To be frank, the Middle East gets a lot of bad press in the U.S. The media portrays the region as unstable—the birthplace of modern-day terrorists. But after spending time with some dedicated change makers in Jordan and across the border in Israel, I see the goodness and grace that more accurately describe the people of the region.

Sunset over Salt, Jordan.

In Jordan, I spent time with Global Hope Network learning about their relational approach to rural development and their work with partners throughout Jordan to care for overlooked populations like refugees and the disabled. Beyond Global Hope, I explored an important school for deaf children called the Holy Land Institute, spent a few days with an inspirational Palestinian nonviolence movement in the West Bank and—of course—had my share of cultural mishaps along the way.

But despite my language and cultural ineptitudes, and despite the reputation of the Middle East, I witnessed the goodness of God daily in people fighting for the rights of the marginalized.

That’s a story more people should hear. Read why hope and justice belong in our discussions about the Middle East.

What Can’t Be Said

I’m in the Kingdom of Jordan, where faith, government and social justice collide—read how people here are rising to the challenge.

Click here to read this travel journal…

Photo Gallery: More Than Goats

Global Hope Network is reaching far out into the villages of Jordan to partner with local leaders for development. Learn more about the simple but promising tool GHNI is using.

Click here to see this photo gallery…

Shwei Shwei

Read why shwei shwei (slowly slowly) is the way Global Hope approaches relationships and development in Jordan…

Click here to read this article…

Culture Guide: 40 Bites

The secret to making friends in Jordan: eat what you are offered, even when it hurts!

Click here to read this culture guide…

Photo Gallery: What a Wheelchair can Do

See the combined efforts of Global Hope and Joni and Friends to overcome the stigma of disability here in Jordan.

Click here to see this photo gallery…

To Cover or Not To Cover?

The hijab is normal attire for women in Jordan. Read about my frustrating experiences as the fashion minority in a foreign land…

Click here to read this travel journal…

Land vs. Peace – Part I

Stepping over the Jordanian border into Israel brought me face to face with some serious pursuers of peace in the Holy Land…

Click here to read this article…

Land vs. Peace – Part II

Seeking peace with peace itself? Read more about the Holy Land Institute’s groundbreaking work towards reconciliation in the Holy Land…

Click here to read this article…

Education in Place of Shame

The Holy Land Institute for the Deaf may look like just a school, but it’s combating harsh perceptions of disability in Jordan…

Click here to read this article…

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About the Author: Laura is a journalism fellow with World Next Door. She graduated from the University of Arizona, Tucson with a degree in Animal Sciences and a minor in Spanish. She is constantly learning, making friends, dancing, and trying to understand her role in alleviating the suffering of others. Laura also attracts a lot of awkward situations.

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  1. Steve said... 


    December 21st, 2011 at 9:51 am  

    Great series Laura. Thank you!

  2. Jim.M said... 


    December 27th, 2011 at 12:04 pm  


    Bravo!! on this series. One of the things I love most about this site is the consistent quality of the work, and personal experience of the writer poured out here for the reader.

    An experience where Hope exists and a glimpse of the Kingdom is seen through the chaos. You are correct we need more of this journalism.

    Why in secular media do we:
    Vilify the terrorist and ignore the peacemaker?
    Become angry about the maimed and ignore those who mourn?
    Shake our fist at those who wage war and say little about those who are meek and refuse to fight?
    Sensationalize the tragedy and look beyond the merciful?

    Are we that messed up?

    Thanks for this series, and such great first hand look inside this region of God’s complicated world. May His work be done, and may we see it in spite of our nearsightedness.

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