Review: Life without limits


Vujicic, Nick, 2011. Life without limits: how to live a ridiculously good life. Crows Nest, Allen & Unwin.

This book was an impulse buy. I hadn’t set out to buy it but don’t regret for one moment having spent the money. Only the night before ‘chancing’ upon the book I had seen Nick interviewed on television. I’d seen him previously on a video shown at church. This impressive young has achieved so much in his colourful life. His testimony in his book about life, dealing with life’s challenges and the role of faith in God in all that is inspirational and one of those ‘Must Read” books.

So what makes Nick different from all those other inspirational writers?

He was born without limbs.

No arms, no legs, no worries. That’s his motto. By trusting in God – and through dogged persistence and effort on his part, he has overcome most obstacles in life – and then some. Nothing seems too hard for him. He has learned to swim – yes, without arms and legs – learned to care for himself, to surf, scuba dive, skateboard and much more.

He has learned how to become a successful international motivational speaker and preacher, how to raise heaps of money – and give it away – and how to have a zany sense of humour in all the challenges life has thrown at him. And he comes up smiling every time.

Truly humbling, amazingly inspiring.

Do yourself a favour and go out and buy this book; it will change your life.

Review: Better than the Witch Doctor

Mary Cundy is an amazing woman. I have never met her, but after reading her book I feel as if I know her very well. I read this book as background research for my Master of Arts in Creative Writing thesis novel and exegesis essay. Although it did not have a direct bearing on my novel it was fascinating reading and it gave me a good feel for the setting of my novel. In fact, she lived for a time right where my novel is set.

In 1957 Mary Cundy, a young social worker in England, obeyed the call of God on her life and travelled to the mountainous country of Nepal. At this time very few outsiders had ever visited the country, let alone work there as a Christian missionary. For the next 33 years she served in remote parts of the country bringing medical help to the local people, even though she had no training in the field.

Scene from our lodge in Monjo, Nepal

Scene from our lodge in Monjo, Nepal

She lived with the people in their villages in very poor and demanding conditions. She quickly started a dispensary, helping over 100 very ill people daily. She graphically describes the daily lives of the village people and the struggles she had coping with their medical needs, physical needs as well as making small inroads into their spiritual needs. As a Christian missionary, however, her work was frequently hampered by officialdom (it was forbidden at the time to proselytise), suspicion (the local witch doctors were very powerful) and mistrust (she was often the first non-Nepali person locals had seen).

This is a very encouraging book. Not only is it a good read, I found it amazing how God can take ordinary people like Mary, put them in impossible situations, and produce extraordinary lives.

As far as I can determine, this book is sadly no longer in print.


  • Cundy, M 1994, Better than the witch doctor, Monarch Publications, Crowborough, East Sussex.

Further reading:

  • My travels in Nepallinks to my travel blog, includes many photos taken in Nepal.
  • Writing a novela series of articles about how I went about writing my novel for children set in Nepal.
Ama Dablam, Nepal

Ama Dablam, Nepal

What I am reading: ‘Braver than the Gurkhas’

Writing a novel: a writer’s journal part 22

What I am reading: “Braver than the Gurkhas” by Sikhar

I chose to read this little know book as background reading for the writing of my novel for children. Like my novel, this book is set in Nepal. It is based on true events but is written as fiction.

On the cover it states that this story is an account of ‘heroism of an oppressed minority fighting for survival.’ It is not an understatement. In the dedication it says it has been written in memory of Bir Bahadur Rai, the first known Nepali martyr for ‘Yesu.’

Nepal in the 1980s was still emerging into the modern world. Christian missionaries had been working in the country since the early 1950s, predominantly as medical staff in clinics and hospitals set up in a range of towns and villages. Nepalis throughout the country were slow to embrace the Christian faith and in the 1980s there was an open government policy forbidding conversion to Christianity. Converts were not only ostracized by their families and the wider community, they were usually imprisoned. Many were tortured for their faith in ‘Yesu’ (Jesus) and some were killed.

This novel traces the fortunes of one family who suffer as a result of these policies. The father of the family is a drunken, wife beating, lazy farmer who actually bashes up the local Christian pastor. One night, while drunk yet again, he decides to burn down the church in his village. Instead of being successful in his aim, he overhears several of the Christians praying for him. This leads to his conversion as a follower of Yesu. His life is quickly transformed from his drunkenness. His daughter notices the change in his life and she too becomes a Christian. Things turn nasty only minutes after her father’s baptism in the local river. He is arrested, tried and later tortured in prison.

This is a fast moving, intriguing story with strongly drawn characters. The plot moves forward with the inevitable ending. The simple village life permeates the story. The attitudes of the villagers are shown clearly, contrasting well with the changes Christianity brings to their culture. Although the ending is sad, there is also hope for the future. The Christian church has continued to grow and estimates are that now about 2% of the population claim to be Christian. Although imprisonment is no longer government policy, in practice there is still widespread opposition and persecution of Christians.

While there are only a few references to faith in my novel, my two main characters show a friendship between a Hindu Nepali boy and the son of an Australian missionary doctor. I have set my story in 2006, a time of great political unrest and turmoil in Nepal. While my reading of Braver than the Gurkhas does not have a direct bearing on my story, I found the reading of this novel gave me a greater understanding of the way the Nepali people think.


  • Sikhar, 1990, Braver than the Gurkhars, Word Publishing, Milton Keynes.

Further reading:

  • Writing a novel: more articles in this series outling how I went about writing my novel for children.