This is a complete and accurate transcript of the oral history interview of Mary Goforth Moynan (CN 189, T1) in the Archives of the Billy Graham Center. No spoken words have been omitted, except for any non-English phrases which could not be understood by the transcribers. If the transcriber was not completely sure of having gotten what the speaker said, "[?]" was inserted after the word or phrase in question. If the speech was inaudible or indistinguishable, "[unclear]" was inserted. Grunts and verbal hesitations, such as "ah" or "um" were usually omitted. Readers should remember that this is a transcription of spoken English, which, of course, follows a different rhythm and rule than written English.
Chinese place names are spelled in the transcript in the old or new transliteration form according to how the speaker pronounced them. Thus, "Peking" may be used instead of "Beijing," if that is how it was pronounced. Chinese terms and phrases which could be understood were spelled as they were pronounced, with some attempt made to identify an accepted transliterated form to which it corresponds.
... Three dots indicate an interruption or break in the train of thought within the sentence on the part of the speaker.
.... Four dots indicate what the transcriber believes to be the end of an incomplete sentence.
( ) Words in parentheses are asides made by the speaker.
[ ] Words in brackets are comments by the transcriber.
This transcription made by Kate Baisley and Janyce Nasgowitz, was completed in March 1999.
Collection 189, T1. Interview of Mary Goforth Moynan by Robert Shuster on October 19, 1981.
SHUSTER: One, two, three. One, two, three, four. [Pauses] This is an interview with Mary Goforth Moynan by Robert Shuster for the Missionary Sources Collection of Wheaton College. This interview took place in the Billy Graham Center on October 19, 1981, at 9:00 p.m. Mrs. Moynan, of course, is the daughter of Jonathan and Rosalind Goforth, pioneer missionaries to China. Mrs. Moynan, what are your first memories of your father?
MOYNAN: Well, I do have one very special memory when I couldn't have been more than three years of age. You know how a child gets up in the morning very often [laughs] much earlier than the parents would like it to, and I can remember doing that, wandering around and getting into mischief. And I would wander into my father's study that was at the far end of the house, and he was always there at his desk bowed over his Bibles. Later I found that he always had three Bibles: his Chinese, his English, and some other translation. But he was always bowed in prayer. And I remember tiptoeing in and I'd sit on a chair and I'd watch him. And I would be reverent like he was. Now, this is to me is a wonderful seed to sow in the heart of a child.
SHUSTER: How old were you?
MOYNAN: I couldn't have been more than three, because that goes way back, before I went to school, and it left me with the conviction that prayer and Bible study are the most important things in the life of a Christian.
SHUSTER: Di...[coughs] did you have regular Bible study or chapel when you were young?
MOYNAN: Yes, father was very strong on that. They were...you know, the old Canadian [laughs] Presbyterians, they were brought up on family prayers, it was always called, and at least they had it at night, but usually in the morning too. They would read, and they would get down on their knees. Everybody that was visiting would get down on their knees too, and there'd be reading of the Bible and prayer, and often discussion of...about it. Now that was very precious.
SHUSTER: What are your earliest memories of your mother?
MOYNAN: [Pauses, laughs] I can't say that I...I think back to anything specific, but I do remember our family relationship. There was always a great deal of laughter in our home, and...and happiness. And I asked her one day years later if she could account for this, for...for their wonderful relationship, when they were both very strong-minded people. And I remember her saying this, she said, "Well, first of all, your father was very much the head of the home." And then I remember that he would get his way in all matters of...of principle. I didn't argue; that was understood. But in the little everyday things of life he...he'd tried to let her have her way. And not....
SHUSTER: Such as?
MOYNAN: It was kind of sweet. And not only that, she said, "he would go out of his way to do little things to please her. And I remember this as a child. He would surprise her with little...little gifts or...or little surprises. And...and it just brought a lot of sweetness into the family.
SHUSTER: What kind of things would he let her have her way in? You said...?
MOYNAN: Well, things about the house, or...or you know, whether...if it was a matter of... something that wasn't a matter of principle, then she would usually get her way.
SHUSTER: What was a matter of principle?
MOYNAN: Well, anything to do with right or wrong or [laughs]...or discipline, I suppose, of...of the children, you know. If there was any argument, father would.... He was very much the head of the home, something that is...is...we've gotten away from, I'm afraid, in this generation.
SHUSTER: Do you recall any examples of a matter of principle?
MOYNAN: I [pauses, laughs]...no, I'm afraid I can't. You...you're sort of putting me on the spot [laughs]
SHUSTER: Oh. Sorry.
MOYNAN: No, I can't think of anything specific. But that was just something that I...I asked Mother about once, and I was glad to get her...her feeling on that. But they...they really did have a wonderful relationship.
SHUSTER: You mentioned when we were talking before the interview that your father was a loner. What do you mean by that?
MOYNAN: Well, don't you think so often in the mission field, if it's a large mission especially, they work according to what the majority wants done. And father was one that had his own ideas what God wanted him to do, and he would hold out for this. And eventually he...he broke away from the mission, actually, to do evangelistic work, because he felt that God.... But, to go back from that now, he had ideas right after the Boxer Rebellion. You see, father was....
SHUSTER: That was in 1900 [unclear]....
MOYNAN: Yes, that was 1900. He went back to China as soon as he could, as soon as he recovered from those terrible wounds. And he was so convinced that God had saved him for some specific work, and he soon found out. And this was what he called intensive evangelism, to just give evangelism a...a chance. He felt the gospel had never been given a chance in...in any area at that time and, of course, it led...led up to revival...revivals. And...but this is what he did. He...he wanted my mother to go with him, and go into the country places and preach morning, noon, and night practically. And they gathered the Chinese-trained evangelists. Of course, they all were converted under them and...and they went out into the country places and...and did this constant work of evangelism. And that really established the church. Well, [laughs] that comes a little bit later, but I could tell about that right now, if you want me to....
SHUSTER: Well, [pauses] now you say.... We were talking about your father being something of a loner.
MOYNAN: Yes, yes.
SHUSTER: Was your mother the same way?
MOYNAN: No. I don't know, not...not nearly so much so. Not that they didn't get along with people. Now Mother answers this in...in Goforth of China [book written by Rosalind Goforth]. Someone had asked her if he couldn't get along with his fellow missionaries. And she said she felt that basically that they both got along very well and had wonderful fellowship, but that there were certain things that, if father felt that it was something was God's will, this was the whole point of his life, that he...he made this great emphasis that he found out what God's will was and then he stuck to it, whatever it would cost.
SHUSTER: As a...as a child growing up, who were your playmates?
MOYNAN: Who did I play with? Well, there were other missionaries' children. There were always missionaries' children around, or I played with the Chinese children, you know. Often, like my mother would have a...a Chinese Bible woman, and I remember her...her children were ones that we would play with. But I don't remember any, except one particular child who was called the Wolf Boy, because he had had a terrible experience of getting caught by wolves out in the mountains, and his face was mangled. And I think he was this...the child of this Bible woman. And he always had to wear a...a cloth over his face. And, you know, but he was just a radiant Christian, and you can't use any other word even though you never saw his face. He was radiant. And I remember him saying that he was glad that the wolves did this to him, because if they hadn't he never would have come to the Christian hospital, never would have gotten to know Jesus. And he kept saying this, that he was glad. That made a great impression on me as a small child.
SHUSTER: You know, we...I read some about the feelings of missionary children growing up, that often they don't spend much time with their parents because they're away in boarding school, because they...
SHUSTER: ...feel somewhat cut off.... If they're in a foreign culture, they're a westerner in a foreign culture, when they come home to the United States, they...they grew up in other countries and don't fit in. How do you feel about...?
MOYNAN: I have my own theory about that.
SHUSTER: Good. Let's hear it.
MOYNAN: I...I really do, because I went through as much of an experience of that as anyone could. I spent eight years....
SHUSTER: Experience of what?
MOYNAN: Of being sent to boarding school. I've even had...heard that a son of mine thought it was terrible that my parents sent us to boarding school. But he never could have established the Christian church all over Honan if he hadn't sent his children to boarding school. There was no choice about it. And I don't have any resentment on that score one little bit. And all...all those missionaries of the China Inland Mission.... I went to their school at Chefoo, and...and it was a tremendous privilege to go to that school. But my theory about this feeling of resentment is that it's only the...it only can be the children of missionaries who have not themselves reached a place of complete commitment to God. They don't appreciate what their parents were trying to do, or they wouldn't have that resentment. I have nothing but admiration for what my father and mother were willing to do, the hardships they were willing to put up with, in order to...to establish the church.
SHUSTER: Did you feel that as a child, too?
MOYNAN: I never remember any feeling of...of anything else, really, but admiration. I never knew they were famous until I left China and came to Canada. And it was strange what a sudden shock it was to be told on the train crossing from Vancouver to Toronto. A lady said, "Did you know that your family name of Goforth is known all over Canada, maybe all over the States now, as a family name?" It was probably because of their escape from the Boxers, and they had been asked to speak all over, tell that great story.
SHUSTER: What...as a missionary, as a westerner, as a missionary western child in China, did you ever feel apart from civilization, apart from the culture you saw around you? Did you ever feel other or alien from it?
MOYNAN: Funny, I don't remember that. I...I do remember that I left China at seventeen with a...a very strong love for the Chinese people. Admiration, you might say. Very sincere. And I've never had any reason to change my mind. I've been back twice now, once to Taiwan and again to the mainland. And I...I've only had that feeling strengthened. In fact, I remember as...as I settled in Canada at seventeen, and...and heard people talking about the Chinese and...and so many people downgrading them, and...and despising them even, you know, as...as sort of just a bunch of coolies, and...and I said, "They don't know what they're talking about. They're talking out of ignorance." The Chinese are a wonderful race. They're...they're cultured. They're refined. Their...their politeness puts us to shame. And...and the way they can treach...teach their children to...to really respect age, now we haven't gotten to first base on that, have we? [laughs] I know I haven't. [laughs] My five boys. No, that's...there are so many things that...that we could learn from the Chinese even yet. But we're not humble enough.
SHUSTER: You mentioned, in the notes you gave me, your home at Pei Tai?
MOYNAN: At Bei Dai He.
SHUSTER: Bei Dai He.
MOYNAN: That tran...literally translated is "north by the sea." It's a beautiful summer resort right on the border between China proper and Manchuria. And the reason for that being...becoming a very popular place for missionaries to build their summer homes was that they found that living on the plains of China, Honan, for example, in the summer time the temperature would go way up in the hundreds. And so many diseases were rampant at that time and cholera took a lot of missionaries, and diphtheria, and so on. So father was one of the first to discover that place, and it...it...it was...it's a great promontory that the...the Pacific...it's on the Pacific Ocean [laughs], and the...the breezes would blow across it, so it was so healthy. And now I found when I was back there and found the house where I was born, the first house that was built on this great hill, and it's all built up now, it...there are thirty-two hou-...places that are...are...so they call them sanitariums, but it's places to come and get well. Not a TB [tuberculous] sanitarium, you know. But isn't this wonderful. They come from all over China to this place that was discovered by the missionaries and used by missionaries and business people, and now all the commonest Chinese can have a part in that, and I think that's beautiful. They're even paid for their vacations in China.
SHUSTER: Is there any indication that this was originally a mission...missionary center?
MOYNAN: No. They...they...the missionaries and even the...the [pauses] people in Peking who are from consulates, they are not allowed to build homes. They can only rent a place for the summer if they want to. No, it's kept for the Chinese, and I like that.
SHUSTER: But I mean is there any indication that this was started by the missionaries?
MOYNAN: Oh, I don't know whether they...they know that or not, but they treated me like the Queen of Sheba, and knowing that my father was a missionary. I was told that my father is remembered all over China still, because he preached in most all the provinces of China, and they still remembered.
SHUSTER: By who?
MOYNAN: By the....
SHUSTER: By the Christians...
SHUSTER: ...or by the general population?
MOYNAN: Well, I suppose that the...the general people, because the...as I mentioned to you, the...the ambassador from Canada, Ambassador Menzies [?], made this special arrangement for me to be allowed to leave the tour I was with and...and go and try and find the house where I was born and also find the place where my father worked. Well, you see, it was through Peking that these instructions were given that I was to be treated like a VIP. As my guide told me, "You're a VIP." I said, "Oh, nonsense.[laughs] You're thinking of my parents." But "No, you're a VIP [laughs]," she kept saying. But I had a wonderful guide, and had a wonderful time in China.
SHUSTER: Why don't you tell me a little bit about the evangelistic tours your parents used to take.
MOYNAN: Oh, that....
SHUSTER: How did they prepare for a tour? What were your...?
MOYNAN: Oh, I can remember the back of the...you know, they would travel in the most primitive ways [on] these...these Chinese Honan carts, as they were called. Mother would have a...
SHUSTER: Now, how...how many...what...describe a Honan cart.
MOYNAN: Well [laughs]....
SHUSTER: Two wheels, four wheels?
MOYNAN: It was pulled by a...a mule usually and didn't travel very fast, and it was made of just [pauses] wood, and...and there...there was a covering over it that was wood, but there was no...there were no springs. Great big wheels with no springs, and....
SHUSTER: Four wheels?
MOYNAN: No, no. Two wheels, two great big wheels. And the awful thing was that there was no place to put your feet downwards. You had to put them out straight. And Mother traveled, oh, that...she...for twenty-five years she traveled in those. Father would usually walk rather than...than travel in one of those carts.
SHUSTER: Why was that?
MOYNAN: Because he liked to walk, and he was a great walker. And, but he...he didn't like to travel in those either. But you said, "How did they prepare?" I remember Mother had...had a...a special kind of a...a box that she had fixed with shelves and cubbyholes and...and put the food in that. And when they were out in these country places, you'd walk into the place they were going to stay. Now one of the pictures that I've prize most in this collection is...shows the kind of place they were willing to live in in order to do this preaching of the gospel. And it shows the...the windows were covered with a wax paper. That's the typical thing. But half the windows didn't have any. I mean, it was the...didn't even...were...they weren't all covered. But Mother would tell how the worst thing was that wherever they went she felt there were eyes looking at her, watching her, because all you had to do to come up and, with these wax paper, you'd lick the end of your finger and you'd go like that, and go "uh" and you'd have a peephole, you see. And people were always looking in. And then inside, I remember there, the kang would fill...the big brick bed would fill most of the room, and there was usually a fire in winter at the end of it. And...but it [was] just solid bricks. Mother, when she came home on furlough had to sleep on the floor 'cause she couldn't sleep on a mattress, [laughs] you know, anything so soft. But you see, [laughs], these things that...that were such awful hardships she made light of. Now, for instance, the...the ceilings. There were no ceilings. And...and any kind of bugs would...would drop down from the...from the rafters at any time. That sort of thing...you.... There were a lot of bugs.
SHUSTER: You say there were no ceilings?
MOYNAN: No...not...no ceiling. It was just rafters.
SHUSTER: You mean there was a roof.
MOYNAN: The roof, you see, back of that. But the worst thing was the smells. Now I notice, Mr. Shu-....
MOYNAN: Sh.... No.
SHUSTER: Oh, Schoerner. Schoerner.
MOYNAN: ...Schoerner talked of the awful smells in China, and it...he was talking very much of the same period, you see, I'm remembering. And I was a little earlier, but it was the same thing, that there...there was no sewerage system, just a....a trench down the center of the streets that they just poured everything into, and...there was no plumbing, and...and, oh just....
SHUSTER: And this was everywhere?
MOYNAN: Everywhere in the inland parts of China. If you weren't in the cities it was like this. And, oh, it was...it was just appalling. I remember somebody in [bumps microphone] speaking about this period, they said the most necessary qualification [laughs] for a missionary of that period to go to China was a sanctified nose. [laughs, Shuster laughs] Oh dear. Oh, oh it was...it was really hard to put up with that part of it.
SHUSTER: Who went on these tours? Who made up the party?
MOYNAN: My...my father and mother and the children.
SHUSTER: That was it.
MOYNAN: And they would have, finally, the [pauses] trained evangelists. Mother would have a trained Bible woman, and Mother would preach to the...the crowds that would come into an in...inner courtyard. The men and the women are very much divided in China, or they were in that time. Things have changed in sixty years. It was sixty years since I'd been there, and, you know, in my day there was so much misery and [bumps table] poverty, and...and this life that we went out into as evangelists, the misery was terrible. Now at least they're fed and clothed. It...it...it's amazing what's been accomplished in China. And the roads that have been built, the transportation system, the...the health improvement is..is startling.
SHUSTER: How many evangelists did your father take with him?
MOYNAN: Well, wherever...I can't say exactly, but I can tell you that the wonderful thing about this work that Mother fought so long against, and finally had to lose five children before she agreed to do this work, and went out and did that for years and years, but they told me that every single place they lived in as a family, usually a month at a time and then they'd move on, every place a church was started. Isn't that wonderful? Years later, I've got a picture of them going back to one of them and they're being met by...by the...the schoolchildren with banners and...and to greet them. And they were just greeted with...just overwhelmed with love and gratitude for what they had done.
SHUSTER: How did your father go about starting work in a town? He's just arrived. What's the first step?
MOYNAN: His biggest....I think you've read Goforth of China and it tells early in that story how he almost gave up. And when you think what he finally gave his life, fifty years, and...and yet he was almost giving up, because he could not get the language. You see, they didn't have any language schools. All they had was a Chinese Bible and an English Bible. And a Chinese teacher who tried to teach it, but how they did it I don't know. And one thing that made it very difficult for father was that his companion, his first missionary that followed him from Canada was Dr....Dr. MacGillvary...Donald MacGillvray, who became one of the greatest linguists that China's every known [laughs]. And poor father unknowingly had to compete with him, because he would...they would go out together to preach on the streets, you see, and MacGillvray would get up and the people would listen and ask questions, you know. Father would get up and the audience would disappear [both laugh]. That's typical in China, you see. They...they just didn't stand on any ceremony. And that broke Father's heart. And he came home, told Mother one day, he said, "I...I...I can't...I just don't know what I'm going to do. I'm going to have to go back, a failure. And then he got a letter from the students at Knox Chur-...Knox College that had pledged that they would pray for him, and they had a meeting where they had such an experience that they got one of their number to write to him and say, "On a certain day, did something happen? Because something happened in our meeting. We felt that something must have happened to you." And he compared his diary with it, and it was the exact time that he had gone out on the street and the language just poured out. Whole sentences that he'd never used before. And from then on he had no difficulty. He just preached all over China, and they say he was understood probably better than any other one preacher that China's ever had.
MOYNAN: I think that was a special gift of God.
SHUSTER: ...when your family was on an evangelistic tour, what was the first step your father took when he reached a new town? How did he go about starting the work in this particular town?
MOYNAN: Well, first of all they'd...they'd have to find a place to live.
SHUSTER: How would they go about doing that?
MOYNAN: And that was sometimes very difficult. And they would...he would usually get some Chinese who...who was capable, one of his assistants, to go ahead to the next town and arrange for them. And...but that was, it...it was just marvelous the way that was done. Often they...they...until the last minute they wouldn't be able to find a place to stay. But eventually they would. But as I've said, they were willing to take anything. They would...would live in the most awful places in order to preach the gospel. I was one of the first they took out like that. And...and I never got any disease. They had a saying at that time that smallpox was so common, that it's no use counting your children until after they've had smallpox. And on one occasion, Mother took me along. [laughs] This is one of...of my favorite stories, naturally, and it's the beginning of my faith in God, because I was told this story so often. I was about four, and having red hair and the temper...temperament that went with it, I'm afraid, they called me a little demon. And Mother was going out for a day to preach the gospel with my father. And she left four or five children with the na...amah. Must have been four, because Paul had gone to Canada by that time. And at the last minute the amah came running to Mother and she said, "Oh, Mrs. Goforth, if you'll only take Mary, I can manage the rest of them." [Shuster laughs] So poor Mother had to lug Mary on that trip. Well, you know, she was so occupied with her preaching that she didn't notice that there was an epidemic of smallpox in the village until that evening as they went home, she saw what had happened. I'd been playing with children all day that had smallpox. Now you don't need much contact to get smallpox. So they went home, and she felt so bad because she knew she'd exposed...you know, the missionar...other missionaries' children to this awful disease. So I think they must have had a humdinger of a prayer meeting, because Mother ends the story by saying, "Little Mary did not get the smallpox." And later, years later, I remember her talking about this to me, and she added this cute touch. This is so like Mother, she's so human. She said, "But you know, Mary, I took your temperature every night for [laughs] three weeks." The rest of them could pray, but she was going to be ready [both laugh] if I showed any signs of...of getting a temperature, you know.
SHUSTER: When...after you'd gotten a place to stay in a new town...
SHUSTER: ...what did your father do to begin to work in the town?
MOYNAN: They would go out on the streets and he would...during the day, they would preach in the street. And, you know, they...they usually had...well, no, they had an organ, but they used that at night. Mother played the organ. Mother would preach in the...in the inner courtyard in the daytime to the women. Father would preach on the streets. And usually a crowd...you see, being a foreigner, they would get a crowd.
SHUSTER: He'd just go to any street corner and start preaching?
MOYNAN: Yes, and start preaching. And the people would come. And then he would announce that at night in a certain place there would be a meeting and there'd be singing, you see, and this organ and so on. That attracted them. And they had posters and things like that. And...people would respond. It was something new. And, of course, it was the power of the Holy Spirit that was back of it all. And it was tremendous how that work grew right there in Honan. So that there are going to be thousands some day that are going to bless them for being willing to do that work.
SHUSTER: Did you ever find towns where people did not respond?
MOYNAN: Oh, I can't tell you that. But one thought's just come to my mind. I read in Chinese Diamonds...not Chinese Diamonds, Chinese Millions [China's Millions]. I don't know whether it's still called that, but it's the...the CIM...
MOYNAN: paper, yes. And there was a report on Honan, and I don't know what part of Honan. But, you see, it's that province where Mrs. [Ruth Bell] Graham grew up, her father being a medical missionary, and my father the evangelistic missionary. But somewhere between those two, the...the most wonderful results are coming at the present time.
SHUSTER: Such as?
MOYNAN: It...it...it told of one commune that was...I think it was something like (some of them are very large) thirty-five thousand. And two-thirds of them were Christians. You know, this is absolutely beautiful. It's hard to believe. But many things are going on in China that.... Well, I can report on Manchuria, for example. That's, I feel, is the climax to the Goforth work.
MOYNAN: It's what's going on right now.
SHUSTER: ...your...in your mother's book Goforth of China, she mentions...talks a little bit about his method of just going and gathering a crowd and asking them questions, and then inviting them to ask him questions...
SHUSTER: ...as a way of beginning a conversation.
MOYNAN: Are you referring to his [pauses]...oh, he got these globes, and...and studied astronomy. Now maybe that's what you have in mind, because....
SHUSTER: No, I believe she said that instead of preaching a sermon, he would simply go out and...
MOYNAN: Yes, well that....
SHUSTER: ...when a crowd would gather around him, he would...he would begin asking them questions about the town, or about themselves, etcetera
SHUSTER: And then they would start asking him questions.
SHUSTER: And he would then start talking about the gospel.
MOYNAN: Well, I...I have no specific memory of that. But I do remember that his...one of the...the great things, a turning point almost, in Father's ministry was in those early years, he was sort of at a disadvantage. They were very proud scholars, some of these Chinese. And...they would come and...and sort of [coughs] act as if they knew everything, you see. So he felt that he was led of God, when he went on one of his first furloughs, to study...make a special study of astronomy, and take back with him some big charts that he put on his study wall, and he had a globe, of course, and these scholars would come in. Well, it didn't take him very long to give him some...them some of the facts on astronomy, that they were beyond their depth, and they were very much impressed. And he was able to win some of the...the really top cream of the intelligentsia of that area through his study of astronomy.
SHUSTER: Was that his only hobby?
MOYNAN: That was his own idea.
SHUSTER: Was that his only hobby?
MOYNAN: Oh, I wouldn't say his only one. I don't know. Father wasn't one to...for hobbies. As I've told you, he's a single-minded man. He was just....one thing was to do God's will, and that's why he, you know...he was very blunt in...in, I'm afraid, pointing out some of the weaknesses of the of the...of the Christian church at home. [laughs] I shouldn't get into that. I don't want to do that.
SHUSTER: Well, why not? It's part of the story too.
MOYNAN: No. [laughs]
SHUSTER: When he would go into a town and after he'd begun preaching, how did [pauses]...how did the church actually get organized? How did [pauses]...how did he leave behind a church? How did it begin?
SHUSTER: How did it go from street meetings to a church?
MOYNAN: Now you see, you're asking me questions that it's pretty difficult for me to answer specifically, but I can give you something that relates to that. Now, for instance, I remember they were asked back after they went to Manchuria. You see, after union [Canadian Presbyterians, Methodists, and Congregationalists joined to form the United Church of Canada, while a small group of "continuing Presbyterians" remained separate; the Goforths sided with the continuing Presbyterians. For additional information See Dictionary of Christianity in America, p. 930] in Canada in 1925, when the Presbyterian Church went...the whole mission field, went into the Union. And so Father couldn't go back to Honan and he started this work in Manchuria. He found a mission field in Manchuria. Well now [pauses, laughs]...now, you'll have to get me back on the track. I'm thinking of several things at once. What...what now did you specially ask about?
SHUSTER: Well, we were talking about how he...you would say how he would plant churches as he went.
SHUSTER: But how did he actually begin a church? I mean, we have him preaching at street meetings and talking to people.
SHUSTER: But how did the church actually begin? How did it organize? [unclear] this come about?
MOYNAN: Well, I'm sure that it...it was just that the Chinese are a very clever people, and you can leave a lot of that with them, and that's what happened. That it was the Chinese themselves that would do that.
SHUSTER: So he did not...he did not appoint elders or leave any kind of leadership behind, but just preached and then left town?
MOYNAN: No. No, I can answer you something very definite on that. Because my last memory of my father is this: he was seventy-seven and he had lost his sight the last two years of his life. He was lying on a couch, supposedly resting, and I saw he was counting on his fingers. And his eyes were tense. So I said quietly, "Father, what are you doing?" And he said, "Mary, I've been counting over the names of the men who were converted under me and are now preachers or evangelists all over China. And I just passed fifty when you came in. Well, now, most ministers would be glad, they'd give their eye teeth, if they could count five that have come out of their ministry and gone into full-time Christian service. And so he did have a lot of...and he told me how these men, they were all saved in his meetings. Then he would give them (he was great on this)...he would give them a chance to give their testimony from the pulpit. And if they showed any real promise, he would see that they got training and that they went on to become an evangelist or a preacher.
SHUSTER: What kind of training?
MOYNAN: Well, Bible school or seminary later. If some of them became outstanding. I wish I could think of some of the names. You would probably recognize them or certainly missionaries would. [They] became some of the outstanding men. Pastor Gih, Andrew Gih is one that was not converted under my father, but he always said that he was set on fire in a meeting of my father's, of the Holy Spirit and...and dedicated to the Lord. But there were so many that I think he...he had a tremendous ability to train men.
SHUSTER: Did he train these men in each town that he visited?
MOYNAN: No. Now for instance, when they went back from Manchuria, as I started to tell you, I remember there were about...I have a picture, there were about fifty of them. They had all been converted under him. And when they knew he was coming, they came from all over that field, and rallied to this.... He was to be there six months, I think it was. And they would go out...the plan was to go out during the daytime, two at a time, two of these trained...some of them were outstanding preachers by that time. And they would go out into the country places, getting the people interested, and inviting them to come to the big meeting at night. And by the end of that there were thousands that they had, you know, come to God at that time, during that campaign.
SHUSTER: When your father had come to a town and preached and then left to go on to the next town, who took over the work in the town when he left?
MOYNAN: Well, it must have been the converts, or else he would leave one of his evangelists.
SHUSTER: I see.
MOYNAN: As I've said that, that...that even if after all those years he could count.... I've often wondered how many he would have gotten to. You see, I interrupted him when he got to fifty. There's no knowing how many he could have come to.
SHUSTER: How would...?
MOYNAN: Wouldn't that be interesting to find out some day? [laughs]
SHUSTER: He had many Chinese evangelists who worked with him. Isn't that correct?
SHUSTER: How did he recruit these men?
MOYNAN: How did he what?
SHUSTER: How did he recruit them? How did he choose them? What qualities did he look for?
MOYNAN: Well, as I say, they would be converted in his meeting and give a testimony, and if he saw they had...had promise, then he would get them up in the pulpit and...and in that way give them experience. I think that was very good way of doing it.
SHUSTER: How did...?
MOYNAN: Oh, there's so much more [laughs] that.... I wish I could tell you about his revival meetings, because that is one of the...the...
SHUSTER: Okay, well, go ahead.
MOYNAN: ...most wonderful memories I have, you see. When...I was born in 1903. Now it was about 1906 or 7 that he began to have this great experience of...of the Holy Spirit working through him. And...would you be interested in hearing very briefly?
SHUSTER: Yes, yes, go ahead.
MOYNAN: The...the first main story I know...I have.... It must be in the book somewhere, probably in By My Spirit, which is Father's own book. It's the story of his revival work in China and Korea and Manchuria. And...but the first inkling of...that God was going to use him in a mighty way came when they went to a place called Hsuehsien. Funny, I remember the name.
SHUSTER: Who went? You say they went?
MOYNAN: Some of the missionaries. There would be quite a group of them come from the different stations, and go to this Hsuehsien fair, because....
SHUSTER: Is this in the 1890s?
SHUSTER: In the 1890's?
MOYNAN: No, this would be the early 1900s.
SHUSTER: After the Boxer Rebellion.
MOYNAN: Probably...yes. Yes. And around 1906, I would say. So I just grew up there in the spirit of revival. No wonder it's left its mark on me. [laughs] They tell me I've got my father's zeal. I hope I've got a little bit of it. Anyway, this is what happened. This was...this fair was a place where thousands came every year to worship at the shrine of a...of a god that was supposed to be the god of fertility, that they could pray for a child and...and they'd get their prayers answered, you know. And that's why the...so many thousands came, and it was a great opportunity to preach the gospel. So they would set up a huge tent that would seat about, well, I don't know exactly, but those big tents in those days, how many would they seat?
MOYNAN: A thousand anyway. Well, anyway, we'll say a thousand. [bumps microphone] Well, this tent was jam-packed on a certain night and Father was preaching. And you know, I've been told, and I know this is true, that when Father started to preach on the cross, he would get so worked up about it and it was so real to him, that the tears would stream down his face. Now is it any wonder that he reached the hearts of...of even these cold heathen, as we used to call them? Terrible word. I hate that word. And...but these people that were absolutely cold to the gospel, they hadn't responded at all, in those first ten, fifteen years he'd been there. And all of a sudden, when he was preaching like this on the cross of Jesus Christ, he...at the end of his sermon, as usual, he said, "Well, how many of you will accept this Christ, this Jesus?" And...and [laughs] all over, well in...in fact, they...they just practically all stood up. And, you see, he didn't have any way...as I've said to you, he didn't have Billy Graham's setup or...or anybody else's kind of setup. He didn't have anything. And as he often said, he had no method for his revival. He just did what he felt God meant him to do, and that was to preach the message God gave him, then let the people pray. Well, you know, I often think that here in this country, we just do the very opposite. Most ministers are scared stiff to open a meeting to prayer. They're...they're afraid some [bumps microphone, obscures Moynan's speaking]...and spoil the meeting. Well, Father took a chance on that. He let the Holy Spirit take over. And it was then when the power of God fell on those meetings, was when people were praying. They would sometimes go from one place to another and make things right with someone, you know, that sort of thing. And...and...or they would confess their sins and break down weeping over it. They would line up for a chance to come up and...and...you know, confess their sins. But to get back to this particular incident, this is what happened. Father was flabbergasted. And he turned around, and there was a line of missionaries and evangelists sitting on the platform. Well, he expected them to just come and carry on. Well, they were so stunned they didn't know what to do. And then they all went into the back. I guess somebody did something. But the rest, they all went into the...a room at the back and for several moments there was absolute silence. Then one of the number broke out and said this, he said, "Brethren, he for whom we have prayed for so long was right here tonight. We must walk very carefully." And it was from then on that things began to...that he...you know, just had these meetings where people came in such droves, turned to God.
SHUSTER: Were you at this meeting?
MOYNAN: I wasn't at that particular one that I remember. I probably was. I was a child. Mother would take me. Yes, very likely I was there. I'd have to be. Think of the privilege. It was tremendous. And, you know, you might be interested in this. I remember the overpowering sense of God's presence in some of those meetings. Very seldom have I been in a meeting since.... A few times there've been meetings that I've been in where there's been the same tremendous sense. You just knew that God was there.
SHUSTER: In your mother's book, she mentioned he was much influenced by Charles Finney...
SHUSTER: ...the American evangelist.
MOYNAN: ...that started him.
SHUSTER: Could you talk about that a little bit?
MOYNAN: Well, I just know that...that Father...I heard him often say that, that he [bumps microphone]...somebody said to him, the...was it Letters...?
SHUSTER: Lectures on Revival.
MOYNAN: Yes, on the Holy Spirit. And he followed that...those...those instructions completely, and...and he believes that that...that was why God was able to use him. He just was obedient. [bumps microphone] He obeyed the rules.
SHUSTER: What were they?
MOYNAN: Now, listen. I'm no theologian [laughs] and I'm not...I'm [bumps table] certainly not...not any Solomon that can answer that. I forget what...what all those rules were. But I remember him saying that the rules of the harvest...that you...if you sowed a seed and you sowed good seed you would get a good harvest. And if you did all the...the rules that belonged to harvesting, and it was the same with the gospel, that if you [bumps table] preached and...and preached just the word of God and...by the power of the Spirit, you would get the results, and that's what he proved that was true.
SHUSTER: There were criticisms of his meetings. They were very emotional.
MOYNAN: Yes. But that wasn't Father. Now that's funny. He was very much a Presbyterian, [laughs] you know.
SHUSTER: How so?
MOYNAN: The...formal. He...things had to be done decently and in order, and I think he was really flabbergasted the way some of these meetings became possibly that way. But if you read By My Spirit, [bumps table] I forget whether it comes at the end of the book, but there is a testimony there by...when he was in Manchuria, and by a group of Presbyterians, oddly enough, who were very critical of his meetings at the beginning. And then they tell of...of the...about the...the meetings, and I remember what the end of it was. They ended up, the man who was telling this, he said, "All I can say is, that now I know what it means when we say, 'I believe in the Holy Ghost,' because He was there, He led those meetings." Yeah, it...it really was impressive.
SHUSTER: Where did [pauses]...how did your father go about holding a meeting? Did they rent an auditorium and announce that they're going to have a meeting here or did they...
MOYNAN: Well, you see...
SHUSTER: ...were they invited by the different churches?
MOYNAN: ...they would be invited, and the arrangement's just like here. I...I finally...he became an evangelist all over China, and he [bumps table] was simply invited and they would make the arrangements.
SHUSTER: Did he preach...?
MOYNAN: And I'm sure he got very little money for it. [laughs] I hope that we won't end before you give me a chance to tell you something of his philosophy of giving.
SHUSTER: Why don't you do that now?
MOYNAN: [laughs] Do that now. Yes, this is one of the things that has impressed me more and more as the years have gone by. I've...I've finally had the faith to go out on a limb and...and try and live this way myself. Not just giving a tithe, but giving everything, absolutely everything. And...and sometimes it...it really takes a lot of faith to go out on a limb and...and just give everything. But it's tremendous. It's a tremendous way of life. And that's what he did, especially towards the end of his life in Manchuria. You see, they were there the last eight years. And it became a faith work, because now he died in 1936, so you see it was before...wasn't it '29 was the Big Crash [Depression]? And he wrote home to the mission board in Canada [laughs] (I always laugh over this) telling them that he had found a wonderful mission field, three million people, that had to be evangelized, no other missionaries. "Send me out fifty young men. I can use fifty recruits." [laughs] They wrote back and they said, "It's the Depression. We can't send you one. We can only pay your salary." Well, you might as well tie a missionary's hands as say that, you know. And so that sent my father to his knees. And Mother describes how he was on his knees. He...he said, "God, here are these...these three million people. They've got to be evangelized." Like Dr. James Dixon of Formosa, he used to say, "If you know of a need, God expects you to do something about it." Well, that was my father's theory. If you knew of a need, God expected you to do something about it. So, he just left it in God's hands. He said, "Now, this is your responsibility. I'm going to expect you to send the men and the money." And you know, that's exactly what God did? In a few days he got a letter from a missionary, Dr. John Hays, of a seminary...head of a seminary in China proper. And just at that time China was in turmoil, Chiang Kai-Shek was taking it over, and Mr. Hays wrote and said [pauses], "Jonathan, (they...they knew each other very well) I've got sixty graduates of this seminary and I don't know what to do with them, because there's no place to send them in China. Could you use them?" Father wrote back and said, "Send them all." Sixty men. Mother, like humanly, see, she says, "But how are we going to feed them?" Father said, "If He sends the men, He'll send the money." And that's exactly what happened. Their work became a faith work from that time on. Money came in from unsolicited funds from all over the world. People that they'd never heard of. I don't know how they heard about Father and Mother unless it was through some magazine or something, or having heard them speak. But anyway, that's what happened. God...it was God's work, and sixty men came up there, and...and they started forty-eight...they organized forty-eight churches in that last year. And the money just was poured in. My theory is that Father...he always said, "'Give and it shall be given unto you' is a law of God's kingdom." And that's happened with him. God poured in the money at the end, and...and made this work prosper so tremendously that the Chinese-Japanese War (you've heard about that?) that was about fourteen years long, well, Father and Mother bowed out at that time. Father died first and then Mother. And...and fourteen years before any missionaries could get back in there. And when they went back, there were forty-seven of those churches carrying on. And now I can give you a bit about the... what's going on right at the present time. But to finish this business of...of giving. Way back, I can remember Father, he...he just...he, I don't know how to explain it, but he really got such a kick out of giving. For instance, I can remember on one occasion he got his winter coat, a heavy winter coat, taken apart by a seamstress, taken all apart, turned inside out and made into another coat so that he could wear it for another fifteen years at least. Now that's the kind of thing my father did. And then, this is climax. My husband went down to close out the account in the Bank of Commerce in...in Toronto, where they kept the Goforth Evangelistic Fund. And, you see, all the money would go there and then it would be sent out to China. And the bank manager made an amazing statement. He says, "I can't explain this, but the fact is, more money has gone through this Goforth account than any other account in my bank." Well, you see, all these others were piling it up for this world. Father was pouring it back, right out into the mission field. And all that money kept through. Isn't that something? It was a great testimony.
SHUSTER: You know, we talked a little bit earlier about Peace Child...
SHUSTER: ...the book by Don Richardson. And Richardson in his book writes it took him a while to find the right way of presenting the gospel...
SHUSTER: ...to the people so that it was something that meant something in their culture. Did you...did your father seem to find that in preaching to the Chinese there was particular themes of Christianity that meant a great deal to them, that were things that they...really seemed to reach them?
MOYNAN: I...I'm sorry, I can't remember anything specific on that. [sound of passing train] I just remember that his preaching was...was very down to earth. It was first...it was the Bible, you see. And like I think the same with Billy Graham, his preaching is so simple it can be taken in by anybody, and...and...and it comes down to our everyday life. And Father's preaching was the same. It is...you know...it was...it was first based on the Bible, but it was...it led into the everyday life. And he used humor. Both my husband and my father used humor and much more than...than I've seen it used in modern days by preachers.
SHUSTER: Do you recall examples?
MOYNAN: [pauses] I...I can't think of in...in preaching with Father, but I can think of an example of...of something that he would say that was typical of him. (He...he would...had a great knowledge of the Chinese by this time.) And I remember there were a group of...of workmen working out in the back of...of our...the house there that they had just built and hoped to retire to, and later it got burnt down by the Japanese [laughs]. And...but these men were having their...I think they'd had their noon hour rest and they were still sitting there on their haunches, and with their pipes, and prolonging this noon hour rest way beyond the reasonable time. And Father came out and he says, "Gentlemen, would you like me to bring some chairs for you to sit on?" [both laugh] Now that was very typical. Of course, they laughed their heads off, you see, and didn't take any resentment from that. But Father did have a very nice sense of humor.
SHUSTER: How did the other missionaries in the Presbyterian mission react to the revival?
MOYNAN: Oh, I have letters [pauses] that show that...that they were tremendously involved, and...and very much thrilled over what was happening. Very much.
MOYNAN: Mr. Edie [?] is one I remember reading a letter. And a Mr. Slimmon [?]. Those are two specific ones. Dr. Burdock McKenzie [?]. Did you ever hear that name? He was Canadian. He was a contemporary of my father's. And Dr. William McClure lived to be a hundred. He was a doctor, one of the first doctors with them. And his son Dr. Robert McClure has become very famous all over the world.
SHUSTER: Was...did your father have contact with missionaries of China Inland Mission?
MOYNAN: Very much so. He was, in fact, the first candidate to apply to the China Inland Mission from the North American continent. This is mentioned in a letter at the end of Goforth of China by Dr. Frost, I think it was. But that letter to Hudson Taylor applying to the China Inland Mission went astray. And, I think, he felt...felt that this was of God because by that time the students of Knox College wanted him to go out representing them. And that was the beginning, and later became the...the work of the Presbyterian Church of Canada.
SHUSTER: When he was in China, he and your mother, did they have any kind of relationship with China Inland Mission?
MOYNAN: Oh, yes. In fact, when he became an evangelist, it was a great deal of that work was in...in the China Inland Mission stations, as they were called. In...they were the ones that invited him a great deal. And, of course, I...their children were sent to the China Inland Mission school.
SHUSTER: What was the school like?
MOYNAN: Oh, it was a wonderful school. It was up in the north of China there on the ocean and the campus was very, very fine. There were separate girls' school and boys' school. [laughs] It wasn't a segre.... [laughs] It certainly wasn't desegregated. And there was a prep school with kids up to nine years of age, I think, both sexes, typically British. The whole thing was British, of course, and it was sponsored by Oxford University. And they would send the exams and you had take them, and they were sent back to Oxford and then the results were sent back. That was a great day. It was called "The Results Day." And I got a kick out of telling people that I got two D's from Oxford. [Shuster laughs] And then when they [laughs] are horrified, I'd tell them that D stood for Distinction [laughs] in Oxford.
SHUSTER: How large were the schools?
MOYNAN: Oh, about a hundred boys and a hundred girls, and oh, about seventy-five in the other school.
SHUSTER: What...what were the subjects taught?
SHUSTER: What were the subjects taught?
MOYNAN: Very much the same as...as the British system. The boys would start learning Latin, I know, way back when they [laughs] were six or seven, and they started languages. And started French, I know, very early. But I can only say that they were different from here. But I...now, one memory I have that's very distinct, is somehow they got you wanting to read. And this is something I've been grateful for all my life. It was partly my parents, of course, but they gave you a real thirst for...for reading of all subjects...of any subject. And I've become an avid reader and I still am, and it's one of the richest things, I would say, in my whole life. I've raised five boys and I can't say they're all...maybe two of them, have that attitude. But....
SHUSTER: That's forty percent.
MOYNAN: [laughs] Maybe. But I feel sorry for the others that they aren't interested in reading.
SHUSTER: You said that when your family went on evangelistic tours, your father would preach to the men, and your mother would preach to the woman...women.
SHUSTER: How did she go about preaching? What did she say to the women? How did she begin?
MOYNAN: I don't know exactly. My mother was an artist. She gave that up completely to go to China, and somewhere in her books she speaks of this, or else in a letter. She saved her letters and I just found them, a whole big package of letters to me. And she speaks of this. She says, "You know, an artist is very often, or can become, a very good speaker, because they speak in pictures. They make it vivid because they see it as a picture." And I think Mother was very good at that. She would tell...mostly she would tell stories, well, probably based on the Bible. Would give the Bible stories probably. But she had that ability to make it very vivid. I remember one thing that comes out of those very early years. I forget whether she told it in a book, or just hearing her. But she tells of a woman, you see, they...how she ever did this, I don't know. I am really bugged when...when people will keep a child in a meeting so that it really disturbs and distracts them. But here she had...they nearly all had their babies, you see. They didn't have any babysitters, and....
SHUSTER: Who? Missionary wives did?
MOYNAN: No, not missionaries' wives. No, she was alone. But the Chinese women...
MOYNAN: ...that came to hear her all had a baby on their arms or in their arms. Well, in one case she noticed one baby as being specially lovely. And the woman came back the next day and didn't have the baby. So, she said, "What's happened to your baby? Is it sick?" And she was very evasive. So, mother sent the...the amah, or Bible woman, to go to her home and find out about this baby. For some reason or other, she was curious. Well, now, this is the story. She said the woman said, "Well, it fell out of bed last night. It fell off this kang." (They all sleep together on this big brick bed.) And it was winter time. It fell on the floor. She didn't get up, get it. And the amah said, "And in the morning it was dead." And the a...the Bible woman said, "But, how could you do like...such a terrible thing?" And the woman's answer was, "Well, I have plenty of other children. Why did I need to bother?" Now that was way back. And that was the attitude. There wasn't the, you know, feeling of.... But the Chinese, I...I can say they have a love for children. They...they're very fond of children. But that is the story that was told. [chuckles]
SHUSTER: How would you...how would you...? [Moynan laughs] Why don't we call it an end for tonight...
MOYNAN: [laughs] All right.
SHUSTER: ...and tomorrow morning we can record some more.
MOYNAN: [laughs] All right.
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