|Gay and Christian in
|STEVE AND JOSE REPORT ON THEIR MINISTRY IN KENYA & UGANDA, AUGUST 7 - 24, 2007
Final 18 Day Report, Tuesday, August 7 - Friday, August 24, 2007
Summary: Our final 18 days were primarily set aside for our personal time to sight see and relax,
although we did make contact with several gay Christians along the way, took two days in Nairobi to
introduce MCC to our LGBT contacts, and our trip to Kampala, Uganda, was planned around the
purpose of meeting gay Christians there, which we did. These 18 days were geographically divided in
(1) The Coast Area, South East of Nairobi;
(2) Return to Nairobi for one night and two days of Other Sheep work; and
(3) To Kampala - spending a day at Nakuru Lake National Park in Kenya on our way - and in
Kampala where we relaxed and spent time with gay Christians there of SMUG and
Integrity, Uganda; return trip to Nairobi and flight home (to arrive in NYC on Aug. 25 at JFK
around 7:30 AM).
(1) The Coast Area, South East of Nairobi
Mombasa – Malindi, Kenya COAST (Indian Ocean)
Tuesday Night (10:30PM), August 7 - Sunday Night (10:30PM), August 12
- We spent all day Tuesday traveling by bus to Mombasa, a city on the Indian Ocean coast
of Kenya and the second major city of Kenya (after Nairobi). In route, the bus broke down
and Jose and I explored nature's wonders (all new to us) venturing along paths to pass
the time – we waited four hours for a second bus to arrive from Nairobi and take us on to
- We arrived at Mombasa around 10:30PM and were met by a very hospitable gay
Christian, David, as previously arranged, who took us to his home for the evening. At his
home we spent the remainder of the evening talking - swapping stories - and introducing
him to the ministry of Other Sheep, before falling asleep.
David became our primary contact person during our time on the coast. After spending our first
night with him in his home, we found a wonderful one bedroom apartment (Moffat Cottages)
within walking distance of David's workplace, a five star hotel resort (name of resort withheld)l.
David was able to give us day passes to amenities of the resort. When not sight seeing along
the cost, we spent our time at the resort swimming in its pools and walking the beach.
- We spent the whole day relaxing at the five star resort, thanks to David. In the evening at
our North Coast (area north of Mombasa) apartment, we met with four gay Christians:
David and a personal friend of his; Allan who leads a gay-related social service
organization in Mombasa, and his friend. These contacts came about by our new gay
Christian friends of Nairobi who put these gay Christians of Mombasa in contact with us.
We invited them to our apartment. We shared with them the ministry of Other Sheep as
well as heard their stories.
- Today we went into Mombasa by matatu (small vans used as mini-buses) and toured Fort
Jesus and the Old Town of Mombasa. A wonderful day for us (we were like our old selves
exploring – which is how we used to spend our summers before Other Sheep; a real
bonding time for us; this is also true about our together time that follows when just sight
seeing on our own; using nothing more than our tour book to make choices and go. I love
this time with Jose and treasure it).
- With our gay Christian friend David, we traveled early in the day (about 2.5 hour trip) to
Malindi. We found a wonderful cottage that sleeps four and then headed to the beach,
swam and walked the beach and town. David stayed with us this night.
Saturday, August 11 – Gede ruins, second evening, night in Malindi
- After a nice breakfast together at a restaurant at the cottage, David left for Mombasa (he
had to be to work by the evening) and Jose and Steve left for the Gede ruins CLICK HERE
FOR PHOTOS and spent their day viewing the ruins CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS of this Swahili
civilization. We returned to Malindi while it was still light and visited the Portuguese Chapel
and made our way to the beach where we walked to a secluded area where just the two of
us were able to enjoy a swim in the Indian Ocean au natural.
Sunday, August 12 – Return to North Coast and the five star resort
- We left early in the day for Mombasa. Upon arrival at the Moffat Cottages, we had lunch,
then returned to the five star resort for the remainder of the day and evening, swimming in
the pool, bobbing in the rolling waves of the ocean (the reefs, a distant out, allow for the
rolling waves), and enjoying an Italian meal. We went into Mombasa proper for our 10:
30pm bus to Nairobi
(2) Return to Nairobi for one night and two days of Other Sheep work with Rev.
Glenna Shepherd of Metropolitan Community Church CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS
Monday Morning (6:30AM), August 13 – Tuesday Evening (7:00PM), August 14
Monday, August 13 – return to Black Rose Apartments, Nairobi
- We traveled all night by bus and arrived in Nairobi around 6:30am and took a matatu to
the same apartment in which we had lived for a month. Rev. Elder Glenna T. Shepherd,
Metropolitan Community Church Elder serving Region 4 (which includes all of Africa) and
Katie, her assistant on this trip to Kenya and South Africa, rented the same apartment for
four nights beginning Friday, August 10. Through emails, we had informed Glenna of the
availability of the apartment and assisted her in obtaining it.
- This was our first time to meet Glenna who happened to be in Nairobi on business for
MCC the same time we were in Kenya for Other Sheep. Because of our many new LGBT
contacts, we invited Glenna to use her already planned trip to Nairobi to meet the many
LGBT Christians with whom Other Sheep had conducted discussion groups.
- In the morning hours we observed Glenna introduce MCC to the two pastors that
Other Sheep had found in the course of Other Sheep's month there in Nairobi.
- In the afternoon, Jose and Steve went to lunch with Rev. Glenna and Katie.
- In the evening hours, Other Sheep sponsored an open house during which more
than 30 (I believe) LGBTs came through the house and met Rev. Glenna. Rev.
Glenna showed two video presentations (which were cast very nicely onto the
dinning room wall). One video was of Troy Perry and the second was a sermon
delivered by Nancy Wilson, the present moderator of MCC. Afterwards, using a
power point presentation, Glenna talked about MCC.
Tuesday, August 14 – Finish up with MCC and pack and leave for Kampala, Uganda
- During the morning hours Glenna introduced MCC to a third pastor who had been in
contact with MCC and who was the reason for Glenna's visit to Nairobi. Also, during the
morning hours, an Anglican choir of perhaps 10, came to the house and sang. Gifts were
presented and recognition was made by the group first to Katie and Jose, and then to
Glenna and Steve. Glenna and Katie left at noon for the airport.
- Steve and Jose packed and left at 7pm for Nakuru, Kenya. We traveled by car. The
owner and driver of the car was a closeted gay clergy person (domination withheld). A
second gay Christian, who helped us with local navigation in Nairobi, accompanied us as a
travel companion. A third person rode with us part of the way to Nakuru, having
accompanied the gay clergy person into Nairobi.
(3) to Kampala - spending a day at Nakuru Lake National Park in Kenya on our way -
and in Kampala where we relaxed and spent time with gay Christians there of SMUG
and Integrity, Uganda, and one from Rwanda who's trip we financed to Kampala; and
return trip to Nairobi and flight out of Nairobi to NYC.
Tuesday Evening, August 14 - Friday Afternoon, August 24
Nakuru, Kenya – A full day of viewing the wildlife of Kenya CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS
Two Nights: Tuesday and Wednesday, August 14 & 15
Wednesday, August 15 – Visit to Nakuru Lake National Park
- Our visit to the National Park was perhaps the highlight of our visit to Kenya apart from our
work with the gay Christian community. We spent the whole day in the park viewing the
wildlife and taking some fantastic photos. We had a late morning breakfast at the Sarova
Lion Hill Lodge, a light lunch late afternoon at Lake Nakuru Lodge (while the car was in the
garage for repairs). The sights were stunning. This national park is famous for its
flamingos – and it was just spectacular.
- The original plan was to have the two gay Christian Kenyans accompany us all the way to
Kampala using the clergy person's car for transportation and to provide for them most of
the cost. It was the clergy person who had suggested the trip to Kampala originally and
who had told us of the gay Christian contacts he had there for us to meet. However, the
car overheated three times while in the National Park; it could not make the grade to the
Baboon Cliffs (we had to turn back) and twice the tire went flat (causing us to visit the
garage for repairs, once first thing in the morning while still in town, and once while in the
National Park but fortunately we enjoyed a wonderful view and much wildlife while lunching
at the Lake Nakuru Lodge during the time the car was in the repair shop at the lodge).
Because of car problems, lack of documents needed for crossing at the boarder, and
general miscommunication, Steve and Jose decided to continue the trip to Kampala
alone. We covered all their costs of gas, hotel, meals (except Tuesday evening's meal,
though we brought food and drink in the car which we shared), park fees, car repairs, and
return costs (bus fare for one and gas for the other since they separated, too, from each
other) in appreciation for their accompanying us to Nakuru and for providing us
transportation while in Nakuru Lake National Park.
- While in the National Park and stuck on the grade up to Baboon Cliffs, we had no choice
but to maneuver the car back around so that we could drive back down the hill. This
necessitated us getting out of the vehicle and pushing the car and watching closely the
edge of the road so that the car would not go off the edge and into the ditch. We had
done the same earlier coming up the same hill – that is getting out of the car and pushing
the car until it reached a level run of the road. However, at this latter point there was just
too much hill to push the car up. One of the park vehicles (and the only one we saw on
Baboon Cliff road, I believe) stopped to tell us it was extremely dangerous to be out of the
car. We knew that, but we were marooned. I asked him if he could give us an emergency
phone number in case we needed help. He said he did not have such a number and
- We left the park sometime after 6PM and our Kenyan friends helped us look into bus
schedules and then helped us to a hotel and then we parted.
Busia, Kenya: Boarder town on the Kenya-Uganda boarder
One Night: Thursday, August 16
- We got up before the sun in order to get an early bus. But as the travel book says, you
just have to be patient and wait. We finally left Nakuru by bus a little after 12 o'clock noon.
- By way of Kisumu (and our first view of Lake Victoria), we made the boarder town of Busia,
Kenya, after dark, where the bus terminated its run for the day. (This bus service does
not go into Uganda.) The conductor of the bus assisted us to a very nice hotel (after
helping us get bus schedule information which on the next day proved insufficient and
incorrect). To our hotel, we road on the back of two wheel bikes that are made with seats
over the back wheel for the purpose of carrying a passenger – Jose sat with one suitcase
on one bike, the conductor with another suitcase on another bike and myself with the third
suitcase on a third bike. (I felt like the movie ET where the children are all riding their
bikes in the night with ET on the handle bars; all we needed was a full moon.)
- Our trip on the bus this day: We sat in the very front seats on the passenger side and
had the harrowing experience of the bus driver playing "chicken" with on coming vehicles
(other buses, trucks and cars – the latter not so threatening). We saw round huts (with
plastered walls, unlike the square mud huts of the coast without plastered walls); we
crossed the equator (which was marked; a first); and we saw tea fields and tea plantations
(for the first time), among other things.
Friday, August 17 – Thursday morning, August 23
Friday, August 17 – Arriving in Kampala; Meeting up with David and Emmanuel
- In the early morning, we walked across the Kenya-Uganda boarder with our luggage while
it was still dark with no problems (except to figure it out; no officials on the Kenya side
knew how to tell us how to get a bus; we had to inquire more than once to the same
people – walking back and forth - and we had to ask the right questions to get the correct
information). On the Uganda side we obtained a small bus (much larger than a van) going
direct to Kampala. It was just getting light when the small bus left the boarder for Kampala.
- We saw rice paddies, tea fields, more huts, and had the best BBQ chicken (on a stick,
sold and handed to us through the bus window by hawkers at a bus stop). We saw (from
the bus) and crossed the source of the Nile River in Jinja, Uganda. CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS
- We arrived in Kampala between noon and 1pm and we crawled along in heavy, halting
traffic: a Kampala problem no matter the time of day!
- Around 1:00PM we "alighted" from the bus (as they say in Kenya), and met with David
Kato of Integrity, Uganda, and Emmanuel (last name withheld) of Rwanda. Emmanuel is a
contact Jose made through the Internet while still in the USA. We financed his trip to
Kampala so that we could meet him. We proceeded to a restaurant where David Kato
briefed us on the previous day's press release given by Victor Juliet Mukasa, leader of
Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), and others, including Lourence Misedah (from Kenya
and Other Sheep East Africa board member in Nairobi) whose picture was featured in the
Daily Monitor (Friday, August 17, 2007, page 3).
- After a pizza, Jose and David Kato left Steve and Emmanuel of Rwanda to watch the
luggage while they looked for a hotel and an ATM. During this time, using my lap top, I
told Emmanuel about Other Sheep East Africa.
- Steve and Jose take up residence at Red Chile Hideaway in a two-bedroom cottage
Saturday, August 18 – A full day with our gay Christian friends
- Steve and Jose go into town on the back of motorcycles (best means of transportation;
able to weave through the crawling traffic) to the bank to process their ATM card manually
and obtain cash; afterwards they answer email at an Internet café.
- The remainder of the day, evening and into the next day was spent with David Kato,
Lourence Misehah, Emmanuel of Rwanda and a Pentecostal gay Christian friend of
Emmanuel. The Pentecostal (name withheld) is a worship leader in his church.
(Emmanuel of Rwanda met the Pentecostal through the Internet but had never met him in
person; also the Pentecostal had never been introduced to David and Larry. We treated
them to lunch at an Ethiopian restaurant where we spent the afternoon talking (from
around noon to 5PM); then we invited them to our two bedroom cottage where we spent
the evening and night (into the next day – they all slept over).
- David Kato puts through a phone call to the pro-LGBT Anglican Bishop, Christopher
Ssenyonjo, and Steve and the Bishop speak briefly by phone.
Sunday, August 19 – A second full day with our gay Christian friends
- Our gay Christian friends spent the day with us (until 7PM) at our cottage and compound:
meals together, swimming, even napping for some. David Kato, Secretary of Integrity
Uganda, used the afternoon hours to talk with Steve about Integrity Uganda (which is an
Anglican ministry to LGBTs) and Other Sheep. David asked Steve to write a news release
in response to the Pentecostals who were making a public demonstration against SMUG
and homosexuals. Steve used a recent article he wrote while in Nairobi and together
David and Steve customized it for a potential news release from Integrity Uganda.
Monday, August 20 – Steve presents to SMUG members a two-track strategy for
addressing media if asked their response regarding the Pentecostal public
demonstration against homosexuals CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS
- Steve copied over the news release article from his lap top to the café Internet computer
at the Red Chile Hideaway compound and emailed it to David Kato.
- Steve and Jose went into town around 3PM (two on the back of a motorcycle) to reserve
and purchase bus tickets for this Thursday back to Nairobi.
- While in town, David Kato, Secretary of Integrity Uganda, phoned Steve and Jose from the
offices of SMUG asking us to come immediately to the offices of SMUG (Sexual Minorities
of Uganda) and to advise them on how they might be able to answer the media with
regards to questions on Christianity and homosexuality. (So, on the back of a motorcycle
we headed across town . . . )
- We spoke with five eager-to-know (all taking notes) SMUG members on how to respond to
the Pentecostal community which was presently staging public protests against
- Steve talked about a "two-track" strategy: (1) fundamental human rights for LGBTs on the
basis of the Christian teaching of liberty of conscience (since addressing the Pentecostals
and the church at large); and (2) the Bible does not address homosexuality as an
orientation, it only speaks of same-sex acts. Steve expounded each track separately,
encouraging and answering their questions.
- Jose spoke on the topic of psychology and homosexuality.
- After this briefing, Victor Juliet Mukasa arrived. She was coming from the press.
This was Steve's second meeting with Victor (first at Geneva, Switzerland, 2006);
this was Jose's first meeting with Victor.
- Steve and Jose left the SMUG offices with Larry and David and after purchasing a
phone card, David and Steve made phone calls which resulted in locating three of
the twenty books The Children Are Free that Steve had sent five-six weeks earlier
to Kampala by way of a clergy person to be delivered to Victor Juliet Mukasa and to
David Kato. The books never arrived. The newly-located three books are to be
delivered to David Kato this Saturday, August 25. 17 books of The Children Are
Free remain unaccounted for.
- We enjoy the evening at our cottage and compound with wine and food and a mid-
- Steve and Jose relax at their cottage at Red Chile Hideaway and take a late afternoon
hike exploring the area immediately outside the compound (to the top of a high hill – a
residential area of both upper class and lower class/ mid class homes, where they
overlook Port Bell, Lake Victoria)
- Received a text message from David Kato that the Attorney General has ordered the
arrest of gays in Uganda
- After an early morning walk, Steve and Jose spent their last full day in Uganda at the
compound swimming, enjoying the sun, and talking with pack packers.
Nairobi, Kenya (including the 15 hour day trip from Kampala, Uganda, to Nairobi, Kenya)
Thursday morning, August 23 – Friday afternoon, August 24
- Steve and Jose take Acamba Royal bus to Nairobi from Kampala. The bus leaves
Kampala at 7:10am. (Much of the roadway is dirt; the dirt can be so thick at times from the
passing of trucks that it is like driving through a fog; this effect is especially noticeable at
- Between Kampala and Nakuru (place withheld) the bus breaks down. While waiting for a
replacement bus, Steve visits a close by gathering of about four homes far off the road in
a field-like setting. A young man conducts Steve on the back of his bicycle to the area,
introduces him to his house made of mud blocks, shows Steve his school photo ID (name
and other information withheld), and in a conversation in which Steve introduces the topic
of homosexuality (gay-dar on), Steve learns that this new friend is gay. The new friend's
boyfriend immediately appears and is introduced as his boyfriend and lover. Back at the
broken down bus, sitting on the grass together, and after email addresses have been
exchanged, Steve shows them both the Other Sheep East Africa web site from his lap top
while continuing to wait for the replacement bus to arrive.
- At the Nakuru bus station (three hours west of Nairobi), Peter Njoroge (acting director of
Ishtar and standing member of Other Sheep East Africa board) and two other gay
Christian friends from Nairobi who are attending a conference on HIV/ AIDS, meet Steve
and Jose for a few minutes at the bus station. 7:30Ppm.
- Steve and Jose continue on to Nairobi by bus and arrive in Westlands (area of Nairobi) at
10:30pm where Rev. Michael Kimindu and Rev. James Mugunga meet them and conduct
them by Rev. Kimindu's car to Pizza Gardens where David Obonyo and five other gay
Christian and one gay Muslim meet them for pizza and drinks. Rev. Kimindu discussed
with Steve: (1) contacts with other Anglican minister(s) he's already made about Other
Sheep and MCC; (2) his trip to England in October to begin the process of MCC
recognition and ordination; (3) the major cities in Kenya which they (Michael Kimindu,
James Mugunga and name withheld) hope to introduce Other Sheep and MCC; (3) ideas
for reaching Tanzania; and other ideas for the coming 12-18 months.
- Rev. Michael Kimindu informed me that the contact person from Boston Globe that I put in
touch with Rev. Kimindu by email has made an appointment to meet with Rev. Kimindu for
his comments and views on the ordination of two Americans to the Anglican/ Episcopal
church here in Nairobi next week. The ordination (or is it consecration?) is being
performed here in Africa in protest to the "compromising" position of the Episcopal Church
on homosexuality back in the USA. I was contacted by the Boston Globe and couple
weeks back asking me to put them in contact with any Anglicans who might be willing to
comment to the Boston Globe about next weeks ordination/consecration here in Nairobi.
- Rev. Michael Kimindu transported Steve and Jose to Embassy Hotel ($32 USD for the
night), sometime after midnight.
- As I write this, it is 7:15 am. Today our plans our: Rev. Michael Kimindu and Rev. James
Mugunga will pick us up at our hotel in downtown Nairobi at 10:00AM and by car conduct
us to Black Rose Apartments to pick up our luggage that is in storage and where we will
receive some of our gay Christian friends at the pool side until 1PM at which time Rev.
Michael Kimindu and Rev. James Mugunga will conduct us by car to the airport. (My
computer is still configured for Internet access at Black Rose. I hope to send this final 18
day report from Black Rose Apartments, Nairobi, Kenya).
- I am sending this now from Black Rose Apartment pool side; we are visiting with six gay
Christians . . . we just received a card and gift from one. Here’s what he wrote: We Paul
and Tom (names changed) thank God four sending Jose and Steve to this country in such
a time!!! We’re blessed and going back to the glory that we’d left because of ignorance.
As gay lovers, we now know that God loves us and accepts us. We will serve Him and his
precious people with an open mind and a conscience. A big God Bless you, Steve and
Jose and the entire Other Sheep. With lots of love and respect, from Paul and Tom
What an amazing, unbelievable summer.
Steve and Jose
Steve Parelli, M.Div
2962 Decatur Ave. 5D, Bronx, NY 10458
|Other Sheep (Steve Parelli and Jose Ortiz) Final 18 Days in
Kenya and Uganda Report
Tuesday, August 7, through Friday, August 24
From: steve parelli [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Friday, August 24, 2007 11:58 AM
To: Undisclosed Recipients
Subject: Other Sheep Final 18 Days in Kenya and Uganda Report, Aug 7 -24, 2007
|Nairobi, Kenya, apartment complex
where Steve and Jose stayed
STEVE AND JOSE REPORT ON THEIR MINISTRY IN KENYA & UGANDA, JULY 8 - August 24, 2007
First Week Report, Sunday, July 8 - Saturday, July 14, 2007
Second Week Report, Sunday, July 15 - Saturday, July 21, 2007
Third Week Report, Sunday, July 22 - Saturday, July 28, 2007
Fourth Week Report, Sunday, July 29 - Saturday, August 4, 007
Final 18 Days in Kenya and Uganda Report, Tuesday, August 7 - Friday, August 24
VISIT Steve and Jose!
Visit the Other Sheep web site of the Executive
Director, Steve Parelli (at right in photo), and his
partner Jose Ortiz.
|This website was constructed in July of 2007
Visits made to this web page since August 2007