Friday, July 10, 2009

Seeds Sown at Pastors' Seminar

by Jose E. Ortiz. Gokarna Forest Resort, Kathemandu, Nepal. July 7, 2009.
During the Other Sheep seminar for pastors held in a part of Kathmandu called Lalitpur (which means the Beautiful City) we were honored by the presence of some Nepali gay, lesbian, transgender activists and a pro-LGBTI straight ally named Indira. Three LGBT activists and a straight ally came specifically to speak to the 26 pastors in attendance as Christian believers that wanted the pastors to hear their story. One of the activists that spoke was the leader of the lesbian organization called Mitini. Her delivery touched me deeply. This young woman shared how she had converted from Hinduism to Christianity out of a sincere attraction to the faith. However, she felt she could not continue attending church because of the way she was treated in response to her obviously different mannerisms and appearance. She did fit the outward expressions of what the members expected of a Nepali woman. This serious, rough-looking woman, as she finished telling her story of conversion, rejection and subsequent falling away from faith, walked to her seat in tears. Many were not unaffected; the pastor seated to her right immediately began to speak to her.

I was later informed by Indira who translated the stories, that a few pastors were not unaffected; the pastor seated to the Mitoni woman's right immediately began to speak to her. I was later informed by Indira, that a few pastors asked the lesbian to their church, that she would be respected there. I don’t know what these pastors intend to do if she takes their offer. Will they show love to her with the goal of changing her? Who knows, but the good thing here is that now these pastors’ hearts have been moved when encountering, maybe for the first time, an openly homosexual individual. Indira, who is also an open-minded Nepali Christian and straight ally, told us that she believes that our meeting was the first time a group of Nepali pastors met with gay and lesbian people. In addition to the woman from Mitini, they heard from a transgender woman, and a gay man and from Blue Diamond Socity – all Christians. Indira said to me later, with great conviction, that this kind of exposure and education for pastors must continue. She went on to tell me that some pastors from a particular church had requested that the Blue Diamond Society (the LGBTI activist group) come to their church to further inform them on the matter of homosexuality. Seeds have been scattered by this event and I believe some of it will fall on good ground and produce fruit – fruit of understanding, compassion and hunger and thirst for justice. These initial reports give me such hope.

No comments: