Thursday, January 6, 2011

Our "Mystical" Visit to Thailand this New Year's Day 2011

by Rev. Stephen Parelli, Bronx, NY.  January 6, 2011

Rev. Dr. Kenneth Dobson (right)
and spouse Pramote, Summer 2009
Jose and I visited Thailand in the summer of 2009.  We met many wonderful people in Chiang Mai, Mae Sot, and Bangkok.  In Chiang Mai we met Rev. Dr. Kenneth Dobson and his spouse Pramote (legally married in Iowa, USA, fall of 2009) and had the privilege of staying in their home and meeting many of the young LGBT people to whom they minister.  Since then, Ken has been a contributing writer to the Other Sheep website.

Where Jose and I were slept as
guests in the home of Ken
and Pramote, Summer 2009
On New Year's Day 2011, we received an interesting email from Ken.  He wrote:  "Thanks to a visit from [a Beijing contact you made this past summer], I feel mystically in touch with you two."  While in Beijing this past summer (2010), Jose and I met a gay Christian who was moving to Bangkok for work.  We told him we would put him in touch with Ken.  Ken was able to put our gay Christian  friend from Beijing in touch with a gay Thai Christian living in Bangkok.  Turns out the two young men have formed a meaningful friendship --- and for New Year's Day they made the trip to Chiang Mai to visit Ken and Pramote and celebrate New Year's Day with the LGBT Thais.  Hence, Ken was "feel[ing] mystically in touch" with Jose and me. 

Some of the LGBT Thais that Ken
and Pramote minister to, Summer 2009
While we were in Chiang Mai in 2009, one of the LGBT young people had invited us to come back for their annual New Year's LGBT celebration.  It sounded wonderful but it was a bit out of reach for us (to have to travel from New York City) and, to say the obvious, we didn't make it for New Year's Day 2010.

Steve (left) and Jose
at the Forbidden City,
Beijing, China, Summer 2010
However, this New Year's Day (2011) celebration was a bit different.  Even though we weren't there in person, the contact that we had made in Beijing this past summer was there in Ken's home along with his new Thai friend from Bangkok.  For Ken, in some kind of "mystical sense" Jose and I were there.  Ken said the Beijing friend and he swapped stories of how their meeting Other Sheep came about. 

For Jose and me -- well, we still haven't made it to the Chiang Mai LGBT's celebration of their New Year's Day, but this year we were there is some kind of special way!  What a thrill, what a blessing, networking on behalf of LGBT people worldwide.

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