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Man Has Lavish Funeral for His Homeless Brother

This is the true story of twin brothers from Australia. As they were growing up, Leslie and Karl were close throughout their chaotic childhood. But after their dad abandoned the family, a week after their 22nd birthday, Karl disappeared. For 23 years Leslie kept searching for his brother. Finally, on May 5th, 2013 the police found Karl dead on York Lane in Sydney. Karl had died where he had spent much of the second half of his life—on the street as a homeless person.

When the police contacted Leslie, he travelled to Sydney to take his brother back home and bury him. Much to his surprise, Leslie found a bank account in Karl's name that was worth $30,000. The Australian Department of Human Services had been depositing a check into Karl's account every month for the past 23 years. Leslie wanted to use the funds to support the dedicated people and shelters which had supported his brother. Unfortunately, the money was earmarked for the next of kin, which in this case was Karl and Leslie's father, the man who had abandoned both brothers decades ago.

But Leslie also discovered an exception to the financial regulations: He could use the money from the account to pay for Leslie's funeral and burial expenses—the entire balance of $30,000. So Leslie organized a lavish service for Karl. Before the funeral, he hosted a delicious hot lunch with a bouquet of flowers on every table for all the men and women who lived at the shelter that Karl frequented. For the funeral Leslie hired the finest organist in Sydney to play hymns. Leslie designed and printed a beautiful order of service on the best paper available. Flowers filled the church.

During the eulogy for his brother Leslie said, "I never gave up looking for my brother." Leslie chose the following verse from the Gospel of Luke: "'My son,' the father said [to the prodigal son], 'you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.'"

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