The short answer is because God has undeniably called us there! That is and always will be the most important reason. But there is also more to it than that. To put it into stark and statistical terms, Scotland is a post-Christian nation with a rapidly declining Christian evangelical population currently hovering at less than 3%. Very soon, Scotland will fit the Joshua Project's criteria for an unreached people group.
Scotland is filled with huge, beautiful cathedrals, abbeys, and churches. They're incredibly ornate and awe-inspiring, and even the act of their construction was considered worship by the architects. But so often now they're empty shells, tourist attractions, that just remind us of the nation of faith that once was. We want to see the vibrancy and the closeness of Christ return to the land of Scotland!
WHAT ARE WE DOING?
FIRST, we're in YWAM. Since finishing our training, we've joined YWAM Paisley as staff members. Originally a part of the Arts & Community Team (along with Corbin and Stacy Miles), it has since joined forces with YWAM Stanely House to become a single team here in Paisley. We help run training schools, guide interns, and work on various arts-related projects in the local area.
SECOND, we forge relationships. We want to build deep, genuine, long-lasting relationships with Scots. In order to minister to as many people as possible, we have to go out and meet them where they are in their own life. Sincere friendships are only created and strengthened by time, and we see the skills and talents God has given us as ways to reach out and draw people in. Then we'll have incredible opportunities to share the light of Christ!
THIRD, we're ready for more! We want to be open to whatever thrilling new directions God may have in store for us. We look forward to seeing where God will open up doors for more relationships and ministry opportunities here in Paisley, Scotland.
Why "tending the thistle"?
According to legend, an English nighttime sneak attack on a Scottish castle was rudely interrupted when a barefoot soldier stepped on a thistle in the dark. The Scottish heard the noise and promptly showed the invaders that nighttime sneak attacks on Scottish castles are drastically overrated. The English were driven off without much trouble, and the thistle (a tough and tenacious weed) has been a national icon of Scotland and a symbol of its people ever since.
God brought the thistle to our mind over and over, and we realized how fitting it would be as a representation of our mission. In order to completely remove a thistle, not even the smallest sliver of root can be left behind in the soil or it will grow back. Scotland, in its post-Christian state, has only a small piece of Christianity remaining in its soil, but we are working to see that piece grow and expand and flourish once again!
IS THE SCOTLAND NATIONAL ANIMAL REALLY THE UNICORN?
Yes. Yes it is.