Year: December 1900
Jonathan Goforth-41 years old
Jonathan Goforth's Journal
We were beaten, tired, thirsty, and on a road we'd never traveled before with about twelve other missionaries. The soldiers who were ordered to lead us down the road to our death had run away when they realized, much too late, the ox cart had taken a wrong turn. They knew they would be severely punished.
We still had a long journey to Shanghai before we could escape.
The Boxer Rebellion was in full swing. The Chinese people had been roused to get rid of all foreigners, kill if necessary. Even missionaries and others who had come to help the people were tortured and often times killed.
We had absolutely nothing left. All our belongings had been stolen. We had no food. No water. No clothes. No cooking supplies. No Bibles. Absolutely nothing. So when villagers along the road stopped to rob and torment us, they found nothing to steal. They mostly left us alone and let us continue on our way. This happened three times today.
Then, in the afternoon, a group of bandits sprang from behind rocks. They heard us coming and hid until our cart came near them. They rushed out, threatening to kill our driver. One of the bandits climbed into the cart and found me laying there, my injuries prevented me from sitting.
He called his friend. "Over here." The second bandit climbed into the cart. He looked like a crazy, wild man who was very happy to kill someone.
I spoke in Chinese, using a gentle peaceful voice. He listened to me.
My wife, Rosalind walked up to the cart and spoke in a soft voice, also speaking in Chinese. "We have traveled far. Our men are injured. The children are frightened." She picked up the rags in the cart. "These were gifts from Chinese Muslims who wanted to help us. They fed us and gave us these clothes to keep our children warm at night. They were very kind to us."
The man listened. He turned and looked at the other missionaries in our group who also had injuries and wore rags. A tear formed in his eye. He spoke softly back to her. "This is a dangerous road."
"I know," she said. We are only trying to leave.
"You need protection. I will go with you." He told his men what he planned to do. I think they were shocked.
I was shocked too. Only God could have touched his heart to help us. The bandit climbed into the front of the cart and sat next to the driver. The children and injured missionaries were loaded back into the carts and we set off again.
He rode with us the entire day, yelling at those who tried to harm the cart, the animals, or us. When night came he said he had to leave. We thanked him for his help and prayed for him.
By this time my open wounds had worsened. Gangrene would set in soon. If the infections were left alone, I would die. I slipped in and out of consciousness hardly knowing what was happening. The little bits I heard didn't make me feel any better. Villagers from the next town gathered around our carts. They yelled, "Kill the foreigners." They picked up rocks, even the children, and threw them at us.
I honestly thought the end would come soon. As leader of this group, even though I had no energy, I forced myself to sit up and face the violent crowd. I looked at the angry faces not knowing what I would say.
From somewhere in the back of the crowd, a man shouted, "Ku-Mu-shih" which means Pastor Goforth in Chinese.
"Yes! I am Pastor Goforth," I said.
The crowd separated letting two well dressed Chinese men walk through. I recognized them from the city where we had our mission. Two friendly faces! What a wonderful sight!
One of the men climbed into the cart. He stood and faced the angry crowd. He held his hands up to shush them. "Don't hurt these people. I know them. They are friends of my father and are good people who have brought happiness to people in Changte. Last spring, I visited this man's house. He let me walk through his home. He gave me tea, we went for a long walk, and talked. The least we can do is give them the same kindness."
Before my eyes, the anger fell from the crowd's faces. Kindness warmed them. They carried me and the other injured missionaries inside the inn and put us on the community bed. They spoke kindly to us and welcomed us as though we were relatives.
The two men I knew had disappeared for a few minutes, but came back with a package. They handed it to Rosalind. "This is for you. Some engineers came through our village a few days ago. They said you would be coming and left this for you."
Rosalind thanked them. She pulled the paper away and opened the box. Her face lit in the most beautiful smile. "Jonathan, look! They left us a bottle of medicine to clean your wounds!" She giggled.
Hearing her giggled was as much a medicine for me as the antiseptic. At the time we traveled with the engineers no one from our group had been injured. The only way they would have know we would need this medicine to survive, was... if God had told them.
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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