International Ministries

Casas de Justicia

July 7, 2012 Journal
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June - July 2012

Dear friends,

“I moved here to live in peace in my retirement, but those kids are driving me crazy. Their parents just let them run wild and they have ruined my garden.”


“My daughter’s classmates are bullying her unmercifully.  She cries every morning when I make her go to school.”


“I don’t trust our neighborhood committee to save our homes from this new highway. I think they are just looking out for themselves.”

These are some of the cases I heard at a recent gathering of mediators in the Casas de Justicia (Houses of Justice),  part of the Restorative Justice branch of the Judicial system in Costa Rica. I was co-leading a training in Peace Circles, a method particularly useful in cases like those above, where the people have an ongoing relationship and must resolve the conflict in ways that don’t leave them as enemies.

In the traditional justice system, the judge decides who is guilty and what the punishment should be.  With Peace Circles, all the concerned parties (offenders, victims, affected family and neighbors, and the facilitators) gather to build trust, create a safe environment, listen to one another, and come to a consensus about how to repair the harm and restore the relationships. 

The group was impressive: men and women, ranging in age from 20 to 60, with a common passion to transform their country through teaching new ways of resolving conflicts in families, communities, schools, and work places.  Many of them are volunteers, who work as traditional lawyers or in other professions to earn a living. They described themselves as happy, caring, patient, empathetic . . . and it quickly became evident as they participated in the training that they were not exaggerating.  Their final assignment for the course is to carry out a circle with one of their cases and then report on it.

I can hardly wait to hear their stories.



The MISSION3 Matching Gift Opportunity ends on July 31 OR when the funds are used up, so there is still time to participate. Remember that every $1.00 (or $100 or $1000) you give as a one-time donation or over and above your regular commitment will be doubled if you give it before July 31. If you would like to support my ministry and make it possible for me to continue serving in Costa Rica, you can:

·         Send a check to International Ministries at PO Box 851, Valley Forge, PA 19482

·         Donate with a credit card online at

·         Call in a donation to 1-800-222-3872, ext. 2323

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Thank you so much.

Ruth Mooney