Let me introduce you to Bud- my 85 year old friend. Bud is a follower of God who lives his faith out in restaurants around our area and in the quietness of his home. Since Bud doesn't cook, he journeys out to a different establishment every day. When he arrives there, he brings a HUGE bag of candy for all of the employees to share. They call him the Candy Man. His bags of candy are eagerly anticipated (of course!) and have opened the doors for him to share his faith. He knows most (if not all) of the employees by name and knows their stories too. He listens to their joys, hurts, and everything in between. Then every morning, he takes those stories to God and prays. He has a prayer list of over 2,000 names and a special list of around 80 or so that he prays for more frequently.
I had the chance to meet with Bud today for lunch. It had been a long time since we had gotten together - maybe a year or so - too long. He still looked the same, still gifted the employees with candy, and still personally connected with them. He told lots of stories today - about the family he loves, his health, his church, and his restaurants. He talked about his wife and how she'll have been gone now for 17 years. It was hard to believe that it had been that long, with the way you could still hear love in his voice when he spoke of her. I really wish we could have stayed to talk longer. I love listening to his stories, but the kids had other plans, which included a much needed naptime for both of them.
Anyhow, Bud's story is a sweet one. He meets needs the way he knows how- with candy, with listening, and with prayer. Life hasn't always been sweet for Bud, but he knows that his God is good regardless, and he lives out these convictions. I would venture to say that many - who would've never stepped foot in a church - have come to know God because of this man and his bags of candy. Now that's a story worth telling.