Monday, October 31, 2016

Jonathan Goforth-The Ugly Truth

By Mary Vee
Year: summer 1888
Jonathan Goforth-29 years old

Jonathan Goforth's Journal

Photo Courtesy
My name is Jonathan Goforth. I've opened every one of my tellings to you with "I will be a missionary to China some day." Guess what? Today is the day.

Hand in hand with my beautiful new wife, Rosalind, we journeyed from Toronto by land to Vancouver, Canada to meet our ship.

I must admit, we were both shocked to see the town had a horrible fire the day before we'd arrived. Smoke. Cinders. Most of Vancouver had suffered. Only a few hotels survived and every available room had been booked.

I didn't know what to do. We needed a place to sleep for the night. Rosalind and I walked to the docks and looked at the boat, the S.S. Parthia that would take us to China. She seemed sea worthy. Fresh paint. Pleasant crew. I can't lie, excitement burst inside of me. 

The captain left his cabin and stepped onto the deck. "Are you the passengers heading for China?"

"Yes. This is my wife Rosalind and I am Jonathan. Jonathan Goforth."

He easily rocked with the boat, never losing his balance. Of course he would, he'd sailed many times before. I squeezed Rosalind's hand. "Would you mind, terribly, if we were to sleep the night on board? All the hotel rooms have been booked."

He extended his hand to us. "Of course. Come aboard."

He escorted us below deck and to our room. I had booked a small cabin, we wouldn't need more for this journey. 

The next morning we climbed the ladder to the deck and watched the casting off. We didn't want a big ceremony from our friends. It was hard enough to leave the only land we'd known. I was nervous yet incredibly excited. Of course, my sweet Rosalind said the perfect words as the boat left the dock, "Let's win ten thousand Chinese souls to please our Lord." She is going to be an amazing companion.

Within an hour, a nightmare began. The ship tossed and rocked with the ocean waves. We grabbed for anything stationary and still lost our balance. I wondered how this ship would respond in a storm. No. Actually, I didn't want to think about that. 

Rosalind's face turned pale. Her eyes told the story. She excused herself to go below. An hour later I checked on her only to see that she couldn't get up from the bed. We guessed it was our lack of sea legs. Surely all first time voyages felt this way. Right?

The days dragged by. We couldn't sleep at night. I understand you have medication to settle your stomachs for voyages in your day. I so wished we had something like that.

The S.S. Parthia rocked back and forth, back and forth, up and down, side to side, over and over for fourteen straight days. Just writing this is stirring my stomach. While talking with one of the crew members I learned the ugly truth. 

This vessel had been used as a cargo ship for twenty-five years. As the Parthia aged she gathered a reputation for rolling, pitching and heaving to the point no one would book passage on her. 

So it wasn't just us.

Unwilling to get rid of the ship, the owners needed to book passengers. So the captain had her repainted and renamed. Sly. Very sly.

But, we survived.

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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