Monday, December 19, 2016

Jonathan Goforth-The Blind Police Chief

By Mary Vee
Year: fall 1889
Jonathan Goforth-30 years old

Jonathan Goforth's Journal

Photo Courtesy Chinese Dai house architecture
with bamboo sides and thatched roof 
My name is Jonathan Goforth. My wife, Rosalind and I are missionaries in China. 

I am so excited. I'm finally beginning to grasp the Chinese language. The people understood me when I spoke in chapel. Isn't that exciting? After the chapel meeting, I ran home to tell my wife. 

This was the moment we've been waiting for. The moment that proved I was ready to move to my assignment as missionary in northern China.

I have a lot more studying to do, but I have enough of the basics to move forward. In preparation for Rosalind's and my move to our assigned area, I travelled with Dr. McClure and helped him with his work. This gave me a many opportunities to learn and practice the language.

In the fall of 1889, Dr. McClure and I met with the magistrate from Hsunhsien in northern China. We sat at his table, ate a meal, and talked. At the end of the meal, the magistrate said, "I have a favor to ask."

"What do you need?" 

"My former chief of police is going blind. Would you take a look at his eyes. Maybe you could help him."

This was a great opportunity to show we cared about the people in the community. Dr. McClure said, "Send for him. I'll see him right away."

The magistrate ordered his servants to bring the former police chief. Only ten minutes later, the servant helped an elderly man into the room. The magistrate bowed. "This is Mr. Chou, the man I told you about." The servants led Mr. Chou to a chair.

I opened Dr. McClure's medical bag and handed him the tools he asked for during the examination. It didn't take long for him to diagnose Mr. Chou's problem. "You have cataracts," the doctor said. "There is a simple procedure to remove them, and once this is done, you will be able to see again."

The former police chief laughed, he was so happy. "When can you do the procedure, doctor?"

Dr. McClure shook his head. "I can't do it today, but I can when I return the next time. I must return to Linching right away. This surgery requires me to stay with you for two weeks. I can come back in about six months and stay long enough to operate and provide the care you will need.

Mr. Chou's happiness switched to anger in a flash. He held out his hands to his helper. "Take me home. Now." As he walked out the door he grumbled, "That doctor won't come back. He's lying. I'll never see again. That doctor is a foreign devil."

The magistrate sighed. "I'm so sorry. Police chiefs aren't known for being polite."

That was the truth. In the short time I had been in China I had seen several chiefs, all corrupt men. These men didn't receive any salary for their work. They were expected to force citizens to bribe them for services. The innocent who couldn't pay bribe money went to prison. The guilty who could pay bribe money went free. 

Dr. McClure stood. "Magistrate, Jonathan and I will be back in six month. We'll stay the two weeks needed to perform Mr. Chou's surgery and care for him."

The magistrate bowed and walked us to the door.

Six weeks later, Dr. McClure and I returned to Hsunhsien. The magistrate welcomed us and called for Mr. Chou. While we waited he served us tea. Mr. Chou walked into the room. He turned his head as if listening. "Is that you, Dr. McClure? Have you really returned to help me?"

"Yes. I have. As I promised."

Mr. Chou smiled. "Then I am ready."

I worked as Dr. McClure's assistant for the short surgery. When the doctor finished he held up his hand. "How many fingers do you see?"

Mr Chou said, "Oh my. I can't believe it. I see five. Five fingers. I see five fingers, doctor!"

Dr. McClure reached for the bandages sitting on the counter. "Good. Then I'll wrap your eyes. The bandages must remain in place for two weeks to give your eyes time to heal. When we remove them, you should be able to see again."

The police chief tried to speak but he was so happy he couldn't. He stayed with us for the two weeks being led to each place we went. The once corrupt police chief sat in on prayer meetings and open air meetings where the doctor and I preached. As time went by, we saw his heart change. He asked questions and said kinder words. A few days before the doctor removed the bandages, Mr. Chou believed in the God who loves him. The One who sent His Son, Jesus to take the punishment for all our sins. 

Mr. Chou told his wife all that he'd heard and witnessed. Soon, she, too, believed in the God who loves her.

Mr. Chou's story does not end here. 

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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