“It’s tea,” my husband explained. “Open it.”
The unassuming plastic bag encased layers of tissue paper. “Tea? Where did you get it? What’s the story?” I asked.
Ken had just returned from a country in Asia. After spending several weeks working with eight different communities, translating portions of Scripture into their mother tongue, it was time for closing ceremonies. Each of the western participants were handed a plastic bag of dried tea leaves.
When children are born in this country, the parents go out and pick tea in honor of this child. It is dried and kept until they get married. At that time they give it to their adult child. It is a very special ceremony with lots of meaning to it. The bag of tea that Ken received was decades old! It was a very rare and special gift to receive this aged tea.
I carefully opened the bag. Pulling back the tissue paper, I expected to see large, black dried tea leaves. Instead, I found teeny, tiny light-colored leaves connected to tips of long stems.
We crumbled the tiny leaves into a tea filter while we boiled the water. I took out a family tea-pot and we pour the hot water over the filter. We waited impatiently with our visiting guests and watched as the water slowly changed colors.
The tea was green! This was green tea! I wondered if I’d even like it since green tea is rather an acquired taste. After an appropriate brewing time, we poured out the first cup of tea.
Each of us breathed in the aroma. It was a beautiful aroma that matched the color. Our guest took the first sip and her eyes lit up. She deemed it “delicious”! I poured a few more cups and we all took a taste. It WAS delicious! The tea had a full-bodied, velvety taste on my tongue. It needed little to no sugar and was tasty just on its own. I’ve never tasted anything quite like it before.
What a joy to receive such a special gift! For the giver, it was necessary to give a gift proportionate to the gift of getting God’s words into their Mother Tongue! Thank you for your part in allowing us to serve these wonderful people.