The Mt. Everest Challenge

The first famous person I ever shook hands with had climbed Mt. Everest. In fact, by the time I met him, he had stood on the highest peak in the world and at the geographic South Pole. Sir Edmund Hillary was coming to town and my mother needed my help. 

My mother was a part of the program committee that invited the famed explorer to be their luncheon speaker. The event was sponsored by World Book Encyclopedia, and my mother had joined the team as a sales representative. My role was to play the part of a newspaper boy and hand out copies of the Miami Herald. You know, “Read all about it, Edmund Hillary Conquers Mt. Everest.” My grandfather was the advertising manager for the paper, so my mother persuaded her father to have some mock front pages printed up with the headline on it. These were placed over the real front pages of that day’s paper. I remember Sir Edmund’s surprised laughter when I burst into the room to say my lines and pass out the papers, one to a table. I got to skip junior high school that day and to ask him one question at the end of his speech.

In his talk that day, the adventurer spoke of the need to face one’s challenges, to risk all if need be, and the importance of the Sherpas (the support team) to help one make it to the top. Hillary said he would not have made the summit without Tenzing Norgay. During the question and answer period I asked my burning question: Did you see a Yeti? No, he replied. He had come to the conclusion that a Yeti, or the Abominable Snowman, was a fiction of the local imaginations. I was disappointed. I wanted it to be real.

Some years later Edmund Hillary flew to the top of the world with Neil Armstrong, the first to step onto the moon, where together they stood at the North Pole. He was the first person to stand on Mt. Everest and both global poles. He gave much of his time and energy after that adventure to improving the quality of life for the Sherpas and the people of Nepal. Sounds like a personal challenge even greater than Mt. Everest.

 Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Face your challenge. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.

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