December 1, 2009

Take Your Best Shot - by Austin Gutwein


Austin has left me with a sense of anticipation to see just how God will use my family as we begin to simply take our best shot!!!

In his first book, Austin Gutwein tells the story of how Hoops of Hope began when he was just 9 yrs old! Austin is the founder of Hoops of Hope....THE FOUNDER!!! He founded Hoops of Hope at the tender age of 9!!!

Austin blew me away in the introduction when he said, "...I'm a normal kid who heard, 'Austin, God wants to use you' enough times that I started to believe it." He tugged at the very heart of my being with the statement, "Kids are really trying to make a difference in the world."

Yes, dear Austin, that is exactly what they desire to do! I've seen it over and over again in my daughters lives...the crisp dollar bill given for birthday money goes straight into the offering plate for the missionary family visiting from who knows where, the love that went into choosing a Jesus gift to share with the homeless ministry at church - for our family, this meant one of their favorite toys as we taught them to give Jesus their best! - tediously choosing a warm blanket for someone they will probably never meet!

My own precious daughters have warmed my heart as they have given from within themselves...and they are not alone. Austin says it so well, "They're reaching out to people in need, and they're stepping out of their comfort zones....They want to do something bigger than themselves."

Austin's heart was touched when he watched a video of a girl named Maggie that lived in Africa. Watching the video started a fire in his heart, one that he could not extinguish...and didn't! With his parents support, his family began sponsoring a child through World Vision. However, it didn't stop there....

Austin wanted to do more for the aids victims in Africa and as I read his story, I was shaken to the core to see how God used the gifts a 9 yr old boy could bring to change so many lives in a far off continent! This book...the Hoops of Hope organization...they aren't about Austin, and he knows it. They are about reaching out to the orphans and those less fortunate, just as God calls us to do.

I pray that you will pick up this book, especially at this Christmas season. Pray as you read it, and ask God what you can do...maybe not in Africa but what about your neighborhood, church or community. Then, pass the book on, maybe even to a teenager, because you never know who God is calling to take their best shot!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow....

God's girl, Pamela

P.S. Today is World Aids Day...check out Hoops of Hope to see if there is an event near you...they have several scheduled in various places for this weekend.
My family is headed to a concert tonight, featuring Kari Jobe and the Watoto Children's Choir from Uganda to celebrate this day. We really are excited to see just what God has in store for our lives...starting tonight.

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