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Why I Give: Jack ’16 and Andrea ’17 Roylston

Jack and Andrea Roylston

 

If you chat with Jack ’16 and Andrea ’17 Roylston for even a short while, you’ll notice that they exude gratitude. Originally from Greenville, SC, Jack and Andrea became friends in high school, dated at Covenant College, and married in 2016. With a shared call to ministry, the Roylstons moved to Nairobi, Kenya in 2019 to work with Serge. Even while giving their time, energy, and resources to others, Jack and Andrea’s hearts and minds are focused on how God has provided for them throughout their lives.

Jack and Andrea were members of Mitchell Road Presbyterian in high school and served with the youth group. This is where they heard about Covenant. When Jack came to Lookout Mountain, he was a new believer, having been called by Jesus halfway through high school. Covenant built a strong foundation for his and Andrea’s faith, and the lessons they learned in college have carried them through their missionary work. “Covenant has completely shaped the way I think and see the world,” Jack says, while Andrea’s experience transformed how she views worship. She hadn’t thought of her academics as a way to worship God before college, but at Covenant, she experienced the full integration of worship and academic work.

For Jack especially (as a new believer), being exposed to theology in an academic setting at Covenant was new and exciting. Jack and Andrea tell stories of many Covenant professors who poured into them, not only as students but also as alumni and fellow believers. Professors opened their homes and invested in Jack and Andrea. Some of their closest friends are from Covenant, and they treasure many heartwarming memories made here on the mountain.

While in Kenya, Jack trained Kenyan pastors and church leaders in Chronological Bible Storying and taught at New City Fellowship Church. Andrea coached youth and adult soccer with Ambassadors Football Kenya. Currently, the couple lives in Charlotte, NC. Andrea is still on staff with Serge, helping missionaries with language learning and teaching English as a second language, and Jack is attending Reformed Theological Seminary.

Their gratitude for God’s faithfulness motivates the Roylston’s lifestyle of giving. Even through their current season of support raising and paying for seminary, the two give their time, money, and resources in an overflow of thankfulness for what God has given to them. “When you’ve been impacted by generosity, it breeds more generosity,” Jack says. Early in their marriage, the two prayed about and discussed cheerful giving. “If we are the next generation of ministers and leaders, that doesn’t start at a certain age or income bracket,” Andrea says. Though they do not give from abundance, they give from hearts abundant with the joy of Christ.

Living on missionary support has made the couple acutely aware that their money is not their own. “Our money is never our own,” they say, but being supported by family and friends further showed the Roylstons that everything they have is a gift from God. They are also keenly aware of how much God can do with small acts of generosity. We may never see the effects of our giving, but the Roylstons know that God can do amazing things with what we perceive as a small gift.

Jack and Andrea view giving to Covenant as an extension of supporting the Church. They want to make it easier for more students to come to Covenant by bridging the financial gap, and they firmly believe in the ways that Covenant is impacting people’s lives. They see the work being done at the college as kingdom work, and by giving, they are part of the mission of Covenant College.

Jack and Andrea say that our motivations catch up to our actions. Some people may hesitate to give because they don’t feel that their heart is in the right place, but the Roylstons encourage believers to just start giving while intentionally asking God for discernment and a cheerful heart of gratitude.

It is clear that the Roylston’s lives are an outpouring of gratitude for the gifts God has given in their work, their marriage, and their faith. Above all, their gratitude comes from recognition of the ultimate gift, Christ’s sacrifice for us on the cross.

 

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