Chandra and Angelina, an East Indonesian couple gave birth to a fine little girl, except for the fact that the their daughter’s fingers were fused into a club, her forehead had a dip and her eyes were misplaced on that puny face.

“I felt crushed and hopeless. The dreams and hopes I had built for my daughter crashed,” said Chandra. But he gave thanks to God that she was born. “I knelt down and prayed. I thanked God she was born,” he says.

Heart-broken Chandra, not knowing how to break the news to his wife, sought the help of his pastor, who prayerfully told Angelina about the condition that the baby was born with.

Then Chandra called his pastor to help break the news of their daughter’s condition to his wife, Angelina.

“My body was shivering upon hearing the confession of my husband. I just cried and wondered why God had entrusted this to me,” says Angelina.

They named the baby Karunia, which meant “bounty” or “prize” in Indonesian. She was suffering from a rare condition called Apert syndrome, a congenital condition in which the bones fuse together. The skull, hands, and feet are affected. Though there are treatments available for the condition, there is no cure guaranteed.

Karunia who was suffering from high fevers and struggle in breathing had to face a bigger challenge as she was growing up which was the judging stares of her small community. Moreover, she was constantly bullied by many of her friends.

“There are some who bully Nia,” said Chandra. “They mock her by saying, ‘Hey, look, it’s Nia, the deformed girl’.”

She started to receive help from the Compassion Survival Program, a holistic child development program. The program not only helped Karunia but also allowed Chandra and Angelina to have a positive attitude towards her daughter.

“I started to feel strong. I told my husband that I love her even more than if I had a healthy child without disabilities. It is because of the strength of God,” said Angelina.

“I am beautiful like my mother when my friends mocked me because I don’t have normal fingers, my mom taught me to say back to them that this is what Jesus gave me,” said Karunia.

“She is my own flesh and blood, and we have to take care of her for as long as God gives us life. Because God has a purpose for her,” said Karunia’s mother Angelina.