IRAQ — Dalia is a woman of remarkable spiritual strength and fortitude. Her life was threatened by so-called Islamic State and her home in the Ninevah plains was ransacked, but with support from Open Doors she has overcome these difficulties to become a leading figure in her local church.
In 2014 the so-called Islamic State (IS) violently captured the Nineveh plains in Iraq, causing Christians to flee their homes in terror. In 2016 there was a large offensive to liberate the area from IS control.
We came back with the church. When we came back it was almost like a desert. It was like a desert, the destruction, the burning. Our house was looted. The rooms torn down. On some of the walls they wrote ‘The IS Caliphate.’
“So a feeling of unease dominated us. We felt troubled. Our bags are always packed and ready, just in case we have to flee for our lives again. Even inside my house I felt like a stranger. I felt as if I don’t belong to this place. It was a painful feeling, very painful. Even my children felt like strangers in their own home.”
Discipleship groups, trauma awareness programmes and practical projects help Christians to rebuild their lives.
Dalia’s church is one of those Centres of Hope.
“Our faith in the Lord and the presence of the church, is what gives us the strength to go on. So with the help of the priest we formed a special group for women and we thought that there isn’t a better place to meet than the church. So we started to hold monthly gatherings there. When we meet we talk about the Bible. We talk about women in the Bible who were persecuted, and people who faces troubles firmly and strongly.
“Through this we feel we exist. We feel the presence of our church and God. We see how happy the ladies are and this increases our faith even more. Your help is a great support for our church, whether it’s moral or financial. Training was organized especially for the women’s group. They taught us how to present Christ to women in our town. How to serve them in love and communicate with them wisely. My dream is the same as anyone else’s dream. I wish for security, stability and comfort for the country and its people.”
About Open Doors UK
Open Doors is a non-denominational mission that supports persecuted Christians in over 70 countries where Christianity is socially or legally discouraged or oppressed. In their work they provide vital support, training and resources to those facing persecution or discrimination.
Resources that they provide include distributing Bibles and literature, running leadership training, assisting with socio-economic development and intercessory prayer. They also help victims of violence and disaster, including widows and orphans, with practical support such as relief aid, livelihood support and community development projects.
Their vision is of a world in which every Christian who is persecuted is remembered and supported by other Christians. They pray for a world where there is no persecution.