We have such an incredible team!
We not only have a committed staff, but we also have a dedicated board, a fine group of volunteers, and an impressive battery of professionals who are willing to assist prisoners in so many wonderful ways.
And yet, we can’t solve all problems. We can’t meet all needs.
When this was a one-man operation, I quickly learned that I couldn’t do the heavy lifting alone. Back then, I would hear of a difficult situation once in a while.
Today, it’s different. When I compare notes with our team and hear stories like those of Al, Ken, Carl and Jim, I’m thankful that I can do more than just wish these guys the best of luck over a four-leaf clover.
Al, 34, doesn’t call his mother much. She has a drinking problem, exacerbated by worry for her son. He’s dying of brain cancer, and she’s all he has. So, he’ll call again. He won’t be around much longer. He’ll die alone in the prison hospital.
Ken, 72, may be an old man, but he sounds like a second grader, because of severe mental illness. The system has failed him all his life. He received a life sentence instead of institutionalization for his mental challenges. Now, he tested positive for Covid 19. He could try to get out, I suppose, but his sister won’t talk to him.
Carl, 62, is broken-hearted. He just learned that his son died of Covid 19 complications. This, after surviving the same disease while serving time in the Michigan prison system. On top of that, Carl has now suffered a stroke. He’s not thinking clearly.
Jim, 58, finally caught a parole after serving nearly 40 years. He was excited to meet a new friend upon his release. He learned, too late, that this person was, instead, a trouble-maker. He now faces a list of false charges, and if this doesn’t get straightened out, he’ll go right back where he came from. And guess how difficult it will be to ever get out again!
Clumsy may be my pleas, but I must seek God’s help when faced with a flood of stories like these. I don’t have the right words for these guys, let alone answers for their problems
Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the one who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.
If you are a person who prays, I invite you to remember the thousands of prisoners and former prisoners facing problems like these or worse, as well as the compassionate advocates who spend hours each day holding the hands of these precious people.
Groanings which cannot be uttered are often prayers which cannot be refused.