Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Three Cups of Tea

It was this past summer that I first learned of Three Cups of Tea. A family friend told me her church had just read Three Cups of Tea corporately. The adults read the actual book Three Cups of Tea, the youth read the young reader's edition, and the children read Listen to the Wind.

I noted that I'd like to read it but quickly forgot. Fast forward to this past Christmas. My brother actually told me he'd read it and that I should read it. My brother loves to read, especially things related to the military and history. This was the first time he'd ever recommended a book to me, so I took note. I mentioned to W I'd like to read it and to my surprise, he bought it this past summer right after said family friend recommended it to us.

Alllllll of that to say I read the Three Cups of Tea starting mid-January. One of our youth played in an honor band that was out of town and her parents were unable to be there the first night, so they asked me to go and stay with her in the hotel. I gladly obliged. She left for her band responsibilities and I crawled in bed with the book and made significant progress that night alone.

Greg Mortenson is a top-notch humanitarian. He tells the story of his mountaineering days, and how his failed attempt at K2 allowed him to stumble into a small rural Pakistani village. He was emaciated and the village nursed him back to health. He made a promise to them that he would return to bless them with a school.

And it all began.

He has since built not one, but fifty-five schools. The book chronicles his relationships, his love of the people, his marriage with his wife, and all that comes with living on the other side of the world from where your heart is.

Two of my favorite quotes are as follows:

Jake Greenberg, a thirteen year old from the suburbs of Philadelphia, was so fired up by reading about Mortenson's work that he donated more than one thousand dollars of his bar mitzvah money to the CAI and volunteered to come to Pakistan and help out himself. "When I heard about Greg's story," Greenberg says, "I realized that, unlike me, children in the Muslim world might not have educational opportunities. It makes no difference that I'm a Jew sending money to help Muslims. We all need to work together to plant the seeds of peace" (Mortenson 2006, 302).

Wow. From the mouth of babes.


"Look here, look at these hills." Khan indicated the boulderfields that marched up from the dirt streets of Baharak like irregularly spaced headstones, arrayed like a vast army of the dead as they climbed toward the deepening sunset. "There has been far too much dying in these hills," Sadhar Khan said, somberly. "Every rock, every boulder that you see before you is one of my mujahadeen, shahids, martyrs, who sacrificed their lives fighting the Russians and the Taliban. Now we must make their sacrifice worthwhile, " Khan said, turning to face Mortenson. "We must turn these stones into schools" (Mortenson 2006, 330).

This story is abosolutely real and inspiring. I would recommend any who have an interest in the middle East and humanitarian efforts to read it.

My only grief about the book is that it is strictly humanitarian. I thought because the family friend told us her church read it that it would have some form of Christianity to it. Now, as soon as I say that I think "What is Christianity?" and I immediately think to James 1:27 and taking care of orphans and widows. There is redemption to it in that these people are being offered an education, which presents them with an option other than being paid to be a "freedom fighter." Yet as far as the gospel being presented... not happening here.

Alas, my two cents... or three cents? After all, it was Three Cups of Tea :)


Stephanie Trapp said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts about this book! It sounds like a great read and I need to add it to my list.

suzannah @ so much shouting/laughter said...

this is definitely on my "to read" list.

yes, you are unpatriotic for not watching the olympics, and i bet you hate apple pie. and puppies;)

my daughter LOVES living at camp, and it is so great for her to be loved by so many great staff in the summer. i know this summer she'll love it even more. (she's just 2.)

the loooong hours dampen some of the romance, but it is an awesome ministry to be a part of.