Sunday, November 11, 2012

Burmese Baptist Christians Translate, Print and Distribute book on the Bible and Homosexaulity

November 3rd, 2012, Book Launching Event Held in Thailand; Distribution Begun

by Rev. Steve Parelli
Other Sheep Executive Director
Florrissant (St. Louis), MO
November 11, 2012

Saw Yuri Galler, 2009,
then President of
Myanmar Gay Education

An openly gay Burmese Baptist Christian, Yuri Saw Galler, who was formerly the president of Myanmar Gay Education and a popular gospel singer in Thailand and Burma, working with Other Sheep and LifeJourney Press under a written contract agreement, recently oversaw the translation of the book The Children Are Free into Burmese, and the printing and distribution of 1000 copies.

In an email dated November 6, Yuri said the November 3rd book launching event, held in Thailand, was successful with over thirty guests attending, including individuals from NGOs (non-government organizations) and journalists who reported on the event.

  Thailand Portrait 06
David Aye Myat, in 2009,
as Support Executive of
Myanmar Gay Education, assited Yuri in the organ-izing the Other Sheep seminar.

Yuri further reported that the 1000 copies are being distributed free of charge. Already, copies have been distributed to Burmese Christians among the Burmese migrants in nine different refugee camps along the Thailand-Burma boarder. Other copies, said Yuri, are being "sent back" to Yangon, Burma, for distribution there, mainly to the parents of our LGBT Christian community.

The project, overseen by Yuri and totally funded by his friends and associates, needs to print additional copies. "1,000 [copies of the book] is not enough," writes Yuri, "but God will provide."
Printing costs per copy of the book is about $1 USD each. Donations to the printing of additional copies of the Burmese The Children Are Free, can be made by check to "Other Sheep" and designated for "TCAF Burmese Printing" and mailed to the following address: Susan Fazio, Treasurer, c/o Gordon Herzog, 16768 Old Jamestown Rd, Florissant, MO 63034-1409.


A Forward to the Burmese The Children Are Free 2012 Edition: Other Sheep's significant role in bringing the inclusive message to the Karen Burmese Christians

The following forward was written by request of Yuri, the initiator and overseer of the translation, printing, distribution project.

A Forward from Steve and Jose of Other Sheep

In 2009, as husband and husband since 1997 and as co-laborers together since 2005 in an inclusive Christian ministry called Other Sheep, we travelled to Thailand, by invitation of a local seminarian student, to network in Chiang Mai among interested theological students. One person, living in Mae Sot, who took a great deal of interest in Other Sheep, was Saw Yuri Galler, President of Myanmar Gay Education, his mother a teacher at a Baptist theological seminary in Burma. Other Sheep ( is an ecumenical Christian ministry that works worldwide to empower LGBT people of faith.
Just days before our departure from Thailand, and while we were in Bangkok working Other Sheep, Saw Yuri phoned us and told us he had made arrangements for a small gathering of Karen Burmese Christians living in Mae Sot, Thailand, to hear our seminar on the Bible and homosexuality. Could we please come, he asked. We accepted
  Thailand Portrait 15
Joyce Hanks, a feat-
ured speaker at the
2009 Mae Sot
Other Sheep
Steve, not yet knowing that Yuri and the small group that would attend were from Baptist churches, remarked, with tears in his eyes, to Jose over their first wedding anniversary dinner celebration there in Bangkok, that the opportunity to minister in Mae Sot to Burmese Christians was personally very meaningful. As a formerly ordained Baptist minister, Steve had unsuccessfully attempted to have dialogue with his Baptist peer-pastors in upper New York State about the Bible and homosexuality. Now Steve was half a world away from his own Baptist associates, yet presenting his Biblical findings to Burma Christians where Adoniram Judson (1788 - 1850), the famous Baptist missionary and first Protestant missionary from North America to Burma, had brought the Gospel. With Yuri's invitation, here in Thailand, Steve experienced a measure of deep gratitude that he was, in some real meaningful way, tying-in with his Baptist roots and addressing his contemporary Baptist detractors by presenting the message of Other Sheep to Christian Burmese living in Thailand.
On Friday, August 28, following our morning seminar in Bangkok, we drove ourselves by rent-a-car to Mae Sot (perhaps a seven hour trip) to meet Yuri and David Ya late that evening and to present, the following morning, our seminar on the Bible and homosexuality - that God is no respecter of persons. At the seminar, we distributed copies of the book The Children Are Free in English. Following the Mae Sot Burmese seminar, we hurried our way back to Bangkok where, that evening - tired and exhausted yet exhilarated, we boarded our return flight to our home in New York City.

Mai Sot seminar

Above Photo:  August 29, 2009, the Mae Sot, Thailand, Other Sheep Seminar to the Karen Burmese Christians
Left to right: Steve Parelli, David Myat, Joyce Hanks,
Yuri Galler, Jose Ortiz

Three years later, with the translation and publication of this book into Burmese by Saw Yuri, those last two adventurous days in Thailand in 2009 have become all the more significant as treasured memories.

To Burmese Christians everywhere - gay and straight, lay and professional, may you eagerly receive this book from the hands and heart of the messengers who introduced it to Thailand and Burma: a one-time Baptist pastor and his beloved husband whose undergrad work was also in theology and world missions.

Together, as a gay Christian couple whose first love is, as best we know how, centered in God and others, we say to you, the message of this book will set you free.

Rev. Stephen R. Parelli
Executive Director of Other Sheep

Jose Enrique Ortiz
Other Sheep Coordinator for Africa and Asia

Tuesday, October 9, 2012, Bronx, New York, United States

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