The Christian story is full of dramatic conversions and calls to ministry. When a young, philosophical rabble-rouser heard the voice of a child singing “Pick it up and read it,” he felt compelled to reach for a Bible. When he randomly opened it to Romans 13:13–14, he was confronted by his life of sin and gave his life to Christ.
We know that young man as St. Augustine.
When a law student was nearly struck by lightning during a thunderstorm, he cried out in terror, “Save me St. Anne! I’ll become a monk!” That young man was Martin Luther, and he made good on his promise—then he went on to launch the Protestant Reformation.
And then there’s Xi Zixhi, a Chinese pastor little known to most Westerners—in spite of his profound impact on Christianity in China. The story of his calling is markedly different from most others.
Pastor Xi’s ministry began when he cheated on an essay contest.