I would like to tell a story… a true story. It is a story about ups and downs, trials and redemption, and ending with legacy.
We have had the privilege to meet a very humble man named Joseph Ochiel Oyoda He just so happens to be the father of Peter Ochiel, the director and founder of Action Ministry. Joseph has an incredible story and I am going to attempt to give you the abridged version.
Peter with his father
Joseph Ochiel Oyoda was born in a small village in western Kenya named Got Osimbo in 1936. Life was very hard for him and he experienced a lot of loss. He lost both parents, and all of his siblings. Going to school was just a dream that he could not obtain. Naturally, despair took over and he turned to alcohol to numb the pain and to try to forget about all his losses. Later in life he even fled to Uganda and lived on the streets of Kampala and Jinja. He was basically giving up on life.
While living on the streets of Kampala in 1966, there were a group of christians that would hold open air meetings regularly in his neighborhood. Joseph would even organize a small group of fellow drunkards to mock and imitate the the Christians that were speaking. But one of the times they came, something happened to Joseph. He was convicted, and this revelation that he received completely transformed him from the inside out. He felt a supernatural love and sense of purpose that can only be attributed to one source. And, that source is Jesus. After this life change, he felt he needed to return to Kenya and share this life changing news with his own people. You see, at this point, the Gospel had not reached western Kenya. There were small amounts of Catholicism and Anglican churches, but the transforming message of Jesus Christ and his Holy Spirit had not reached western Kenya. Most people still clung to their tribal rituals/religions and consulting their local witch doctors.
When Joseph returned to Got Osimbo in 1969, He did not hesitate sharing what Jesus had done in his life. Many people could see the change in him because they remembered who he was before. And thankfully so many heard the message and also experienced the same transformation. Eventually, enough heard the message and a small body of believers was formed. God had restored Joseph’s life and also gave him what he had lost in the past, a family. He met his wife Alice and they married in 1970. Even in his later years he was able to have 5 children, Leonard, Peter, Mary, Meshack, and Benter. He was truly blessed!
There are over a 100 churches in western and central Kenya that can trace their roots back to Joseph Ochiel Oyoda. He and a few other fellow christians were very passionate about evangelism and planting churches… And planting churches they did! Even Peter Fpro, (who we call “Chairman,” because he is the chairman of Action Ministry and we don’t want to be confused between the 2 Peters) was extremely excited to meet Joseph, because his own church (located in central Kenya) where he heard about Jesus was started by a pastor who was evangelized and discipled by Joseph. You could really sense the extreme gratitude that Chairman had toward this man! Chairman knows that because of Joseph’s faithfulness and passion for Jesus, he was also able to be saved and transformed.
What really impressed me the most is how humble he is. He has done such incredible things for Jesus, and unlike what so many others do unfortunately, he does not use his position to be honored or given special treatment. He instead works hard and continues to serve wholeheartedly. What an incredible example for Peter to have as a father! Is it any wonder that Peter is equally passionate about God and also serving wholeheartedly? What a legacy Joseph Ochiel Oyoda will leave. This man from a small village has truly impacted the world and His son, Peter, is following in his fathers foot steps. I like his name Oyoda… He is like the “Yoda” of Kenya. Ha!
Most of the Ochiel family (plus Chairman to the right of Peter)
Our KTA volunteer team with the Ochiel family and Action Ministry in Got Osimbo
There has always been so much tragedy and evil in this world. We may think… “God, how can you let these things happen?” God is probably asking us the same question. He has called us to be his agents, to live out the life changing message of Jesus Christ through our words and deeds. Maybe we can also leave a legacy like Joseph and raise up sons like Peter Ochiel.
This story is still being written. How will our stories be written?