An Unlikely Santa Claus

23 12 2011

BY JANE WATKINS, Florida USA Mission Center financial officer

Sometimes generosity is all about “connections.” Larry Yoder, financial officer for the Palm Bay Congregation, knows all about this.

Larry, who calls himself “The Bug Man” while offering a big smile, is a professional exterminator and a good friend to his customers. As he works, he offers many stories about sharing grace and generosity.
Larry (The Bug Man) Yoder helped a friend during the Labor Day Reunion fishing tournament at Deerhaven Campgrounds in Florida

One particular client lived in an estate on the main drive into the Professional Golf Association grounds. Because the client lived alone in a mansion, he was eager to walk the property with Larry while he worked. They became good friends, a Community of Christ exterminator and an elderly Jewish retiree.

As the holidays approached, Larry asked his friend what his plans were for Hanukkah. The fellow said his only family was an institutionalized sister, so he intended to stay home and celebrate quietly. Larry invited him to his home for Christmas dinner, but the man declined.

Larry then made an interesting suggestion. He told this friend about another client, an orphanage that barely was staying solvent. Larry suggested the director of the orphanage would enjoy meeting his friend and spreading a little holiday cheer.

Larry admits this conversation quickly left his mind. So it astonished him when he visited the orphanage to provide service and discovered his wealthy friend had visited the home. The director told him the man toured the place and then made the rounds, asking the children what they wanted for Christmas.

He then invited the children and the orphanage workers to his home for a Christmas party.

He greeted them as a fully costumed Jewish Santa Claus with all those special gifts! The children had a grand time decorating his home and sharing the spirit of Christmas with their own Santa.

When Larry returned to this man’s estate a few weeks later, he mentioned his gratitude for the generosity toward the children. His friend replied:

“Larry, it has been a long time since I’ve felt the kind of love I received from those children. I’ve lived a long time, and I must tell you, this was the most meaningful day of my life. I also want you to know the orphanage is now financially covered for the next 100 years.”

A few weeks later, Larry’s friend died.

What a gift they all received that holiday season because of a simple, yet-powerful connection. What connections can you make to Abolish Poverty, End Suffering? How can you be a vessel for grace and generosity as you go about your daily tasks?




5 responses

28 12 2011
JoAnn Townsend

An amazing story of generosity from the heart!

25 12 2011
Marla Parker Cox

Truly the Spirit at work

25 12 2011
Joseph Galloway

A very moving Story Thankyou for sharing

25 12 2011
Joseph Galloway

very moving story thankyou for sharing

23 12 2011
Barb Kernohan

An amazing story. You just never know where our comments will lead us or what an impact they can make on another.

%d bloggers like this: