Pastor Diers was the last Lutheran Missionary to leave Mainland China when the communist government took over. While working in China, he learned to work with missionaries from other denominations. He saw nothing wrong with working with Baptists, Methodists, or any other Christian denomination if it furthered the spread of the Gospel. As a result, some Lutheran missionaries distanced themselves from him.
He also brought with him many other “foreign” concepts. One of the strangest ideas he brought with him ran the risk of getting Herb in trouble with the game warden.
On a regular basis, Herb and his father went fishing. On extended fishing trips into Mexico, they often went with Herb’s Uncle Rudy and his cousin, Eddie. For shorter trips into Mexico, they often went with Herb’s Uncle Al. A family tradition of cutting the heads off the fish after they were caught was suddenly established after they returned from a fishing trip in Mexico with about 500 pounds of fish. Herb’s mother was one of three ladies who were expected to filet the fish. Herb’s mother got tired of having those fish look at her as she filleted the fish, so she got irritated. As mentioned previously, one did not get Herb’s mother irritated.
Since they knew that Pastor Diers liked to eat fish, they would clean the fish, cut the heads off, and give him the largest fish they had caught. This went on for a time, and then Pastor Diers expressed that he would prefer the heads left on, since he liked to make fish head and rice soup. Herb and his father thought it was strange, but they had read books by Pearl Buck so they knew that such dishes existed. They then started leaving the heads on the largest fish they caught, which they gave to Pastor Diers. Of course they were careful to ensure that Herb’s mother did not see those fish.
After about a year, Pastor Diers said that he preferred breakfast fish. What were breakfast fish? They were smaller fish. How small? Well, they were about several inches below the legal limit. “Pastor, you are asking me to break the law?” No matter how much Pastor Diers wanted those breakfast fish; Herb just could not bring himself to break the law for the pastor.
Some people have very strong beliefs which do not seem to make sense to other people.
Herb found that by understanding the other’s beliefs, he could reach a compromise with that person so neither’s strong beliefs were compromised. In this case, Herb carried a tape measure and fished for bass which were just an inch or two over the legal limit; and Pastor Diers learned to eat breakfast fish which were a little larger than he preferred.