On this day in 1864, Rosalind Goforth, missionary wife to China, was born in London, England.

When Rosalind was three years old, her family left England and settled in Canada.  Here, Rosalind grew into a mischievous young girl who often found herself in trouble.  But every time she found herself in the midst of a problem, her mother was always there to meet her with punishment.  But Mother’s punishment involved forcing Rosalind to sit alone in the family library by herself and memorize portions of scripture that taught against the act she just committed.

At the age 11, Rosalind attended a revival service that would change her life.  In her own autobiography, she writes:

One evening I was allowed to accompany my oldest sister to the meeting. We sat in one of the front seats. The leader, Mr. Sandham took as his text John 3:16 and spoke with great tenderness of the love of God. As he repeated again and again the words, “God loves you,” my whole soul responded with gratitude and love. And when he asked all those who wished to take Jesus Christ as their Lord and Master, fear of my
sister and others kept me from rising.

That night I sobbed and prayed for hours. At last I promised the Lord that if He would let me live till the next evening, I would confess Him. The following evening, I went to the meeting so full of what I was going to do (I had told no one) that I could afterwards remember nothing of what
preceded the call for decisions. Mr. Sandham had the invitation to stand only partly out when I was on my feet and remained standing so long that he had to sign for me to sit down! All the while I was standing my sister was tugging at my dress. On the way home, I was told how
foolish it was for me to stand as I had, that I was too young to understand. But I knew Christ had received me; that I belonged to Him. In the years to come, this definite assurance of acceptance saved me many, many times from despair. And, oh, the joy of that “first love”!  Would it had never grown cold!

The new Christian grew quickly and soon was filled with a desire to serve her king.  She began to attend classes at the Toronto School of art.  But an inward struggle was developing within the heart of the young girl.  She wrote: “There seemed to be two elements contesting within me, one for art, the other—an intense longing to serve the Master to whom I had given myself.

After finishing art school in Toronto, Rosalind prepared to go to England to finish her education.  But just weeks before she left, she went to a meeting at a mission to play the organ.  Here, she found a man who had a heart, commitment, and love for the Lord: Jonathan Goforth.  She recorded her first reaction to this amazing young man:

As Mr. O’Brien turned to leave, he called one who looked to me to be a very shabby fellow, whom he introduced as “Jonathan Goforth, our City Missionary.” I forgot the shabbiness of his clothes however, for the wonderful challenge in his eyes!

The following Saturday found me in the large, square workers’ room of the Toronto Mission Union. Chairs were set all around the walls, but the centre was empty. Just as the meeting was about to begin, Jonathan Goforth was called out of the room. He had been sitting across the corner from me with several people between. As he rose, he placed his Bible on the chair. Then something happened which I could never explain, nor try to excuse. Suddenly, I felt literally impelled to step across four or five people, take up the Bible and return to my seat. Rapidly I turned the leaves and found the Book worn almost to shreds in parts and marked from cover to cover. Closing the Book, I quickly returned it to the chair, and returning to my seat, I tried to look very innocent. It had all happened within a few moments, but as I sat there, I said to myself, “That is the man I would like to marry!”

For the next two years, Jonathan and Rosalind spent time together and worked together at different missions across Toronto.  In the end of October of 1887, they were married.  In a few months after that, they set sail for China, where they began an excellent ministry that reached thousands of lost souls.


Climbing: Memoir of a Missionary’s Wife

Check out bcwe.org