Children of the Middle East who have disabilities are often hidden away because of the shame it can bring to families. In this culture, a disability is a black mark on the family’s honor and may affect the positive marriage potential of the other children in the family.

The mission of the Arab Episcopal School in Irbid, Jordan (supported and partially funded by the Diocese of Jerusalem) is to help blind and vision impaired children with their specific disability as well as to integrate them into normal classrooms. It is the only school of its kind in Jordan and it is hope incarnate.

Begun in 2003 and run by Father Samir Said and his wife, Mesbah, there are now two levels of kindergarten and oneann-blog-boy-1027.jpg class of each grade up through seventh. By 2015, they will have kindergarten through tenth grade. Each class has several blind/vision impaired children and two teachers, the regular teacher and the teacher for the blind children, often who is blind herself.

All the children study a curriculum called Peace Education, where they learn conflict resolution, empathy, and teamwork. The proper Braille equipment and reading and writing materials are very expensive and they are dependent on donations. It is a miracle of Christ’s work in the world.

This afternoon we visited the Roman/ Greek ruins of the city of Jerash, a beautiful nearly complete Roman city with Hadrian Arch and cemetery outside the city walls and glorious oval forum, hippodrome, theater, and long columned avenues for chariots called the Cardo and Deca manus and majestic temples to Zeus and Artemis.

At one point we entered the theater with elaborate stone stage and entrances, and steep seating in the round. Given my theater background my cells were humming at first sight. It was important for me to look at the back stage area and have some pictures taken of me on the stage. I walked up into the stands, but the height was dizzying.

Most amazing however, our guide showed us where the sweet spot of sound was in the center of the floor in between the stage and the seats. It had perfect acoustics. He invited someone to step in and before I knew it I was standing on the spot, breaking into a high, clear version of the first verse of Amazing Grace.Everything stopped. Several groups of tourists shushed each other, my group stood around me and I felt this current of universal love and light stream through me.It wasn't about my voice, it was about THE voice that was moving through all of us at that moment and throughout history.

As I finished, the local bagpipe band (that's right, bagpipes) came in to accompany me on the second verse and people in the arena that knew it, sang it. It was a glorious time. 'Twas blind, but now I see.