I'm reviewing the Young Reader's Edition of Three Cups of Tea
, which is an abridged version including color photos, glossary, and an interview with Mortenson's twelve year old daughter. I would highly recommend the inspiring book for middle-school students (and adults who don't have the time to read the longer edition).
I applaud Mortensens realization that his original goal of planting his dead sister's necklace on a Himalayan mountain peak in tribute to her memory was actually self-indulgent and meaningless. Giving his life to help the poor mountain villagers who rescued him is so much more pleasing to God! I'm always inspired by people who want to help others--epecially the poor and the disadvantaged--who plunge in despite their inexperience and get something done!
Possible personal applications abound, whether in the areas of personal goal-setting, cultural sensitivity, or developing relationships with others. One of my personal favorites was the episode in which Greg was finally at work on the site of the school the village was building. His frenetic pace caused the village elder to take Greg aside and gently put away his tools. Over yet another cup of tea, he learned that the villagers had been surviving on the moutainside for thousands of years, and even this task would be accomplished in its own time.