Sunday, May 5, 2013

How to help the brothers

"The true test of character is not how much we know how to do, but how we behave when we don't know what to do."
- John Holt

OK then, I guess it's time to test my character.

As the person who runs HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS, and who thinks he has the answers for prisoners and their families, this one has me stymied.

I'm working with two brothers, Donald and Joseph. They're not young men anymore. Joseph is in prison, and mentally challenged. Donald is not in prison, but also struggles with issues. In its infinite wisdom, the MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS placed Joseph in the facility at Marquette, Michigan. His only contact is his brother in southwest lower Michigan, more than 450 miles away! Is this really necessary? These are simple people, struggling with simple issues that never bother you and me...why does this have to happen?

So Donald asks me what I can do to help Joseph. Some days he claims doctors are telling him he is dying. He has medical issues but says he doesn't get the right treatment. Donald has no way to get up there, and is counting on some angel to step in and pay his brother a visit and find out what is happening.

The email messages from Joseph to me are so confusing that I do not know what is really going on. One day he is dying, one day he is not. One day he begs for help, the next he sends me on my way.

I'm going to tell you something, ladies and gentlemen. These two men are children of God...created in the image of God.

I can find no one willing to go visit a mentally challenged prisoner in Marquette, let alone try to help him. I know of only one person willing to talk to these men, a female pastor who's not exactly sure how involved she can get, but who really cares.

Here's what we can do, and it's no small thing: pray. Please pray for Joseph and Donald. Maybe it's all we can do.

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