Three Cups of Tea

Monday, February 23, 2009

Greg Mortenson was moved by the kindness of the poor village people in the Pakistan mountains after he became lost on a climbing trip in 1993. He vowed to return and build a school to educate the children there. Over the next decade he built sixty schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. He shares his experiences in the book Three Cups of Tea. Greg sacrificed much and learned many life lessons during those years.

He tells of a valuable lesson he learned while building a school in Korphe. The villagers had to work hard as a team in order to build a school. The large boulders had been blasted into chunks of stones that were then taken to masons. Masons would shape the stones into bricks. The women in the village carried water to mix cement, and even the children helped by putting slivers of stone in the gaps between the bricks. It really did take a village to build the school. Throughout each step, Greg monitored the activities urging everyone to keep pushing forward. The school walls were going up steadily, but nothing was proceeding fast enough for Greg.

Then Greg’s mentor and the Chief of Korphe, Haji Ali, took Greg on a long walk that ended with tea. The Chief told Greg that he must respect the ways of the Pakistanis if he wanted to thrive there. “With the first cup of tea, you are a stranger. With the second…a friend. With the third cup of tea, you are family.” Greg said this was the most important lesson he had ever learned in his life. “We Americans think you have to accomplish everything quickly… Haji Ali taught me to share three cups of tea, to slow down and make building relationship as important as building projects. He taught me that I had more to learn from people I work with than I could ever hope to teach them.”

Isn’t that sound advice for all of us? I want to strive to …

Slow down – “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

Build relationships – “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:12-13

Learn from others – “Listen closely, pay attention to the words of the wise, and apply your mind to my knowledge.” Proverbs 22:17

In his beautiful song "Be Still and Know," Steve Curtis Chapman reminds us to “let the noise and clamor cease” and worship God. I want to do this over a few cups of (green) tea!

Click here to enjoy "Be Still and Know" -


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