Rio, 16, is excited that Compassion International chose a drawing he did when he was 12 for their Christmas card selection in 2003.
Big dreams require incredible devotion and complete focus of body, soul and spirit. Rio Hermawan, a Compassion-sponsored youth who lives in Solo, Indonesia, and a gifted artist, is no exception to this rule.
Sixteen-year-old Rio longs to be a great painter and he has a passionate focus that drives him to succeed. To practice his craft, Rio draws at least two hours every day. The effort has paid off; this gifted teenager already has won 26 competitions. He uses the money he wins from the competitions to purchase expensive painting supplies.
But his trophies aren't a cause for this young artist to boast. He is the same Rio all his friends at the Siloam Student Center (IO-941) in central Java know and love: a quiet, thoughtful boy who likes teaching his little sister how to draw.
Rio remembers, too, what his father said to him one day when Rio wasn't in the mood to finish his paintings: "If you want to be a successful artist, you need discipline!" The advice has stuck and it fuels the extra drive the teenager exhibits today.
A Child Proté§©
Rio's interest in painting was evident from the time he was a young boy. He started with crayons and he has since explored using oil paint on canvas.
"He had the passion to draw almost anything," his parents exclaim.
Not wanting his talent to go to waste, Rio's parents have given him every opportunity to paint they could afford. Even so, their income is not enough to spend on extra items such as painting equipment. Those in the Siloam Student Center at first provided money for Rio to buy painting supplies. But soon they turned to helping Rio pay his school fees, which allowed his parents to help Rio concentrate on his extraordinary talent.
Those in the project also help Rio pay for training with a locally well-known artist. The chance Rio has to study painting is a blessing. Poverty has forced many children in Indonesia to work as prostitutes or in factories or the domestic industry. Child labor in Indonesia is rampant. The government estimates more than four million children under age 18 work in dangerous situations.
Like many other Compassion-assisted children, Rio has received help through Compassion beyond just the basic necessities. The project workers have also aided in helping Rio achieve his dream.
Sharing a Gift
The teenager is thankful for all the love and acceptance he has received from Compassion and his parents. To express his thanks to his church for its support, Rio has done a canvas oil painting of Christ. The picture hangs at his church's entrance. People who enter the building can see it.
"God is so good to me, and I will never forget that," says Rio.
After he graduates from junior high school, Rio plans to study art at the senior high school.
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