The above video is a clip of the Brown family from Brownwood, TX. Below, Sandi and the girls share their stories about being involved in festival ministry in Salem, and at the Stonehenge Solstice.
I have been involved in several different streams of Christianity, from Baptist to Charismatic, to now not really affiliating with any particular stream. All of my life, I’ve never really felt like I fit in anywhere except in the midst of a bunch of misfits and fellow seekers.
My family and I first stumbled upon the crazy and truly wonderful world of festival ministry through Streams Ministry’s dream intensives. It was quite a season of darkness, betrayal, and rejection in our personal lives. Long story short, I was told by the core group of people in our Christian circle that God was extremely displeased with me and He was going to withdrew all His grace and mercy from my life; therefore they would not continue to fellowship with me. Their left-foot of fellowship freed me onto a journey for which I will forever be grateful. One thing led to another, we ended up in the vault of The Gathering during the great witch festival in Salem, MA in October, 2007.
Over the past ten years, what began out of brokenness has grown into some of the best years of my life so far. We’ve met many kindred spirited friends; we’ve seen broken spirits lifted and hope restored; we’ve seen illness and injuries healed. We have been part of the works of the Spirit of the living God, and seen a glimpse of God’s kingdom on the earth. There are many things in my life remain uncertain, but one thing I have learned to hold onto with absolute certainty is: no matter what conditions life brings or where the journey leads, the light of God is always within reach. And that light is what I have learned to share with the seekers at the festivals.
My heart comes to life when God’s Spirit breathes new life the broken hearted and the downcast ones. Last fall in Salem, several young ladies came into the tent with emotional trauma caused by broken relationship with their fathers. As we ministered to them with words of life and in prayer, their beautifully receptive hearts began to heal. One girl, in particular, was accompanied by her fiancée who, at first, clearly did not want to be there; he left weeping moved by the emotional healing she received. And then there was Mark, the young anthropologist who, out of curiosity, stumbled unto the cross-path with God at Stonehenge. There have been many stories. So many who came across our paths will forever be imprinted upon our hearts and in our prayers.
Living in the Bible Belt, the heart of religious conservatism, many Christians around us often look on at what we do in Salem in somewhat of a fearsome awe and held us at an arm’s length. But then there are those dear friends who have joined with us on our wild adventures with patient excitement and joy. Last year after our trip to Salem, our youth ministry held a Halloween outreach with us here in our little town. I’m excited for the increase of this type of outreach here at home.
Salem was an inspiring and eye-opening trip. Growing up, I have always been told I am loved very much. Many of the amazing, colorful people I met were not told on a daily basis that they were loved. Many needed healing from the pain of not being loved.
People are alike no matter where I go. Love and acceptance are craved by people from different backgrounds. Traveling has opened my mind. I no longer see the rest of the world as “them”; I see them as “us.” We are all human. We are all loved. We all struggle. We all feel pain. No one is better than the other.
Traveling and meeting all types of people has taught me to let those around me know they are loved and not alone. Helping others to work through pain had helped me grow in some personal areas and struggles. Loving others and bringing light to people’s lives are tough. Sometimes, I want to be in my own pity party and ignore the outside world, but I can’t because people need the love and light I have.
I have learned people are worth that extra step out of my comfort zone. I can’t keep all of this love and light for myself; I have to share. I have had to learned to be a team player and not a “me” player. Love and light will change the world. We are all loved and worth it.
My experiences in Salem have given me many opportunities for growth. I loved interacting with people from various spiritual backgrounds and looking at the world from their perspectives. The people in Salem were very kind and welcoming. We definitely felt wanted and appreciated everywhere we went. The people were very open and accepting to what we were ministering.
It was very eye-opening to see how the people were hungry and longing for love. I loved having the opportunity to show them love with the help of my family and friends.
My experience in Salem stretched me spiritually and made room available for learning and growth. I am excited for more opportunities like these in the near future where I can grow more to become a strong and wise woman.