My Hope Lives

Meet Our President

Lew’s Background:

From 1982-1985, Lew was the Director of Christian Education at First United Methodist Church in Florence, AL. From there, he enjoyed a 13 year career with Books-A-Million, holding several executive positions such as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. In 1998, Lew founded Kindred, a Christian retail superstore in Birmingham where he was President/ Chief Executive Officer.

In October of 2002, Lew joined the King’s Home team, where he serves as President. Lew’s experience in business helps King’s Home manage essential areas such as strategic planning, financial expertise, operations, and Human Resource management.  Lew’s greatest joy at King’s Home is seeing God restore, heal and transform the lives of youth, moms and children escaping abuse and domestic violence.

Lew’s Testimony:

“I grew up in Roanoke, a little town in east Alabama. I was your normal teenager.  My world at the time revolved around football, girls, and school. Momma made me go to church; Daddy made me go to work.  On Friday, December 27, 1974, my life as a happy and content high school sophomore was turned upside down.

It was two days after Christmas, and I was leaving work from my dad’s grocery store at about 6:00 that evening.  Though the store’s closing time was 8pm, I convinced my dad to let me go early since I had a date with a gorgeous cheerleader from a neighboring school in Wadley, AL.  As I walked across the dark, back alley street behind our store, two young men pulled a gun on me and forced me into a car at gunpoint. They proceeded to tell me that they were kidnapping me for a ransom of $250,000, and wanted to know if my dad could get them the money that night. I knew this plan would not turn out well, but I had no idea of the events that would transpire.

We drove outside the town limits, way out in the country, and down some “backwoods” dirt roads, finally stopping in the middle of nowhere. These guys directed me at gunpoint to walk away from the dirt road and through thick brush for about 30 yards. Within seconds after this they ordered me to stop and wait. They struck my head with their gun, leaving a big gash and blood flowing. I was almost knocked unconscious and collapsed. After only a couple of minutes, one of the men slammed his fist into my chest; I immediately felt a sharp, piercing pain.  I had been stabbed with a knife. Blood was now spilling down my stomach too.  I rolled over, and he stabbed me in the back three more times.  Blood was pouring out from all of my wounds.

With one guy on each side, they lifted me by my armpits and began dragging me over rocks, debris and brush.  I wondered, “Where are the dragging me?”  All of a sudden I was falling. They had thrown me in an old, abandoned water well about thirty feet underground. Trying to cover me up, they began dropping large chunks of “brick and mortar” on top of me. The pain was excruciating as these boulder-like objects crushed my head and back.

Soon a flashlight shined down on me, and they began shooting.  The first three shots missed, but the forth shot ripped into the back of my head.  At this point, they left me for dead.

For about two hours, I fought for survival in the bottom of that well, all the while experiencing an avalanche of feelings. Hopelessness overcame me and in desperation, I fought to live. I screamed, I scratched, I clawed, pushed and pulled, but there was just no way out of that well; nothing worked. I gave up any more attempts to get out and was giving up hope.  Sitting in freezing mud, muck and water in the bottom of that well, I began reflecting on my life and realized how much I had taken for granted. I recalled all of the Bible verses and songs I learned in church that I was “made” to memorize at a young age; even reciting them out loud.  The verse that meant the most is Psalm 23:4, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for you are with me…”  From that moment on, I quit worrying so much about dying because I knew God was with me.  This was such comfort as I struggled to stay alive and to literally keep my head above water.

I was so weak and near death that I did not have the strength to sit up straight in the water.  As I battled to remain conscience and to keep myself from sliding under water and drowning, I reached up and felt a hole in the side of the well that I was able to grab on to. I wondered if there was any possible way that I could get my foot into that hole. I prayed and asked God to help me pull myself up as I slid my foot into the hole. He gave me the strength to pull up. I found more of these “holes” as I slowly and painfully worked my way up, asking God to grant me the strength I did not have. He miraculously gave me the ability to climb out of the well. With the loss of blood, severe shock and injuries I had suffered, there was no physical way I should have been able to climb out of that well. Paraphrasing 2 Corinthians 12:9, when we’re the weakest; He’s the strongest.  That’s the only way I got out of that well.

Once out of the well, I asked God for the “impossible” again (Mark 10:27- Believe God for the impossible) and began crawling toward a ramshackle house I had noticed back up the dirt road about a mile away.  For two more hours, I crawled a few inches and on rare occasions, a few feet at a time, crying out to God for strength and help. Life was literally draining out from all of my wounds. Finally making it to this dilapidated “shotgun” house, I beat on the door for someone to let me in. I could hear a car coming down the road that sounded like the one driven by the kidnappers. As the door opened, I collapsed inside attempting to explain that two guys tried to kill me; that I had been shot, stabbed and thrown in a well.

Within seconds I could heard the car park out front; in walked the two kidnappers.  Of course, I screamed, “Those are the guys who tried to kill me!”  Thankfully, when the kidnappers saw me, they immediately turned and ran.  Later, I learned that this was the home of one of the kidnapper’s grandmother and they were having an after-Christmas family gathering. One of the family members took control of the situation and began calling for help.

The area was so remote that the first ambulance got lost, and it took another two hours to finally get me to the hospital.  After two more hours in the emergency room, where doctors and nurses were trying to save my life, they gave me only a 5-10% chance to live until morning.  The doctor told my parents that because of my extensive wounds, collapsed lung from the stabbing, loss of blood, and severe shock, I’d be “too weak to survive”. They predicted that even if I made it through the night, pneumonia and infection would set in, likely leading to death within a couple days.

I never experienced pneumonia or infection; doctors could not explain my miraculous recovery. I was sent home from the hospital in less than two weeks. I was so thankful to be alive. I was so grateful for many things and people in my life that I had assumed would always be there. My faith in God grew stronger, and I no longer took my life for granted.

December 27, 1974 was a pivotal night in my life that I will forever remember. We all face difficult times in life when we lose hope for a variety of reasons: failed relationships, poor health, abuse, personal failure, etc. We all experience pain, suffering, disappointment, and loss; it’s just part of living in a “fallen” world. It’s a bond we all share, and it’s a bond I share with King’s Home residents, as they tell me: “I have no hope”.  For this reason, I count it such an honor and privilege to serve at King’s Home, to help victims of abuse, neglect, abandonment, and homelessness find hope in Christ from these devastating circumstances. One of our favorite verses at King’s Home is Jeremiah 29:11- God has a plan, hope and future for your life.”