THAILAND - Born without arms or legs, motivational speaker and author Nick Vujicic is filled with energy to further inspire people across the world.
Now, about 1.3 billion people know about his story, up sharply from December 4, 2010, when he was on TV and seen by 270 million people in all of Latin America. His goal is 7 billion.
"We are just thankful that governments around the world can use me as a source of inspiration for teenagers, for the disabled and special integration into the mainstream school systems," he said during an interview in Bangkok earlier this month.
Vujicic, 31, was not born a happy person. The Serbian-Australian evangelist and motivational speaker was born with tetra-amelia syndrome, a rare disorder characterised by the absence of all four limbs. As a child, he struggled mentally and emotionally as well as physically. He was treated as a normal child, disciplined and encouraged to do his chores like fixing his bed, cleaning his room and vacuuming the house.
At 10, he wanted to commit suicide but aborted the decision for fear of leaving his parents with guilt or shame. His parents made his home a safe refuge, where he could always return for love, acceptance or encouragement.
"Maybe they would have said to themselves that they should have done more. They did nothing but love me so they didn't deserve that pain. That's why I decided to stay," he said.
He is determined to pass the same thing to his children, with the plan to spend quality time with them to show his love despite his busy schedules. He wants to reach the world, but he needs a balance. His first priority is having time in prayer, in devotion, and meditation. The second is his family "to make sure that I am an excellent husband more than an excellent speaker and an excellent father more than an excellent provider".
To people who are down, Vujicic encourages them to think about joy.