April 20, 2010
LW, 26, cautiously ambled over to our booth during the mandatory monthly parolee meeting in Salinas, finding Pam's presentation on For The Least Of Us relevant and sensitively delivered. This was her first week out after spending four and a half years in prison. Communication was more than difficult what with sixty-five parolees, a dozen officers, and twenty representatives from the non-profit agencies gathered too closely together at the speaker's table, struggling to discover something of value in the despair of their desperate lives.
We reconnected again later that evening; only this occasion was even less fruitful as LW's cell phone kept cutting in and out. We derived this much. She did graduate from Carmel High, had lived with her family in their upscale Pebble Beach home, and has a highly achieving sister now the lead attorney in her firm. Meanwhile Loretta was now living in Carmel apart from her family who were still reliving the pain from five years ago. All of which piled on even more guilt and self-depreciation in Loretta's shattered ego.
Pam and I are vainly attempting to come aside Loretta and bring her into our church family. Family Matters with Christina seems just right, as does one of Brian's home churches. How good it would be for a team of mentors to arise. Loretta seems to crave acceptance, desires fellowship, and to experience the unconditional love of Jesus.
Her pledge to meet us at Church this Sunday failed. We offered a ride, but was rejected. Attempts to reach LW through her sister have not yet worked. We'll back off for a week or two then try again. Maybe starting with a paid visit to her sister's office.
Rochelle, about 45, hasn't been seen since the last rain. No rain, no Rochelle. Mrs D, on Atherton, the former proprietor of an acclaimed Carmel restaurant, has arranged her garage for both Rochelle and her dog – an inseparable pair. They've been doing this for years . Going to a shelter is out of the question. Rochelle wouldn't part company with her pooch for all the creature comforts of man. This week all the goodies prepared for by this gourmet chef were left untouched. Ditto for the dog. Mrs. D knew the family. They once had great wealth. The mom has moved out of state to parts unknown, while the brothers have nothing more to do with Rochelle. What happened is both a mystery and sad. Twenty years ago Rochelle and Mrs D ran in the same circles; Rochelle was engaged to the D's best friends, then something bad happened.
Mrs D left $50 out for Rochelle last week. When the rains came a few days later, Rochelle drove up in a taxi for which Mrs D paid the bill. Where the money went isn't known.
Neither Mrs D nor Pam and I know what to do. Past efforts to board the dog with us while Rochelle moves into a rehab shelter failed. We're both given to more prayer than usual.
Charles, Michelle, and Royal are faring much better. Michelle has come out of her shell and, in trust, spends a fair amount of her day, texting Cynthia, The long and short of it is her intentions to have Royal not relive her own lifestyle. Charles is working, thanks to Dr Kirk. Last reports he's doing about four hours of good work cleaning up the weeds and brush of Kirk's old residence. Then too, Bob, also from the Men's Saturday Mens' Fellowship is going to have Charles build him a fence.
Meanwhile Charles has struck it well with HUD and its Housing Resource Center. They'll be providing a house of the Murray's finding for a four month stay while the case manager works with Charles to improve his fuller restoration.
This will dovetail with our connecting the family with Pueblo Del Mar. It's a two year program with a supplied house and a full program for successful reentry. There Charles with a job in hand, will be continuing with Recovery on a weekly basis. I'll be tagging along at Pastor Mike Casey's highly engaging Monday sessions at Calvary Chapel.
What's particularly appealing is none of the above programs are a free ride. Charles will pay as he goes. And while the non-profits pay the lion share, the Murrays contribute their fair share and get involved in the program activities
Meanwhile Cynthia's bible group is dropping off warm and appetizing dinners to the Murrays on a scheduled basis. Independently, ditto Joanna and her thoughtful family
Helen, from our church, asked assistance for her dear friend down in Glendale whose daughter, now 62, was recently imprisoned at Valley State Prison in Chowchilla. There almost 4,000 women are incarcerated, some lifers, some short timers. (The facility was built to accommodate 2,024 inmates). The problem: Nary a word has been heard from the daughter, Maureen, on this, her first incarceration almost three months ago.
I got in touch with a member of our church whose daughter knows the system there from having spent a good many years there. It turns out, that the initial 90 days, while in "receiving", no telephone calls are permitted and only a few mailings are permitted. There are essentially zero options. Thereafter, one is "classified" and the first order of the day is a gratis phone call to family while in the counselor's presence.
Meanwhile, Helen's friend was left the number of the "A Yard Watch Captain" to let the daughter know her mother misses her with the love of Christ.
Bill and Pam Ziering
26033 Mesa Drive
Carmel, CA 93923
For The Least Of Us", Inc. is a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit faith-based Christ centered prison ministry (EIN 26-1361229, DLN 17053351309017). Web site: fortheleastofus.blogspot.com