I'd like to introduce you to a book that will raise goosebumps on your heart! Take Your Best Shot is the true story of an extraordinary work God is doing for kids in Africa through a young boy from the US.
After watching a World Vision DVD about orphaned 9 year old Maggie, Austin Gutwein, also 9 at the time, said a 'sort of connection was made between my heart and my brain." He gained a passion for helping her and other children in Africa after having what he now calls, "A Maggie Moment."
I learned about this book and the Hoops of Hope ministry from my friend, author Colleen Coble. Here's Colleen's connection with this book and its author, in her own words:
It was my birthday, January 19, 1979 and we'd just been at a birthday party at my inlaws for me and our son whose birthday was the day before. Freezing rain had come down while we were inside but we thought we could make it home. They lived in the country about ten miles out of town. When we turned onto the highway, the roads were still like glass. Dave was driving slowly and being careful. I was holding my 3 year old daughter back in the days before carseats and we were both dozing. I heard Dave shout, "Look out!" I looked up to see a car heading at us and knew in that moment we were all about to die. And I wasn't ready. None of us were. I remember screaming, "Oh God," and it was prayer in that moment because I knew He was the only one who could save us. The next thing I knew icy rain was pouring in the broken T top, the horn was blaring in a nightmarish fashion and we were sideways in the road with more traffic coming. All of us were only half conscious and our five year old son was crying. I had part of the dashboard in my leg. Dave's mouth was bleeding from teeth that had been knocked out and blood was coming from our daughter's nose and mouth. I could tell she was terribly hurt.
Dave stumbled outside to try to flag down traffic before we were hit again. One of the boys in the other car was already dead. The first car to stop was a family that went to a local church. One of the family members rode with our daughter (broken jaw) to the hospital while we waited for the 2nd ambulance. We all had various injuries that kept us in the hospital about 10 days. When we got home, the pastor of the church where the family went that had stopped to help us, Don Gutwein, arranged for food to be brought in. He led us to the Lord within six months. So everything that has happened in my Christian life started there. Would we be Christians without that accident? I don't think so. God in His kindness did what was necessary for our eternal future.
Fast forward thirty years. We'dlost touch with the Gutweins over the years. I follow Mike Hyatt on Twitter and he mentioned a young man named Austin Gutwein who started a Hoops for Hope ministry to raise money to help orphans in Africa. Nelson is bringing out a book about his story and Mike just heard him present at the sales conference. Hmm, Austin Gutwein, I think. Gutwein is a very uncommon name. I shot off a tweet to Mike and asked him to ask Austin if his grandpa would happen to be Don Gutwein. Amazingly it is!
And the line of ministry through the Gutwein family continues... If you'd like to read more, please pick up your own copy of Take Your Best Shot. It's a fast-paced, absorbing read...and it'll give you plenty of goosebumps.