Another Special Life in Christ
These testimony lives are not stories of "role models". Jesus is the
These are lives wonderfully touched & changed by Jesus!
Christian artist creates amazing Jesus figures in
sand sculpture. See his website which has pictures of dozens of sculptures.
If you've strolled Ocean City, Maryland's
Boardwalk during the last 20 years, chances are you've seen the sand sculptures that Randy
Hofman creates in front of the Plim Plaza Hotel on the beach at Second Street. The sculptures
are 8 to 20 feet across and have biblical themes: Christ on the cross, The Last Supper,
Jesus praying, David and Goliath are favorites.
An ordained minister since 1985, Hofman views the
sand sculptures as his ministry. "The messages show people that God is reaching out to us,"
Hofman said. "They have to be short and simple so people can easily read and understand them
... like a billboard."
Hofman gives away a small, 32-page Bible booklet
to anyone who wants one and averages 50,000 takers each summer. Since he started doing this
in the mid-1980s, he has distributed about 800,000 booklets.
Most observers treat Hofman's sculptures with
respect, if not awe. Some stop at the site to pray. If invited, Hofman may join them.
Passers-by often take snapshots of the sculptures and placards in front of them. The displays
are lit at night but not for photography.
For those who'd like a decent picture of his work,
Hofman recently created a website which contains dozens of color photos of his sculptures.
Many people drop a nickel, quarter or dollar in a glass container in front of the display on
the beach. Hofman depends on these donations, plus earnings from oil painting, for his living
and mission expenses. Some people leave notes. One woman wrote that her son had been killed
in a car accident but had one of Hofman's Bible booklets with him when he died. "That brought
her peace," Hofman said.
In 1989, a Baltimore man who vacationed in
Argentina, offered to pay Hofman's expenses if he'd go there and replicate his sand
sculptures. "I accepted and spent several weeks creating sand sculptures on the beach at Mar
del Plata," he said. "I enjoyed it so much that I went back later at my own
Not everyone respects religious sand sculptures.
Three years ago, a young couple came by and the girl urged her boyfriend to jump on one of
Hofman's creations. He did and the couple ran away.
"The police arrested them for disturbing the
peace," Hofman said. "It's good they did. A crowd saw what happened and went
Hofman has been playing or working on Ocean City's
beach since he was a small child. "I grew up outside of Washington, D.C.; and our family
always came to Ocean City for vacations. I was one of nine children, and we all played in the
sand here like other kids." He also played in a sand box at home with his brothers. "I liked
to make roads, tunnels and sand castles but never thought I'd be making sand sculptures," he
Hofman studied advertising design and visual
communications for two years at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, N.Y. before coming to Ocean City
on his own in 1974. He created color chalk murals on concrete next to the Boardwalk and
learned sand sculpture from another Ocean City resident.
Much has changed since the early years. "When I
started, Ocean City emptied out on Labor Day. Now I work on the beach from Easter until
One sculpture a day was Hofman's limit at first
because he lacked water and had to dig down past the dry, hot surface sand for moist sand. He
worked at night after the sun went down so his sculptures would retain moisture. Usually, by
noon the next day, the sculpture had dried out and disintegrated and he had to start over.
This part of the job is easier now because John and Hale Harrison, owners of the Plim Plaza,
supply him with water and electricity.
Hofman's only sculpting tool, in addition to his
hands, is a white plastic knife used for picking crabs, courtesy of a nearby restaurant, the
Mug & Mallet. The knife is handy for drawing fine lines and sharpening
Youngsters attending SonSpot, an outreach mission
on Worcester Street, do much of Hofman's sand digging now. "The kids are great," he said.
"They come here from six or seven mid-Atlantic states and this is part of their
SonSpot's founder, Gary Steiger, pastor Dick Sands
and his wife, Marsha, keep an eye on Hofman's site when he's busy elsewhere. Hofman presents
four sculptures at a time now and they're good for a week or more because he sprays a light,
white glue on them. He learned the technique from some Californians who built a huge,
promotional sand castle here in the '90s. "I was concerned about the environment but was told
the process is okay," he said.
He feels sand sculpturing is easy because there
are few rules. "Just use clean, moist sand and don't let dry sand mix through it. It's like
baking a cake. Use good ingredients."
Age challenges the physical aspect, admits Hofman,
now 50. "It strains the back and gives me giant leg cramps, so I take more breaks now. Lord
willing, I'd like to continue for years to come."
Aches and pains are no problem with his other
passion, oil painting. Hofman lives with his wife, Marilynne, in Ocean Pines, and paints in
his studio in Newark, Md. He recently completed four undersea life murals, each four feet
wide, for the Coral Reef Cafe at the Holiday Inn at 17th street and the Boardwalk. Seventeen
of his oil paintings also are on display in the lobby of the Plim Plaza." [this from an
online write-up attributed to John McCafferty, 26 August 2002 "Ocean City
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powerful, supernatural transformation of a person's life which is possible through the
acceptance of Jesus as your savior. Are you tired of life as it now is for you? He will
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