Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Austin's World AIDS Day Blog

It’s amazing to think that today; December 1st marks six years since Hoops of Hope began. My family and I are always humbled to look back at how God has used this simple event. For those of you who don’t know when or why Hoops of Hope started I want to give you a little background.

Hoops of Hope began in the spring of 2004. We had been sponsoring two children through World Vision and received a video in the mail. So we sat down as a family and watched it. I remember just not knowing what to think as the narrator described this little girl named Maggie who had lost everyone in her life except her great-grandmother. What was even sadder though was Maggie lived in Zambia and struggled to find food. And Maggie wasn’t alone. There are over 15 million children who have been left alone because of this disease. Of this 15 million, 12 million live in sub-Saharan Africa.

I remember asking my parents that night what we could do to help. A few weeks later I had a call with a man at World Vision who simply encouraged me to use my favorite sport to make a difference. I decided I would play basketball to help kids like Maggie. The first time I went out to shoot my hoops was December 1st, which is also World AIDS Day. I had friends and family rebounding for me as I shot 2,057 free throws. One for every child orphaned during my school day. Six years ago that happened and that night I told my parents that I wanted to do it again but with a lot more kids.

Since then Hoops of Hope has taken off, and this week, we’ll have over 60 events in 15 countries. We have been able to help build a school for 1,000 kids, build a major water project, two medical clinics, two Hope Centers, four dormitories, donate bicycles, and help to save countless lives. All from shooting some hoops. Nothing fancy. Nothing creative. We just shot some hoops.

But the best thing about Hoops of Hope is still to come. You see, many of the participants are kids and teenagers. And we might not know how this has changed them for a long time. Every once in a while we’ll meet an adult who thinks it’s just kids making a difference. We simply let them know that we have participants ages 4 to 72. This year, we’re going on the Hoops of Hope All Star Tour with a goal of shooting 15 million free throws. One for every child left behind. You can join us by visiting our website and clicking the All Star button.

When I was over in Zambia the chief of the Tonga people told me that God used teenagers in America to change the lives of his teenagers over in Zambia. The chief was challenging his teens to start making a difference. What an awesome thing that is to know that more and more teenagers are seeing that they can change the world. My prayer has always been that kids and teens would realize they can make a difference and they can do it now. You’re never too young to make a difference and you’re never too old to start. As we think about these six years I will continue praying that prayer. That God will stir something inside my generation that we just can’t contain.

-austin

Get a signed copy of "Take Your Best Shot"

Each day this week Hoops of Hope is partnering with Tommy Nelson and
giving away a copy of my new book, Take Your Best Shot! On Friday we are
giving away a prize pack full of not only my book but the new books and
live DVD's from my buddies and fellow Revolve speakers Jenna Lucado and
Chad Eastham, who have also been to Africa!!! We are even throwing in a
copy of Word of Promise Next Generation Audio New Testament.

To be entered into this giveaway...

Leave a comment on this blog post...
For extra entries...

Follow Tommy Nelson on Twitter
Follow Hoops of Hope on Twitter
Become a Facebook Fan of Tommy Nelson and Hoops of Hope
Leave a separate comment for each thing you do!

The low-down: ReTweet @TommyNelson's daily giveaways to be entered to
win a copy of Take Your Best Shot, signed by Austin, every day this
week. Comment here to enter the big Friday giveaway - a Prize Pack of
goodies for teens.

33 comments:

heather said...

i think you are canging alot of familys in africa keep up the work

heather said...

i just adopted a worl vision kid

dolls123 said...

Thanks for the chance

luckydolls123[at]verizon[dot]net

Alyssa said...

Thanks for doing what the Lord puts on your heart Austin! I love reading your blogs. :)

lisakjc said...

I think it is awesome what Hoops for Hope is doing and am so glad that one teenager decided to make a difference and inspire other teenagers to do the same! Thanks Austin!

MDahl said...

As a youth worker, it is so great to hear about teens making a difference and it is great to hear adults challenging them to live to their potential!

Ashley said...

It's amazing to hear about how many peoples lives you've changed. You inspire me everyday!

Ashley said...

Okay, so, I've done all I need to do, now, we play the waiting game. :)))

tom roepke said...

keeping doing the hard things! thanks for your heart. you're a blessing!

Tiffany said...

Thanks for all you do. You really have and are echanging the world for the better.

Anonymous said...

Great piece.

John Fournier said...

Great post Austin, keep up the great work!

Ariel Vitale said...

I would like to be entered in. I love what your doing here with Hoops of Hope!

God Bless!
Ariel Vitale

stomlinson422 said...

This is an amazing thing and its a great cause. As a future educator of teenagers, I feel that too often teens feel like "what can we do to change anything, we are just teenagers?" This organization is proof that teens can do whatever they put their mind to!

karatepixiechic said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
karatepixiechic said...

Thank you for reminding Us that with Gods help,Teens CAN Change the world!!
God Bless

Kaylynn said...

Thanks for doing what you thought was right the thing and what the Lord has asked you to do! Keep it up! I love participating in Hoops of Hope it made me realize that i can change the world. Thanks

Kristin said...

Everything you do is such amazing Austin! It was so awesome to hear you speck at the last two Revolve tours!!

Buukluvr81 said...

God is doing amazing things through Austin!

Keep up the good work!

mollydawn1981 at aol dot com

Buukluvr81 said...

I follow @TommyNelson(my ID @Mollybuuklvr81)


Mollydawn1981 at aol dot com

Buukluvr81 said...

I follow Hoops of Hope on Twitter (my ID @Mollybuuklvr81)


mollydawn1981 at aol dot com

Buukluvr81 said...

i am a tommynelson fan on facebook (molly d. edwards)

mollydawn1981 at aol dot com

Buukluvr81 said...

i am a fan of hoops for hope on facebook (molly d. edwards)

mollydawn1981 at aol dot com

Mark said...

I'd like to enter, thanks
marcus802001(at)yahoo(dot)com

Mark said...

I follow TN on Twitter

MoziEsmé said...

What a great cause! We lived in Mozambique for a while and have seen up close how tragic the AIDS situation is there.

janemaritz at yahoo dot com

Carol Anne said...

Amazing work. You are inspiring! I would love to see more teens follow the work you are doing!

ChasingHalos said...

God bless you and your book! I found out about your story by following Tommy Nelson on Twitter and I'm going to purchase it for my friend's son. He plays Basketball and he is really getting into reading this yearA

The Life from One Hart said...

Sure hope I win.I have a lot of teens that I need presents for!

Jill

wmmahaney said...

I really loved reading this entry. i would love to have a chance to win this.
wmmahaney(at)att(dot)net

rubynreba said...

This is a great cause. Thanks!
pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

Benita said...

You're doing a wonderful deed for a great many people. It takes special people like yourself to help those in great need. Thanks for the post. Thanks for the giveaway. May you be blessed.

bgcchs(at)yahoo(dot)com

karen said...

ausin i think this is amazing. you have changed an "entire generation" of people. hopefuly my school will let me start hoops of hope and all the credit is going to you.