‘Jesus Runner’ on way to Jerusalem

2016-04-26 06:00
Andrew Hoffman says running keeps him away from the bottle and he is glad to spread the message of God through his running and telling his life story so that other people can make wiser choices. PHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

Andrew Hoffman says running keeps him away from the bottle and he is glad to spread the message of God through his running and telling his life story so that other people can make wiser choices. PHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

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Andrew Hoffman (68) from Wynberg says running has given him hope to live again.

He was given only three years after his liver and other organs were damaged because of alcohol.

Dubbed the Jesus Runner, Andrew has lived three more decades to tell his story.

At the age of 38, he was told he only had three years to live. The father of two says his darkest moment was when he was lying hopelessly in hospital.

“I was told of my condition. It was terrible. I was so helpless and didn’t know what to do.”

After being told he would be dead in three years, he saw no point of staying in hospital and discharged himself.

“I went straight to the bar to get a drink,” he remembers. “I was given a death sentence. I was hopeless. There was nothing to live for, so I just continued to drink because I was going to die anyway. I could feel the effects of the alcohol, but I was in denial. Even my hands where cramping.”

Being a fit and active person in his youth and working in the navy, Andrew never thought that drinking a lot would affect him that much.

He started drinking when he was 18.

As time went by he started drinking stronger liquor. “When I started drinking I was doing well. I though drinking didn’t affect me. We drank all the time. It was a social thing with my friends. Little did we know that we were killing ourselves.

“When you weren’t out drinking, you felt lonely. To make it even worse they would bet who would drink the most and who would be the last man standing. I always wanted to perform better than everyone else, so I drank a lot. I was always the last man standing after everyone else has passed out,” he says.

Hoffman says his mother was distraught.

“At that moment I didn’t know how much my mother was praying for me. I believe her prayers were a turning point in my life.”

He vividly remembers how his mom loved him and prayed for him all the time. Before her death she gave him a Bible and told him not to open it until she had died.

“I did as I was told. I took it and placed it on the top of my wardrobe and forgot about it. One day it was a little cold, so I looked for a blanket. As I pulled out the blanket, the Bible fell off. I opened it and saw how my mother wrote in the scriptures and prayed for me. I saw my whole life in there, and from that moment I told myself never will I go back to the bottle again.

“To stop the drinking I started running, and prayed. It wasn’t easy, but with time I managed to stop drinking completely. Now my mission is to spread the word of God through running and telling my story.”

He has his eye on Jerusalem where he will run with a unity flag. His friends and family are helping him raise the R35 000 that he needs, but he still needs more.

“I’m grateful for the support. I don’t have enough funds yet to determine when I will be going, but I will as soon as I have enough money. I want to spread the Word and give hope to others that alcohol is not the solution and you can turn your life around.”

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