An Indonesian Idol

God creates every child with unique gifts and abilities. One of the joys our church partners have is identifying and nurturing the talent in the children we work with.

family of six people standing outside a homeEleven-year-old Marclif is a talented singer from Wori Village in Manado, North Sulawesi. Even at an early age, he was able to sing. His love of music started from listening to his mother’s lullaby every night before he went to bed.

Singing is in the soul of this boy, who is commonly called Nyopon. It seems that he cannot go through one day without music and singing. Nyopon never attended any music course; he learned by himself. Growing up in a Christian family, Nyopon has been taught to show his gratitude to God by singing praises in Sunday services.

Born into a fisherman’s family, Nyopon knows the struggles that his family faces to meet their basic daily needs. His father received a boat, net and machine from the social department, all of which have helped him to catch fish, but these provisions do not guarantee that Nyopon’s father is always able to fulfill his family’s needs. Sometimes in bad weather, he cannot catch any fish and has to stay home.

Nyopon always wants to participate in his village’s annual singing contest — he has won every time since he first entered in 2006 — but his father does not always have money to pay the registration fee.

Knowing Nyopon’s dream to become a singer, Mustika, one of the staff members at his child development center, offered him the opportunity to enter the “Idola Cilik” contest. Idola Cilik is a national children’s singing contest inspired by “American Idol.”

Nyopon participated in a few stages of the contest along with thousands of children around North Sulawesi in July 2009. In October 2009, he was chosen as one of the two best contestants to represent North Sulawesi in the national contest. Nyopon went to Jakarta for the national audition and competed with 13 other children from other areas of Indonesia. He was supported by the Regent of North Minahasa, which provided tickets to Jakarta for Nyopon and his mother.

The judges and audience were impressed with how Nyopon performed his songs. He even became one of the favorite contestants, as seen through the votes received from the studio audience and the TV audience. Nyopon was one of six children who received the highest number of votes.

Watch Nyopon’s Idola Cilik and subscribe to Compassion YouTube for more stories.

March 13, 2010, was Nyopon’s last day in the competition. Although he only remained in the competition for several weeks, Nyopon didn’t feel sad.

“Even though I just went until the big six, I was really happy I got the opportunity to be in the contest. I can learn new things when I join in the contest. Before I usually sang in front of the people that I know; now I had to sing in front of the audience that I didn’t know. It challenged me to improve what I have learned at the center. [It] built my self-confidence.”

Nyopon attends the child development center on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and goes to a music studio if there is no activity at the center.

“I learn more about music at the center. I have the opportunity to improve my talent. I don’t have to become famous to be a better person. All I need to do now is learn. I already feel grateful to have a chance to give my best.

“It is a special blessing for me to have this chance and my sponsors in my life. I know they are proud of me. I know they always pray for me.”

In addition to pursuing his love of singing, Nyopon has another dream for his life. “I want to see my sponsors’ faces. I want to know the people who always support me all this time.” His father agrees.

“I am really blessed that my son could be a part of the child development center. I can see the difference after these two years. He became very responsible and is developing his talent. I want to thank his sponsors because of their love to our son. I hope we can meet the family one day and show our gratefulness to them.”

23 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Steven Lumonya August 25, 2010

    Nyopon is an amazing and talented young boy. I hope his talent will be nurtured to maturity. May the Lord bless him and his family.

  2. Jamie August 24, 2010

    I am moved by this video and letter along with all the comments. I am Nyopn’s sponsor and just heard today that this was posted. What a talented young boy and I pray that he will continue to grow and improve his talents. Through his many letters I can certainly tell that he loves God and his family. He is so appreciative of everything that he receives. I am sad to hear that his family is moving but over joyed that he would want to meet me and I would love to meet him someday if at all possible. I am not sure we can keep in contact but will be in touch with Compassion tomorrow to find out.

  3. Ken M. August 23, 2010

    I found other videos of Nyopon posted on In one video Nyopon talks about his family, school and he is writing a letter (maybe to his sponsor). There may be scenes from a Compassion Center but since I don’t speak his language and there weren’t subtitiles in English I’m not to sure if it was a center.

  4. patricia pangemanan August 22, 2010

    I’ve met him and he’s a humble kid who is chasing his dream though from family financially it looks impossible BUT he has proved it by his faith that nothing impossible for GOD. keep goin boy…God will always be with you as long as you count on HIM.

    1. Jamie August 24, 2010

      Patricia, I see here that you have met Nyopon. I am his sponsor and would love to know more about him. I just heard today that he is moving and do hope that I will be able to keep in touch with the family. Thanks for anything you can offer.

  5. Deborah B. August 20, 2010

    Wow that was cool.Keep following your dream young man. I do hope he get to met his sponsor(s).

  6. Paul Clutterbuck August 19, 2010

    I haven’t watched this video, but I do quite strongly take issue with the title of this post, even if it is a reflection of the TV shows of similar titles in the US and elsewhere. Calling anyone or anything an idol is a serious breach of both the first commandment in Exodus 20, and the Great Commandment of Matthew 22:37-40. As a Christian sponsorship agency, Compassion needs to steer far away from any such characterization, no matter how much it may resonate with our own or anyone else’s culture. God must surely be groaning at this error, while those who oppose this work (both humans and the Powers of darkness) will be laughing at it. I pray that you will find a more appropriate title for this post before it becomes a hindrance to the work God is doing through Compassion.

    1. chris November 4, 2010

      I whole heartedly agree Paul. I believe we may very well be in the “time of the end” and our focus should be on really studying and spreading the gospel. The powers of darkness are ramping up their efforts to bring down God and decieve all humans. To teach these impressionable little ones how to take advantage of an “idol”…be it just a name for an event or whatever….is against God’s commands and offensive to me as a follower of Jesus Christ. We need to separate ourselves from these “worldly” practices but still reach out to those in need of the Good News.

    2. Lisa Miles August 20, 2010

      Paul, according to the Oxford Dictionary (Advanced Learners Edition), there are two definitions to the noun idol.

      1) A person or thing that is loved or admired very much.
      2) A statue that is worshipped as a god.

      I’m guessing the author is referring to the first definition – and to the popular television program – not the Ecclesiastical reference.

      The origins of the word idol are from the Greek word eidolon or eidos meaning “forrm, shape.” And, as such, there is more than one use for the word.

      Of course, as regular Bible readers, (especially the Old Testament), it’s not surprising that our minds so often go only to the second definition.

      1. Paul Clutterbuck August 22, 2010

        I understand your point; however, I’m still unsure whether it really matters in the light of the context. As my pastor would say, “Context is everything.” Compassion is a Christian organization first of all, and most of the readers of this blog are probably evangelical Christians who would be more familiar with the Biblical definition of the word than with its etymology. Plus I wouldn’t use the OALD, which is intended for speakers of other languages, as my main reference point.

        The Biblical use of the word ‘idol’ can’t be described as merely an ecclesiastical reference, as if it were invented by the Church long after the Hebrew Scriptures were written. It was used in the divine utterance of the holy prophets, and therefore stands far above any ecclesiastical reference, or anything we might say here. If you read passages like Isaiah 40-45, you will see how much God hates idolatry, and how jealous He is of His glory. We cannot afford to forget that or downplay it, lest God bring down the important work that Compassion does around the world. I would not want to see Compassion come under attack from the powers of darkness for what amounts to a leadership failure, because over a million children would suffer untold damages as a result. Worse yet would be if the blessing of God were to depart from Compassion because of its surrender to a pagan culture. God will not be mocked.

        1. Lisa Miles August 23, 2010

          I used the OALD because the wording better supported my argument than other editions! 😉 You got me! 🙂

          I’m not sure I 100% agree with you. I can idolize my mom — i.e. look up to her and admire her — while not worshipping her as a god. Someone can be a “matinee idol” or a “sports idol” — and that doesn’t invoke a religious connotation, (to me at least.) So I think there’s a valid use of the word idol that isn’t an affront to Christianity.

          But you certainly make some excellent points and got me thinking about the word, in general! I’m sure Compassion will consider your suggestions going forward.

          1. chris November 4, 2010

            i·dol (dl)
            a. An image used as an object of worship.
            b. A false god.
            2. One that is adored, often blindly or excessively.
            3. Something visible but without substance.


      2. Lisa Miles August 20, 2010

        p.s. Watch the video!! It will put a smile on your face. 🙂

  7. Garry August 19, 2010

    This young guy is awesome. I hope and pray he gets his wish to meet his sponsor(s).

  8. Glow August 19, 2010

    i love this kid! he is so amazing… keep chasing your dream Nyopon! and bring impact to the nation… 🙂

    stay cool n keep funky^^

  9. Prairie Rose August 19, 2010

    Wow, this kid is amazing! How proud his sponsor must be!

  10. Catherine August 19, 2010

    Wow! What an opportunity. I was under the impression that all Compassion kids lived in poverty and chances like this never, ever happened. Too cool!

  11. Caitlin August 19, 2010

    What a charmer! What a sweet video for a sponsor to be able to see. I hope his sponsor gets a copy. I’ll bet he’s quite popular with the ladies his age back home now!

  12. Amy Wallace August 19, 2010

    What a wonderful singer!!

  13. Jill Foley August 19, 2010

    What a sweet story. So cool that a staff member helped him realize his dream! I, too, pray that his dream of meeting his sponsor comes true.

  14. Crystal August 19, 2010

    That’s awesome! Way to go, little man!

  15. Lisa Miles August 19, 2010

    Good for him!! He’s quite a performer. He reminds me a lot of Justin Bieber. 🙂 I hope he continues to pursue his talent!!

  16. Ken M. August 19, 2010

    Great singer. He would have received my vote. It is a gift that he should continue to develop. I pray that his dream to meet his sponsors come true.

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