LIMA, PERU. JULY 9, 2013. BY REV. STEPHEN PARELLI.
Cusco, Peru. Travelling musician talking to Jose Ortiz (Jose not pictured).
Well, not exactly preaching in the traditional sense, but, yes, giving forth the message of inclusion, in a very think-out-of-the-box means, to a square filled with the Peruvian people of Cusco. What happened and how did it come about?
A traveling vocal/instrumental musician, singing and playing music through his amplification speaker, from the top of his van, drew the attention of a large crowd of people sitting in benches along the street park and standing in open spaces. The people were motionless to the salsa music the traveling musician was playing, though intently listening to and watching the performer. I encouraged Jose to dance salsa in the street. He did and he was fantastic, as he is a natural. All eyes were upon him, including the eyes of the singing musician.
Jose dancing in a street in Cusco, Peru, before a crowd of on-lookers.
As we walked away after Jose’s dancing, the musician called us over his loud speaker to come to him. In front of all the on-lookers we accepted his invitation. As he leaned over the top of his van, Jose introduced himself and then me as his husband. The musician was immediately enthralled and announced to the whole San Francisco square that the gentleman who danced before them was married to the man at his side. With that, I waved my hand to the onlookers. The musician gave spontaneous supporting remarks to the crowd about acceptance and inclusion, of accepting one another, diversity within society. The musician asked us to stay and listen to a love song he would sing in our honor.
Following the song, we thanked him and Jose told him further that Steve was a one-time Baptist minister, but now in this marriage-relationship with Jose, which the musician broadcasted to the people in the square.
Jose Ortiz dancing to the salsa music, in Cusco, Peru
At that point, Steve and Jose walked down the street handing out Other Sheep business cards containing the website address and the emails of Steve and Jose to interested people who reached out with their hand for the contact information.
It was truly an unexpected moment of opportunity to demonstrate the message of inclusion before an impressive number of people in Cusco, an opportunity we saw and fortunately an opportunity the travelling musician performing from the top of his van, granted us.