“At the age of 8, I vowed to commit suicide, and at the age of 10 I tried.”
With those words, Serbian Australian evangelist and inspirational speaker Nick Vujicic immediately captured the attention of thousands of Imperial Valley residents Saturday night.
More than 3,000 were in attendance here at Central Union High School’s Cal Jones field to cap off the I (Heart) Imperial Valley campaign’s weekend.
Vujicic — pronounced VOO-yee-cheech — was born with tetra-amelia syndrome, a rare condition which left him with no arms and just one foot with two toes.
Ruthlessly teased and ostracized by many, Vujicic contemplated and eventually sought to end his life at an early age, stopping only because of his love for his parents.
That love shifted into something more just a few years later.
“At age 15, I accepted Jesus after reading John chapter 9,” Vujicic said. “I saw what Jesus did despite a man’s blindness and I realized I didn’t need the ABCs and XYZs of God’s plan for me.
“I just need to know that he has forgiven me, and that through knowing him I am inheriting eternal life,” he said. “I hope that people here receive a seed of hope, that if God has a plan for a man with no arms and legs, then he has a plan for them.”
The world-renowned speaker said out of the 30,000 emailed request he received, it was the one from I (Heart) Imperial Valley co-chairwoman Esli Medrano that drew him here.
“Because the area has the highest unemployment rate in the country, I know that they needed inspiration here,” Vujicic said.
The Saturday night event suitably ended three days of outreach in the Valley that saw Vujicic teaming up with I (Heart) Imperial Valley to speak to students and servicemen and women.
Residents from throughout the Valley came Saturday to hear a message of changing pain and fear into peace and joy.
“This is a big deal for the Valley simply because our families matter here,” I (Heart) Imperial Valley chairman and Prison Fellowship Ministry field director Jonathan Lowry said.
“We just want to touch the families of this Valley and let them know that they are loved, that God not only loves them but that He can change their lives,” he said.
The team also did free car washes and fed hundreds of homeless Valley residents over the weekend.
“People are looking for a greater purpose to their life and instead of a circumstantial change, I want them to know that it’s a spiritual transformation,” Vujicic said.
“We are a changed creation when we ask the Holy Spirit to enter our lives,” he said.
For more information about Nick Vujicic and his New York Times bestselling book “Unstoppable,” visit www.lifewithoutlimbs.org
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