Friday, November 21, 2008

Three Cups of Tea

I finished Three Cups of Tea, by Greg Mortinson and David Oliver Relin today, on the way home from Disneyland. What a contrast of worlds. I was riding north on these crazy busy freeways surrounded by cars. Once I hit Ventura, I was able to look out and see the Pacific Ocean out the left window, and huge buildings out the right. Between Ventura and Santa Barbara I noticed how green things were even though we'd had little rain. There are houses right on the beach with palm trees and sunshine. It was a really lovely day for a drive.

After closing the pages of Three Cups of Tea, I was a bit humbled by what I have. I have an education, clean clothes, lots of food, telephones, satellite TV, computers, a car and countless other things that I feel are necessary. They aren't. They are necessary to me and millions of other people but could I live without it? Sure, all but the food. I'd survive. I'd keep breathing.

Greg Mortinson is an American hero. Really and truly. You should all read this book. Three Cups of Tea is about Greg Mortinson and his attempt to change the world. After a failed try at climbing K2, he found himself lost in a village in Pakistan. He was humbled by the kindness of the town and shocked at what he saw. The children only had a teacher a few days a week and yet would still go to "school" which wasn't even a building, just a clearing. Greg promised that he would be back to build a school.

He only needed a little over $12,000. Not that much when you think about how much a school would cost in the United States. He had nothing. He was barely getting by, sleeping in his car and trying desperately to raise the money for the school. Through a series of fortunate events, he went back to Pakistan and started his journey. Eventually he helped co-found the Central Asia Institute and has currently built over 78 schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

I had no interest in reading this book because I thought it was about Middle Eastern politics and I'm not a political person. My beliefs fall directly toward the middle of the conservative and liberal spectrum. I was also worried that it was a religous book that would conflict with my Christian faith. It wasn't. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this book was more about the people, and that's what I wanted to read about. I've been touched and moved by this book. I recommend it highly and urge you to look around you, be blessed by what you have and say a prayer, to whatever God you pray to, that people like Greg Mortinson be allowed to continue their missions.
For more info on the book or the Central Asia Institute, click on the picture of the book.

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