Thursday, July 27, 2006

The last drop...

My story begins at the close of an era…

At the end of our last year of High School (1986 was a good year!) the teachers of Sandown High breathed a sigh of relief. Justin Lippiatt (Aka: Billy the Goat) was departing – never to be seen again!

I got into Rhodes University to study my dream – Marine Biology. I was due to register on the15th February 1987. On the 13th February (under the influence of my friend and copious amounts of beer!) I departed for Youngsfield Spa! 10 Anti- Aircraft Regiment was no holiday camp! The day we arrived the CO said that from 1987 Youngsfield, would never be called a Spa again. So began 9 months of hell! Anyway most of the Regiment opted to go to the border of Namibia and Angola. We left in November 1987 and stayed there (with a few visits to Youngsfield) until we demobilised out in Dec 1988. I spent 13 months on the border, and received my Pro-patria medal for more than 6 months active combat duty.

Once I came out of the Army, my father was up to all kinds of nonsense and illegal activities. I helped him in his little ‘ventures’ as his bodyguard until I decided to get my life right. A few months after I moved away from my Dad, he called me from Jeffrey’s Bay and asked me if I would like to come and stay there. I was there in flash. I stayed there for a year and made money as a commercial fisherman on the “chokka” ski-boats. The ‘Old Man’ and I decided to go and live on a Greek island so off we went. We stayed in Greece for a year, (3 months in Athens and 8 months on Kos island) until we were informed that we were going to be arrested for smuggling. We high-tailed it to Cyprus but nearly got arrested for being illegal immigrants. We upped and caught a boat to Haifa in Israel. I started washing dishes and the ‘Old Man’ went to Moshav. This was during the Gulf War and was pretty intense. One guy Steve (a self-proclaimed Satanist) and I used to sit on the balcony of the No.1 hostel in Tel Aviv drinking beer and smoking marijuana while the Scuds blew up in the foreground. Anyway, I met my ex-wife Amanda there, and after going backwards and forwards between England and Israel (a Moshav in between) we got married in England.

We stayed in Southport, Wigan and Surrey before coming back to South Africa. In 1992/3 we left again to go back to the UK where we stayed in Palmers Green (North London), until she left me at the end of 1994. She just couldn’t handle my drinking and my nonsense anymore. I came back to South Africa in December 1995 penniless and emotionally devastated. I stayed with my brother in Durban for a couple of months, then my dad. I then slept rough on the Durban beachfront, in a basement of a bar. I was also selling insurance to low-income earners believe it or not!

The Sandown 10 year reunion was taking place and my old friends dragged me out of the mire and gave me a place to stay. I stayed with one of my friends until I got a job, and met a “psycho-woman” of note. I moved in with her. To cut along story short, she convinced me to go to Alcoholics Anonymous. I went to the Sandton group on Wednesdays, and Randburg on Thursdays. I was their “blue-eyed boy”. Never before had they had the pleasure of having someone who made everyone else look like angels!

It didn’t work for me, in fact after 3 months, I was worse than ever. I met my current wife Barbarah who couldn’t handle my drinking and wild streak either. She told me to get out. I asked her for one more chance, realising that there would never be another. She relented.
Barbarah went to Church in desperation to get answers. She found God. To score brownie points, and to get her off my back, I went too. I met with God. However, the next weekend I went on a binge of note (at least 24-hr blackout!). I desperately asked Barbarah and God for another chance! That Sunday I gave my life to Jesus, and I have never looked back!

I stopped drinking; taking drugs and smoking on the 1st April 1998, and I haven’t touched them again. Barbarah and I got married in October, and my son Gabriel was born a year later in October 1999. Michaela, my daughter was born in February 2002.

My dad could never forgive me for abandoning him for Jesus, and for becoming a Reborn Christian. He was Jewish. He died in June 2000.

God has been so good to me! He has delivered me from my previous lifestyle. He has taught me to be crazy in a good way. He has given me a beautiful wife, 2 wonderful children, and happiness beyond my wildest imagination. I am currently a Senior Manager in the Client Service Division of Nedbank.

I have completed my 3-year Diploma in Theology at the Christian Bible College, and I am completing my studies for the Institute of Bankers. I have been called to be a Pastor, and I look forward to the day I enter into full-time ministry. I am the founder of Footprint Ministries.

All honour, praise, and Glory to God who loves me, and pours out His Grace and favour upon me. Just because He loves me!
I have a lot to be thankful for. For friends who cared. For forgiveness. For Jesus. For the Last Drop of Blood He shed for me, and the Last Drop I drank.

2 Comments:

Blogger MurrayD said...

An amazing testimony my friend. You are truly an asset to His kingdom and we all love you very much.

God bless
Murray

6:32 am  
Blogger Doreen Hardie said...

Justin is truely blessed to have such a wonderful wife as Barbarah.
Not only did she have the courage to give him that last chance...
God used her to bring Justin to the Lord.

Her beauty and quiet demeanor belie her inner strength. She is a pillar of wisdom and she is always there to uphold others in prayer.

Together they are destined to do great things for our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Be blessed my friends.

6:08 pm  

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