Oct 11, 2011

Beer is Good

August is Mission Month at Christ Lutheran Vail.  Part of the challenge of being a missionary is to learn other languages and cultures. During this month, we’ll share some funny stories collected on the internet from missionaries as they learned the culture.  Today is a story from a missionary in Japan who had an interesting moral dilemma.

I'm reminded of the most special gifts ever sent over to a bereft Tennessee missionary. We hadn't been over here but a few months when I complained to my best friend back in Tennessee that I couldn't get root beer anywhere. God bless 'im! He sent a whole box of root beer over. I got the note from the P. O. to come pick it up, and my poor heart was all a flutter.


Now the problem was that the Japanese culture, as rich as it is, has no knowledge whatever of root beer. So at the P. O. they slapped an alcohol surcharge on my box of root beer. And I had just started language study--certainly didn't know enough to explain root beer to a stern customs man! So now I had a moral dilemma. Do I pay alcohol tax for root beer, or do I refuse the shipment? More importantly, would my supporting churches ever find out??? Did I pay the tax and take the root beer? You'll never know! (Man was it good, though!).


Several years later we had graduated from language school and moved to Yokohama to start our first church. My mom, bless her Texan soul, had sent over some little bottles of root beer extract. All you had to do was add water and yeast, seal the bottles and wait. We had some missionary friends come down from our previous town for a meal, and I thought I would give them a treat—home-made root beer!


Wouldn't you know it, they didn't appreciate my Mom's gift and all that hard work I did to make it up. None of them would drink it, due to the yeasty taste and smell. Why I even had to show them an encyclopedia article on fermentation and explain how just having yeast in it didn't make my root beer into real beer! Shucks, as it turned out I had to drink all the root beer myself! (Man was it good, though!).

Hee Hee. Next time, perhaps they should send a Sarsaparilla. 


Pastor David Hook

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