ELGIN, Ill. — Having Nick Vujicic speak at Judson University on Oct. 12 was an experience like no other, according to a news release.
Vujicic spoke from a stage riser and commanded the attention of everyone gathered at 550-seat Herrick Chapel. His words were earnest, spoken like someone who understood pain, perseverance and pure joy, the release said.
Born in Melbourne, Australia, with the rare disorder Tetra-amelia syndrome (characterized by the absence of all limbs), Vujicic was the first person to keynote Judson’s World Leaders Forum Inspirational Series.
Vujicic spoke of embracing God’s love and finding hope and redemption even amid hardship and despair.
“We all have disabilities,” said Vujicic as he paced across the riser. “But you don’t know how God is going to use your broken pieces. ‘Thank you, Jesus, that your plan for the world is full of hope.’”
So many people believe that happiness means looking — and being — like everyone else, he said. And for a time, Vujicic admitted, so did he. “Dream bigger,” he said. “Your calling is bigger than you can even imagine.”
Among dignitaries in attendance were Hollywood character actor Doug Jones and film director Josh Weigel. The night’s event marked the first time the three have reunited since the filming of Weigel’s award-winning 2009 short film, “The Butterfly Circus,” which featured Vujicic and Jones.
Earlier in the day, Jones spoke at chapel. He introduced Vujicic for the evening gathering and led a 15-minute Q&A session following Vujicic’s presentation. Of his film buddy, Jones said: “He has taught me that whatever you think you can’t do, you can.”
Later, Vujicic posed for photos with students and passed out signed copies of one of his books.
At age 17, the Australian established a nonprofit organization, Life Without Limbs (www.lifewithoutlimbs.org). Through it, Vujicic has now spoken to more than 3 million people in almost 60 countries on five continents. Additionally, his YouTube videos and social media channels have amassed millions of views.
A best-selling author who unabashedly shares his faith, Vujicic was the focus of the TLC Network’s one-hour special, “Born Without Limbs.”
A graduate of Australia’s Griffith University, he enjoys playing golf, jumping from diving boards and driving speedboats. He and his wife, Kanae, are the parents of two sons.
The World Leaders Forum Inspirational Series is an outgrowth of Judson’s World Leaders Forum, which brings recognized world leaders to campus annually. Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan will be the keynote speaker next spring.