Monday, June 26, 2017

Jonathan Goforth-Missionary Couples Are Not Perfect

By Mary Vee
Year: October 1902
Jonathan Goforth-43 years old

Jonathan Goforth's Journal

My name is Jonathan Goforth. My wife, Rosalind and I are missionaries to China. Even when we had to leave because of the Boxer Rebellion, that was really rough, we knew God wanted us to be missionaries to China.

Those were scary times when we escaped the country. Sigh. We almost died. Some missionaries did. I'm not going to lie, memories of being beaten and left for dead pop in my head a lot. But God helped us arrive in Canada safely. A time for us to heal and prepare to return. 

While in Canada, I couldn't stop thinking about the Chinese Christians left behind and the millions of people who never heard there is a living God who loves them. I had to go back. And I did, alone. I couldn't bring Rosalind and the children until I knew they would be safe.

The last two times you sat with me, Mr. Ho told us what happened while I was gone. Such stories. You can scroll down to last Monday and read them. 

Mr. Ho and I got busy rebuilding. I went to the city square and talked about the living God who loves. Men soon saw that I had returned and came to hear the words. The work kept me busy before sun up and long past sun down. I was tired but pushed to work more. So many people needed to hear about the God who loves them.

One morning I woke with a terrible fever. I had no strength to get out of bed. My friends came, wondering where I was and found me laying in bed. I remember something about a doctor visiting me. He said typhoid fever. I slept most of the time. The few moments I happened to be awake, I thanked God for not letting Rosalind arrive yet. I didn't want her or the children to get this sick.

Day and night went by me. Sometimes fast. Sometimes slow. I'd sent for Rosalind before the illness hit. Hopefully she won't arrive until I was better. I hoped. I prayed.

During the long hours I lay in bed awake, ideas for the work in China popped in my mind. It was like God used the time to tell me His plan. The church here in Changte could be run by Mr. Ho and the other Christian Chinese men which would free me to go to a new community. I could start a work there, teach new Christians how to help others and leave that group to grow while starting a new one in another place. Ten churches could be started in one year. In the last two months I could visit all ten churches and see where they need help. 

Yes. This is a great idea. I couldn't wait for Rosalind to get here and tell her the news!

She arrived not long after the doctor said I was well enough to work. I was so happy to see them. I'd missed them all so much. Each one of those kids got a big daddy hug. They'd grown so much in the short time we were apart. And Rosalind. Sweet Rosalind, my wife, my partner in missionary work. 

The children played with their Chinese friends the next day. Rosalind organized the house. That night, after the children were in bed I told her the plan to go into the country side. Build a small home. Start a church. After a month we'd turn the leadership over to the local Chinese and go to the next village. I was so excited I could barely get the words out fast enough.

But Rosalind didn't smile. She didn't hug me or say this was an exciting idea like she had before. She said, "This would be good if only you and I were going. But we have small children. The older ones can go to missionary school, but what about the younger ones?"

That was easy to solve. "They'll come with us. They'll be fine."

Then the tears came. She gently shook her head. "We can't do that to them." She kept her voice low. "You know there is small pox, typhoid, dysentery. I can't let that happen. We've already buried four children in China. I won't go tromping around the countryside with these children and watch them die. You can't ask us to do that, Jonathan."

She must be tired from the journey. She knows God wants us to tell people in China about the God who loves them. I wrapped my arms around her. "Honey, the children will be fine. God will keep all of us safe. The best place to be is where God asks us to go, you know that."

That's when the tears stopped and the stubborn anger rose. She kept her voice soft and said, "I don't care. I won't go and I won't let our children go. You should know better than to ask us."

I honestly didn't know what to say next.

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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