Internationally known motivational speaker Nick Vujicic greeted with packed house in Hazelwood

Find out why this fellow – born without arms or legs – now travels and speaks worldwide, and came to give his presentation at Portland Adventist Academy. This is a truly amazing story …

Hundreds of people line up outside of Portland Adventist Academy, all awaiting their chance to see the “Life Without Limbs” man, Nick Vujicic, speak in Hazelwood.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Anyone driving along SE 96th Avenue – across from the new MAX Light Rail station near Adventist Medical Center – probably wondered why the parking lot of Portland Adventist Academy (PAA) was quickly filling to capacity, and a line of people was snaking across the school’s grounds, on April 14.

Young and old, families and singles, were all lining up to see and hear Nick Vujicic speak.

What’s so special about Nick Vujicic?

He’s a 26-year-old limbless man that many say has already accomplished more than most people achieve in a lifetime.

Vujicic has traveled around the world, sharing his story with millions of people – speaking to a wide range of groups such as students, teachers, businesspeople, and entrepreneurs.

“During this trying economic time, when so many people are having a great difficulty,” said PAA spokesperson Liesl Vistaunet, “we wanted to do something for the community-at-large that would be encouraging, yet affordable.”

The going ticket price to see Vujicic, Vistaunet said, was typically about $50. “We know there are people who can’t afford that, but who really want and need to hear his message. And, the proceeds we raise from ticket sales will be passed on to Portland Rescue Mission and Portland Adventist Community Services, here in the Gateway area.

PAA junior Carolyn Green is helping to seat guests – says Vujicic’s morning assembly was inspiring to her.

Morning presentation inspires students.
Students and staff at PAA were treated to a private assembly that Vujicic presented that morning. “The most important thing I took away from his message this morning, David Olson, a PAA junior, told us, “was that it doesn’t matter what struggles you have in your life. What does matter is having a strong faith in God. He inspires me to live every day as if it were my last.”

Carolyn Green, also a junior at the school, added, “The most important thing I can use in my life is his message to never give up. You can be a strong through anything, no matter what.”

PAA Principal Gale Crosby welcomes guests to the program, before introducing Nick Vujicic.

After leading the packed auditorium in an inspirational music sing, PAA Principal Gale Crosby introduced the guest speaker who all came to hear.

Charming speaker disarms audience
Standing on a platform, Vujicic started off by flashing the peace sign – using two toes of his left foot to form the “V” – a strategy that really seemed to break the ice with his audience.

“Thank you all for coming,” Vujicic began. “It’s my hope, my prayer, that you will leave here, not unchanged but unchained.”

The purpose of his program, he said, wasn’t to make people feel sorry for him. “I believe that it is worse being in a broken home than it is being born with no arms and no legs. Somebody looks at me and says, ‘I’ll never, ever,complain again in my life’ – I’ll say, ‘Get a hold of yourself. Tomorrow morning is just around the corner’.”

Nick Vujicic thanks the audience in the sold-out auditorium for coming to see him.

When he was young, Vujicic said, he was in a deep depression about his condition. “People came up to me, and would say, ‘Hey Nick everything is going to be okay.’ Okay? Not to be mean – they were trying to be nice.

“But they didn’t understand. You see, nobody could tell me what was around the corner. I didn’t know that I was going to go to the University; I didn’t know if I was going to get married or have a family – but I knew if I had the opportunity to be married, I would never have the opportunity to hold my wife’s hand – to be able to dance with my bride on my wedding night. I’m not going to be able to hold my kids when they’re crying. These things were important to me.”

It was as if he heard the phrase, “Just give up”, like voices in his head, Vujicic said, and eventually tried to kill himself at age 10. “You hear those voices enough times, in your head you, you start to believe it. But the truth is always there. When God says there is a hope, just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there – you may be facing the wrong way.”

The limbless Vujicic is surprisingly animated while presenting his message of hope.

Foot count makes point
Vujicic broke his message by asking the audience how many feet they thought he had. “Two?  Anyone for three? It’s just two, the other one was hiding back here behind me. You couldn’t see it, but it was always was there.

“I didn’t know that I was going to be the president of my elementary school, or the vice president of my high school, or to go onto the University, but God did. I did not know that I would do a double major in college and graduate by age 21, with majors in accounting and financial planning, but God did. I didn’t know that I would go to real estate investing at age 19, but God did. I didn’t know that I was going to the stock market investing at age 22, but God did.  I didn’t know that I would be used by God – without arms or legs – to be His ‘hands and feet’, but God did.”

Thanks to a huge projected television image, everyone could clearly see the diminutive Vujicic as he made his larger-than-life presentation.

The audience sat in silence as Vujicic continued to present a message that brought smiles and tears to the faces of those listening to the surprisingly-animated speaker.

It’s impossible to convey Vujicic in action in this article, or to present his entire message. To learn more about Vujicic and his non-profit organization, “Life without Limbs”, see his website: CLICK HERE.

Every seat in Portland Adventist Academy’s cavernous auditorium was filled for this special presentation by Nick Vujicic.

© 2010 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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