Burning Nest!Posted: June 28, 2015
On Monday, May the 15th, Phil and I arrived in our rented van full of building materials plus a large tent, to be used for ministry, in a beautiful green valley less than ten minutes from the south Wales steel mill city of Port Talbot. This was to be the site of Burning Nest, a Burning Man inspired festival, and this would be its third year. It was obviously going to be very different from Burning Man, which is held in a completely barren desert where you have to bring everything you will need to survive for a week, two hours from the nearest city. Here, there were bunks to sleep in, running water, flush toilets, hot showers, wifi, green grass and lush trees. Five hundred people would attend this four day event as opposed to the seventy thousand that spent a week in the Nevada desert last year. We were here several days early to help with set-up and to build our interactive art project, and to minister in dream interpretation and inner healing to the festival goers.
We helped where we could, building geodesic domes, etc., and built our “Told Booth”. It was a toll booth on a bridge in which people were invited to write things they had been “told” which had taken a toll on their lives. People were curious about it, which resulted in us meeting people and having lots of conversations. They were excited to hear that, on Sunday, the last day of the festival, we would burn it and all the things they had written would go up in smoke.
On Thursday, Hope Deifell and Dee Cunniffe arrived. They are both gifted and experienced in prophetic ministry, including dream interpretation and healing. They had brought all kinds of material for decorating the ministry tent; bolts of colorful cloth, lighting, etc., and got to work making the tent into a beautiful, peaceful place. By this time, the Told Booth was operational and people were writing things on the walls. Heartbreaking things. Hurtful things people had said to them. Exposing secret hurts to the light of day brings healing. Several times, knowing that I was connected with the Told Booth, people would just tell me things they had been told. Some of these, I was able to minister to on the spot; others I invited to come to the ministry tent, and some of them did.
The ministry tent was immediately busy. Even though there were only three of us ministering, we often needed to have two encounters going at the same time because people would just walk in. There were several very powerful encounters. As usual, we watched years of hurt and trauma fall from people’s shoulders as they were changed before our eyes. We were able to share Jesus with nearly every one. No one objected. They were open to all that we had to say. Many expressed a desire to know Jesus, and we gave them all that they were able to receive at that time, encouraging them to continue getting to know him. A couple of them chose to ask Jesus into their lives.
Several of the encounters were very intense. One in particular was a young man who, just as he was about to get his freedom, would retreat into himself. I feared we would fail him. We were all praying intently, but we seemed to be losing the battle. I felt helpless. The way we approach this kind of ministry is to walk the person through the process to freedom, but they must do it themselves through an act of their own will in cooperation with the Holy Spirit, and he kept shrinking back at the key moment. Suddenly, it was as if a fire were lit inside him. He took authority over his torment, spoke truth to defeat the lies in his life, and he was free! We were all crying!
Another, middle aged man had anger buried so deep that he wasn’t able to ever BE angry, even when it was appropriate. We located the source of the anger; he had been picked on relentlessly in school. I had him pretend that I was all the kids who had hurt him, and had him tell me all the things he would like to have told those kids. As he started, his voice got louder and louder. He got really angry! People outside were looking. It was pretty scary. But he got free. He was a different man after that. He didn’t even look the same.
Everywhere around the festival site, we heard people talking about the things we were doing. They loved the Booth and they loved us for bringing it. People who received ministry from us went and got their friends and brought them to us. Wherever we went, people would ask us when they could have an encounter. We were rock stars! We would explain that it was only through God that we were able to do what we did.
On Sunday, we burned the Told Booth. We had a large crowd. They watched the hurtful words go up in smoke as they cheered. It was a huge fire! This was a really cathartic thing to happen to this community of festival goers who had come looking for transformative and/or spiritual experiences. We had succeeded in providing just that for a great many of them.
But this was not intended to be a one time event. We believe in the long haul, in investing ourselves the communities to which we are sent. Going to Nest was also a reconnaissance mission, and plans for how to best serve this community began to form immediately and will continue to develop. This is true for each of the festivals we attend. We intend to return next year, with a larger team of eight to ten. We want to provide a spiritual oasis where people can encounter Jesus to the degree that they choose. That requires creativity and sensitivity to the people and to the Holy Spirit, and we have the experience to do it. This is what we do. We want to be a visible presence that is accessible to festival goers right where they can be reached.
Maybe you’d like to join us 🙂