Watch: This Man Born Without Arms or Legs Has Shared His Faith With Millions
Doctors cannot explain why Nick Vujicic was born without limbs. Today, he tells the world how he found hope — and has a bold message for the church.
Tens of millions have come to know his magnetic smile, whether in media interviews with the likes of Oprah Winfrey or through his best-selling books. Nick Vujicic has shared his story live at more than 3,000 speaking events in 68 nations.
Born without arms or legs, he has had severe physical challenges to overcome. He attempted suicide at age 10 after bullying by his peers. Vujicic (pronounced “voo-yi-chich”) says a spiritual revelation changed his life. Having devoted 15 years to inspiring the world, today he has a renewed zeal to share his Christian testimony.
In his new book Be the Hands and Feet, Vujicic recounts stories from his travels around the globe. The Australian-born evangelist reveals why he believes only the gospel answers life’s most difficult questions. Then he challenges Christians to go and share likewise. It’s his most overtly faith-centered work to date.
Vujicic still sees motivational talks as an opportunity — “those speeches where I can’t say the ‘J word’,” he notes. But he’d rather speak of Jesus, as he has to over eight million people face-to-face. One million have committed to Christian faith, reports Life Without Limbs. He spoke in an interview from his ministry base in California.
The One Eternal Thing
The Stream: How has your faith been a part of you overcoming the hardships you’ve faced?
Nick Vujicic: Growing up, I really doubted that God had a plan for me. As I prayed for a physical miracle of having arms and legs miraculously, it was not coming to pass. I wondered: where is the love of God? Why was I born this way? Many other questions were going through my mind.
At age 15, I read John chapter nine. A man was born blind and no one knew why he was born that way. Jesus said, It was done so that the works of God would be revealed through him. That’s when I realized that God had a plan for a blind man, but he also has a plan for me. That’s the whole idea of this book.
It’s very easy in our lives to get so caught up with our day-to-day routines and focusing on our struggles that we forget the bigger picture. Wherever we can, we need to share the gospel. It’s fantastic to preach the gospel without words, I get that. We need to be able to share love and serve people.
The way God can turn anyone’s life around is not only for us to receive as individual children. It’s to then share how that transformation happened for us.
When God sees me face-to-face, he’ll say, Well done, my good and faithful servant. But maybe he might look over my shoulder and ask, Who else did you bring? When all is said and done, and you’ve run the race, the only thing you take is your soul — and letting others know about the redeeming power of Jesus Christ in their lives too.
When you know that, it gives you an eternal view of life. At one stage, I was wanting a miracle. But even when we don’t get a miracle, we can still be a miracle for somebody else.
The Stream: Recently, your ministry hosted Christian meetings in Newbury Park, California held in a massive tent. What happened during those weeks?
Vujicic: It was really cool. We had a total of five thousand people come through the tent during those two weeks. It was really a pilot program for us at Life Without Limbs. We only pitched up one sixth of the tent!
Over the years, it’s been wonderful to see more than a million souls come to Jesus Christ. But what happens to them afterward is still a mystery. What we’re trying to do is make a really good filtering process to connect them to a local church. The tent is inviting rather than intimidating. Yet it’s a back door bridge to the local church.
Often when someone like me comes to a church, people come only because the evangelist is there. It’s very hard to get them back to the church building the next Sunday. Yet they need to be discipled in the fundamentals that confirm the decision they made. Then they get baptized and become an active follower of Christ.
We are bridging friendships into local churches with this tent. Hundreds of people gave their lives to Jesus. Then we had 30 percent come back for at least one discipleship session. That’s a huge percentage if you look at other ministries who do things like this. It’s working with and building up the local church, as we’re all called to do through the Great Commission.
The Stream: Churches have been challenged as they see trends in the next generation. How have you worked in partnership to reach America’s teens?
Vujicic: Through mutual friendships, I met Brian Barcelona and One Voice Student Missions some years back. I heard about the Bible clubs that they started up in northern California.
They’ve been seeing as many as 700 students at school lunches to discuss the Bible. Now the city government is paying for their pizza because they’re feeding students on a whole new level. They’re seeing the morality of that school go up since the gospel was shared during the lunch times.
They’re feeding those students weekly where they’re at. That’s just phenomenal. One Voice has even had some incredible feedback from other ministries like Fellowship of Christian Athletes. They said, What Brian is doing with his volunteer staff is the answer to many prayers of many people around the country.
The American church is coming to see that the mission field is not within the four walls of the church building as much as it’s outside those walls. There are churches that run at 115 members attendance over a weekend. Then they plant two Bible clubs in the local schools, reaching 200 kids. So they’ve got double of what would be in the church, actually outside the church.
I’m working with them with a pre-recorded message and perhaps live-streaming events, we’ll see. I’m just excited because the world is not getting any better. One Voice Student Missions sees the signs of the times and are proactive on the front lines. I’m praying that this catches on like wildfire. I envision and believe that we will see 15,000 Bible clubs in the next five years nationwide.
Faith That Multiplies
The Stream: What is your message to Christian believers today?
Vujicic: Typically, evangelists don’t really work well with the church or vice versa. Our heart at Life Without Limbs is to be the exception. Really we are to empower the church in each community. The church should be embracing the five-fold ministry, which includes apostles, teachers and evangelists.
Many people in church are ordained by the Holy Spirit to be evangelists, but they are told in their churches to just sit in pews or in a cell group. Of their 100 members, are there a few evangelists? They should be sent out with a boat and some nets to fish. Do you know how in three minutes you can talk to somebody about Jesus? It’s sharing who you were before Jesus came into your life, then who you are after He came into your life.
How quickly a church doubles in America isn’t dependent on how well someone preaches. What matters is how many lost people come through the doors. And if no one is telling them, how will they hear?
Be active and don’t just look at: what can I get? What can I pray for? What can God do for me? Ask instead: what can I do for my God to bring back one of His lost children? I think that’s preaching the gospel, sometimes using words and sometimes not.
The eighth book by Nick Vujicic, Be the Hands and Feet, is now available online and in bookstores. Watch for part two of this interview coming soon.