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Meeting and Marrying a Man Devoted to the Lord – Rosalind Goforth, 1864–1941

Dianna Lynn Severance

When she was twenty Rosalind prayed that if the Lord wanted her to marry, He would lead her to a man wholly devoted to the Lord and His service. Rosalind had yielded herself to the Lord when she was twelve. After hearing Alfred Sandham speak at a revival meeting on John 3:16, she stood up at the meeting, publicly confessing Christ as her Master. On the way home, she was told it was foolish to think that she could be certain Christ had received her. In the morning Rosalind began reading the Bible, praying for some assurance that Christ had indeed received her. Reading John 6:37 (KJV), ‘Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out,’ gave her the assurance she sought. Then, someone told her she was too young for salvation. Again, she went to the Scriptures. After searching for a long time, she came to Proverbs 8:17 (KJV), ‘Those that seek me early shall find me.’ Rosalind never afterwards doubted that she was the Lord’s child.

Rosalind’s father was an artist, and she grew up spending much time watching and learning from her father. She graduated from the Toronto School of Art in May 1885, and was preparing to go to London in the autumn to continue her art studies. On a summer boat ride to Niagara Falls, Rosalind was with a group of artists; another group on the boat were going to the Niagara–on–the–Lake Bible Conference. Rosalind’s heart was with the group going to the Bible Conference. In the evening, on the return boat trip, the guest speaker who had been at her church the previous Sunday recognized Rosalind as the organist at church, and he invited her to come to the Toronto Mission Union the following Saturday. He introduced Rosalind to Jonathan Goforth, the City Missionary. Rosalind thought him a shabby looking fellow until she looked into his vibrant eyes.

At the City Mission meeting the following Saturday, as people were seated around the room waiting for the meeting to begin, Jonathan Goforth stepped out of the room, leaving his Bible on his chair. Inexplicably, Rosalind got up to look through his Bible. It was worn almost to shreds and marked throughout. She put the Bible back and quickly returned to her seat, saying to herself, ‘This is the man I would like to marry!’ Rosalind and Jonathan were chosen to be on the same committee to open a new mission in the east end of Toronto. As they worked together, Rosalind had many opportunities to see Jonathan’s greatness, underneath
his outward shabbiness.

Rosalind never continued her art studies in London. When Jonathan asked her, ‘Will you join your life with mine for China?’ she answered ‘Yes’ without hesitation. Rosalind and Jonathan were married forty–nine years and served as Canadian Presbyterian missionaries to China and Manchuria for forty–six of those years, bringing the gospel to many.


‘Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh?” So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.’

~ Matthew 19:4–6 ~


Her-Story: 366 Devotions from 21 Centuries of the Christian Church
Her-Story: 366 Devotions from 21 Centuries of the Christian Church


This extract is from Her–Story: 366 Devotions from 21 Centuries of the Christian Church

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