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(10/25/2018)

On Oct. 25, 1887, Jonathan Goforth (戈福思) and Rosalind Bell-Smith were married in Canada the year before they moved to China. They served in China for 46 years, with many years in Henan and Liaoning. Rosalind’s life with Jonathan was not easy. When he asked her to marry him, he explained that he could not afford an engagement ring because he was using his money to purchase tracts. When they returned to China after the Boxer Uprising, Goforth traveled to Korea, witnessed the revival sweeping that land, and developed his plan for a life of itinerant evangelism: the family would move to a different location every month, trusting God to raise up a faithful national worker in each location who would stay behind as they moved on. Rosalind, who had already buried four children in China, argued that more would die from the rigors of life in rural areas. God spoke to her heart, however, and she finally agreed with her husband that the children would be safest in the center of God’s will. They eventually had eleven children. Goforth’s new work as a revivalist started in 1908 in the northeast, and in the next five years more than 13,000 came to Christ in China through his preaching, which focused on the need for prayer, confession, repentance and reconciliation. By the 1920’s, so-called modernism had begun to sap the vitality of many mainstream denominations in the west. Goforth heard himself criticized for his “fundamentalist” preaching on the reality of hell and judgment. He persevered, often preaching eight hours a day, sometimes to crowds numbering 25,000. By the time the Goforths left China in 1934, Jonathan was blind, and he died less than two years later. In style and substance, he had blazed the way for John Sung Shangjie, whose ministry as China’s great revivalist was just beginning. Rosalind was a gifted writer, and she authored Goforth of China and her autobiography, Climbing: Memoirs of a Missionary’s Wife, before her death in 1942. Pray for evangelists in Henan and Liaoning to lift the name of the Lord on high. “Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” John 12:28