UNREACHED

From Gavel to Gospel: An Auctioneer's Mission to BLESS the World

February 07, 2024 UNREACHED Season 2 Episode 3
UNREACHED
From Gavel to Gospel: An Auctioneer's Mission to BLESS the World
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Embark on a profound journey of faith with Heath Hale as we trace the origins and blossoming of Bless, a nonprofit dedicated to reaching and resourcing unreached people groups. His mobilization from a pivotal church course to harnessing his auctioneering talents for a higher calling embodies the essence of faith in action. As he shares his narrative, we're reminded of the unexpected paths that lead us to serve the world in ways we never imagined.
 
 Throughout our heartfelt conversation, we unpack the growth and trials of Bless Foundation's nonprofit journey, discussing how moments of quiet reflection and recalibration have deepened our dedication to spreading hope and the Gospel. The collaborative spirit that drives our mission shines through in stories of long-term investments in Bible translation and church planting. You'll be moved by the tales of communities transformed and partnerships forged in the quest to include every tribe and tongue in the embrace of God's love.
 
 As we step into a New Year, the importance of community and shared purpose stands as a beacon of inspiration. With tales of life-saving water wells in South Sudanese refugee camps and arduous treks through the Himalayas, the episode underlines the tangible impacts of our work. We encourage you to connect with this story of unwavering faith and to consider your role in a mission that reaches across borders and hearts, aspiring to a world where no community remains unreached.

Follow @unreachedpodcast on Instagram for more!

Speaker 1:

In Revelation 7, john shares his vision of heaven with members from every tribe, tongue, people and language standing in the throne room before the Lamb. Yet today there are still over 7,000 unreached people groups around the world. For the last six years, my family and friends have been on a journey to find, vet and fund the task remaining. Come journey with us to the ends of the earth as we share the supernatural stories of God at work through the men and women he has called to reach the unreached. Hello friends, dustin Elliott here, your host on the Unreach podcast.

Speaker 1:

We are in season two and I have a very special guest today. I would say probably my closest friend in Christ over the last seven years, my brother from another mother, a guy who I respect and admire and look up to and learn from, but also a guy that we may have to pull the truck over and get out and fight out in a bar ditch. Every once in a while we do fight like brothers, but it's all for the advancement of God's kingdom. Please help me welcome the one and only Mr Heath Hale.

Speaker 2:

Well, first, I'm honored to be here. I'm grateful, you know, as I've listened over the last few months and heard stories of the social workers and the businessman and the goer and the funder and everyone in between. It's just I love and I'm inspired by the content you guys are putting out. So it's an honor to be here and I love getting to do life and serve together like this.

Speaker 1:

It is. Heath and Tabitha Hale are the co-founders of Bless, once known as the Bless Foundation, now blessworld. You've heard us talk about it all through the season one and we're going to keep talking about it because it's basically the impetus of all of our stories that we've met and introduced and funded and chased after and gone on personally. So today I just want to walk through the journey with Heath and share with all of you kind of how this thing got started and how God has taken it through some shifts and some turns over the years. And, heath, why don't you take us back to the OG 2016? Tabby's prayer journal? How'd this get going?

Speaker 2:

Wow, so 2015,. We're sitting in church and hear a message If you would like for your next trip or vacation to have purpose, you should come to this course. And little did we know God was going to use a five or six week course to rock our worlds. We say that I'm grateful. Tabitha and I were in that course together, by the grace of God. We were both mobilized. God grabbed our hearts.

Speaker 2:

We learned at that point in 2015 that there were actually people and people groups in existence that didn't know someone that knows someone that knows someone that had ever heard the name of Jesus, and we were heartbroken. We thought that everyone on this planet had a choice and we thought that they were just choosing not to follow Christ. And when we heard that they actually had no access, that was the key word that tipped us. They don't have access, meaning they didn't have access to a Bible, they didn't have access to a church, they didn't have access to a pastor, they didn't have access to other believers in community. God poured it on our hearts to do something about it, and so we thought we were supposed to be goers. We dedicated our business and our family to the Lord and said God, we will shut this down and move wherever you hope. I always kind of joke and say it was a 98% faithful prayer.

Speaker 1:

We're like anywhere except for somewhere dangerous God.

Speaker 2:

But we did. We took a summer sabbatical, prayed about it daily, with some direction and discipleship from our pastors at the Ridge, brad and Don, and came back and told our missions pastor the Lord has not revealed to us where he wants us to go. And I got to be honest, dustin, I was thinking like beautiful beaches in Cambodia, thailand, shrimp for breakfast, lunch and dinner go be a goer. There's some glorious things about that, now that eight years into it, I realize how difficult of a journey that is and it is the ultimate sacrifice that I could never imagine in having that life as a frontline worker among gospel poverty.

Speaker 2:

And whenever we told our missions pastor that God hadn't revealed the place, his response was well, what do you guys do for a living and how has God equipped you? If you're not a goer, you're a sender. So maybe you're in a season of sending and just a light bulb went off. God was gracious and at the same time, tabith and I both realized that we had been equipped and chiseled through our career, through our networks, through our friend group, to be senders. It was really cool. Tabith and I were immediately on the same page and knew that we should host an event to mobilize people and to mobilize resources towards unreached people groups, and so we went from thinking that we were going to go live on the front lines to realizing that God was already preparing us for this for many years, and so it became clear the role we're supposed to play in this season.

Speaker 1:

And so let me give it a little background. I get to brag on Heath in this forum and I'm going to. Before this happened, Heath and Tabith obviously were already engaged and coming to church and they had started a company a few years prior to this happening, called Cowboy Auctioneer, and what they do is they. If you go to a gala in Austin, Texas a fundraiser for a nonprofit and there's a live auction silent auction, but definitely a live involved most likely you're going to see a guy on the stage wearing black with a silver belly cowboy hat on and you're going to have some guys out in the audience and these are the Cowboy Auctioneers. And so they had already committed a kind of a life change from a lineage of auctioneers, with your father and your brother also being one. But you all committed a career change from selling cattle and selling cars to raising money for nonprofits, and I believe I'm going to go. I'm going to put this out there. I think you all raised over $200 million for charity to date.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I'm still when I hear that number. We're knocking on the door of $250 million right now, Like we're going to hit $250 million any day, and that's just through live auctions for nonprofits and we're kind of blown away Unbelievable.

Speaker 1:

Austin, texas is known for a lot of things, and one thing that some people may not know is this is a very generous city. There are a lot of good people here with very big and kind hearts, and so your typical year you're going to do 70, 80 events in a year, right?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, this past year, I think, we did 84 events and raised exactly $50 million.

Speaker 1:

Wow, Wow. So when Pastor Don Ellsworth, who's also been on the show before, when he said, what are you good at? And you're like, well, I raise money for charities and Tabby's, like well, I'm an event planner and y'all are like, well, okay maybe one at one equals three. Here was pretty easy math to figure out.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it was just so cool to be in that moment and look at your spouse and be like, whoa, we know what we're supposed to do, we know how to do it.

Speaker 2:

We're going to be ultra faithful and, because of the Lord being in the details, it's going to be way bigger than we ever imagined.

Speaker 2:

So we got out that first year in 2017 and we vetted five organizations to ensure that they were all doing work advancing the gospel among the unreached. They all had a humanitarian side to them fighting human trafficking, protecting vulnerable children, supplying life-sustaining resources, et cetera. And so we found these five organizations and said, hey, we want to tell your story and our hope is that at the end of this event, we can give you $20,000 each. We're going to raise $100,000 divided by five. Give you $20,000 each. And that first night you know, in that journey, before planning the first event, the Lord brought some incredible people around Dustin and Brittany Elliott. Y'all are two of those that just blessed us with your presence and bringing other people who love the Lord and can make a financial impact. And so, that first ever event, we were running hard and on empty tanks when that day came and God provided $560,000 and we were able to give each of those organizations more than $100,000.

Speaker 2:

And it was just an unbelievable moment of God being really flexing his muscle and showing off and being faithful and saying, hey, thank you, for you know, before we had blessed, we were spending time doing other things and what mobilized us Dr Todd Aaron said that mobilized us was stop using your blessings as excuses to not be a blessing to other. We were filling our time. We were filling our time running the race here that we run, and I say that I was as guilty as anyone filling my calendar up with incredible fun things, whether it was on the lake or in a deer pasture or on a vacation. And those were my excuses. Those were I was too busy to get in the game.

Speaker 2:

And whenever we said, okay, we're going to do this together and we're going to plan an event we're going to commit this time, we're going to commit this effort, god just blessed that so incredibly, and it has been such a sweet, sweet gift to share with my wife, to share with you, my best buddy, to share with our church and to share with the blessed community. And so now fast forward. We're at eight years. We've had this event seven times, which is just insane to think about how fast time's gone Unbelievable and we've deployed more than $10 million to the front lines of gospel poverty. It has just been an unbelievable journey.

Speaker 1:

It's amazing, and this year we were. I mean Life Austin's, a church here in town that was kind enough to let us use their venue, which is an outdoor amphitheater, in December, and it was about it was in the low thirties.

Speaker 2:

The night before the big event was the annual ice storm. Mansfield dams closed downtown, all the schools are out and we've got an event the next day Look who is going to show up. And so we took their tables, had little, they were outdoor patio tables and they all had an umbrella circle in the middle. And so we went to Lowe's and Home Depot and every store we could find and bought all these fire bowls and we took propane tanks and screwed them in the bottom. So instead of there being umbrellas as the centerpieces, there was fire bowls. And so my daughter and some friends made these deals called like smore packs, and on them they said reach, smore of the unreached. And so everyone got a fire pit and a pack of s'mores and we raised $560 grand. And below freezing weather, everyone is shivering and shaking and God provided.

Speaker 1:

It was incredible. It was incredible. Drew Womack played and Corey Morrow was there that night and Corey always sings or plays barefoot and he came up and sang with Drew because we were all so excited. Everybody ends up on stage singing because we couldn't believe what had just happened.

Speaker 2:

Right, I think that's the first time Corey ever performed with shoes on.

Speaker 2:

He said it was too cold to take his shoes off. Yeah, that's great. What a fun night that was. But, man, that was just a community coming together and I will say this eight years ago it was hard talking about the unreached In terms of telling people what it was, and so we kind of had to lead with. Well, we're doing projects that are fighting human trafficking and digging water wells and, by the grace of God, now there's 21 water wells in the South Sudanese refugee camps and there's all these schools and education centers the stuff that we had to talk about and it was really cool. There was this turning point a few years later where it was like, hey, you can lead with the unreached now, like, people are excited about that. That, to me, is one of the most fun parts of the journey is going in 2016, 17,. The word unreached you had to really explain it. Now, 2022, three and four man people are fired up to reach the unreached.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's that access, that key word, right Cause I mean, back then my wife and I had gotten married fairly recently. To this all getting started, we had met with Don. We thought we wanted to start a nonprofit. We kind of were sharing what our heart was about, and he said, well, hold on. I got to introduce you to Heath and Tabitha. You got to meet Jonathan and Ann Patton. You got to meet these other folks, cause they're in here, we're having the same conversations, and so we all ended up meeting through Don.

Speaker 1:

We were six months ahead of you. Yeah, it was incredible. And we're like, okay, you know what? We're not gonna build the same thing you're building, we're just gonna come in and support you. What a blessing, oh. Has it ever been?

Speaker 2:

I'll never forget the day I met Dustin we're here at the Galleria and he had a golf tournament at the UT club that day and Tabitha and I typically with a young daughter back then we were like saying, hey, can you do lunch or after lunch, and he was like, nope, I got to be at the UT club at nine o'clock. I can meet at eight AM. And we're like, oh, okay, we'll get the baby up, we'll go. So we meet him up here at the coffee shop Galleria eight AM. He walks in, says Don has told me what you're doing, I want to hear your version.

Speaker 2:

We sat there for 30 minutes told him about it and he stood up and I'll never forget this. He said I'm in, and not only am I in my wife's in, and not only am I in my wife in, our families are in and our friends are in, and we're all the way, all in with you. And so he committed to buying the first table and committed just hey, whatever you need, I'll bring my community and my network, my resources. And that was the first time I ever met Dustin and you. Fast forward seven half, almost eight years and, bro, what a journey.

Speaker 1:

I'm sure it was a charity tournament.

Speaker 2:

I'm sure it was a good cause, hey and he goes I'm all in, we're all in. But now I got to go and I'm like don't worry, bro, I'll buy you coffee, you get out of here. And so he hauled off to the UT club and he and.

Speaker 2:

Tabitha literally sat there and went wow, okay, there's someone who's in, and our church sent him. Our church operating out of abundance, this guy, dustin, who we just met, operating out of abundance, and all of the sudden we had a little momentum. And then Dustin calls a couple of days later and says hey, you know, my father-in-law's in, hey, I got a couple other guys that are coming and this thing just started to snowball.

Speaker 1:

And so, man, that was- Well, that was a good term for that winter night. It was a snowball kind of a night. So then the event goes down. This is gonna be the Get Real podcast here, and Heath and Tabby were gassed. I mean, y'all poured yourselves out, you put tons of pressure on your family and your business and all to live a life, a day in the life of Heath and Tabby. You know, every night that he's on stage is that non-profit's biggest night of the year. You gotta be on, right? So you're giving the best to you. All fall to them as we're planning, as this is all coming together, and then Light the World, which is our annual event, tends to be your last event of the season, right?

Speaker 2:

Probably by design. Yeah, by design.

Speaker 1:

Right, because at the end of Light the World, you guys book it, y'all go somewhere and you rest, and you need it. You do your rest and then I don't know how long exactly it was, you may remember better than me, but let's call it. A few weeks later I called and I go hey, let's start talking about next year. And you're like hanging up the phone, like what.

Speaker 2:

I told him. I said, bro, we raised five times the goal. We're burned out. I think we can at least take two or three years off. That's being generous. If we took five years off, it would even out. Dustin says not only are we not taking a year off, we're gonna grow this thing. And so, yeah, we, tabitha and I. So here's the deal. We felt like God called us to do this event and we made that decision in August. She was very pregnant at the time. Aubrey was born in September that year.

Speaker 1:

That's right.

Speaker 2:

And so the event happened and we had a three month old and we didn't have. We didn't do a great job of going and asking for volunteers and getting a bunch of people. We threw it on our shoulders and said, hey, this is what we do, we can do this. And it burnt us out and you're right, it was at the expense of our marriage and expense of our sleep and the expense of my business. And so, by the grace of God, we had just enough fuel and endurance in the tank and we were really burned out and ready to quit after that first year. But you go, take that three or four week break and really kind of get refreshed, refueled.

Speaker 2:

A word we use a lot is recalibrated. And when you recalibrate and you center your heart back on the Lord and back in his word, then it becomes clear it's like well, hold on, that wasn't a one time deal, this is the calling of a lifetime and it's God's ultimate great commission. And so we then felt just the momentum in our sales and wow, Well, look what happens after that.

Speaker 1:

I mean this is incredible. But if God's gonna pull a group of people together to go after something like reaching the unreached, like Matthew 28, like getting the gospel where it's not name in Jesus among the nations, taking the gospel to the ends of the earth, somebody help me preach. If he's gonna get behind that, he's gonna resource it right, and not just with funding, but he resourced us with talent.

Speaker 1:

I mean think about the people I mean from every walk of life that came that night, that helped out that night, that gave that night, and then answered the phone when we called him later and said hey, we're gonna put a board together. We're looking for an executive director, we're looking for somebody to do the legal documents, we're looking for an accountant, we're looking for XYZ. We got to like.

Speaker 2:

And they all said yes, yep, yep, yep, yep, yep, we're in. I mean, yeah, that first night mobilized 500 plus people and from then on they all said let me know how I can help.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, absolutely.

Speaker 2:

I mean how I can be a blessing and a bless Amen.

Speaker 1:

And then, you know, the next steps started to fall into place and so to walk into that next year. I got to share this part of the story. We were talking about venue for Light the World for the next year. Where were we gonna do it? Right, this was 2018. And we're in Austin, texas, we're in the live music capital of the world, and we're like we gotta do ACL. We gotta go to Austin City Limits, we gotta plan a flag in downtown Austin, texas, for the gospel and do an event that just totally focuses on the amazing love of King Jesus. Right, we're gonna do it right here ACL. Acl is not cheap. Nope, it's hard to book and you know they typically want you to have some sort of talent right Of a capable artist for your event. So we take the leap of faith, we reserve the night, right, and then we start looking for our talent. And that was a challenging season, you remember.

Speaker 2:

We were stressed out, worried about who was gonna be on stage. Yeah, who is it gonna be? Who's the famous person? Yeah, and then we have that conversation, you and I, one day, and go hold up. The famous person on stage is Jesus. What are we doing here? Yeah, yeah. And everything changed in that moment when we realized it's not about the entertainer, it's about us standing up there and telling people what the great commission is, and telling them that Jesus is King and telling them that this is all about him. Everything changed and we prayed that prayer and said God, you know who's supposed to be on stage. It's your night, this is not up to us. Let us only focus on you and you provide.

Speaker 1:

And then the phone rang and then Amy Grant called and then the literal most award winning female Christmas time artist of all time her people call Yep, and they're like hey, you know her and Vince Gill. They do their 10 nights of deal in Nashville, but she has a night off and she just said she'd like to play at ACL in Austin and the night she would like to play is the night you have reserved.

Speaker 2:

So they asked us.

Speaker 1:

They were like do y'all want to?

Speaker 2:

move your night because we really want to bring Amy Grant in for this December Sunday and we're like no, no, no, no, no, we're not going to move our night, we'll host Amy. And so God sold out every seat at the Moody Theater downtown Austin and Amy Grant shared the gospel while there was a full stadium packed out at ACL. She told her story.

Speaker 1:

She told how Jesus changed her life. Straight up that night. She's like I've never done one like this, but I feel like tonight's the night. I'm going for it and she did it.

Speaker 2:

There was tears and she lifted up, blessed, and said she commended what we were doing, trying to fulfill God's great commission, and she played Silent Night. In the middle of it there was about a four minute instrumental and she, just she, shared her story and gave the gospel.

Speaker 1:

And you remember how much God raised that night? Yeah, that was 1.2. 1.2 doubled over, doubled the next year 1.2,.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, wow, got to fund maybe 20 projects after that All over the 1040.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and that was the real like okay, we're, this is something right. We got something and we're not stopping and if you, if you're, can you remember of all the events you did that year that ended up being one of the larger events in all of Austin that year?

Speaker 2:

right, yeah, it was. I think it was. I think it was second or third in Austin and there's some, there's some big ones in Austin. You know I get to do some mega events across, really across the country. Texas is has some of the biggest events in the country and if anyone knows Dustin, you know how competitive he is. He said where'd we add up, man? Were we top 10? I said, bro, we're number two in Austin. It's our second year.

Speaker 1:

That was. That was cool, so cool, and I believe every year since then we've been in the top three.

Speaker 2:

Always top, always top three or four.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

And it's been like that since. Yeah, and that's by the grace of God. It's super cool that you can have a Christian event about something so laser focused as reaching the unreached and the believers in town who a lot of times don't give publicly. They come and they support and they do Christmas with their spouse and they, they either raise their paddle or they give privately, but they, you know what we hold the rope in Austin, Texas, for those people that are down the pit.

Speaker 1:

No doubt about it. No doubt about it. Well, let's talk about that, let's talk about this pivot. So now we are building relationships with sending organizations in para churches and we're focused and we're tweaking and making tactical adjustments for the kind of who blesses over the years. But but you know, it was 1040 focused 1040 window Always, which is, you know, the majority of the unreached people groups are in.

Speaker 1:

Northern Africa, the Middle East and Asia, and so we we learned about the resource problem. We learned about how you know 99 cents of every dollar is going to reached people groups, and then we were like yeah, Already reached regions, we got to we got to flip the script. Like we've got to just focus on where the funds aren't going and the gospel isn't yet, and that's going to be our thing. That's what God's called us to right. That's right.

Speaker 2:

Our prayer is that, instead of 1% goes to the unreached, it's 2% and 5%, and oh my goodness, if we could get to 10%, there wouldn't be any unreached left.

Speaker 1:

No, no, it's, it's. It's right in front of us and Clinton, I've talked about this it's 7,000 left and gosh, can we get that number to six and five and four and who knows where in our lifetime? Right, as long as God's given us a breath, we're going to keep fighting that fight and it's not a lot of money and it's not it's it's.

Speaker 2:

It's just it's so doable these days. Yeah, I think it's 7,400 something, 7,460. The other day I looked and if you average about 550,000 for 10 years per UPG, I mean it's under $5 billion that you need to raise. And I don't know you and I are kind of dreamers that doesn't sound like a lot.

Speaker 1:

No, it doesn't sound like the number that it used to right and there's a line of sight to to kind of completion, if you will.

Speaker 2:

Now we're speaking in very limited terms of God's plans, obviously, yeah and the hard part is, you know the workers and the people willing to go to the unreached and the time it takes to learn language, culture, et cetera. I don't want to minimize how hard it is no, definitely not. But it definitely seems like it is right there in sight, no doubt no doubt.

Speaker 1:

And so kind of I I'm going to fast forward a little bit. So, 18, 19, 20, covid, all the things that tried to interrupt the world, we kept right on, right on, going by the grace of God, and we and we experienced a paradigm shift, right In what we would call the difference between biblical mission and biblical ministry, where we saw this look, it's good to go fund a short-term trip somewhere and build a school, and build a church and provide humanitarian aid and dig a water well and et cetera. Those are good, really good and really needed. But the task remaining is to get healthy, indigenous, led, disciple making churches planted where they're not. And so we were like man. We've got to shift our focus to getting that done. And that might not be a one, two or three year project. In certain people, groups and around the world it may be longer. So take us through how that all shifted in your heart through that season 2022,.

Speaker 2:

I'm here on a Sunday morning, 11 am, worshiping with you, clint man. It was just one of those moments where where that song kept going on and on and all of a sudden, you hear the entire congregation singing around you and God grabbed me and he gave me two words. He said go deeper. And I'm like go deeper. What does that mean? And I almost felt like filled with dreams, like whoa, go deeper, okay, hold on. What does that mean? And so I keep worshiping. In a couple of minutes he's like go deeper. And in my worship I was praying for bless. Tabitha wasn't with me on this Sunday morning. She was out of town with the kids. And so I'm like I'm praying for bless and I'm hearing go deeper. And I'm worshiping, praying for bless, hearing go deeper, worshiping, and all of a sudden it's just like go deeper with the unreached. And so he revealed the rest that with the unreached, and I literally speak up out loud. I'm like God, we are already so deep into this thing, how can we possibly go deeper? And he's like go deeper. I'm like, okay, I need to pray about that. So I tell Tabitha and Tabitha's like God has been telling me the exact same thing we need to go deeper, and so we committed 40 days of prayer. And so we were spending the summer out of the country and we committed to 40 days of prayer, and we didn't know what it meant to go deeper, and so we would talk about it in the mornings or in the evening times. God, how do you help us go deeper, lord? What do you want from us Is our season of sending over, and now we're in our season of going, lord, we're gonna recommit open hands. This is not about bless. This is not about our mission partners. This is only about you and your call for us to make sure that all people have access to you. And so day 40 happens.

Speaker 2:

I had also read a book by Terry Looper called Sacred Pace. It's given to me by a friend and it talks about the act of getting neutral. And so I got neutral and I could imagine myself in a dark room, attached to nothing, not attached to bless, not attached to my church, attached to zero, except for my wife and kids and the Lord. So my wife and kids are standing next to me and the Lord is just up above in this dark room, and I'm like okay, god, I am attached to nothing except for you and my family. How do we go deeper? And he reveals to me this Word that was long term, long term, long term. And I'm like, okay, long term, deeper.

Speaker 2:

And so then I'm like, oh my goodness, light bulb, I'm in my office back here in Austin and I my door was shut and I said babe, she's like yeah, I said come here, come here. And I was like I got this idea. And she's like I was just praying and God gave me a word. I'm like what's your word? And she was like portfolio. And I'm like, okay, he just gave me longer. I know he's been telling us go deeper. We got longer, we got portfolio.

Speaker 2:

And so what we realize is there's these actual individual people groups that we had, we had identified. And so if you have a people group and they don't have the scripture in their language and they don't have a healthy, indigenous led church, like how do you get the Holy Spirit there? You invite the Holy Spirit in through the word and through a disciple making church. And so it was just in just a few minutes we had the concept drawn out. Oh, my goodness, there's actual identified people groups.

Speaker 2:

They need long term funding for Bible translation, for church planting for leadership training and disciple making, and so we made a radical change in that moment in September of 2022. That was going from funding a lot of short term projects all over To grabbing actual people, groups that we had identified that didn't have a Bible and didn't have a church, and saying, okay, we are going to Identify them, we're gonna vet them and, if it checks out where the workers are there, committed to long term, doing whatever it takes to translate that Bible and plant a church in that culture, we want to fund that work and make sure that they don't lack resources. And so, without resources, the work slows down. With resources, and knowing that you've had a long-term commitment of resources, you can accelerate the work, add momentum and give them more to bank on, and so that's it just. It was a paradigm shift in a matter of minutes.

Speaker 1:

Oh, so good. Well, matter of minutes in the reveal Maybe, but it was. It was a while in the making, in the cooking up, that's right.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, from go from go deeper to a portfolio and and so it's cool. Now we have this incredible portfolio. We launched it in 20, 22 December. We have 22 unreached people, groups and growing man. We do. We do whatever it takes to stand beside them and make sure that those workers have the resources they need to translate and plant churches right.

Speaker 1:

So we're not taking a people group that no one's working in and starting in it, but what our research suggests is that there's a Additional funding need above and beyond what each of those folks provide on their own. And a lot of times, you know, missionaries have to come back and they take off their hat from working with the people and they got to raise Money and they got to do these things for the next season and we wanted to just lift that burden right and just give them, you know, again line a site to a sustainable goal and just say, look, we're gonna, we're gonna do this with you now, for everyone on the that's listening, that's ever started a nonprofit or volunteered or worked with a nonprofit. And you know paradigm shifts are scary. You don't know if you're gonna be able to quote, sell this to your core crowd, right. You don't know how that's gonna play out.

Speaker 1:

And there was a lot of different moments along the years of blessed where we were like, is this gonna work? Like, can we, can we get this? Convey this? Can we explain this well? Does this align with the mission of God? Does this make sense for what he's trying to accomplish? And you know, through prayer and I love that book as well and through getting neutral, getting open-handed right, I mean big decisions for me in my life. I've learned to wait for that real peace of God to come on that decision and you kind of get that clarity that okay, we're good here, let's go as an organization. Obviously, that that takes a vision casting, founder, which Heath has been great at. Sometimes Heath's vision is a little bigger than reality can Maybe, maybe support.

Speaker 2:

Oh, Just yeah.

Speaker 1:

Remember a time when he was gonna get a 747 and fly 50 families over Overseas together, but that may still happen.

Speaker 2:

That Is not off the table. I bet Clint never were hoping to do that to the Holy Land and I started putting some stuff together and then here we are in 2024.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, man, a little challenging to travel there right now and prayers up for that whole situation, but but anyway. So the paradigm shift happened. The one portfolio we create, the within reach scale and how many people groups. So there's 22 in, but we've got some others that y'all been working In vetting, that are ready to be in, that's with funding and what. How many more are ready? That's right.

Speaker 2:

So we launched. We launched with 22 a year ago and what we decided was we wanted to always have two years of reserve in the bank in case there was a down year of fundraising. So what we have is, for each of these UPG's we have a 10 plus year budget of what it's going to take to Translate due discipleship training, leadership training, church planting, etc. And so our our goal for each unreached people group is to have a Bible in their heart language and a church led by indigenous leaders in their heart language. And so we have these 10 year budgets. We have the 22 UPG's, we have another Approximately 30 more that have been vetted and are ready. We have a top 10 in order that are ready for funding.

Speaker 2:

And so what we have now is we have the next two years of funding secured and in the bank for the 22 UPG's. Now, as additional funding comes in, hopefully very soon, we'll be able to add UPG's. And it's super scalable. You know it's an average of $55,000 a year in 10 years to get an unreached people group from Unreached to within reach. That means no scripture, no church to translated scripture into healthy church. Minimum of 10 years, sometimes much longer, but we have those budgets. And so when donors come in whether it's a small gift that they can make that goes Into the overall portfolio, or they select to champion and sponsor an individual people group, long term it's super scalable for both of those.

Speaker 1:

So, with that in mind, the history of bless, how we've got to where we are today, the portfolio, the strategy going forward, it's different, it's unique. There are some others that we know of that operate a nonprofit, like a fund of funds we are. We think we're fairly unique to be doing it with such a laser focus on the task remaining right.

Speaker 1:

But you know what's been really cool, what was on my heart for why we started the podcast in the first place and he and I have gone back and forth for years over this is how do we report back the good news from the field to the people here? You can't do it on Sunday mornings when everybody's gathered up because you got a 30-minute sermon and they're doing all they can to get through the Bible and be honorable to the word, and that's great, and our church does a mission Sunday a couple times a year and we get to focus on this stuff for a little while. But, okay, great. So newsletters right, let's do newsletters. How many people read newsletters? And doesn't matter how great the content is. You just, it's hard, okay, so let's. Let's do a blog. Right, let's try a blog on the website. Okay, well, that was fairly good. Well, let's try videos. Right now, that works kind of okay.

Speaker 1:

And then ultimately, you know the story my wife's like do a podcast and I see Clint the next day. Clint's like I know how to do podcasts and here we are, here we are. So we have incredible stories, like incredible stories of God at work among the men and women. He's called to reach the unreached, and I would love so. You've been all over the world. We started out doing these things called come-in-see trips, where you could go visit the mission partners. Heath and Tabitha do founder trips where they will travel with folks every year. These are part of the auction packages that light the world. But let's just go to Himalayas, man, let's tell that one.

Speaker 2:

Okay, january 2023, exactly a year ago, tabith and I, along with some dear friends of ours, board a plane and we are going to the Himalayas, and it is to See two things one, to see our mission partner In in experience, behind the scenes of human trafficking with them, and then to go see another mission partner that has been deep into Discipleship, translation and church planting for for many years that we fund. We get dropped off at an extremely high altitude and we're so excited for four to five days of trekking and what we realized is is that a lot of people die on this mountain and so Just landing there on the helicopter, it was like going to another planet. I've been all over many continents, a lot of countries, some of the poorest, most impoverished places on earth, and I'd never seen anything like this, just in Terms of how they live at such a high altitude, with the inability to grow Most food. They live off of yak milk, yak butter, potatoes that they they grow in the frozen tundra, and so it was just this incredible step back in time. Like man, along the way, we met some real, authentic monks, man. I did not know what those guys jobs were. That's interesting. That's a whole another podcast there, but it's really sad how folks are taking advantage of they pay to receive good ohms If they can't pay the ohms aren't near as good.

Speaker 2:

We were traveling and met all kinds of incredible people in these villages along the way. I myself had some yak milk and some yak butter. It was way better than expected. To keep a long story short, we got incredibly sick on this mountain. We had picked up a bug in the capital city and got extremely sick on day two. After you get extremely sick and you're at incredibly high altitudes, then you become dehydrated. We called an emergency chopper to come pick us up. They confirmed that they were coming to get us about an hour and a half chopper ride from the capital city. About three hours, four hours later, we were really, really struggling Like needing to take a nap. No energy, super sick, both of us. They said, oh, he's not coming. Politician needed a ride to some sort of sporting match. We got our helicopter.

Speaker 2:

We kept hiking down after dark, two or three hours after dark. Thousands of feet drops off the ledges to one side and massive boulders that were some of them sliding down the mountain on your other side Just a crazy experience. With my wife I promised her that we wouldn't go trekking for the next 12 months. It's been 12 and a half months now, so we're going to plan the next one we get down to where we're staying. It's negative 40 degrees at night. We're in a little bitty wood bunkhouse that has no hot water, no power. You're literally sleeping in a sleep sack with a sleeping bag. But yeah, we took cold showers at negative 40. They had a Snickers bar and a Coca-Cola there. We actually kept that down, got our blood sugar up and then woke up feeling amazing and trekked for three more days.

Speaker 2:

Now here's the best part of the story of trekking through the Himalayas. We went through five villages that are all completely unreached. They have a long, long history of gospel poverty and being taken advantage of by the local politicians and the local religious leaders. Our mission partner has a children's center in the capital city. What they do is in these villages they get to go make relationships with parents. Typically the oldest son is sent to the monastery and the young children have to start working at a young age. They don't get an education. They never get the opportunity to leave this mission.

Speaker 2:

partner of ours has a children's center that teaches them how to speak the national language, how to speak English, teaches them job, trade, and they also teach them the gospel and have a high 90 percentile rate of every kid that graduates out of this school being believers in Jesus and those kids going back to their village. What was cool is, after five days of trekking and having your life truly at risk, saying prayers like Lord, will you just take care of my children, tabitha, looking at me and saying, babe, my mom has the birth certificates and the code to the safe. The kids are going to be fine and just feeling like you're not going to make it. The helicopter finally picks you up, gets you to the capital city and, before we could even take a shower, this church service was starting. It was the church service at the children's center.

Speaker 2:

We went and worshiped with 60 local kids out of these villages that were born there and had never had access. They had scripture memorized and they had songs memorized and they were singing it all in their local tongue. It was just one of the greatest moments of my life feeling how big God is. In four days, in their shoes, we almost died. That's how they're born and grow up. By the grace of God and people being generous to bless, we get to fully fund this children's center annually. Those kids are going back into their villages and planting the cross right there in the heart of the village.

Speaker 1:

It's amazing when you say the ends of the earth, that sounds to me very much like the ends of the earth. That's right, you told that story succinctly and beautifully, but I just for the listeners, to highlight the darkness of the religious system in this part of the world, the way that people are exploited. If they're believing that based on how much they give is how well their fortune will be and, in fact, how well their family members, after life chances of things going well, will be. It's horrible that they don't know any other way.

Speaker 2:

That's changing. They're complete religious persecution, taken advantage of stealing their money so they can get good religious news. It is just a scam.

Speaker 1:

It's rough. That's one example.

Speaker 2:

These children. They come down to this children's center and when they hear the gospel it happens every time they say well, hold on. I don't understand that. I've never heard anything like that. They say no, literally you don't have to earn it, you don't have to pay for it. God has already given it, he's already the king. You just trust in him and you'll be saved and live for eternity. These kids' lives transform, and then they learn for the next few years. They're educated, they're equipped and they become leaders of their village.

Speaker 2:

Our prayer is that these villages, these five villages where these children are coming from, are all transformed and that these people groups have access to the gospel for the rest of time.

Speaker 1:

Amen, amen. Thank you for sharing that story. Let's go a little further back maybe, to what, if we go to Uganda, to the water wells and the farm project, and what was that experience, like earlier on, for you traveling with Bless.

Speaker 2:

Bless had just started. We had never had an event yet. We had four of our five mission partners selected and we had these five categories right as I named earlier advancing the gospel, mobilizing cross-cultural workers, supplying life-sustaining resources, protecting vulnerable children and fighting human trafficking and we had four of the five categories filled with it with an organization, but we had no one in the life sustaining resources bucket and I'm just like God was just tugging at my heart that it's water, it's like hey, while no one yet is speaking the language of reaching the unreached, everyone's super passionate and can relate with not having or needing clean water, and so I just felt God calling me to go on this trip. Tabitha was was supposed to go with me. We found out she was pregnant. She couldn't do the the travel to Uganda stuff, and so I went and I was solo with several other families, and one of those was was Jonathan and Anne Patton, and Jonathan had become a good friend. We were doing life group together and he was actually the genesis that when we told him we were considering having an event, just pray about it, jonathan. Just pray about it. We're considering.

Speaker 2:

In the next morning I had an email in my inbox saying that he was gonna help us start a 501 c3. Like well, this just got real. And so I found myself on this trip and we get to Padere, uganda, visiting Austin Ridge, padere, and these were the happiest, most joyful people I've ever seen. I'm like wow, what an incredible thing. All these people love Jesus and Jonathan and I look at each other and we're like man, they got Jesus here.

Speaker 2:

We want to go somewhere that is unreached, doesn't have the Lord yet. And he says let me pick up the phone and call a friend. So we call Scott Heider and power one. And Scott says dude, six hours north of there is the largest refugee camp in the world, where there are more than 600,000 South Sudanese refugees in one camp, a total of three and a half to four million. And they come. They represent all unreached tribes from South Sudan. All of them are right there in the refugee camp. And he said God is using the crisis of war To bring all of these people, groups that would never come together, that would never live in the vicinity of each other, let alone share meals and live in tents, and just be right there doing community together. They're all together through the crisis of war. And so we go up there and God had water on my heart just like crazy. It's a bdbd camp, right, the bdbd camp.

Speaker 2:

Yeah and so we, we, we hire a driver. We tell our team hey, we're leaving, y'all have fun here. I know we're supposed to stay together, but we're leaving. So Jonathan and Anne and I drove up to the border of South Sudan and when we met the African leader, david, who is just an unbelievable man of God, was born a refugee camp himself and has just been one of the most instrumental Christian leaders in my life, when I shook his hand and met him, I said, david, before you take us into the camp, can you tell us what the greatest need is? He said, without a doubt, it's water. He said women, children, men, they're dying all day, every day, because they're just bringing in water from the Nile. It's dirty, it's not filtered, they're using it to cook, they're using it to bathe and they're using it to drink. And people are dying. And right then God just sent a lightning bolt of Chills through my body and I was like, yeah, we're here, this is where the Lord wanted us Love it and so, man, we got to go into this camp.

Speaker 2:

We see just an absolute tragic scenario of and I say this After that trip the poorest person I've ever seen in the US. Just imagine the poorest person you've ever seen at a stoplighter, under a bridge. I would consider them wealthy compared to just the average person in this camp. The average person's camp has Nothing except for what they can carry typically no shoes, typically no hygiene, and the rations from the United Nations were just pathetic. And so God showed us right there the need for water, and we came back and got to tell that story and God provided an incredible abundance.

Speaker 1:

That was. That was the season we, so many of us, all of our eyes were opened in that season, and a lot of people listening will Think back years or decades ago when their eyes got open to water crisis. Right, yeah, some people listening maybe aren't even as aware yet, but it was. It was really an incredible moment for us. And then this little concept of clean water, and then living water, hmm, and so you know the wells, we fund the wells. It was a big part of the story telling 21, 21 water Well.

Speaker 2:

So we got to talk about, you know, clean, actual water right and tie that to the unreached and providing the living water. It was a huge mobilization tool big time, that story of people understanding clean water living water.

Speaker 1:

That was a multifaceted gift from God right there.

Speaker 2:

The Lord provided that in such a cool way, and then and then next to the wells.

Speaker 1:

In some cases we were able to build structures like schools, churches, and put a pastor there. And let me tell you about the living water while you're getting your clean water.

Speaker 2:

So I got to go visit those, the that refugee camp in 20. That was 2017. Then I went back three years later and over those three years, the blessed family had funded 21 water wells, and next to each well Was either an education center or a church, typically a church that also housed students during the day. And I was sitting In one of those churches on a Sunday morning watching Pastor Kaia that man I told you was so instrumental to me watching him preach. And this one well it hit a gusher in. The United Nations calls it.

Speaker 2:

I had sat in a meeting with the UN. I had my five-year-old daughter with me on this, on this second trip, and we prayed with the leaders of the United Nations. And these wells, he was just telling us. These wells have been instrumental to people's Lives being saved and they're not dying from malnourishment. And one of these wells, we'd hit a gusher. By the grace of God and the UN Invested a bunch of money in putting a solar field around it, and so still to this day my understanding is, 25,000 people a day drink from this water well. We had this unbelievable church that Was right there. Next to it, the breeze is blowing in. It's on top of the hill, you could see the solar field and the water well in the distance. You could see these little huts filled with UN banners All over you, this refugee camp, and I'm sitting there and Pastor Kaia is is doing his, doing his sermon in the local language, and I see these women and children coming to the well and instead of it being a pump well, it actually had spickets to 50 different locations around the camp and so they were filling their water jugs with these spickets, and then they would hear something that piqued their interest and they would come sit down.

Speaker 2:

The kids would sit on the floor and the moms were sitting a chair and it was just like God kind of winked at me and was like, hey, dude, you remember three years ago, whenever you came here and you heard me tell you to dig a well, we'll look at these wells are doing, and I just I got videos, a symptom to the blessed family, and just thanked everyone who had invested, because those water wells saved people's lives physically, but the churches that were planted next to them saved their lives spiritually. It was such a beautiful thing. The fact that 25,000 people a day can drink from that well, that's incredible. But the fact that one person has been saved and many, many more next to that.

Speaker 1:

Well, I Never could have planned that my father-in-law told me one time, a pastor, that they went and did some Mission work in Africa and planted a church, and the pastor he was touring with he was talking about the joy. So when you first got to Pader Uganda you saw the joy on their faces and you know they don't have a lot of materialistic resources there, but they have such joy, such worship, such can like just excitement for the Lord, right. I remember this pastor told Brad he said you know, the curse of poverty is Really bad, right, but the curse of materialism may be even worse.

Speaker 2:

They have joy in what matters, where we Westerners we try to find joy in things and materials and in short-term fixes. And those folks that we met that were believers. You know, I told my daughter I was like they've never Ridden in a car, which means they've never been to a drive-through, which means they've never been a Chick-fil-A. They don't know who you name it football, basketball, soccer player is. They don't have the toys you have, but look how happy they are and it was a sweet moment with my daughter.

Speaker 2:

I would say my favorite part of that second trip I'll brag on Henley for a second was we had just gotten out of that church service where we saw the women and children coming to the well and at the end of the church service they were doing the children's service and so you had 40 or 50 little local refugee kids that were doing a children's sermon and you had my daughter the only white girl in the building besides Tabitha, sitting there among them and they were doing some activities and stuff and having fun.

Speaker 2:

And Henley, on the plane, had a backpack with her toys and her polypockets in it to just kind of keep her busy on this 15 hour flight to Dubai, and so she had that stuff with her the whole time to kind of keep her busy when she got bored. And at the end of that children's sermon she walked up to the girl that had the dirtiest, most raggedy dress on you've ever seen and she took that backpack off and handed it to her and my eyes welled up with tears and it was like the most fulfilling father moment I've still to this day ever had is just seeing my baby girl give because she know that that girl didn't have what she had.

Speaker 1:

Well and A that's there. You go, travel with your kids, Take your kids with you. Can your kids go? Can they go experience, Unless it's?

Speaker 2:

dangerous. Take your kids. We've taken our kids to the Middle East and to Asia, to Africa and we're hopefully gonna get to talk our friends that are going to Vietnam with us and then letting the kids go. So yeah, we always try to take the kids. The things that they learn on trips like that will change and mold them forever. Unless it's a risk to them, then we want them with us, you know if this is the first podcast episode you're hearing of Unreached.

Speaker 1:

Go back and listen to some of the previous episodes. I mean back to the beginning of season one. You'll hear Dr Todd Arendt the story of God, the mission of God, the Bible narrative. For what this is all about, todd mobilized Heath and Tabitha. That course Heath talked about at the beginning was a mini perspectives course. We ended up all taking perspectives together, the full thing later on. But you'll hear Todd. You'll hear Jack Crabtree in the next episode.

Speaker 1:

Talk about all that they're doing in Papua New Guinea with the Wantakea. I mean, that's our longest relationship Since 2018, we've been funding their work and, of course, clinton and I hit on some of those stories in the recap episode and launch this season.

Speaker 2:

You gotta think about Todd mobilizing Jack Crabtree, who's lived in Wantakea for nine years, and then Todd mobilizing us, who has funded the work in Wantakea for the last four to five years.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, and then Todd was episode launch and Jack was episode one. I mean, who else writes a story like that?

Speaker 2:

God is so good he's so creative. You know, if we would just kind of get out of the way and listen more. We're so busy, though, man. We're so busy Using those blessings as excuses to not be a blessing right.

Speaker 1:

So, as you go back and maybe listen to some previous episodes or you pray about just what you've heard today, how you can get engaged, how you can get in the game You've heard Clint say this before I mean, how could you not give your life to this? I mean, it's the call in your life, right? If you're a Christ follower, if you're in, you're all in. You know, the Great Commission isn't a suggestion and it's not a limited invitation. We all have a role to play, right.

Speaker 1:

And he through faithfulness that's the word Faithfulness of Heath and Tabitha Hale and the families in our church and our community that God's raised up. I mean, we've got a core group of close to a hundred families that are committed to annually giving through bless and funding this work, and every family invites a few others each year. And you know, this could be a model, it could be recreated and maybe you know in your community where you are, you could do something similar. I mean, the problem is it's not your ability God's worried about, it's just your availability. He's gonna do the work, he's gonna show up I mean, how many times has he shown up for bless? But ultimately for the ultimate beneficiaries of bless.

Speaker 1:

And so you know, I view Revelation 7, right, the vision of the throne room, a member of every tribe, tongue and nation. They're worshiping before the Lamb. I view that as this opportunity where Heath and I and our families and others, by the grace of God, will stand there shoulder to shoulder and we'll be hand in hand with the men and women and children of these people, groups. Get in the game, come join us. That's right. Get in the game, or join your church or inspire your church to do something similar shift, the narrative shift, the allocation of resources. Let's get them where they're not. Let's get Jesus named where he's yet to be named.

Speaker 2:

I'd love to invite anyone who wants to be a part of a community of believers that wants to do something big with eternal impact. We would love for you to pray for bless and all the people that are on the front lines of gospel poverty.

Speaker 2:

Amen. We would love for you to pray that the resources are used efficiently and effectively and that each of these workers would be a lamp on a hill and that the darkness would be overcome by light, and that's the light of Christ. And so we would love for prayers, we would love for people who want to be a part of a community to join us. And bottom line is we're trying to raise, we are trying to raise resources, we want to mobilize people in resources to reach the unreached because it is within reach. And so, no matter what your time, talent or treasure are, god is calling you to get in the game. Put that on the line. Invest in him you invest in, invest in eternity so all can have access to hope in Christ.

Speaker 1:

Father, we come before you today open-handed. We come before you with open hearts. We consider what we've heard today prayerfully and we want to experience your peace around. Whatever's next, whatever the next season of life is for us, whether that's as a goer or a sender or a mobilizer, a welcomeer, a prayer, a funder, some opportunity to use our talent Maybe it's in different capacities some opportunity to shift, a paradigm shift in our lives, whatever that looks like.

Speaker 1:

Lord, help us get still and get focused and open our ears to what you have in our lives. Lord, we want to run with a pack, we want to do it together. We know we're built for community, for community with you, for community with other believers, and we want to be a part of something special, lord. We want to be a part of a story that's bigger than ourselves, and so we ask you today, lord, lead us into that next chapter. Lead us together in this new year and the years ahead and the decades ahead, to see the numbers tick down from seven to six to five to four and so on, until there actually can be a member of every tribe, tongue and nation in that throne room. Before the Lamb, it's in your name we pray.

Speaker 2:

Amen Amen.

Speaker 1:

Thank you for listening to Unreached. Our sincere desire is that what you've heard today will cause you to see the mission of God differently and you're rolling it more clearly. If this adds value for you and we hope it does would you please rate and review the podcast wherever you listen. Also, share with your family, your friends, your church, your life group, small group, d group, wherever you do life, and if you want to connect with us, find us on Instagram at unreachedpodcast, or email us at unreachedpodcastcom.

Journey to Reach the Unreached
Starting a Nonprofit and Building Momentum
Funding Unreached People Groups
Life-Changing Experiences in Himalayas and Uganda
Clean Water Wells and Churches
Seeking Community and Divine Guidance