Monday, July 25, 2016

Jonathan Goforth - The Day the Barn Roof Fell

By Mary Vee
Year: summer 1879
Jonathan Goforth-fifteen years old


Jonathan Goforth's Journal






Photo Courtesy
My name is Jonathan Goforth. I will be a missionary to China some day. I feel it deep inside.

Until then, I am going to do whatever work I'm suppose to do each day. At this moment I live on a farm.

During the summer, farmers came together to help each other. Sometimes the help was for building a barn. Yeah. I loved it. So much fun. Good work. Lots of laughing.

The whole community met at the farmer's house who needed the new barn. The men brought any tools they had that would help with the project. The women brought some prepared food and ingredients to cook other food.

One farmer took charge. It wasn't always the one who needed the barn built. The man with the greatest experience and knowledge ran the show.

We'd done the work so many times, we really didn't need instructions. Each man did the same job as he had for the last barn. 

Any way. By mid afternoon, the sides of the barn were in place. Next we'd grab ropes and lift heavy timbers to lay across the outside walls for the roof. One by one the timbers rose high above our heads. I took my position inside the barn to help haul the next beam. I was dead center and had the rope wrapped securely around my arm. 

At the signal, I pulled on my rope.

One of the women suddenly yelled, "Run! The roof beams are moving. They're going to fall!"

I looked up and saw the worse sight ever. The support beams above me shifted toward each other and work themselves free. I didn't have time to move into a clear area. I had to do something, but what? If one of the beams fell on me, it would kill me.

I had learned many concepts in science. Using that information, I figured out the safest place for me, in this situation, was dead center. The beans shouldn't fall straight down, instead they would roll and fall away from the center. 

I didn't just stand still! I still had to keep an eye on each beam as if fell, shifting to the right or left to miss being hit. 

When the last beam fell--I must admit, I blew out a huge puff of air. 

Was I shaking? Yes, indeed!

Did I send up a prayer asking God for help.  Yes, Indeed.

I have had two near-death moments. One when I fell off my uncle's wagon as a little kid and just missed being crushed by the wheel and this time when the roof beams nearly crushed me. 

The days afterwards, I did some heavy thinking. Thinking of what I should do with a life that seemed good enough to save two times.

You may be thinking I chose to be a missionary. Nope. Not yet. I decided to be a politician and asked my dad if I could take classes. I thought he might say no. He really needed my help on the farm. But, Dad said I could take the course.

Little did I know, this was first step needed for me to understand what God really wanted me to be.

Jonathan has many stories to share. Come back each Monday to find out what happened next.



Resources Used for This Series
Being, Janet, and Geoff Benge. Jonathan Goforth: An Open Door in China. Seattle. WA: YWAM Pub., 2001.Print
Doyle, G. Wright. Builders of the Chinese Church: Pioneer Protestant Missionaries and Chinese Church Leaders. Eugene Oregon: Pickwick Pub, 2015. Print.
Goforth, Jonathan, and Rosaline Goforth, Miracle Lives of China, London" Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1931, Print.
Goforth, Jonathan. "By My Spirit" Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1942. Print
Goforth, Rosalind. Climbing; Memories of a Missionary's Wife. Chicago: Moody Pub, n.d. Print
Goforth, Rosalind, How I Know God Answers Prayers; The Personal Testimony of One Life-time, New York: Harper & Brothers, 1921. Print
Goforth, Rosalind. Jonathan Goforth. Minneapolis, MN: Bethan House, 1986. Print
Goforth, Rosalind, How God Answers Prayer: The Mighty Miracles of God from the Mission Field of Jonathan Goforth. USA: Revival, 2016. Print Original copyright not stated.
Jackson, Dave, and Neta Jackson. Mask of the Wolf Boy: Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 1999. Print.
McCleary, Walter. An Hour with Jonathan Goforth: A Biography. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1938. Print.
Meloche, Renee Taft., and Bryan Pollard. Jonathan Goforth: Never Give up. Seattle, WA: YWAM, 2004. Print.

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