Monday, January 2, 2017

Jonathan Goforth- The Mayor Who Desperately Wanted a Son

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. 

Mr. Chou was the local, retired police chief, a grumpy, demanding one. He'd served his time and the office and now felt he deserved obedience from every person around him.

Mr. Chou was also blind. 

My friend, Dr. McClure and I visited Mr. Chou's village and sat down to tea with the magistrate. The magistrate asked us to look at Mr. Chou's eyes, hoping we could help him. Mr. Chou had cataracts, a fixable problem that required healing time. When we said we couldn't perform surgery at this time, but would come back in six months, he became angry and left.

Six months later we returned, did the surgery, and stayed two weeks while his eyes healed. During this time Mr. Chou had to stay with us. He went to our church meetings, our talks to people on the street, our studies of the Bible. He heard about the living God in ways he wouldn't have on his own. Before the 2 weeks ended he believed in Jesus.

Mr. Chou joined us one day when we walked to the temple of the goddess who is said to grant boy babies to those who worshipped her. People came from far distances with their sacrifice. Dr. McClure and I spoke out to the people walking by us. "Wait. the goddess is not real, or living. She cannot grant you sons no matter what you sacrifice."

Up the path came the mayor from a neighboring town. He must have been an important man because a crowd followed him. He carried a paper drawing of a male baby. Mr. Chou stepped in front of the man. "Stop." He softened his voice. "This goddess cannot give you what you want."

The mayor stopped and looked at the retired police chief. "I was blind. I took many sacrifices to the goddess asking her to restore my sight. Then these two men came. They told me about the living God. How Jesus took the punishment for the bad things I've done and lovingly asked me to believe in Him. These two men who talk about the living God healed my eyes when the goddess couldn't.

When he paused I stepped close to him. "I am one of ten boys born to my parents. I also have a sister. My wife has nine brothers and three sisters. Between our parents they have nineteen sons. They have never heard of this goddess, yet the one who wrote this book," I held up my Bible, "His words are in this book. The living God is the one who will grants sons or daughters if He wills. The goddess at that temple is not real and has no power."

Worshippers of the temple called to the mayor. "Come. Don't listen to those men. The goddess will become angry if you listen to them."

The mayor looked up at the temple then at the paper doll in his hand. He shook his head. "No. I wish to stay and listen to what these men say. You go if you want."

The mayor asked Mr. Chou questions about his sight. The answers Mr. Chou gave were heartfelt and showed all he had learned in these two short weeks.  Dr. McClure and I answered the mayor's other questions and showed him the answers in the Chinese Bible we had.

A few hours later, the mayor said he believed. He tore up the paper doll and threw it aside. He turned to the crowd standing near him and said, "I will wait for God to give me a son."

Before this time, my wife and I had many things go wrong. Our house burned and we lost all our possessions. Our baby girl died of disease. Learning the language was very difficult. Still, I knew in my heart that God wanted us to stay in China.

And now, I see two reasons why. 

And can't wait to see more. 

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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