‘I started to sob and sob’ - a life-changing encounter in a cafe


After years of alcohol and drug dependency, Ady Hodgkinson was recently baptised – marking an incredible transformation in his life which all started with an encounter at a Christian café.
Ady Hodgkinson on a beach

Ady, 54, had an alcohol and heroin dependency for many years before discovering the difference that God could make in his life. 

“My life had been quite a mess,” he said.

“I’d been drinking since I was 21 and used drugs. 

“I knew something wasn’t right with my life, I’d been through rehab programmes.”  

A friend had suggested that he should volunteer at Aspire Ryde, a Christian community hub based in the former Holy Trinity Church. 

“I enjoyed the work, but after a year, something strange happened,” Ady explained. 

“An old friend came into the building who I hadn’t seen for 30 plus years. He had been praying to meet friends from the past, so when he met me, he said it was an answer to prayer. 

“Then one evening, he sent me a link to a sermon he was doing online.

“Out of curiosity, I clicked on the link, he was talking about how Jesus can save us, if we ask him into our lives.  

“The next evening, he did another online sermon. He was saying if we wanted to ask Jesus into our lives, we should follow him in this prayer. I spoke out loud the prayer, I had nothing to lose.  

“Then there was a third online sermon. I don’t know why, but I thought I’d watch again.  

“I just started to sob and sob.

“Tears were falling like a tap had been turned on. I had an inner peace from then onwards and a feeling that all my worries had been lifted.” 

Ady Hodgkinson at his baptism

Ady later got himself a Bible and started attending a church in Ryde.  

Revd Heath Monaghan, who led Aspire Ryde, baptised Ady in the sea alongside three others who had also come to the Christian faith via Aspire Ryde.  

Ady waded into the sea and was fully immersed, as a symbol of his past life being buried and a new life emerging.  

“It was an awesome feeling - I don’t even remember if the water was cold or not, just that it was a declaration that Christ was part of my life,” he said.