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.
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.
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