By Alicia Doyle

The Writer
Specializing in Good News
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Nick Vujicic, although he lacks limbs, is good at lifting spirits

James Glover II / Ventura County Star: Natisse Gaida of Newbury Park prays with Nick Vujicic after his speech Thursday at the ninth annual National Day of Prayer Breakfast at the Hyatt Westlake Plaza. Vujicic, from Australia, says he thanks God he was born without arms and legs because it has given him the opportunity to share his faith worldwide.

May 3, 2008/Ventura County Star

Born without limbs, Nick Vujicic is a motivational speaker who empowers people to be all that God created them to be.

"I'm so thankful I was born without arms or legs," said Vujicic, 25, of Westlake Village. "I may not have feet to dance, but God has given me wings to fly."

Pursuing life's greater purpose in order to affect the world was the message of his keynote speech Thursday at the National Day of Prayer Breakfast, where hundreds watched with awe, tears and laughter as Vujicic spoke of his fate and the healing power of God.

It will surely be in his message on Sunday, as well, when Vujicic speaks publicly again, at a CareNow fundraiser in Moorpark.

"There is no medical reason why this happened to me," said Vujicic, who grew up in Brisbane, Australia.

As a child, not only did he deal with the typical challenges of school, he also struggled with depression and loneliness and questioned why he was different from all the other kids around him.

"But I had a choice," he said, "to be angry at God or be thankful for what he's given me."

He then recited one of his favorite passages in the Bible, Jeremiah 29:11: "For I know the plans I have for you plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Those who are hurting or broken due to any number of circumstances often turn to things other than God to fulfill their needs, he said, ultimately ending up in a place that doesn't bring the true and lasting satisfaction they're seeking.

"We all have something heavy we carry," Vujicic said. "No matter what you're going through, God knows it and he's with you, and he will give you strength."

Imagine for a moment '

Moments before Vujicic was carried onstage, he was introduced by Cmdr. Keith Parks of the Ventura County Sheriff's Department, who asked the crowd to consider a hypothetical question.

"Imagine for a moment being born without arms or legs with no fingers to experience touch no legs to walk, run or dance," Parks said. "Nick's amazing will is credit to his faith in God. He's only 25 years old, but he's accomplished more than people twice his age. This is about the miracle we can all be with the power of the Lord Jesus Christ."

Pastor Bruce Kitabjian of Grace Bible Church said a prayer in honor of Vujicic's presence. "Speak through him to our hearts and minds, and bless his ministry," he said.

When Vujicic was born, it was a great shock to his parents, he said.

"They had no idea I would be born without arms or legs," recalled Vujicic, who is the son of a pastor.

As a boy mired in confusion over his plight, he found little comfort in things that would bring other children joy, like singing "Jesus Loves Me, This I Know" in Sunday school.

"It was difficult to be thankful," Vujicic said.

As the years went by, other thoughts laid heavily on his mind. "Am I going to have a proper education? Will I ever get married? And if I do, I can't hold my wife's hand."

To drive his next point, Vujicic went from his upright position and laid himself down on his stomach, his eyes still focused dead ahead on the audience.

"So what do you do when you fall down?" he asked. "Get back up."

Seeing the glory

It was at age 19 that Vujicic started to fulfill his dream of being able to encourage others and bring them hope through motivational speaking and sharing his story.

The shift in consciousness began with another Bible passage, when he read John 9. "Jesus said that the reason the man was born blind was so that the works of God may be revealed through him," Vujicic said. "I now see that glory revealed, as he is using me just the way I am and in ways others can't be used."

As founder of the ministry Life Without Limbs, Vujicic also has his own motivational speaking company, Attitude is Altitude, and travels the world sharing his story with millions, including numerous world leaders.

"I have been called to share how God has given me the strength to be who I am," said Vujicic, who recently moved from Australia to California and established his ministry in Westlake Village. "If you believe God has forgotten you, he hasn't. He didn't forget me."

On Sunday, Vujicic will be the keynote speaker at CareNow Foundation's second annual SafariNow fundraiser at the Moorpark Country Club.

"Nick is an amazing speaker and is a true testimony for embracing life's challenges," said Ed Bjurstrom, founder of the foundation, a charity focused on bringing essential healthcare to the people of Africa. "He has not let his physical limitations of being born without legs or arms deter him for living a full and meaningful life."


To hear this story on Alicia's radio segment, click on the link below:


James Glover II / Star staff: Nick Vujicic addresses the audience from atop a table at the National Day of Prayer Breakfast. He also will be keynote speaker Sunday at a Moorpark fundraiser.

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