Monday, August 1, 2016

Jonathan Goforth Refuses to Let The Mean Words Stop Him

By Mary Vee
Year: summer 1880
Jonathan Goforth-sixteen 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. I've been in charge of one of my father's farms here in Canada. In truth, I knew this wasn't going to be my lifelong work. I was a bit afraid to tell my dad, though. Wow. He surprised  me. 

I told Dad I wanted to become a politician. One of my older brother's lived near a school that offered a course on politics. Dad made the arrangements and I started school that fall.

Remember, I lived in the late 1800's. We didn't have a lot of things you do. Our schools were small and we had teachers who taught special classes visit the school. One taught Bible classes, his name was Rev. Cameron. He was very interesting and kind to all the students. I was intrigued with what he taught and wanted to learn more. 

Out of respect for all the time he'd given to us students, I thought I should visit his church and listen to him preach. The church wasn't close to my brother's house, but I could walk the distance. Rev. Cameron's sermons were very interesting and the people in his church were kind, like he was. 

I went back to the church several times. And on the third visit, I asked Jesus to be my Savior. The feeling inside surprised me. I wanted to read Bible more than the political books. I wanted to study it. Share what I'd learned with others. In fact, when my parents came for a one month visit to my brother's house, I took a chance and suggested we have a family time with God. I'd chosen some Bible verses and planned everything, all I had to do was ask. My nerves trembled. I didn't know what Dad would say or if the family would listen. But to my big surprise they did!!

Since this went well, I decided to tell my classmates about Christ. That was an epic fail. 

Around the same time, our teacher taught about Thomas Paine's ideas in our political classes. Thomas Paine criticized those who believed in Jesus. He said Christian thinking was outdated and no longer important to people who lived today. My classmates listened to the teacher and agreed with the teachings. When I raised my hand and said I believed in Jesus...well...let's just say the students AND the teacher made fun of me. They were really mean about it.

On and on the joking went. When I didn't get mad enough, they bullied me--just because I believed in Jesus. Unbelievable. My biggest problem was I didn't know very much about the Bible. I didn't know how to defend my belief in Jesus against their questions and bullying. I must admit, I felt discouraged and hurt. BUT I didn't let their cruel words stop me.

For each mean question they threw at me, I spent hours studying the Bible until I had a good answer to show my classmates in the Bible. 

And, this is almost funny. Really. By the end of the school year, those questions helped me learn a lot about the Bible and my faith in Jesus. I used the answers I'd found and the techniques my political teachers taught me to present Bible facts to my classmates and my teacher. Are you ready for this? They all believed and accepted Christ as their Savior. I know. Isn't that exciting?

Talk about a great feeling.

I can't wait to see what God has next for me.

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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