Love Scotland Campaign - Part 1
From January 7-13 we engaged in a nationwide outreach throughout Scotland. This outreach was made up of three full-time workers, and also numerous Christians we met in different cities throughout this great land.
We started the week with one plan in place, but the Lord had other things in store for us. However, no matter what happened the Gospel was proclaimed and Jesus was lifted high.
The following is but a brief report of all that happened.
Day 1: Edinburgh (7 January)
It was a very Scottish start to the day. It was cold, wet and windy. We left Perth, while it was still dark and made our way to the nations capital, Edinburgh. When we arrived the sun was out, but the wind was blowing. This sadly meant that many of the streets were empty.
Since there weren't many people around to witness to, we decided it'd be good to spend some time looking at the Christian tourist sights in Edinburgh. We looked at the church where John Knox preached; we saw the location of his burial, his home and then we went to Greyfriars Kirkyard, it was here that we saw the memorial to the 18,000 Covenanters that were killed for standing up for Jesus.
After this we grabbed a quick lunch, and met up with Dane, who is a local Baptist preacher who moved to Scotland from the US. Since he had preached many times in Edinburgh, we let him show us the best locations.
We headed down Rose Street, and there we conducted our open-air meeting. Dane was the first preacher up. While he preached the rest of us handed out tracts and engaged people in conversation. One man stopped Chuck and wanted to talk about homosexuality. Chuck carefully and biblically explained the doctrine of sin, and the need of the Saviour; the man left thanking Chuck for his time.
After Dane finished preaching Chuck stood up to preach. He spoke about how Jesus is the light of the world, and how many people search for light in human wisdom. The people in Edinburgh seemed apathetic to the Gospel. A few people stopped to listen, but not many.
By this stage Rose Street was getting fairly busy, so we moved to a better location to preach. Tony was the first to preach in this new location, and as he expounded the Scripture people stopped to listen. Some people opened windows in the buildings above us, and they stood listening to the preaching.
While Tony was preaching, Peter the Atheist began to engage Chuck in conversation. He was more interested in arguing about the Da Vinci Code than anything else, yet, Chuck was able to present Christ to him.
It was also during this time that many Christians started to come up to us and express their thanks. They said they were so grateful to have the Gospel being preached in the city of Edinburgh. We were very glad to serve as a ministry of encouragement.
After Tony finished preaching it came time for me to speak. I spoke about how the New Year had just begun, but then asked the question, "Why is it 2014?" From there I swung it around to show how time began counting with Christ. From here I went on to explain who Christ is, and what He came to do.
A few people stopped to listen, and some were engaged in conversation by other members of the team. While I was preaching a man in a window above me began to heckle. I engage him with the Gospel, but he just laughed it off.
As I spoke I began to personalise the Gospel. I asked those listening if they were trusting in Christ. One man refused to answer, but an older lady with a big smile called out, "Yes, I am!"
When I had finished preaching we headed down to the Princes Mall to preach to those preparing to go home from work. Dane preached and so did Tony. While they spoke I was able to hand out many tracts, and talk to a Christian who was looking for a church. This lady said she was greatly encouraged by the Gospel and wanted to worship in a church with God's people. I was able to point her to a good church, and encouraged her to attend.
By this stage the clock was sitting at 5pm, so we decided to head home. It was a good first day of the Love Scotland campaign.
Day 2: Dundee (8 January)
Some days you just cannot plan for! We started the day with the idea that we'd share the Gospel in Dundee for a few hours, and then we'd take a Protestant Reformation tour with a local Elder in St. Andrews that afternoon. However, God had other plans. In God's sovereign will he allowed Tony Miano to be arrested and jailed overnight.
It must be stated that due to the ongoing case against Tony, I am limited in what I can report. Some people have written blogs giving their opinions on what happened, but since information is limited I am surprised that they would make grand assumptions in order to blog.
The day began quite well. We walked along the High Street of Dundee until we found an empty shop that we could preach outside of. Chuck was the fist preacher of the day. As he preached he received a few hecklers and mocks, but nothing much.
During this time Tony was able to buy a homeless lady some food, and share the Gospel. As all this was going on, I simply handed out tracts.
After Chuck had finished preaching it came time for Tony to preach. Tony began his message by explaining who Jesus is from the Bible. Quite a few people came up to Tony to thank him as he preached, and many people said they were encouraged. Overall it was very positive in Dundee. One man handed Tony a card thanking him for preaching, and another man slipped £20 into Tony's hand. The Scottish people in Dundee for the most part were readily receiving the Gospel and supporting the American open-air preacher.
Some bloggers would have you believe that the Scots were opposed to Tony, and viewed him as some kind of fanatic, but that is not what we saw on the streets. The response from the people was wonderful, however, there were three loud mouthed ladies that caused trouble.
As Tony preached, he spoke about sin. He mentioned a wide variety of sins, from lying to stealing. He also mentioned sexual sin (both hetrosexual and homosexual). He never majored on one sin, but after he mentioned homosexuality one lady began to scream in anger. She called out that her son was gay, and as I looked one of her friends saw that I had a video camera in my hand (I was filming the preaching). With that her friend ran over to me and started to try and smash the camera. She was shoving me, and trying to rip the camera out of my hand. I never pushed back, I just told her this is assault and she can't do that.
With that the group of ladies walked off, but were all on their phones. During this time a Dundee Council Ambassador came by. I spoke to him and he saw some of the things that were going on. He said he had no issue with the preaching, and that we had freedom of speech and no law was being broken.
Tony preached for a little while longer. When he had finished we thought we'd pack up to go have some lunch, and then we'd either head to a different location to preach, or go on our tour of St. Andrews. As we were preparing to leave one of the ladies who was screaming hate, anti-Christian comments and saying about her gay son came up and shoved her camera phone towards us. She said she had called the police and they were on way. We said that was fine, as we hadn't broken any laws.
It was at this stage we noticed the police van coming towards us. The camera we had was still filming with Chuck holding on to it. The male and female police officer got out of the van, and approached us. The lady that was hostile and violent towards us yelled out that we had a camera, with that the police broke the law by lunging at the camera and ripping it out of the hands of Chuck. The police seized the camera and put it in their van without even informing us if a law had been broken.
The male police officer went and spoke to the hostile lady. He then opened the van, walked up to Tony and declared that Tony was arrested. They never asked him or us what had happened, they presumed guilt and never once asked for our side of the story. Tony asked the officer what he was under arrest for, but the officer didn't answer.
Tony was then placed in the back of the van, and it was only then that he was informed that he was being arrested for Breach of Peace due to homophobic hate speech. I pointed out to the officer that no homophobic comments were made, but she wouldn't listen.
At this stage I decided I would press assault charges against the lady that attacked me. The police weren't overly interested, but they took my statement and said there is a possibility she will just get a warning and told not to do it again.
Chuck and I then drove to the police station to await news on Tony. After being there for about an hour we were told that Tony would be held overnight, and would face court in the morning. The next day, Tony pled "Not Guilty" and now he must return to Scotland in April to face a trial. We are thankful to the work of Christian Concern as they will be taking care of the legal aspects.
The Love Scotland outreach was taking a turn towards something we hadn't plan, but our trust is in the Sovereign God.
Below is a video in which Tony Miano details his arrest.
In Part 2 of the Love Scotland report, we will see what amazing things God did after Tony was released from jail.