Goforth of China
by Rosalind Goforth
Scripture Testimony Index stories in this book
At a conference south of Chicago, the Goforths listened as a man who had been described as a “brilliant speaker” used a beautiful story to redirect the needless praises showered on him, stressing that God’s glory will be shared with nobody.
Jonathan Goforth responded with a “Here am I; send me,” to God’s “Who will go for us and whom shall we send?” call to foreign missions after listening Dr. G. L. Mackay press home the dire need for helpers in foreign missions.
When Rosalind accepted Christ at a revival meeting, some tried to sow doubts in her mind about her salvation, but the 12 year old went back to seek God in the scriptures and there she received God's assurance. When another difficulty in her faith walk arose, Rosalind knew only to seek God through His word and there again, she got His assurance.
When Jonathan Goforth arrived in China, he was warned by an old experienced missionary, “Do not attempt to speak of Jesus the first time when preaching to a heathen audience. The Chinese have a prejudice against the name of Jesus. Confine your efforts to demolishing the false gods and if you have a second opportunity you may bring in Jesus.” Goforth rejected this advice. Immediately, he began preaching Christ and Christ crucified. He saw several people respond to the message which was inspired by the Sword of the Spirit, the word of God.
Jonathan Goforth was known to have had a problem with speaking Chinese, a challenge even he himself confessed will dampen his missionary work making him a failure as a missionary. One day while preaching he experienced an unusual fluency in his preaching, God had performed a miracle. Unknown to him, the help from God came as a result of prayer by some students several miles away who had specifically prayed for Goforth on the same day he was speaking.
When Jonathan Goforth visited a village alongside two Evangelists, they were not received warmly. They were mocked and the villagers wouldn't listen to them. Goforth opened Matthew 10:14-15 and read, “Whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city.” This caused great fear amongst the people and caused a change in their attitude. They thereafter apologized and invited Goforth again!
When a proud scholar surrendered to Jesus and was discipled by Jonathan Goforth, God began to use the testimony of his conversion to draw more men to Himself. Soon this man, who was continually humbled by the profound things of God in Christ, decided to obey the call to be an evangelist for Jesus.
Armed with the promise in Philippians 4:19; "My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus", the Goforths took to their knees to ask God for a much needed helper for Mr. Goforth. Two days after their prayers, the Lord sent them the most amazing but unlikely helper.
In 1893, very false allegations were levelled against the missionaries in China. They were accused of murdering children and harvesting their organs. As these accusations spread, the work of sharing the gospel was consequently affected.
Jonathan Goforth would not take any medication, despite being critically ill, insisting that his trust is in God alone. But after yielding at last to his wife's persistent urging of him to take medication, he gets well and learns the very vital lesson of balancing his faith in God for healing with the need to also see a physician as God's own minister.
Jonathan Goforth shares how the decision arrived at in prayer, to open up their new home to all locals for sightseeing, helped make the work of reaching and evangelizing to the people easier. As it made the people see them as friends and not just strangers.
Rosalind's prayed that little Gracie's death - if it be God's will that she dies; be peaceful and without struggle. And contrary to the doctor's unsettling prediction of her death coming in convulsions, Rosalind's prayer was answered, while she was still praying!
Jonathan Goforth had such a great passion for preaching and went about doing so with fearlessness and authority. And though he spent long hours teaching crowds about Jesus, he remarked confidently, "It is no weariness to the flesh to tell out the Gospel to people so willing to hear. Time flies and our strength is renewed like the eagle’s".
In spite of his successes in ministry, Jonathan Goforth was not going to rest in his oars. His entire soul burned with desire that the Lord's promise, "and greater works shall ye do", be fulfilled in him irrespective of the cost.
As Jonathan Goforth spoke God's word at a believers meeting, the convicting power of God came down heavy upon the people as they prayed and cried out to God; confessing their sins, seeking His forgiveness and receiving it by His mercy.
When an unbelieving widow in Canada was convicted of her sins just by reading a story of Mr. Goforth's revival meetings in China, she confessed her sins and yielded to the Lord Jesus. She demonstrated true conversion by seeking out all those from whom she had stolen, confessing to them and making restitution.
Mr. Goforth was on his way from China to Canada via London. While in London he met with an invalid woman who heard about the meetings he was holding in Manchuria and was led to intercede to God on his behalf. Mr. Goforth confirmed that on the particular days she was led to pray for him, he was most effective in faraway Manchuria.
When Jonathan Goforth established a new mission station, the needs for funs to run it was dire as he was not getting support from the home mission, neither was his salary sufficient to foot the bills. But the good Lord soon proved Himself faithful when a complete stranger to the Goforths wrote them; committing to support their work and did so faithfully.
When the funds for mission work were running low, Jonathan Goforth's wife expressed her anxiety about the state of things. Goforth replied in faith "Is the Lord not able for this also? Wait and see. He is not going to fail us!” Soon thereafter, they received donations that would last for three months!
After Dr. Goforth went blind, he received many letters expressing sympathy, including one from his son in-law displaying Christlike empathy and assuring Dr. Goforth that "... I rejoice in your triumphs and grieve with you in your sorrows..."
Jonathan Goforth's blindness meant that he would need a proper companion if he was to carry on with God's work and the said companion will have to be paid. Together with his wife Rosalind, they asked God specifically for a help for Jonathan and for the funds to pay the help. God met these needs with a precision that only He could!
Mr. Tung was a Christian who had backslidden and returned to a life of drinking, opium consumption, gambling, etc. But after attending a revival meeting and staying with the Goforths, Mr. Tung was convicted and returned to Christ. He didn’t stop there, he went back home and dedicated his life and resources to winning souls for Christ Jesus.
The poorest Christian in the Tungliao church, responds to the plea to give so a plot of land could be purchased on which their church was to be built by selling the very best pig on his farm and giving all the proceeds for this noble cause.
Having lived an extraordinary life of service in the King's vineyard, Jonathan Goforth was finally ushered to meet His master, face to face. At his funeral, there was no room for sorrow, only joy and celebration of a gallant soldier who fought the good fight of faith.
In a great display of love and selflessness, Jonathan Goforth gave up his own overcoat to help keep Pastor Su warm and safe from cold while they were traveling by boat.
Rev. Allan Reoch and Pastor Liu both separately testify of Mr. Goforth's love and dedication to studying the scriptures -- the very source of his spiritual power. Despite reading the entire Bible several times over, Goforth continued in this practice throughout his life and even after going blind, he got someone to daily read him the Bible.