Monday, April 24, 2017

Jonathan Goforth-The Soldiers Who Fell Asleep on the Job

By Mary Vee
Year: December 1900
Jonathan Goforth-41 years old

Jonathan Goforth's Journal

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

The Boxer Rebellion is a time when Chinese people want to get rid of all foreigners. They believe terrible things about the foreigners, sadly some of it is true. Most Chinese people are very angry and want to kill any foreigner they see. This is happening right now for us.

I have been leading a group of missionaries from the northern area of China where we worked toward Shanghai where we can hire a boat to leave the country. It is a very long journey by ox cart. 

Last time I told about the villagers who thought they had killed me. They had only mostly killed me. My wife, Rosalind, helped me and our children to the next village where some Muslim Chinese people helped us.

I rested for a day then we had to leave. The sooner we arrived in Shanghai, the better our chances would be to escape China alive. We met our friends on the outside of the friendly Muslim village and continued on the journey.

At the next village I was not surprised to see that thousands of Chinese came to harm us. We hid inside an inn. The people yelled and called for us to come out.

The man who owned the ox cart volunteered to go and speak with the magistrate. He would be the only person who could help.

While he was gone, we were very concerned. The Chinese mob outside became angrier. Soon they would burst through the doors and try to kill us.

The owner of the ox cart arrived at dark. We all stood in one room to hear his message.

"I couldn't speak with the magistrate but I was able to leave him a message. After he read what you said, he said he would send armed guards to escort us out of the city." The ox cart owner came closer. "But then he said this softly. 'Take the foreigners down the road that forks to the left and by the tree have other soldiers there to kill them all."

We talked among ourselves not knowing what to do. If we went outside to leave on our own the mob would kill us. If we waited for the soldiers to escort us they would take us to the place where soldiers would ambush us.

I shook my head. "There is nothing we can do but trust God." So we lay on the floor and went to sleep. 

When the soldiers arrived in the early morning, it was still very dark. We packed the carts and left.

Down the road we traveled. Not far out of the village one of the missionary women ran to our cart asking if we had seen two of the missionaries. No one knew where they were. We looked and did not find them. 

"I won't go any farther without them." She ran back to her cart and took some people with her back to the village.

The rest of us stayed with the carts and waited for a while then decided the best thing to do was to keep going and let the other missionaries catch up. The soldiers grew sleepy. They slept in the carts. The driver of the cart became sleepy, too. 

I and the other missionaries prayed for those left behind and for our safety.

We came to a fork in the road. The driver had fallen asleep so the oxen walked on in the direction they wanted to go. The first cart veered to the right. The second cart followed.

When the sun rose, the soldiers woke. They rubbed their eyes and yelled, "Where are we?" They looked at their surroundings. "We are on the wrong road!" They hit each other and yelled, "What will we do? If we go back the magistrate will have us killed for not obeying orders."

The soldiers leaped out of the cart and walked away.

As for us, I smiled at God's plan to keep us safe.

There is more to this story. Come back next 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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