1. Parents’ Example Sets the Course. “I grew up six hours due west of Sydney,” Paul says. “Our farm was 35 miles from the nearest town. We were an average family that went to church and were generous. The best example of generosity I had was from my parents. We were farmers and we didn’t have a whole bunch.”
Paul recounts the story of a generosity miracle at the Bolte family farm. “One year we were going to harvest our crop and it was worth $60k. But then there was rain and our paddocks (that’s a field in America) flooded. The whole crop went underwater. Literally, ducks were swimming up and eating the heads of grain. It was just devastating for my father.”
As the family prayed, God gave them an idea. “Lots of people had come to our farm to shoot ducks in the past. We had never charged people to come onto our property, so maybe this once we could charge an entry fee..” The family decided to charge $20 a head to let hunters shoot the ducks. One hunter arrived and then another and another until… “Three thousand people turned up,” Paul says. “That was $60k. Exactly the amount the crop was worth before.”
After God provided so miraculously, Paul’s father felt led to share the proceeds with others. “Dad let the local service club [charity] collect the money and keep half. Our family’s half, he gave some to us kids and the rest went to keep the family afloat. My parents were very generous in how they helped and supported others.”
2. God Gives You Gifts for a Reason: Use Them to Help. Paul’s farm-bred work ethic has served him well in business. He studied engineering and went into the building industry. By 34, he was CEO of a marketing and distribution business. Paul was then appointed CEO of Bartercard in New Zealand to “help businesses buy goods and services from each other using their own goods and services”, keeping track of all the transactions in a digital currency. He moved to the US and founded Bartercard USA. Bartercard originally launched in Australia and had expanded to dozens of licenses and franchises in other countries and went public on the ASX.
After a group of activist shareholders rolled the Board of Directors, the public company sold off the international licenses, including the license that Paul had started and was running in the US. Though the outcome wouldn’t have been his choice, God used the journey to refine him. “There’s a passage from 1 Peter 4:10,” Paul says, “and it says your purpose in life is to use your God given gifts to serve others. And Ephesians 6:7 tells us to do that with excellence. I started praying for God to open the door to use the skills he’s given me so I could have a significant Kingdom Impact.”
At the time, Paul hadn’t heard of TrustBridge Global Foundation, which helps facilitate cross-border transactions for Christian givers. Paul was in a C12 group for business leaders and heard about a chance to serve at TrustBridge. The CEO & Board of TrustBridge narrowed the EVP search from 645 candidates to two candidates and then decided to hire them both. So, given his background, Paul oversees technology, systems, and marketing. His colleague, EVP & General Counsel Joanne Youn oversees the legal side, while both are involved in growing the TrustBridge Global Member Network. “It’s about serving the Kingdom and I’m passionate about it,” Paul says. “It’s what God wants me to do.”
3. Generosity Starts Here. Now. Paul’s TrustBridge role is based at the headquarters of the National Christian Foundation (NCF) in Atlanta. Paul’s know-how, which took root on his family farm, came into play again when he began talking with some of the staff at NCF. One explained challenges she was having with her kitchen.
Paul wondered if others might have the same challenge. “I told one lady that I was thinking of helping. She started crying and said, ‘I’ve got a light switch right now that’s dodgy.’” Paul replied, “I can fix that in less than five minutes.” Paul says, “I thought, ‘We need to serve our staff in need here at NCF.’”
Generosity isn’t an abstract idea or something to do later. With enthusiastic support from the NCF leadership, Paul acted. To handle the “supply side”, he walked into every office and said to NCF employees, “Are you a handyman?” and pitched the idea of helping NCF employees who had needs.
By the time the day finished, Paul says, “We had all the handyman guys lined up; the marketing team are creating a system to have these guys come and take care of any problems at their houses on Saturdays. We’re sending out two guys at a time for security and ethical reasons. Once a month, for 2-3 hours, we’ll help with any handyman projects needed. There are about five of us that have all the tools.”