Monday, February 13, 2017

Jonathan Goforth-Wang, Chief Storyteller

By Mary Vee
Year: December1895
Jonathan Goforth-36 years old

Jonathan Goforth's Journal

My name is Jonathan Goforth. My wife, Rosalind and I are missionaries in China. 

As each new day passed in Changte, more and more men and women walked from near and far to hear about the God who loves them. I spoke with the men and Rosalind spoke with the women. We were swamped with work. That's not so bad. But, I didn't like turning people away because the sun was going down and everyone needed sleep.

We'd prayed for help. One day we saw God's creative ways of answering prayer. He sent us a man we'd met a long time ago, a former opium and gambling addict named Wang.

Wang looked hungry, tired, and dirty when he arrived. We fed him, cleaned him up, and helped him get rest. The next day, he looked much better. Not completely normal, but better.

I asked him if he wanted to help me preach that afternoon. He didn't say yes. He wept. "I had a feeling I needed to come here, but I didn't know why." Then he said yes. 

For three hours, Wang spoke from his heart. He talked about his addictions and how God saved him. The men listened intently. At the end of the time I expected Wang to be exhausted. Instead he was excited and ready to help more.

That night at dinner we sat at the table. "Wang, you are an amazing speaker. Where did you learn to explain things so well to people?"

A broad smile spread across his face. "A long time ago my job was chief storyteller in the province. People came from great distances to hear stories. I earned a good wage and had a good life." 

He looked down at his food and spoke softer. "I started smoking the opium pipe. The smoke hurt my throat, keeping me from speaking loud enough for the large numbers of people to hear my stories. I lost my job and needed money. That's when I started gambling.

"When I believed in the one true God, I stopped gambling and smoking the opium pipe. To pay my debts I had to sell everything. I had no food. No place to live."

After hearing his story, I saw why God sent Wang to help. He was a gifted storyteller who could share what God had done for him. "Wang, would you like to help me on a regular basis?"

"Yes, very much so."

So he and I worked out a schedule. Between the two of us, we preached to men who walked from far away to hear about what God had done. Some men sat half a day listening. Some forgot they needed to leave early enough to get home before dark.

God blessed the work. Two important Chinese men chose to believe in God. One was a well-respected doctor, the other, a wealthy man. 

By April of 1896, Wang, Rosalind, and I had preached the Gospel to 25,000 men and women.

The new Christian Chinese men helped to start Bible studies in the surrounding countryside. God had blessed the mission with an amazing storyteller.

Our next problem: we needed someone to help Rosalind speak to the women and we were still not allowed to ask the mission board for help. There simply were not enough missionaries. What will God do this time?

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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