I always enjoy reading Christian biographies, especially when an author gives a personal account of his or her conversion. Of course, we know this is sound biblical practice: Paul’s Damascus Road experience features three times in the Acts, twice narrated by the apostle himself. Such committed Christians provide us with good examples - ‘whose faith follow’, Heb. 13. 7.
The Assembly Testimony magazine used to have a regular ‘Conversion and Call’ column on its inside back cover. These articles are all archived in a searchable web database at www.assemblytestimony.org. A particular favourite of mine is John Heading, a well-known university lecturer and Bible student. He gives a frank account of his salvation and subsequent service at http://www.assemblytestimony.org/?q=node/53#08
A number of ‘Chief men among the brethren’ appear in Wikipedia, the online encyclopaedia. Examples include F. F. Bruce (UK Bible scholar) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FF_Bruce and Jim Elliot (US missionary to Ecuador) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Elliot. Of course, one should always bear in mind that Wikipedia is not necessarily edited by Christians, and may be unreliable in places.
Casting the net wider, I often find encouragement and challenge from reading testimonies of Christians with various other doctrinal and denominational back-grounds. Whilst I would not concur with all their ministry, their life stories are heart-warming. For instance, consider Sadhu Sundar Singh, the Indian itinerant teacher brought up as a Sikh, who found Christ in dramatic circumstances as he was about to commit suicide. An account of his conversion is available at http://sadhusundarsingh.homestead.com.
Henry Martyn was a talented Cambridge mathematician in the early 1800s. However, he turned his back on a promising academic career in order to take the gospel message to India and, later, Persia. He translated the Bible into several languages, and crossed continents to preach in the ‘regions beyond’, 2 Cor. 10. 16. His inspirational life story is recorded at http://www.gfamissions.org/missionary-biographies/martyn-henry-1781-1812.html. Martyn’s key quotation was that he wanted to ‘burn out for God,’ which he did literally, since the Lord called him home at the age of 31.
Another missionary who provided some memorable quotations is Hudson Taylor. For instance, he said that, ‘Christ is either Lord of all, or He is not Lord at all’. Taylor also suffered terrible hardship to bring the gospel to fresh territory, in his case imperial China. A selection of useful biographical material is available at http://www.wholesomewords.org/biography/biorptaylor.html.