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.
Eleven-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.
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.”