By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent BosNewsLife
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY (BosNewsLife)-- A Serbian Australian evangelist who was born without all four limbs says thousands of Hungarians attended his gatherings aimed at restoring hope and impacting Hungary "for Jesus Christ".
Nick Vujicic, 30, said the April 19-20 'This Is The Day' rallies in the capital Budapest and cities of Pecs and Debrecen began shortly after he privately prayed with Hungary's President János Áder.
"I had the incredible opportunity to meet with and pray for the Hungarian president and his wife," he recalled. While many were believed to have accepted Jesus Christ as what evangelicals call "their personal Lord and Savior" during the meetings in stadiums, Vujicic stressed that “If just one more person finds eternal life in Jesus Christ...it is all worth it”.
The trip to Hungary is part of the 2013 World Outreach tour through some 26 countries of his 'Life Without Limbs' organization, which wants to encourage desperate people, including youngsters.
"I can’t imagine that any previous generation has been lied to as much as ours," he said. "We’re continually bombarded with seductive messages in media," adding that he wants to help "Replace the distorted self-image with God’s true image in the minds and hearts of young people everywhere."
Born in 1982 in Melbourne, Australia, from Serbian parents, Nicholas Vujicic came into the world with neither arms nor legs. He said he could only imagine "the shock" his parents felt "when they saw their first-born brand new baby boy for the first time, only to find he was what the world would consider imperfect and abnormal."
A limbless son was not what nurse Dushka Vujicic, and her husband Pastor Boris Vujicic had been expecting, he explained. "How would their son live a normal happy life? What could he ever do or become when living with such a massive disability?"
Yet, they or anyone else didn't know "this beautiful limbless baby" would one day be someone "who would inspire and motivate people from all walks of life," Vujicic added.
The road towards that realization wasn't always easy, the preacher and motivational speaker admitted to reporters in Budapest. "I used to think I need arms and legs. And I thought if I would have arms and legs I would be happy. But most of you have arms and legs, and you're not always happy," he noted.
Vujicic explained that at age 15, "through reading the Bible and seeing what Jesus said about the blind man" he asked God: "If you have a purpose for a blind man, you have a plan for me."
Despite being bullied at school and other adolescence challenges, Vujicic obtained his double Bachelor’s degree, majoring in Accounting and Financial Planning from Griffith University in Logan, Australia, according to his organization's records.
At just 19, he began preaching to fulfill his "dream of being able to encourage other people and bring them the gospel of Jesus through motivational speaking and sharing" his testimony "about how God changed" his life and gave him "a future and a hope. “
Vujicic eventually moved to California, United States, in 2007 to lead his non-profit 'Life Without Limbs' organization and has since traveled around the world. It was also where he married last year to Kanae Miyaharaa with whom he has a baby boy.
The U.S. was on his mind these days following the recent Boston Marathon bombings in which three people died and hundreds of people were injured, many of them losing limbs. "I know what it is to have no limbs, but we have been praying for the victims," he said.
His group claims the young man has shared his story with "millions of people, speaking to a range of different groups such as students, teachers, youth, businessmen and women, entrepreneurs, and church congregations of all sizes."
He also told his story on various televised programs worldwide. However, "I am not just a motivational speaker who says we need to be positive. We don't need positivity we need hope" in Christ, he stressed. "That's why I travel around the world, bringing a message of hope faith and love. "
PURPOSE OF "FIRE"
The preacher said he found the purpose of his existence and circumstances. "There’s a purpose for why you’re in the fire,” Vujicic explained. "If God can use a man without arms and legs to be His hands and feet, then He will certainly use any willing heart.”
He acknowledged that it wouldn't have been as easy for him in countries such as Hungary, where Christians were persecuted under Communism as well as people with disabilities. Even today, many government buildings and public transport vehicles don't meet the accessibility standards of the European Union, which Hungary joined in 2004.
The evangelist made it a point of meeting Szabolcs, a 20-something Hungarian who was also born without arms and legs, and his adoptive mother. "Unlike me, Szabolcs was abandoned by his parents, in just a few weeks. His story touched me deeply because I can relate to what he has been through," Vujicic said.
"As an orphan, Szabolcs appeared to have no hope, until a compassionate woman came forward and volunteered to adopt him. Already the mother of two children, this woman saw his picture in a weekly magazine. Hoping someone would come forward and take on the demanding role of providing love and care to this limbless little boy, the Hungarian government had placed an advertisement."
That wasn't all. "Like her [adopted] son, she has no legs. And she has only one arm. Today, Szabolcs is in his twenties and is filled with gratitude for the woman who rescued him."
His trip to Hungary was organized by Edina Antalffy who said she grew up in a Communist-era "when God was ignored." In fact, "Hungarians believed that religion was fabricated by ignorant people from the remote countryside," Vujicic explained.
Antalffy became a Christian at age 17 saying she was "introduced to Jesus" by a friend while being present at the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 which sparked the reunification and underscored the collapse of Communist in the rest of East Europe.
"Today Edina serves as our hands and feet in Hungary. She has pulled together hundreds of churches across the country working together to tell their fellow Hungarians about Christ," Vujicic said.
That's crucial in post-Communist Hungary he stressed. "Contemporary Hungarians have lost their passion for the Gospel, despite their rich theological heritage. Like our own country, they are running from God and escaping to fake substitutions like materialism, hedonism and addiction. We are traveling to Hungary at the invitation of churches that are banding together to impact their nation for Jesus Christ."
Hungary, a heavily Catholic nation, has seen growing evangelical congregations despite opposition. A recent church law requires religious groups to seek parliamentary approval if they want to be recognized as churches.
(BosNewsLife, the first truly independent news agency covering persecuted Christians, is 'Breaking the News for Compassionate Professionals' since 2004).
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