Couple personally leads about 500 Chinese students, scholars to faith in Christ


Shu Huang said when he moved to Alabama in 1978, he heard the gospel — and immediately rejected it.

“Christians would talk to me, and I would say, ‘I don’t want this,’” he said. He and his wife, Lilly, were from Taiwan, and he hadn’t grown up thinking of himself as a sinner. He couldn’t get his head around the concept of being bound for hell because of his actions.

“I thought, ‘No, I’m a good guy, I’m doing my best. I can’t accept that — it’s unreasonable,’” Shu Huang said.

He even went to church and peppered the people there with questions, hoping to change their minds.

But over time, God changed his mind instead. He heard testimonies of how God had changed people’s hearts, and as a medical doctor at UAB Hospital, he saw the indirect evidence of God through the design of the human body.

So he believed, and Lilly Huang did too — and immediately the man so adamantly against Christianity had a mission.

“Both of us were very eager to spread the gospel to other people,” Shu Huang said.

Fast forward 46 years, and the Huangs have seen about 500 Chinese students and scholars at UAB accept Jesus as a direct result of their ministry.

“When we’re doing this work, God’s fingerprints are everywhere,” Shu Huang said.

It shows in the way God brought them to Alabama, drew them to Christ and connected them with a Chinese congregation in the Birmingham area, he said. From there, God connected them with the leaders of the English as a Second Language program at Shades Mountain Baptist Church.

Shu Huang said he thought that was a chance connection at first, but the night he met with them, someone prayed and thanked God for answering their prayer to send a Chinese Christian to help.

“I was so surprised,” he said. “My wife and I decided very enthusiastically we wanted to join this church.”

From there, the Huangs started gathering with Chinese students and scholars. Lilly Huang would befriend them, help them with things that they needed and send them away with bags of Chinese barbecue pork buns — “gospel buns,” as they’ve been called over the years.

On the heels of her hospitality, Shu Huang would gather with them and talk through the basics of Christianity, answering many of the questions and objections he himself had years ago.

But at the end of the first year, no one had made a decision to follow Jesus, he said.

“My wife prayed, and she is very, very sincere,” Shu Huang said, “She said, ‘God, I believe You will send somebody to us. I want to ask You — this year, give us five students who accept Jesus.’”

God answered, he said — five did. The next year, she prayed for 10, and 10 followed Christ.

“Although we were very enthusiastic that first year, God wanted to tell us that without Him, no one can do the work,” Shu Huang said. “After that, 20 or 30 student accepted Christ every year.”

Now they’re at the 500 mark. The group, which is still a ministry of Shades Mountain Baptist, meets on Saturdays at UAB’s Baptist Campus Ministries for the fundamentals of Christianity class and for a meal afterward so that they can discuss.

Bill Morrison, lead campus minister for UAB BCM, said it’s a great partnership between the BCM, Birmingham Metro Baptist Association, Shades Mountain Baptist and the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions. The SBOM provided a soundproof wall that allows live translation of the fundamentals class into English for non-Chinese-speaking students.

Morrison said he imagines that between the students and scholars who now follow Christ and the disciples they’ve made both in Alabama and back in China and Taiwan, the impact of the Huangs’ ministry is “in the thousands if not the tens of thousands.”

He said he attributes that impact to their strong prayer life.

“They’re amazing, they really are,” Morrison said. “It just goes to prove that if you have a heart for the gospel and a heart for college students, it doesn’t matter what age you are, you can make a difference.”

Shu Huang said he’s “really not so great,” it’s just God using him.

“I really appreciate God helping me,” he said. “Even though we’re old — she’s 82, I’m 83 — if you want to do it and you are sincere, God will guide you with His fingerprints.”

This story first appeared in The Alabama Baptist.