Monday, October 3, 2016

Jonathan Goforth-Rosalind's Smile

By Mary Vee
Year: summer 1887
Jonathan Goforth-28 years old

Jonathan Goforth's Journal

Photo Courtesy
My name is Jonathan Goforth. I will be a missionary to China some day. Deep inside, I know it's true and the day is getting closer.

I've been thinking about China. Planning. Trying to figure out what I still needed to do besides my schoolwork. 

While all of my training will help me be a good missionary, no one can do a job by himself. I mean, Adam saw the animals, each with other of their own kind and realized there wasn't anyone else like him. Once Adam figured out he was the only human, God made Eve to be Adam's helper. Adam's friend. Adam's wife.

I should have a wife, too. She could be my friend when the days are difficult. She could be my helper. She would be someone for me to love and who would love me. She would understand Canadian customs and want to celebrate little things to make them our own special traditions. She would be a breath of home to keep me from being lonely.

The only problem was, I had filled every minute of my schedule with preaching and studying. I had no time to properly court a woman. So, I put the idea out of my head.


During my third year of college I traveled with a group of classmates to attend the Niagara-on-the-Lake Bible Conference. I left the week of sessions very inspired. We boarded a boat crossing Lake Ontario toward home. There were other passengers on board. Some had been on a picnic and spent the afternoon painting the scenery across the lake.

As the boat sped over the water, I chatted with friends and happened to notice my friend Mr. O'Brien from the Toronto Mission Union speaking with one of the artist, a beautiful woman. She smiled and acted like she knew my friend. I kept talking with my friends but couldn't keep from watching the woman. She seemed so nice.

My friend looked my way and waved to me. "Goforth, come meet this artist."

I excused myself from my classmates and joined O'Brien. The closer I walked the more I noticed the expensive clothes the woman wore. She clearly was from a wealthy family. Suddenly my old suit seemed like rags. 

My friend said, "Goforth, I would like you to meet Miss Rosalind Bell-Smith. She played the organ for me at church last Sunday."

She played the organ at a church? She wasn't only an artist, she played an organ for church!

My friend turned to Miss Bell-Smith. "I would like you to meet Jonathan Goforth, one of the valued workers at the Toronto Mission Union."

I stood a fool. My mind blank. I'd never had trouble finding words before. She was so beautiful. I cleared my throat and held my hand out to her. "Pleased to make your acquaintance." Ahhh! That sounded terrible!

She shook my hand. I didn't want to let go. A sparkly, lively smile sprang on her face.

My friend said, "Miss Bell-Smith has agreed to play the organ at the mission next Saturday."

Really? She'll be there. My mouth felt so dry. I wanted a glass of water, but there wasn't any.  "How good of you," I said. As if those stiff words helped any. 

And that was it. The boat pulled up to the dock, and she melted into the crowd of artists.

Saturday seemed so far away. 

I definitely will be at the mission this Saturday.

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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