Grace Xiong's Testimony
In God’s sovereignty and grace, I became a Christian during my junior year of college. He radically changed my career trajectory and transformed me from the inside out. Before knowing Christ, I hated people and was set on attending medical school. Now that I am in Christ, I love sharing God’s work in my life and enjoy fellowshipping with others. Now I aim to glorify God and make His name known through my writing to reach every nation, tribe, and tongue. I pray that all will come to repentance and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and savior so that God may be glorified.
As a child, I attended church and had a personal relationship with God. But God grew distant when I left the church around nine years old. I felt like I had no friends and needed to spend more time on academics to meet my parents’ expectations.
Around the same time, I read The School Story by Andrew Clement in class. The story was about Natalie, a twelve-year old who publishes her own book through her mom’s agency. Like Natalie, I wanted to impress and make my parents proud.
I began writing. I always kept a journal and pencil on me, finishing my first novel, On the Run, at the age of twelve. I submitted my writing to different competitions and won.
Throughout the nine years I was away from the church, God became a distant figure. Lured and enticed by my sexual desires that gave birth to sin, I experienced spiritual death (James 1:14-15).
God was faithful throughout my rebellion. He used my mother to try and break through the spiritual darkness, but I couldn’t hear or see the truth. He used my brother to share the gospel with me during my junior year of high school. Even though I heard the gospel, I didn’t understand what it meant for myself.
At my brother’s prompting, I decided to attend my church’s summer college fellowship. It was there I gained a dim awareness of my sin. Because I had a good experience at the fellowship, I made it a priority to find something similar in college.
I chose neuroscience as my major since the expectation was for me to attend medical school. During the first two years of my undergraduate career, I was the epitome of a pre-med. My main goal was academic success and getting into medical school. Everything else was superfluous.
My priorities started shifting at the start of the pandemic. I took a step of faith and applied for the creative writing certificate and was accepted. Around the same time, I read Crazy Love by Frances Chan and was completely floored by the love of God. I made the decision to elevate God above all else.
At the start of my junior year, I applied for a writing position at my university’s writing center and was accepted. During this same semester, I decided to take my church’s freedom class. A sister in Christ pointed out past sin issues and lies I believed. To address these lies, I began fasting from junk food. I believed that God was better than any pleasure junk food could give me.
As I continued to yield to God, I had a breakthrough. On March 6, 2021, I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior. He saved me from my sexual sin, a sin that I kept buried and hidden from myself and others. He saved me from intense shame, fear, self-condemnation, and self-hatred. On April 17, 2021, I got baptized with Harvest Mission Community Church.
After my baptism, I felt a burden for the lost. As I look at the people around me, I wonder if they know Jesus Christ. I am struck by the frivolity of the world. The world chases after sensual pleasures, material wealth, and prestige. But I am reminded that I was once part of the world. I am the worst of sinners, but Christ came to save sinners such as myself (1 Timothy 1:15). I received Christ’s mercy so that Christ can use me as an example to show others His perfect patience (1 Timothy 1:16).
The summer after my baptism, I read more than a dozen Christian books. These books helped me understand God’s design for sexuality and marriage. I began the process of repentance and grief over the consequences of my past sins. I also decided to stay in Austin, invest in my church, and intern at a writing nonprofit. This internship was also a praise God moment. During winter break, I applied for many research programs, but I got rejected from all of them. God closed the door for research but opened this new door.
Before my church’s undergraduate retreat, I fasted over my future career. During the retreat, God met me powerfully. God revealed to me that medical school has never been the path He wanted me to take. Rather, He showed me that He has gifted me with writing and wants me to use writing to glorify Him.
While I held onto this conviction, I did not trust God completely with my future. I continued to accept medical school interviews. Everything came to a head when I received an acceptance.
I fasted and prayed over whether to reject or defer my offer. God revealed that He wanted me to close the door myself to show my faith in Him. He wants my voluntary surrender and submission to His will for my life. Just as Jesus submitted to God the Father (1 Corinthians 11:3), God is calling me to submit to His authority in my life. I hesitated to reject the offer because I wanted my parent’s approval. Jesus challenged me with Matthew 10:37 and Galatians 1:10. How much was Jesus worth to me?
As I wrestled with my decision hours into the fast, I had my own Garden of Gethsemane moment. I prayed that my decision and my life would be used for the glory of God. I decided to leave behind my past life because Jesus is worthy of everything. He is where my allegiance lies. He saved me from darkness. He was and is there in my valleys. He loves me with an agape love. He laid down His own life in exchange for mine. He loves with a love that is incomprehensible without the Holy Spirit.
After rejecting the acceptance, I job hunted to feel some sense of security. God convicted me to find security in Him rather than a job. He wants me to trust Him despite not knowing anything. He wants me to live by faith, not by sight.
This summer, I am participating in a short-term mission trip with my church in Chicago. We will be partnering with two local ministry organizations: Envision Chicago and the South Asian Friendship Center. We will be camp counselors for a youth camp and reach out to people with different faith backgrounds.
You can partner with us through prayer! Please pray that we would have compassion, boldness, and spiritual protection. If you also feel Spirit-led to give some of the resources God has given you, you can contribute via PayPal.
I believe missions should continue even after the mission trip ends. My mission is to create a digital platform that God can use to reach the lost. Through this platform, I want to help the Church gain more confidence in our God. Our God has the power to transform the lost into Christ disciples who can then transform the world (Romans 1:16).
I want to help the Church see the lost with the same compassion Jesus has for them (Luke 15:6-7). To grasp the urgency of sharing the gospel, we need to grasp the depths of our own sinful nature. We need to accept that we were once in a state of spiritual darkness. We need to understand the size of God’s grace, mercy, and forgiveness. He allowed His only Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for our sins. He who knew no sin became sin for our sake (2 Corinthians 5:21). People would hardly die for a good person; yet Jesus Christ died for us when we hated Him (Romans 5:7-9).
Every Christian has experienced what it is like to be lost and alienated from God. If we have any empathy for the lost, we will feel burdened to share the gospel with them. We would want them to have the same spiritual freedom and joyful relationship we have with God now. Brothers and sisters, let us pray for the lost to come to know the Shepherd. Let’s pray for the Lord of the Harvest to send us into the harvest field.
God will continue acting according to His namesake (Psalm 23:3), but will we be obedient to His will?