In the colorful metropolis of Beijing, China, one BYU-Idaho student understands what it’s like to be a pioneer of her time.
Standing out from a crowd of millions is Lupei Huang, a sophomore studying communication. Her willingness to serve and preach about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has changed one of the biggest countries in the world.
Huang was born and raised in Beijing, China. She became one of the first members of the Church in her city at the age of eight.
When Huang got older she served a mission for the Church in the Washington Seattle Mission from 2017 to 2018. She was the first missionary from mainland China to be assigned English speaking.
For Huang, being from China was a huge blessing to her as a missionary.
“I think it was a blessing for me to get in people’s door,” Huang said. “People would open the door and be like ‘Oh are you Chinese?’ And I would say ‘yeah,’ and they would say, ‘Oh come in I want to know why you’re here.’”
Huang was very passionate about teaching people the gospel because she remembers personally what it was like to not have the Church exist in her life and country.
Huang’s hometown is one of the most populated cities in the world. According to Insider, Beijing is the sixth most populated city in the world with over 20 million people.
“Beijing has five branches, three English and two Chinese. But actually, in other parts of China, there are not a ton of members,” Huang said.
Huang’s mother was one of the first members in Beijing, after meeting the missionaries on a trip to Australia. On a separate trip to South Korea, Huang’s mother decided to be baptized fearing what her family may think as they practiced Buddhism.
After months of studying and praying all on her own, Huang’s mother decided to tell her family that she had been baptized. Despite her fears, her husband and two children were so open.
They also invited eight family members in the area to learn and as a result, Huang said they doubled the size of the Church in Beijing.
This relatively small growth of the Church in China even drew the attention of the Prophet, President Gordon B. Hinckley. Huang said the Prophet asked for a picture of the family because he was so surprised.
President Hinckley was curious about what China looked like and emailed back asking for pictures of their apartment.
The Church has grown since then both in population and in their relationship with the government.
According to the Church’s website, the Church is in the beginnings of building a temple in Shanghai, because of families like Huang’s, and women like her.