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Sandy • With every seat in the auditorium and balcony filled, Senior Associate Pastor Ken Krueger urged the audience to double up if necessary to make room for the overflow standing in the lobby.
More than 800 people showed up at Mountain View Christian Assembly to hear 28-year-old Australian preacher Nick Vujicic deliver his message of hope.
Vujicic, born without limbs, deftly maneuvered his automated wheelchair through a narrow stretch between the choir riser and the stage's edge to the desk that would serve as his platform.
"If I did fall off [the stage]," Vujicic quipped, "I'd just sue you for an arm and a leg."
In his younger days, Vujicic had asked God to give him those missing appendages. He was born with a small left foot and two toes, with which he says he can type 43 words per minute or 53 "after two cups of coffee."
That same small foot flipped quickly through a Bible to locate chapter and verse as he spoke to the crowd about the God who instead of giving him limbs healed his heart and gave him a new lease on life.
At age 10, tired of being bullied and afraid of being a burden, Vujicic said he tried to drown himself in a bathtub but backed out after envisioning his parents crying over his grave.
Five years later, he gave his life to Jesus, Vujicic said, after hearing the gospel account of a man born blind "that the works of God should be made manifest in him."
At one point, Vujicic flashed the audience the peace sign using his toes.
"I sprained my foot playing soccer," Vujicic chuckled, "and I couldn't walk for three weeks. ... I felt disabled."
Vujicic shared the scriptural key to transcending any misfortune or circumstance: "When I am weak, He is strong."
And while it may seem harsh to go through life without limbs, Vujicic lamented that most teenagers grow up in broken homes, which he believes is worse.
"Three of four teens go from one war field of teasing at school to not knowing what to do with their parents [at home]," Vujicic said.
To Vujicic, nothing is beyond God's healing hand.
"You don't know what God can do with your broken pieces," he said, "until you give them to Him."
The young but charismatic speaker was brought to Mountain View by Standing Together, a Wasatch Front organization of evangelical Christian churches.
In 2008, Vujicic was featured on ABC's "20/20" program. This was his second trip to the Salt Lake Valley, having wowed audiences on an earlier visit in 2009. In 2010, Random House published his first book, Life Without Limbs: Inspiration for a Ridiculously Good Life.
Vujicic also has produced two motivational DVDs: "Life's Greater Purpose," and for youth, "No Arms, No Legs, No Worries."
Mountain View Senior Pastor Sieg Krueger said the estimated crowd of more than 800 exceeded the church's typical Sunday attendance by 200 to 300.
His wife, Judi Krueger, summed up Vujicic's message: "No matter what your circumstances, if you allow God, he will make good of them."
Anwar and Iris Paul, natives of Pakistan who settled in Salt Lake City 13 years ago, said they usually attend the Cottonwood Presbyterian Church but were invited by a friend to come hear Vujicic.
"He's a wonderful preacher," Anwar Paul said. "He's so deep in his faith and he brings hope to all those who don't realize what the Lord has gifted them with."
For more information
Nick Vujicic • lifewithoutlimbs.org
Standing Together •standingtogether.org
Mountain View Christian Assembly • 300 E. 8000 South, Sandy, 801-561-5911, mvcaog.org