On April 14,1994 my family heard the most frightening words that had ever entered our ears. Our oldest son had been on trial all week long for capital murder along with five aggravatiating extra charges added and had been found guilty on all charges. The jury had been instructed to return with a sentence. The jury returned into the trial room and the foreman read the results, a 100 per cent vote, death by lethal injection. Although we had expected the outcome we could never have been ready for those words.
I looked across the courtroom at the other family involved. They must have been somewhat relieved at the outcome… but still, their loved one had been murdered, their only child had been taken from them by a terrible act by my child; and that void could never be filled. What had really happened was that 2 families had lost children but in two totally different manners.
As time went by and we began to visit our son in prison we met other families in like circumstances. We heard their stories, became friends but also began to realize the need for some way to be of encouragement to other families of those incarcerated children.
In 1997 we began “Yes Ministries” for families of inmates and have been full time in this work every since. We travel extensively,speaking to churches, bible conferences, camp meetings, ladies and mens meetings trying to encourage Christians to reach out and be of comfort to families of inmates as well as to the families of victims.
Many times the families of inmates are more behind bars to a greater degree than the loved one incarcerated. They are left to raise children, grand children and must assume the hurt and embarrrassment levied by public opinion. These families will encounter a finiancial burden of sending money to their inmates account. Also, children left behind by a parent incarcerated will be talked about and made fun of and shunned by the schoolmates not to mention the general public.
Loved ones of inmates become victims of circumstances and are deemed guilty by association. We always ask folks to comfort victims families as well because they too are victims and live in hurt the rest of their lives. Churches should reach out with love to both victims and inmates families. YES MINISTRIES began 16 yrs ago as a effort of encouragement to families of inmates.
We are Ray and Martha Crawford; a husband and wife team who are in regular contact with hundreds of families across America. Incarcerated children have families too and “Yes” we want to help! If we can ever be of any encouragement to you or your family, please feel free to contact us at:
Telephone: 662-685-4424 or 662-587-6525