Now a successful man who owns a large egg-selling business, Wolly Towoliu was once known as a little boy who had a very bad attitude. Wolly liked to hit his friends, sometimes even with stones. His mother once even said, “It would be better if you just went to the forest. I can’t stand any more of your attitude.”
But after he joined the child sponsorship program in Indonesia in 1979, Wolly got sponsors from the U.S. named Robert and JoAnne Cottone, and he felt he had received new parents. Wolly found people who saw him from a different point of view.
His “new parents” did not just help him with financial support, but they always encouraged him. In each of their letters, they never forgot to encourage Wolly to always put his trust in God.
“Don’t feel desperate. Keep relying on Him. He will make a way for you.”
But this vital source of encouragement ended abruptly in the early eighties when we had to close our ministry in the country.
Still longing for love from his kind sponsors, Wolly tried to contact them by sending a letter to our headquarters in Chicago. He hoped that he would get a reply from Robert, but Wolly received nothing. Our headquarters had moved from Chicago to Colorado, and the letter was sent back, marked “Return to Sender.”
Wolly put the returned letter under his pillow and hoped and prayed every night that he would see his sponsor one day.
Wolly was able to go to university and complete a degree in law from Sam Ratulangi University in the city of Manado. He then moved to Jakarta to find a job.
Wolly applied for many jobs, even those that didn’t relate to his degree. Eventually, he found a job and worked at a company that produces ships. He worked there for five years, but when his mother got sick, he decided to go home to Manado.
Even though he tried to get home as soon as possible, Wolly couldn’t reach his mother in time. On the fourth day, while Wolly was still on the way to Manado, his mother passed away.
“I felt that I lost the spirit to continue my life. I did not have anyone who was able to encourage me anymore. Both of my parents had passed away and I couldn’t contact my sponsor either.”
Not long after his mother’s death, God took care of Wolly in his loneliness. Wolly met someone who was able to encourage him. Wolly met and fell in love with a Manadonese woman, Ike Ingkiriwang, and married her in 1999.
Wolly realized that he had to have a place to build a settled life. He decided to move back to Manado to start a new life with his wife.
Starting all over again, Wolly had nothing to count on. After borrowing money from others, Wolly started a business selling eggs that his brother-in-law raised. Finding customers was the hardest part of establishing a new business. But even though it was hard to do, Wolly stayed dedicated to his job. After more than 10 years, Wolly now has customers around Minahasa, North Sulawesi. Twice a week he distributes his eggs to his customers.
Even though Wolly had succeeded in his business, he always felt a longing for his sponsor. More than 20 years after losing contact with his sponsor, Wolly’s prayers were answered.
In April 2009, Compassion East Indonesia contacted Wolly. They informed him that he could communicate with Robert and JoAnne through a teleconference. For one hour, Wolly told Robert about his struggles to survive after their communication was cut.
He told Robert that he had earned a bachelor’s degree in law, but he had different job because he didn’t have enough money to take the comprehensive courses to be a lawyer.
“I told him that I built a business. I am selling eggs. He was very happy with what I am right now, but he was curious why I don’t use my degree as a lawyer.
“He encouraged me to take the advocacy certificate so I can be a lawyer and use my degree in the future. I agreed with his suggestion but then I forgot. I still continued my business.”
Although Wolly forgot his intention, God used Wolly’s friend from university to remind Wolly of the promise he had made. Markus Sikopong, Wolly’s friend, called him and asked him to take the course.
Realizing it wouldn’t be easy to pass the test, Wolly formed a study group with several of his friends. He had to try to remember the material that they learned in university years ago. On the day the test results were announced, Wolly and all of his study group friends learned they had passed the test. Only about 50 people passed the test from North Sulawesi.
Wolly and his friends are now taking a course at Sam Ratulangi University twice a week to strengthen their knowledge about advocacy. Even though Wolly still has a business that he has to take care of, he is loyal to his commitment.
Although Wolly hasn’t become an advocate yet, he has officially joined an advocate group. In this group he is learning how to defend clients. Upon entering a courtroom in February 2010 for the first time, Wolly won his first case. Since then, he has taken care of three cases.
After other people were advocates on his behalf as a sponsored child, Wolly has now grown up as an advocate for others.