David Ole Kereto was born in Narok, Kenya, the Maasai son of a witch doctor. By tradition he was expected to follow in his father’s footsteps. One of the highest honors for a Maasai male is to become a warrior. To achieve warrior status, one must kill a lion or a man. To kill a lion, tribesmen will surround the big cat and agitate it by shouting. One of the men then steps forward making himself a target. He holds a spear in his right hand and a stick sharpened to a point on both ends in the other hand. When the lion attacks it usually lunges for the spear hand. Just as it leaps, the Maasai shifts the stick to his right hand and as the lion opens its mouth he thrusts it between its jaws. David accomplished this at age 15 thereby becoming a Maasai warrior!
Another villager, who followed Jesus, began to share with David about Him. At first David said, “I’m headed for the most honored position in the village to be a witch doctor. I have no need for your Christ.” Steadfastly his friend pursued him, repeatedly inviting him to attend Christian meetings. Finally, David attended a youth rally where he heard what Christ had done for him. In faith, he decided to place his trust in Jesus and become His follower.
David’s father found out and became very angry but took no action concluding that his son would not remain a Christian. Yet, over time, he saw his influence over his son decreasing. Finally, David’s uncompromising loyalty to Christ so provoked his father that he went to the village elders and secured their agreement that David must die. His father placed a curse on his son. In Maasai culture the sun is one of their gods. So he prayed, “Sun when you go down tonight take my son with you so he will not be alive in the morning." David's mother wept. His dad told her, “This is a test between my god and His God.” But in the morning David was still alive. So his father took a machete to chop him up. David grabbed his father's arm and they struggled. The elders rescued David from his irate father but because he knew his father was intent on killing him, he fled.
A Maasai who worked for World Vision as an electrician took David into his home. He and his family helped David grow spiritually by studying the Bible. Eventually David went on to college and graduated at the top of his class. Then he went to England and studied theology. He came back to the Maasai and became a powerful evangelist, especially among the youth. Then the Lord called him into starting new churches.
1 Samuel 17:37--Then David said, “The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”Saul said to David, “Go, and may the Lord be with you.”
Recently, this warrior-turned-servant of God again was confronted with an enormous challenge. The British owned a 99-year lease on a large section of Maasai fertile land. (The Maasai are concentrated in Kenya and Tanzania). In 2005 that lease expired. Maasai leaders wrote to their government asking for them to honor the expiration yet received no response. So David led a march upon the Kenyan National leadership to return the land to his people. The government responded by surrounding them with soldiers. But the same warrior who overcame the lion and a violent father, walked right through the soldiers brushing their weapons aside. That act of courage catapulted David to the forefront of his tribesmen. He was selected to be the leader of the Maasai nation. In addition, he has planted more than 30 churches working with the Africa Inland Mission (AIM).
David married Jane at the age of 42. He and his wife have five children. They own cattle and land and have their own safari company. Like his Biblical namesake, David provides his nation with a powerful example of why following Jesus is truly transformational. Something to think about . . . in reveration!
©2007 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)