“Tea or Mango Juice?” Friend, June 2021
Chung walked down a busy street in Taiwan. His friend Jiro was close beside him. People were everywhere! Shoppers looked at clothes for sale, kids played games, and people hurried by talking on their phones. Chung held tight to his school bag to make sure he didn’t drop it.
“I can’t believe the school year is almost over!” Chung said loudly so Jiro could hear.
“I know! I’m ready to be done with classes,” Jiro said.
Chung and Jiro passed stands that sold all kinds of foods. Dragon fruit and strawberries. Sizzling dumplings. Peanut ice-cream rolls. Delicious smells were everywhere! But all Chung could think about was how hot and sticky he felt.
“I feel like I’m in an oven!” Chung said.
“Me too,” Jiro said. “Let’s buy some drinks.”
They made their way to a stand selling brightly colored drinks.
Jiro pulled out some money. “Two boba teas, please.”
Chung knew that tea was against the Word of Wisdom. “Actually, could I have a mango juice?” he asked.
Jiro turned to look at Chung. Chung’s stomach squirmed. Did Jiro think he was weird for not getting tea?
The woman handed a cold boba tea to Jiro and a mango juice to Chung. Then the boys walked back into the street toward their homes.
Jiro slurped his drink. “Why didn’t you want tea? It’s so good!”
Chung bit his lip. “Um, I don’t drink tea.”
Chung thought about how to answer the question. The missionaries had taught him about the Word of Wisdom. In his Primary class he’d learned that keeping the Word of Wisdom helped him have the Holy Ghost with him.
“I believe in God, and He wants me to take care of my body. He asks that we don’t drink tea or coffee or alcohol,” Chung said.
“How do you know that?” Jiro asked.
“I learned about it at church.”
Jiro took another sip of his drink. “That seems silly. It’s just tea! It won’t hurt you.”
Chung’s stomach felt like it was full of jumping frogs. How could he help Jiro understand? Maybe someone at church could help him explain it to Jiro.
“Would you like to come to church with me sometime? I go to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You could learn about God and Jesus Christ.”
Jiro thought for a moment. “I don’t think so.”
“OK,” said Chung. He felt a little sad that Jiro didn’t want to come to church with him. But he was still glad he had shared his testimony.
Later that week at school, Chung’s teacher, Mr. Lin, called for everyone’s attention. “Tomorrow is the last day of class. Because everyone has worked so hard this year, I have a surprise. We will all be having boba tea!”
The whole class cheered. Everyone except Chung. He slid down in his seat. Telling his teacher he didn’t drink tea would be even harder than telling Jiro! Everyone would think that was weird, just like Jiro did.
Jiro raised his hand. “Mr. Lin? Chung doesn’t drink tea. It’s a part of his religion. Could he have a mango juice instead?”
Mr. Lin turned to Chung. “Is that true, Chung?”
Mr. Lin smiled. “OK. I’ll order you juice instead.”
After school, Chung and Jiro walked home together. “Thanks for doing that,” Chung said.
Jiro smiled. “You’re my friend. If something is important to you, then it’s important to me.”