Year: October 1894
Jonathan Goforth-45 years old
Jonathan Goforth's Journal
Last time I mention a young man named Chang-san. He came to one our meetings in Changte. He didn't live in the city, but in a near by village. One day he heard the music from our church service and came to see what was going on.
Chang-san is not a farmer. He is a student at a university in Changte. His father expected great things from him and has told all his children that they were not to get involved with foreigners in any way. Because of his father's anger, one the entire town knew raged at times, Chang-san had no intentions of disobeying this order.
But when he spoke with me after the church service he struggled. In his heart he wanted to believe in Jesus. In his head his father had a strong hold of his mind. I said, "Let God take care of your father." Chang-san decided to follow his heart and put his faith in the God who truly loved him.
Chang-san came back each night while he stayed in the city. He asked me questions, excited to learn more about God. The last night he stayed in town I said, "You need to tell your family about your faith in God. This is not a secret we keep."
He lowered his head. "I understand. You came to China to tell my people about the true God instead of staying at your home. I am grateful." But sadness weighed on his face. "I will tell them even though I am afraid what he will do."
Like every morning, I woke early and prayed for Chang-san, asking God to protect this young man. I longed for him to come back and say that telling his parents turned out all right even if they disagreed.
One night, I stayed late cleaning the room where he had meetings. The sun had gone down and the work nearly done. It had been eleven days since I'd seen Chang-san. I walked outside and saw a man wobble into the compound. I ran to him. His clothes hung like rags and he was bleeding. "Come. Sit over here. Can I get a doctor for you?"
The man raised his head and looked at me. "It's me."
I recognized his voice. "Chang-san?" He had been beaten so badly I couldn't recognize him. "Come into my home." I put his one arm over my shoulders and helped him walk. He didn't have the strength to talk while hobbling to my door.
While he sat in our kitchen, I got a bowl of warm water and a clean towel to wash his wounds. "What happened?"
"I did as you said. As I walked home to my village I practiced what I'd say to my father about believing in Christ. I was afraid to tell him. Very afraid. I didn't tell anyone right away. Each time I saw my father I knew he would beat me if he knew the truth."
He pressed his hand to his heart. "In here, I also struggled. I knew I needed to tell Father. Not for my sake but for his. He should hear that there is a living God who loves him. I couldn't hold this inside any longer. I went to my father and fell at his feet. I banged my head against the floor knowing how upset he would be once hearing what I had done. I wept as I had never done before. Sobbing kept me from saying a word."
"He shouted at me. 'What have you done? Have you gambled away the family money while at university? I know you have done something terrible. Tell me at once. I demand it.'
"'All right, Father,' I said to him. 'I have done nothing that I regret.' It took minutes to find the courage for the next words. "I heard some music and walked closer to where it came from. A man spoke when the music ended. He told the most remarkable story about a God who loves us. Who loves every man and woman.
"Before I could say another word he grabbed me by the neck and threw me against the floor. He kicked and hit me then ordered me to stand. When I did he shoved me toward the door and beat me until I fell into the street. Neighbors crowded by and watched him beat me. He said, 'The foreigners have him under a spell.'"
Chang-san had suffered terribly. I kept washing his wounds and listened. "What did you do?"
He swallowed. "I tried to protect my head but gave my father honor by not fighting back. He is an old man. Anyway, he grew physically tired and stepped back while heaving in his breaths. He walked to me and kicked once more shouting, 'Give up this ridiculous teaching. Curse the foreigners at once.'
"I can't.' I said, 'I have made up my mind. I will follow the ways of the living God.' His face turned the darkest shade of red with anger. He shouted, 'Get me a hatchet. My son has dishonored me. For this, he must die.' Surprisingly, no one in the crowd left to get the hatchet. This only made him angrier. He stomped into our house to get one."
I set the bowl down. "What did you do?"
"It wasn't I did. There are no other Christians in my village. This I know. Yet some of the older men helped me stand and took me to a neighbor's house. They told me to hide under the straw. That night one of them came to I hid and said Father had not calmed at all. If I wanted to live, I needed to leave. I climbed over the wall and came here to ask you what the living God would want me to do next."
I had no idea. This would take prayer. "Sleep here tonight." That was all I could think of for the time.
But this is not the end of his story. Life was not easy for the Chinese who believed in God. There is more to Chang-san's story.
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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