Monday, August 15, 2016

Johnathon Goforth-This Country Boy in The Big City

By Mary Vee
Year: summer 1883
Jonathan Goforth-24 years old

Jonathan Goforth's Journal

Toronto late 1800's - Photo Courtesy
My name is Jonathan Goforth. I will be a missionary to China some day. I feel it deep inside.

In fact, I will leave on this morning's train for Knox College. Twenty two other boys my age will be in my class, all studying to be ministers. I'm so excited I can barely talk.

My mother and father couldn't hold in their excitement for me, either. Mother stayed up several nights sewing a new suit and shirt for me. And father had worked extra hard to set aside money for my first semester. 

The train doors opened. I stood between my parents and five siblings standing by them waving to me and those train doors--bursting with excitement. I hugged everyone one, listened to their last words of advice then boarded the train for the big city. Toronto. 

I'd never been to a big city before. My entire life had been spent in the farming community where my parent's lived. As the train soared, the view out the window changed from fields to homes then buildings. Big buildings. I had study science but was amazed at how tall the buildings could be.

When the train stopped, I gathered my belongings and walked to the college. I suppose I could have hired a carriage to take me, especially since I had the suitcases, but Father's money had to last the whole semester. And the truth was, I had more than enough excited energy to haul my own things.

I settled in my dorm room then went straight to the Christian service office. Each student had to do some sort of Christian service, like help in a church, stuff like that. I actually looked forward to the opportunity. Just think. A big city. So many people right here for me to tell about the God who loves them.

I introduced myself to one of the college professors in the hall. "Hello, Sir. My name is Jonathon Goforth."

"Welcome Mr. Goforth. This your first day?"

"Yes, sir. I arrived this afternoon."

"Good. Good. Study hard." He slapped me on the back and smiled.

"I'm assuming my classmates who have already arrived signed up for most of the Christian service opportunities. I was wondering if you could tell me how to get to the poorest part of the city. I plan to tell the people who live there about the God who loves them."

He gave me the directions then said, "Take care, son. They don't call Ward the poorest part of the city for nothing. It isn't safe."

"Thank you, sir." He slapped me on the back, smiled, and walked down the hall.

I looked for a classmate to go with me, but didn't find anyone. That was okay. I walked out of my dorm, and off the campus, following the directions given to me. I wasn't afraid. God would be with me.

Look at the time. This story is going to be too long to finish this time, I'll have to tell more next week. I will let you know,though, that my late afternoon in Ward taught me many lessons. Remember, I was a country boy who had never been in a big city and definitely had never been in a place where people would do anything to get money. Would I have gone if I knew ahead of time. Well, now that is a question for the next story.

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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