Adam Royston

What led you to engage in this calling?

This is the one question I get asked most often when I tell people I am serving with Global Ministries. To be honest I was not happy with the direction my life was headed. I was just finishing up school at a prestigious college in Washington, DC headed off to work in the consulting field. I spoke with my close friend and minster about not believing that God heard my prayers. I told him I had prayed so many times for a different path in my life. My friend then recanted the following story “A religious man is on top of a roof during a great flood. A man comes by in a boat and says "get in, get in!" The religious man replies, "no, I have faith in God, he will grant me a miracle."

Later the water is up to his waist and another boat comes by and the guy tells him to get in again. He responds that he has faith in God and God will give him a miracle. With the water at about chest high, another boat comes to rescue him, but he turns down the offer again cause "God will grant him a miracle."

With the water at chin high, a helicopter throws down a ladder and they tell him to get in, mumbling with the water in his mouth, he again turns down the request for help for the faith of God. He arrives at the gates of heaven with broken faith and says to Peter, I thought God would grand me a miracle and I have been let down." St. Peter chuckles and responds, "I don't know what you're complaining about, we sent you three boats and a helicopter."

After the short story he asked me how many boats had God sent me. I really reflected on this and went home only to find that my conference had sent an email about Global Ministries looking for GMIs. I knew then this was the boat I had been waiting to take me some place new.

Is there a passage of scripture that carries special meaning in your daily work?

“O Lord, how long shall I cry for help,    
and you will not hear?
Or cry to you 'Violence!'   
and you will not save?

Why do you make me see iniquity,    
and why do you idly look at wrong?
Destruction and violence are before me;    
strife and contention arise.

So the law is paralyzed,    
and justice never goes forth.
For the wicked surround the righteous;    
so justice goes forth perverted.”  Habakkuk 1: 2-4 (English Standard Version)

This passage holds special meaning for me because as I travel around Asia I am forced to see violence and the results of corruption.  My eyes are made witness to the inequity that constantly surrounds me. I use this passage as comfort to remind myself that even though I might not understand God’s ways of preserving his people, that just like Habakkuk, I too must learn to wait and trust in God, who works out all things for his glory.

What are some of the challenges facing the people of Asia?

The people of Asia are experiencing situations of increasing poverty, inadequate health care, economic exploitation, depletion of natural resources and environmental degradation; natural disasters; armed conflicts and violence; militarization, arms build-up, nuclearisation, spread of small arms and light weapons; domination and intervention of major powers from outside Asia; ethnic and religious conflicts, communal violence, and political unrest; violations of human rights in various forms: torture, custodial death, human trafficking, violation of rights of women and children, migrant workers; unemployment especially among young people; lack of rule of law and democratic governance.  The list just seems to go on…

Which books have influenced your understanding of your country, work, or theology?

  • A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "A Course in Miracles", by Marianne Williamson
  • The Summer Day, a poem by Mary Oliver
  • Ecumenical Dynamic: Living in More than One Place at Once, by Keith Clements
  • Bangkok Boy: The Story of a Stolen Childhood, by Chai Pinit

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Adam Royston