International Ministries

Caring for Our Children - May 2015

May 4, 2015 Journal
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Caring for Our Children  ~  May 2015


Dear Friends,

30,000 children are abused physically, sexually or by negligence
These official 2014 statistics for child abuse in Costa Rica more accurately would be 3-5 times higher—90,000 to 150,000—with 90% by family members.  
Child abuse was the difficult and painful topic of a recent class at the Universidad Bíblica Latinoamericana, attended by 40 teachers, pastors, policemen, social workers, parents, and people working with street kids and high risk youth. The professor was one of our most faithful volunteers, Dr. Steven Walker.


Steve has been coming to Costa Rica for many years with work teams, pouring cement and building churches. His low-key friendliness and servant spirit disguised his vast experience as a pastor, social worker, psychologist, criminologist, and then founder of the first victimology program at the University of California, Fresno, where he taught for 30 years. When we realized the treasure in our midst, we pulled him out of retirement and put him to work!
His first premise, which he repeated over and over again, was “It is NEVER acceptable to strike a child. NEVER.”
One woman in the group told the story of an incident in her church. According to the interpretation of the church members, a 13-year old girl had seduced one of the deacons. Steve was the first to break the shocked silence: “Who is the adult in this incident? The adult is responsible for this, not the child.” He talked about how it is too uncomfortable for the members to let their leader fall, so it’s easier to blame the “disposable” person in the equation. He pointed out that historically, the church has always blamed the woman for any sexual misconduct. (Going all the way back to Jesus’ time, when the Pharisees brought him only the woman of the couple caught in the act of adultery.)


Steve spent a lot of time talking with us about the “Just World Hypothesis,” to which we as Christians are particularly vulnerable. The hypothesis says that good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people. So, if something bad happens to you, it must be because you are bad. Somehow you asked for it and you deserve it. This leads to the classic “blaming the victim” syndrome. If the child or the wife gets beaten by the husband, if the teenager is raped, they must have done something to deserve it. We cling to this because otherwise, we would have to acknowledge the sad reality that bad things happen to good people (and good things happen to bad people). It’s the story of Job and his friends.
The group was eager to learn what we can do to reduce child abuse. Steve pointed out that much of the abuse is due to bad teaching from the church: not only the Just World Hypothesis, but the “spare the rod, spoil the child” mentality, and the simplistic answers that we so often give. He said, as in all suffering, be there for the victim, listen, be patient, don’t judge, don’t expect a quick recovery. Condemn violence in whatever form it comes and  preach a God who stands with the victim.

Together with you, forming God’s community of peace,


Ruth Mooney


2015 Matching Gift Campaign

Will you consider giving a special offering to my ministry in May or June? If you give regularly, consider giving enough additional to be doubled, even if it’s only $10. Invite someone you know to give a one-time gift. If you have never supported my work in Costa Rica, this is your chance to begin!

Thank you so much!



2015 Matching Gift Opportunity April 15 to June 15

Please consider a special gift toward Ruth's support . Some generous supporters of International Ministries have offered to match your gifts to missionaries during this 2-month period. While the match does not apply to regular monthly donations (pledges), it does include any new gifts or over-and-above pledges. Both individuals and churches can contribute, as long as the donation is clearly marked for the Matching Fund Drive. Go to to give today! Find Ruth's name and Give box on the right side of the page. If you prefer to give by phone or mail, you'll find information on these methods as well.



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American Baptist International Ministries
P.O. Box 851 · Valley Forge, PA 19482