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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Design (01/19/04)

TITLE: By His Own Design
By Christine Rhee


Tearfully, JinJu slipped out of her small, grass hut, into the darkness, her precious four-year-old SunHi bundled onto her back. She shivered as the icy wind assaulted her, but this was no time to think about the cold. She had to get SunHi to safety, before JinJu’s older brother came and took the child away, and sold her into slavery.

Quickly, quickly JinJu traveled along the slippery trail between the rice paddies. She could not afford to lose her footing, lest she and SunHi fall into the icy water and freeze to death.

The heart-broken mother gently laid SunHi down on the orphanage steps, still wrapped in her blanket. She felt her soul rip apart as she released her daughter to God’s tender mercies. “Remember, Lord,” she prayed. “Remember to look after this child of Yours, who has been formed by Your own design.”

The child stirred sleepily. With a stifled sob, for the last time, JinJu gently wiped her daughter’s brow, then hurried off into the darkness.


At dawn, missionary Abby McPherson stepped out the front door of the orphanage to find a Eurasian child still sleeping on the porch. A note was pinned to her sweater that said, “This is SunHi. She is four years old. Please look after her.”

With a sigh, Abby lifted the small bundle in her arms and brought her inside to a warm bed. Another “war orphan” to be offered for adoption to some Western couple. A Eurasian child could never be accepted into Korean society.

“Ah, little one,” she whispered into the ear of this new charge, “we know differently, though, don’t we? God made you by His own design, and He has a very special plan for your life!”


The heart of Diane Nelson burst with joy, and tears rolled down her cheeks the first time she laid eyes on her new daughter, Sunni. Kneeling down to look Sunni in the eye, she said warmly, “Ah, Sunni, my precious little daughter! God has clearly made you by his own design! Let’s go home!”


Eight-year-old Sunni was in gym class when they came to get her. Following the school nurse to the counselor’s office, with a beating heart, she wondered what was wrong.

Her parents had been killed in a car accident, the counselor explained. As there were no living relatives, the social worker would find Sunni a foster home.


Sunni hadn’t been to church since her parents died when she was eight. No one in her crowd went. Partying was much more fun.

So she didn’t know why she turned up at the Youth Rally when a classmate invited her. Maybe she was just curious.

“Before you were born, God knew your name,” the speaker said. “He created you by His own design, and He chose you to be His own. You are so precious in His sight that He sent His Son Jesus to seek and find you. He knows you better than you know yourself—your best parts and your worst parts…and He loves you! He urgently longs for you to become His very own child!”

Tears poured down Sunni’s cheeks as she listened. “God created you by His own design”—hadn’t she heard that before? He wanted her to be His own dear child! She finally belonged.


At last, the day had arrived, and Sunni clutched her husband Ken’s hand as the taxi pulled up to the orphanage, the same one she had left thirty years before. Their hearts had gone out to the many “IMF orphans," abandoned by their parents due to tough economic times.

As she stretched her arms out to receive her new little daughter, MiHwa, in a warm embrace, her heart overflowed with love and thanksgiving. “God created you by His own design, my precious Rose of Sharon,” she whispered into her little one’s ear. “Let’s discover together His special plans for your life.”

And so they did.

Member Comments
Member Date
Corinne Smelker 01/26/04
What a wonderful, touching way to describe the "designs" God has for each of us. Bravo!
Donna Anderson01/27/04
This one will stay with me! :)
Violet Nesdoly01/27/04
Really enjoyed your story Christine! Is it true?
Mary Elder-Criss01/28/04
Christine, This was absolutely beautiful, and so well written. You definitely outdid yourself with this story. Wonderful!
Stephen Monday01/28/04
Love wins every battle,
especially when it comes
from GOD, and goes right
back up to HIM, as a
mirror reflects light,
the light in your words
reflect back to GOD.
Your brother in CHRIST
Rev. Stephen Monday
Glenda Lagerstedt01/28/04
I can only say 'amen' to everything our friends above have already expressed. Wonderful.
L.M. Lee01/31/04
truly inspiring story.