How Valuable Is a Little Encouragement in a Person’s Life?

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.

man carrying cartons of eggsStarting 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.”

men sitting at desksAlthough 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.

15 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Rina Ristanamai September 17, 2010

    that’s great..ecouraging and inspiring……

  2. Stacey August 18, 2010

    What an encouraging story! I am encouraged to continue to write to my children. To Carolyn, I would encourage you to write as often as you can. Your letters do make a difference. And you can go on Compassion’s website and email a letter to your child. I have a correspondent child in Bangladesh that tells me he loves to get my letters every month, because they are so beautiful! If you are strapped for time to write, there is an option to call Compassion and allow your child to have a correspondent, just someone who will write letters to him/her. Every time I read any of my children’s letters and read an encouraging story like this, I am reminded of the eternal impact I am making in these kids’ lives. Even if all I send is a letter, it is enough!

  3. Carlos August 14, 2010

    that’s a great story!

  4. Carolyn Torres August 13, 2010

    I love the story. What about people like us who cares and sponsor a child but find it hard to write because of everyday life. I do pray everyday for my sponsor child and others. I hope that someone from compassion will tell any child that does not receive a letter from their sponsors that their sponsors do care for them.

    1. Allen August 18, 2010

      Hi Carolyn — It’s wonderful that you’ve shown commitment to praying for your sponsored child and in supporting her! The kids really consider the letter writing important as tangible proof of the sponsor’s interest in them. Some ideas for sponsors who find it hard to write might be 1) sending a brief card with exactly what you said here: “I care about you and pray for you everyday. Love, Carolyn” — that would make such a big impact! 2) send an e-mail through your online account on the Compassion website, 3) birthday or Christmas cards, 4) a sticker sheet or coloring page, 5) ask a child in your life to make a drawing/card/letter for your sponsored child, 6) ask Compassion to assign a correspondent to communicate with your child on your behalf.

    2. Anna Pancake August 18, 2010

      Oh, please write to your child…even if it’s just an email, it will mean the world to him or her. Julie posted a journal over on today that I would love for you to read it makes it so clear how valued our letters are. If it’s figuring out what to say there are some great “form letters” on OC to make the process go more easily. We would LOVE for you to join us in writing, and I promise it will be a huge blessing to both of you.

  5. Teena August 13, 2010

    Thank you so much for sharing! Our sponsored child is from Indonesia! We write him often….

    My dream is to sponsor him (Ucok) til he finishes the program.Another dream is to one day travel w/ compassion to meet him! He is 6 now.. He was 2 when we started.

    This past year we met a group of international kids who sang in a choir…seeing this kids and hearing them ask me not to forget them… Makes it hit home. It only takes a minute or two to write a word of love.

    We LOVE getting letters from Ucok too!


  6. En August 12, 2010

    Your sponsorship really DOES make a difference.

  7. Mike Stephens August 12, 2010

    It’s great to hear these testimonies, encouragement is priceless!

  8. Michael Patterson August 12, 2010

    Last night I returned from vacation to find a letter from an LDP student sponsored by my coworkers and me. Juan David wrote, “This evening I received the letter you wrote to me with the photos. I want you to know I feel excited when I receive news from you. Your words fulfill me of breath and give me strength to keep going forward.”

    Juan David’s letters keep me going forward as well, reminding me that letters from sponsors DO make a difference.

    1. Vicki Small August 21, 2010

      I remember when we got to hear Juan David tell his story – and I remember that the only time he broke down was when he began to tell how much he appreciated the encouragement he receives from his sponsors. He was unable to speak, for a few minutes, but his tears said it all.

    2. Lisa Miles August 12, 2010

      Alright, that one made me cry.

  9. Lisa Miles August 12, 2010

    What a wonderful, incredible story. I agree with JD — sponsors, please write your kids!! And please think twice about ending a sponsorship. You represent something real and powerful to your sponsored child.

    Good job Wolly for your success and strength — and God bless Robert and JoAnne, his sponsors!!

  10. Chris Giovagnoni August 12, 2010

    The blog post originally stated that Wolly’s sponsorship ended in the early eighties when our ministry was affected by violence in the region. That was incorrect.

    I learned that we actually closed our ministry in Indonesia because we were not able to guarantee the integrity of our programs at that time.

  11. JD August 12, 2010

    If this doesn’t communicate the need for people to write to their sponsored child, I’m not sure what could… this sponsor was crucial in the life of this child, and without communication with this child, it wouldn’t have been the same.

    Love, love, love this story.

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