Vujicic speaks at LifeChurch, inspires community with ‘Life Without Limbs’

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Vujicic speaks at LifeChurch, inspires community with ‘Life Without Limbs’


Video by Spencer Hicks & Kolbe Klement

Story by Shruthika Pochampally
Staff Writer
@shruthreddy

For many people, medically unexplainable setbacks are not only physically challenging, but mentally as well. But for motivational speaker, best-selling author, musician, actor, fisher, painter and swimmer Nick Vujicic, being born with tetra-amelia syndrome, otherwise known as phocomelia, is no longer a drawback as much as a motivator.

“My story begins in 1982 when I was born in Melbourne, Australia with no arms and no legs for no medical reason,” Vujicic said.

Phocomelia is a rare defect caused at birth which usually affects the upper limbs. It generally results in shortened or absent bones of arms or other body parts and is known to affect a very small number of people in the world. 

As a child, Vujicic faced teasing and bullying, which led him to an attempted suicide at the young age of 10 years old. But since then, Vujicic has been spreading a significant message to the youth of today’s generation.

 “You don’t know what’s around the corner until you go around the corner,” Vujicic said. “You don’t know what beautiful things can come from your broken pieces until you give your broken pieces a chance.” 

Today, Vujicic travels the world to places like the Philippines and Africa, speaking to schools and churches about the importance of “hope”.

 The multi-talented and optimistic speaker spent an entire week speaking at LifeChurch Coppell, targeting the community’s children and teenagers to spread a message of religion as well as anti-bullying. The Coppell community was also able to learn from Vujicic’s story when he visited Coppell High School freshmen during the first week of February.

“In these really tough times that we’re living nowadays, people need to hear something that they can look forward to, [to] wake up the next day with hope,” LifeChurch staff member Lubi Arrendondo said. “[Vujicic] shares a message about anti-bullying which is a big deal right now at schools. We’re trying to prevent [bullying].”

Arrendondo says that this message is important primarily because children do not treat each other in as civil of a way as adults are obligated to do.

“We’re trying to get everyone to get along with and accept each other and see no difference,” Arrendondo said. “For adults it’s just simple to share love, to share hope, with other people.”

Though Vujicic is doing great things for people today, he emphasizes that it was not always this easy to be positive and grateful.

“I felt like giving up and hope is everything,” Vujicic said. “When you feel like you have no hope, you feel like there’s nothing left to live for.” 

As someone who has personally experienced the lack of hope in his life, Vujicic strives to assure people of their self-worth, encourage high self-esteem and most importantly, emphasize the importance of having hope and happiness. More than anything, he preaches about the need to be happy, and spread happiness to all those around you.

“It’s not just about if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all, but realizing that when you’re going through something difficult you know how much one true friend means,” Vujicic said. “Sometimes you have to be a friend to get a friend; you realize that hope is when you realize that someone cares for you.”

While Vujicic has a childhood that left him feeling unwelcomed and unappreciated by his peers, the same cannot be said for today.

Senior LifeChurch pastor Tim Holland first became friends with Vujicic when they met through mutual friends, and since then, their relationship has evolved to incorporate hundreds of church-goers and community members into Vujicic’s story, and more importantly, his current efforts to change the mindsets of thousands of people. 

“His wife grew up in our church,” Holland said. “Every time they [were] in the Dallas area visiting her family, they would stop by the church. One Sunday morning, I was preaching and all of a sudden I see this guy come in his wheelchair into the service that I’d seen before on Oprah, or YouTube, all these different interviews.”

Holland claims that this relationship he has built with Vujicic has been very rewarding.

“We all need inspiration, and Nick’s message is that,” Holland said. “It’s one thing for me to tell people ‘you can overcome’, but when someone who physically and so obviously had to overcome so many obstacles, it’s really encouraging.”

Though Vujicic was unable to have a completely happy and content childhood because of his condition and the unfair treatment he received because of it, he was quick to realize that he could help those around him in a very unique way.

“When I was 23 years old, a full circle happened when I met a little boy with no arms and no legs and I realized [that] just because I didn’t get a miracle doesn’t mean that I can’t be a miracle for someone else,” Vujicic said.

This made Vujicic appreciate his career and really open his eyes to how far he had come since his first time speaking about his story.
“When I was 17 years old, my janitor at my high school looked at me and said ‘you’re [going] to be a speaker’ and I said ‘sir you’re crazy’,” Vujicic said. 

The same janitor would ask Vujicic many times over the weeks if he wanted to go speak to a group of students who met on Fridays at lunch to talk.

 “He asked me for three months and he twisted my arm and [finally] I said yes,” Vujicic said.

When he finally decided to share his story for the first time, many students were left in tears, and this was when Vujicic first realized that his story was touching.

Years later, he has realized that he has helped thousands of people.

“I’ve learned just how much you can do with what little you have,” New Tech [email protected] sophomore Mary Beth Dendy said.

Dendy said she was touched after hearing Vujicic share his story which left many people in the audience that night humbled and even in tears. 

Vujicic explains that though his story is one of a pained and discomforted childhood, it is also one of understanding that faith and family can help you overcome all things.

 “I realize now [that] I’m happy the way that I am because more than arms and legs I found peace; more than arms and legs I found purpose,” Vujicic said.

Vujicic realizes now that it is important to find your identity and place in this world. After this, everything, including self-confidence and self-worth, falls into place.

Now that he has established the basic elements needed to live a happy and content life, Vujicic tries to help others as much as possible. One way he does so is through the nonprofit organization he has started: Life Without Limbs. He also travels to underdeveloped areas to spread his message.

“It’s been an incredible 10 years of traveling three million miles around the world through 54 countries meeting 13 presidents and speaking in front of eight national Congresses,” Vujicic said. “It’s been incredible to meet the influential people but it’s also been amazing to go to the orphans and the orphanages. Sadly, there are a lot of people who don’t have food so we try to help.”

Vujicic and his dedicated team have together helped hundreds of impoverished people find faith in God and hope in life and thousands of eager audience members find the confidence they need to stay strong and spread happiness, and plan to continue to do so for as long as they can.

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