slowly they're popping up through slowly thawing ground after a long winter Shabbatt (Hebrew word for rest."
- My last failure happened on March 2, 2021 when I failed to meet my daily goal of 10,000 steps. I marked the day on my calendar as I resolved to begin again and correct the reasons that lead to my failure. My day of new beginnings was March 4th. I gave myself one day of rest to grieve my failure before beginning again.
- Rocks in our path can trip us or become stepping stones. Fear of tripping can cause missed opportunities. Michael Jordan was one of the greatest basketball players of all time. He missed more shots than he made, but he was never afraid to shot again.
- Abducted people became slaves on a ship called Friendship. They fought back and appeared to lose as they were put in prison. After two years they were freed and were shipped back to Africa to Freetown. Bad things turn into good things when they're given to God. Romans 8:28 AMP "And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose."
- Planting and planning both have a preparation process that requires patience. Fall is a time of letting go (put bulbs in the ground for future growth. Winter is a time of rest. Let God do His perfect work in you. Spring is a time of new beginnings and fresh starts. Summer is the celebration that reveals God's glory.
- People do things that may not be in the will of God, but all things that happen are allowed by God. Allow Him to do His work in you, and His will is revealed through you - regardless of what others do to you.
One of our main learning points today was "Don't Compare Yourself To Others." We will not measure up as a basketball player with someone like Michael Jordan. God wants you to be the best you He created you to be. Don't cheat God by trying to be someone else.
There's another way we compare ourselves to others - we expect them to be like us. Just because we've been successful at conquering a problem like addiction, doesn't mean other folks can use the same method. Encourage people with your successes, but leave room for people to own their own stuff. The Bible is a life plan for all people, but it's also written to us as individuals. Having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ means He knows us all uniquely.
Thanks for your time. Go do something nice for somebody. Jesus loves you and so do we.