Boyce student becomes viral celebrity*after pizza delivery turned violent

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  • Boyce student becomes viral celebrity*after pizza delivery turned violent

    He doesn’t remember carrying the pizza into the emergency room. It was a miracle he was even walking. But Boyce College student Josh Lewis doesn’t desire his newfound celebrity because he delivered a pizza after he was stabbed. He wants the world to know he is not ashamed of the gospel and that he forgives his attacker.

    “I’m not really holding a grudge against him,” said Lewis, who is from Detroit. “If he was in the same room as me right now, I would tell him what he did isn’t okay, but I would tell him that I forgive him and try to share the gospel with him and show him Christ.”

    Lewis, 19, has been employed at Spinelli’s Pizzeria since last August and is a sophomore at Boyce, the undergraduate school of Southern Seminary. While delivering a pizza to the emergency room at downtown Louisville’s Norton Hospital on May 3, he says a man confronted him outside of his car and demanded his keys. When Lewis noticed the man had a knife, he dropped the keys and ran toward the hospital, but he says the man caught up with him and stabbed him in the back before taking off with his Jeep Cherokee.

    After checking into Norton’s emergency room, Lewis was transferred to the University of Louisville Hospital where he was treated for a collapsed lung and torn muscles. Doctors later realized that the knife also punctured part of Lewis’ liver. Lewis’ mother drove in from Detroit and says the stabbing could easily have killed him.

    “We don’t look at this as an accident or a fluke, but God’s grace working in difficult situations,” said Terri Lewis. “God spared him, and we have no doubt about it.”

    Since the story was first reported, Lewis made headlines around the world, including major news aggregation sites like BuzzFeed, USA Today, and BBC. Although Lewis does not remember delivering the pizza, after conversations with co-workers and family, he is now convinced he did somehow deliver the pizza after the attack. And he has a $50 tip to prove it.

    “I’m still surprised about the whole viral thing, but I really don’t care that much that it’s popular because of the pizza as much as it has provided opportunities for me to share the gospel with the people who have brought it up,” Lewis said, describing his approach to talk with news media about his faith.*

    It wasn’t just his verbal profession of faith that grabbed headlines either. When a photo of Lewis with a 116 tattoo on his arm circulated on social media, Reach Records took notice and sent him clothing and apparel. Hip-hop artists like Lecrae and Trip Lee use the 116 slogan as a symbol for Romans 1:16, in which the Apostle Paul writes, “I am not ashamed of the gospel.” Lewis says the tattoo achieved its purpose by making a statement around the world.

    “Since I got the tattoo in January 2014, it has obviously been a good gospel conversation starter,” Lewis said. “And since it was on my arm on the picture that was passed around in the news story, it was really sweet seeing that everyone had to look at it and wonder what it was.”

    The incident also opened doors to share the gospel with his Spinelli’s co-workers, who he said never wanted to listen to him before the stabbing.

    “God provided an opportunity for my co-workers to get a reality check and look at God and the gospel because I’ve been praying for a long time on how to reach them,” Lewis said. “I guess God, in a really weird, scary way, answered my prayers.”

    While Lewis received international recognition from celebrities and social media sites, the attention from friends at Boyce College and Sojourn Community Church, where he is a member, generated the most support for his recovery.

    “Josh is always an upbeat young man, you can tell he has a great mind. He’s likeable, well-respected,” said Boyce Dean Dan DeWitt, who visited Lewis in the hospital several times. “I’ve been thankful for all the Boyce students who have expressed their support of Josh. There was a small group of students huddled in the waiting room when I got there, and most of that small group stayed until 3 a.m. the first night he was in the hospital.”

    “I did not realize at all how many people were willing to set aside time in their day to spend time with me,” said Josh Lewis. “It’s just been really overwhelming the amount of support from Christian communities I’ve had, coming here and praying with me and letting me know that they’re supporting me.”

    Many of those students supporting him are also members at Sojourn, either involved in the college ministry or his community group. John Mike McGuire, a Boyce graduate and Lewis’ former dorm hall mate, was the first person at the hospital and supported him throughout his hospital stay.

    “Because of the strength of our community here at Sojourn, it’s not unusual to hear that someone from his CG was immediately there and has been by his side the entire time,” said Clif Roth, the pastor of groups and Connect at Sojourn Midtown. Roth and Josh Rothschild, a Southern Seminary Master of Divinity student and Sojourn’s deacon of college students, brought Lewis his favorite ice cream and talked about his new and unexpected platform.

    After he was released from the hospital, Lewis recorded a video with Sojourn in which he shared part of his testimony in light of the near-death experience. The video is available online at youtu.be/S9dMw59MCVI.

    The pizza he delivered to the emergency room will likely be his last, although Lewis will continue working at Spinelli’s when he returns to Boyce in the fall. He says the stabbing incident and subsequent celebrity only increased his opportunity for gospel witness and has no impact on future plans.

    Authorities found Lewis’ Jeep Cherokee burned in Lawrence, Indiana, and Lewis says he is waiting on the investigation before he gets a new car. In the meantime, Lewis’ church and employer raised funds for a car and medical expenses. On May 6, Spinelli’s Downtown and Norton Hospital partnered to raise $6,380 for Lewis’ recovery. A GoFundMe account created by Mack Welsh, Lewis’ community group leader, has raised more than $7,000 since May 4. For information on how to donate, visit Page Not Found.



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