Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | April 1, 2017

A Simple Cup of Tea

The past few days have taken me deep into the foothills of the Himalayas and into the world of the Jirel, Sunuwar, and Tamang peoples of Nepal. These people groups live in one of the most beautiful and yet most difficult geographical contexts on the planet. Life for them is unquestionably hard. Not much comes easy.

Years ago while trekking in the mountains of Yunnan Province in China, I came across an old man carrying a bundle of wood on his back. “You live in one of the most beautiful places on earth,” I said to him. “No,” he replied matter-of-factly. “I live in a hard place.” He was right.

The Nepalese would agree. They too live in a hard place, albeit beautiful. There is little latitude for anything other than hard work for these resourceful mountain dwellers. Survival depends on it. Aside from growing their own food on precarious terraces they must contend with other difficult challenges that can threaten survival, like the weather and the recent earthquakes.

But, in spite of the difficulties, the Nepalese peoples I met are not unhappy. They love their kids, care for one another, and want the same things that we want for our families. They work hard to provide daily necessities, have hopes and dreams, and also contemplate the deeper questions about why we are here.

The writer of Ecclesiastes said that God has set eternity in the heart of man. There is something within us that longs for answers to why we are here and the purpose of our existence. Like people groups all over the world, the evidence of the search for answers are everywhere evident among the Nepalese.

Altars and shrines reflecting both Buddhist and Hindu world views were a common sight everywhere I visited. I also heard stories about the unseen things that people fear. As a result, efforts to both placate and mitigate the influence of these spirits has worked its way into the local world views. It’s a part of life here.

While looking down from higher altitudes, I could see the trails that connected one home to another and one village to another — a reminder that it’s never good to live in isolation. And where these trails encountered a natural barrier like a river, the people spanned these chasms with the most remarkable foot bridges I have seen anywhere on my travels.

One bridge in particular took my breath away. I have never seen a longer foot bridge anywhere in the world. I am a fast walker and it took me nearly four minutes to walk across this bridge. As I walked across I couldn’t help but reflect on the fact that this bridge was here to facilitate connections. That’s what bridges are for.

While in the mountains I also encountered a different kind of bridge — a simple cup of tea. In many of the places I have visited around the world, offering someone a cup of tea is a sign of hospitality, an act of kindness, an invitation to stop and rest, and an opportunity to enjoy conversation.

It’s amazing how God can use a cup of tea to help us move in the direction of others and to help others move in our direction. Spanning the things that divide us and fostering greater understanding can start by something as simple as a cup of tea. I am returning home enriched by my experience in Nepal and looking forward to returning again in a few months for another cup of tea.


  1. Love this post Pastor Omar!!

    • Thanks, Helen. Beautiful people. Look forward to returning later this year.

  2. This is beauty!! Thanks for always encouraging us to reach beyond the borders and build bridges of connection. Love love!!!

    • Thank you, Auntie. And thanks for modeling the truth of this post in your life. You are an inspiration and a bridge builder.

  3. Thanks, Omar, for sharing your travels with us! Your blog is our bridge to those parts and people of the world where we cannot visit!

    • Thanks, Carla. I appreciate your kind words and readership.

  4. Omar,
    Thanks for sharing this with us.I think we all long for this type of simplicity in our lives. Have we replaced the symplicity of a cup of tea with the high octane boost of espresso. It also shows how we all struggle with life’s challenges only to forget the many blessings that surround us.

    • Good insight, James. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Awesome report, Omar. Our prayers for you, Rick and the others were lifted up to our Father while you were on the trip. Glad to hear the report. Good bless.

    • Thanks a million for your prayers, Scott. It means so much to know we were covered with the prayers of so many friends. Wonderful trip. Promising new partnership.

  6. Enjoyed ready this and seeing all the pictures from your trip. Looks like God was at work in preparing you for this mission. Thank you for serving the Lord and giving of your time so freely. I would love to go and see the things that you saw in this country.

    • Nepal is indeed a beautiful place with wonderful people, Sherri. You would love it. You are always welcome to join on any of our trips.

  7. Beautiful people and great photos Cousin Omar

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