Year: summer 1887
Jonathan Goforth-28 years old
Jonathan Goforth's Journal
I've been thinking about China. Planning. Trying to figure out what I still needed to do besides my schoolwork.
Saturday night at the mission couldn't happen soon enough. Rosalind would be there to play the organ for the service.
I put on my suit and hurried to the Toronto mission that night. Okay, I arrive a bit early...and was hoping to hear her practice. Instead I got caught up in conversation with another worker until the service began.
I listened to the sermon. I really did. And I listened to her organ playing. Such a beautiful sound. She had a gift, and was so lovely, I mean she played the music so lovely.
At the end of the service, the Toronto mission's committee invited Rosalind to help set up a new mission on the east side of town. I thought she'd say yes to the honor right away. But she didn't. She stood there and thought, then said she'd pray about her decision.
I was confused. I thought she felt the same calling to serve God as I did. Not that her hesitation was wrong. She must have other ideas for her future.
I went home a bit disappointed. Later, when talking with my friend, Mr. Obrien, I found out why Rosalind hesitated about accepting the position.
She grew up in a very wealthy home. Her father died and left word in his will that Rosalind would only inherit the family money if she went back home to England to teach in the Kensington School of Art. She had the talent. I could see why he might have said this. She even had her bags packed to leave yet this coming week.
Rosalind's mother became upset when she heard the news about the Toronto mission. "No. You cannot accept this position. You must go back to England like you father said."
Rosalind didn't know what to do. Her heart said to accept the position at the mission, her head said to do as her father said.
She prayed for a few days then made a decision. Her mother made her take her belongings and leave the house...and never come back.
Heartbroken, Rosalind moved to an apartment and began her work at the mission on the east side of Toronto. She and I worked to find a building, get supporters, and to let the community know the mission would help those in need. I loved my work there.
As the days and months slipped by, I fell in love with Rosalind. But would a rich girl marry a poor man from the country who offered nothing more than a difficult future in China? Not the best marriage proposal, right? She probably won' say yes.
I mean..why even bother to ask her?
I practiced what I would say.
We happened to go for a walk one fall evening when the colors on the trees sparkled with moisture. I turned to her and held her hands. This was the hard part. I could barely breathe. The words I'd memorized flew out of my head. My lips were dry.
I cleared my throat and said, "Rosalind, will you join me in China?" I hoped she'd understand what I meant.
She made a goofy grin. That's when I knew she understood what I meant. "Yes, Jonathan. I will."
I didn't have a ring for her. I looked down at the ground. "I don't have anything to give you. I, spent the last of my money on booklets to give to pastors." Here was the terrible test. Could this rich girl live without having a ring for a time? Every girl likes to show off an engagement ring.
She made me wait several minutes. She looked at her left hand with no ring. "Yes, Jonathan, I want to spend my life with you in China. What better way to begin than to use the ring money to help pastors."
I knew then, more than any other time that God had given me a wife and partner who would understand the cost of being a missionary. Now we get to tell her mother. Yeah. I better tell that part of the story next week.
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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