I read Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin on the recommendation of my sister (who needs to blog more!).
This book is the story of a man, Greg Mortenson, who gets lost in Pakistan and begins developing relationships with different Pakistani people. He promises to build a school for one small town, and that promise leads to a life’s work of building schools, especially for girls, in Pakistan and Afghanistan. I very much enjoyed this book. The writing is clear and captivating. I loved reading and learning more about the peoples of this area of the world. I loved that each person is portrayed respectfully and as an individual and that customs are respected.
Two things this book made me ponder:
- Why Mortenson, who is not a believer, is willing to spend his life for the good of others, to endure hardship and danger (like a Taliban kidnapping), to be separated from his family for months at a time simply to build schools and bring education to rural, neglected people; but many believers in Jesus are not willing to do the same things to preach the Gospel! We have the good news of eternal life and reconciliation with a holy God to offer people, and a majestic Father who commands us to do that, but we’re not willing. How can this be?
- A main premise of this book is that education will stop terrorism. Let me say that I think education can help. Especially in this area of the world, where often the only hope for an education is a fundamentalist, militant Islamic madrassa; non-religious, peaceful schools can help children, and supply a need they have. But, this solution presupposes that the human heart is good, and given the right environment, will make right choices. This is just wrong! Our hearts are wicked and sinful, and no merely external help is going to change that.
I very highly recommend this book. I think its valuable to expose ourselves to people and cultures around the world and this book does a great job of respectfully explaining life and relationships in Central Asia. I’m glad I was prodded to consider the ideas I wrote about above.