December 29, 2017

The Atheist Who Dreamed of a Lamb

Growing up in a “typical” household in China, Dante Xu had no interest in any type of religion—especially Christianity. In his mind, religion was a crutch for foolish people who could not reason or think logically.

When Dante decided to pursue further studies in Australia, his parents were concerned that he might get involved in religion.

“Australia is a Western country with Western ways of thinking—including Christianity,” Dante’s dad warned him. “Make sure you don’t become a Christian.”

“If I had seen that it was a ‘Christian’ thing, I wouldn’t have gone”

“Of course I won’t!” Dante laughed. Did his parents think that an overseas move could sway a lifetime's worth of learning? “I’m a mature adult; you don’t have to worry about me.”

But approximately ten days before he was due to leave China, Dante had an unusual dream.

It involved a lamb that picked him up and somehow carried him on its back. But that wasn’t the strangest aspect. The lamb actually spoke to Dante—it told him that Australia was a great country with wonderful opportunities in store. It also reassured him that it would be with him and carry him during his time in Australia.

Confused, Dante shared his dream with his parents the next morning.

“There are a lot of sheep in Australia,” his dad reasoned. “That’s probably why you’ve been dreaming about sheep!”

Dante was doubtful, but he couldn’t think of another rational explanation. He pushed thoughts of the dream aside and concentrated on preparing for his big move.

During his first week at university in Australia, Dante noticed a flyer advertising free violin lessons.

He couldn’t help but remember a girl whom he’d liked in high school, who had chosen another guy over him because he played the violin. He decided that learning the violin might be a good way to meet new people—plus it was free! What did he have to lose?

If he had paid closer attention to the flyer, he would have noticed that the violin lessons were being offered by the campus Christian club, Australian Christian Fellowship.

“If I had seen that it was a ‘Christian’ thing, I wouldn’t have gone,” Dante says frankly. But as it happened, he didn’t notice, and he did go.

After the violin lesson, Dante was startled when he was asked if he would like to stay behind for a Bible study.

He wanted to say no. But he’d just accepted a free violin lesson from these people—the least he could do was stay a while longer. It wasn’t as though he had to become a Christian.

To his surprise, the people he met impressed him. These Christians weren’t foolish or unintelligent. They were deep logical thinkers who had an explanation for everything they believed. Eventually, Dante decided that he wanted to be a Seventh-day Adventist Christian and he was baptized in 2013.

Dante’s family were angered by his commitment and decided to cut him off financially. Although Dante had some money in savings, it was barely enough to pay his rent. There were many days where he would have starved if it were not for the kind intervention of a fellow church member.

“But that didn’t matter to me—I was still determined to follow Jesus,” Dante says staunchly. Despite the financial hardships, he continued to attend church and serve where he could faithfully.

A year after Dante’s baptism, he went to China to celebrate Chinese New Year with his family. Before he returned to Australia, his father pulled him aside and said, “Son, I don’t know much about your religion, but it looks like you are faithful about what you believe. Your God somehow has made you become a better man. Mom and I can’t agree with your beliefs, but we are happy to see you living a new life—a better one.”

A few months later, Dante became a Bible worker, helping to introduce others to Jesus. Although he is still the only Christian in his family, he will continue sharing the gospel with them through the testimony of his life.