Elder John Wilson Oketch was born in on the 7th of July 1993 to Elizabeth Oketch and the late David Oketch in Kisumu, Kenya. He was raised by his grandmother seven months after he was born because his parents were separated until he was four years old. He is the second oldest child with one older brother and 1 younger sister. He lost his father in 2007 from cancer. Even though his father died and it meant he would need to help support the family, he has always felt blessed. Since that time of his father’s passing, his mother has been struggling to make ends meet and support the family because of illness and low paying jobs. Expenses of the family were so high that it made life very difficult for the family.
Young John changed schools his final year because it was became a compulsory boarding school that the family could not afford. Since he went to an inferior school, he was not well-prepared to pass his exams and did not.
This did not discourage John because he vowed to find other ways to survive. He looked for a job to help support the family and moved to an apartment out of the home with his sister. He worked in the hotel industry for a stint where he worked as a waiter and in a bar. After three months of hard work, he was promoted to work at the front desk. He changed jobs because it required him to work on Sundays and meant he would miss Church. When he resigned from that job, it took him a full month to find another position. He felt fortunate because he found a job as a offloader after much prayer and hustling. It was a tough and embarrassing job, but he had to do it.
He was later promoted to be the manager in the new branch, and so in appreciation to the Lord, he promised to do something in return and serve a mission. Elder Oketch was introduced to the gospel by his mother in June of 2009 and was baptized in December of that year. He later baptized his elder brother and his sister in 2010. He was so inspired by missionary work and was encouraged by the missionaries serving in his ward. He feels that he will be blessed by missionary service if he serves well and returns with honor. He is committed to work hard to diligently serve the Lord. Prior to coming to the MTC, people broke into his home and robbed his life's savings.
He knows life can be tough but he has always challenged himself. Nothing he has experienced can compare with what Joseph Smith went through in prison. One lesson he always remembers from the beginning of his conversion is the example of our Savior.