Converting to Christianity means becoming a follower of Jesus by Faith. Crowd flocked to Jesus but most were not His true followers. They wanted to experience healing of their diseases, see Jesus cast out demons, and eat the bread He miraculously provided.
Jesus warned them of the cost of following Him.
“Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life[a] will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” Mark 8: 34-38
Would you follow your own fleshly desires or would you deny yourself and follow Jesus? Do you value your earthly life or eternal life? What if your family rejected you because of your belief in Jesus? Would you leave home? This is the story of Francis Ole Koriata.
We were on a road that didn’t seem to end. We had taken a series of turns, and had long passed the point of tarmac roads. We travelled to meet and talk with Francis Ole Koriata in Nkorikorri – Narok County, who had experienced persecution because of confessing Christ in a family that was so deep into culture and traditions.
In 1998, Francis Ole Koriata, a new convert in Christ, had to escape the tyranny brought about by his own family and clan who were once his providers of comfort.
The moment had come for him to confess his faith in Christ and face whatever his family would do to him.
The scar on his right arm emphasizing the evident pain he went through.
“To be a Christian, it takes a life,it is between life and death.” Ole Koriata said has he showed us the cut on his arm that was inflicted by his own brother.
People from the Maasai community usually come from very tight-knit families living in equally tight-knit clans. However, for Ole Koriata he had shamed the family and the Maasai traditions.
“I was telling God, please give me something the world will see and know that there is you.” Ole Koriata said.
In a community that is so deep into culture and traditions, Ole Koriata became an advocate for Christ and social justice.
“People do FGM because it is a sacrifice. One of my fellow pastor, they cut his daughters by force.” Ole Koriata shared painfully.
At the age of 28, He knew it was time for him to depart. He was able to escape from the hands of his persecutors, his family and the village.
God’s people have always faced persecution. The prophets were reviled, tortured, and killed. History records that 10 of Jesus’ disciples were executed for preaching Christ. And like the Apostle Paul, who was jailed, beaten, and stoned numerous times for preaching Christ. Ole Koriata considers suffering not even worth mentioning compared to the reward he knows awaits in heaven.
“I tithed my life for 3 years…..I had turned 30 and I didn’t have cows, goats, or money to tithe. So I had to tithe my life in an orphanage. I worked there for 3 years without pay. Every year represented the 3 decades of my life,” he said.
After years of being grounded in faith away from home and having developed a heart for the unreached. Ole Koriata came back to his motherland to spread the good news.
The church is a host to the growing family of believers where Pastor Ole Koriata and his wife Irene have been giving the pastoral care.
“When you see people coming to God, small children, babies, mothers. I decided if there is persecution let people persecute me and him.” Irene wife to Pastor Koriata and a mother of 3, says regardless of what happened to her husband, where they are at right now, they are firm in their belief in Christ.
For 22 years and counting, Ole Koriata has impacted many lives with the gospel of Jesus Christ. He is currently the Chaplin of Wheatfield Academy where he offers spiritual guidance to the young generation.
Although a Christian’s enduring persecution does not add any saving merit to the perfect work of Christ, through persecution the Lord stays with believers, He knows our limits and gives us grace.
As we drove off, and he closes the gate behind us. It is the desire of Pastor Ole Koriata that a bigger community of believers will pray for him that he may have a stronger faith in the Lord and will be drawn closer to the Lord even in the midst of persecution.
You can watch Ole Koriata story here:https://familymediaonline.com/video_listing/the-persecuted-10-12-2022-from-violence-to-victory/