Utah Issues: Christian Evangelist addresses Utah Schools on Bullying

Born without limbs, Nick Vujicic urges students to stop bullying

Nick Vujicic’s discussion of the challenges he has faced resonates with Utah students.


By Ray Parker

| The Salt Lake Tribune

First Published Mar 07 2013 09:07 am • Last Updated Mar 11 2013 02:25 pm

Speaking to thousands of Utah students in public schools, motivational speaker and evangelist Nick Vujicic on Thursday shared how he overcame bullying and other challenges in his life: “It’s my faith in Jesus Christ.”

Vujicic, who was born without limbs, also pointed out the only other item on his elevated stage at Bryant Middle School: “My favorite book is here, the Bible.”

The hourlong assembly was simulcast and streamed live, so that about 200 schools across Utah could watch. Sponsored by Standing Together, a group of evangelical Utah churches, it will be available on the Utah Education Network (uen.org) for other schools to watch later.

Vujicic’s speech focused on the impact of teasing and bullying and on suicide. Gov. Gary Herbert, when introducing Vujicic, said, “It’s one of these days that could be life-changing.”

The Serbian Australian evangelist was born with tetramelia syndrome, a rare condition in which all four limbs are missing. He was bullied as a youth, he told the students, and contemplated suicide at age 10. While sitting in a bathtub, he considered simply rolling over. But the thought of his parents finding him stopped him, Vujicic said.

“I don’t need to look like anybody else,” he said. And true friends, he added, “won’t judge you for how you look.”

Everyone is unique and has their own purpose in life, he said, frequently telling the students he loved them and urging them to love themselves. “You have to love yourself in a humble way, not in a prideful way.”

Vujicic asked the audience of about 400 teens to close their eyes and raise their hands, then make a fist to answer yes to his questions. He asked who had considered giving up, who had considered giving up because of bullying or had considered suicide.

About one in four students closed their fist in response to the suicide question, he told them.

He asked the audience to stand and make a commitment to stop teasing and bullying. “It stops when you stop,” he said.

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