Open Doors UK & Ireland, an anti-persecution charity is honoring Dalia, a resident of the Nineveh Plains in Iraq, who faced the adversity of persecution in her homeland. On a night in August 2014, Dalia and her family were forced to flee from their home after the Jihadist group ISIS, otherwise known as the Islamic state, moved in to occupy the area. These actions by ISIS resulted in the relocation of many Christians, including Dalia and her family from their homes.
"I remember being so anxious," said Dalia, a mother of three. "We left our house that we had spent years building and ran into the unknown, with not much more than the clothes on our back."
Despite the hardships, Dalia was always seen smiling even in the refugee camps. Regardless of having lost everything that they owned, Dalia's reasoning was related to her understanding that she still had Jesus with her at all times. Not even the Islamic state could take that away from her. She goes on to say that the Bible speaks of the persecution as a sign of those who believe in Jesus. Likewise, the devastating events in her life made her feel closer to God, contrary to what others might be led to believe in the face of such a crisis.
After being forced to spend years away from the Nineveh Plains, she felt the need to move back and establish a new church again for the residents of her homeland. Knowing the danger she faces, Dalia now leads and organises a Bible study group for other women. She recalls her experiences moving back to her homeland in late 2017. All of her memories of the place were defaced and burned homes littered with graffiti were now everywhere. Even at home, she felt out of place.
Due to her past experiences, Dalia states that she now keeps her bags packed in case of another similar crisis. She feels the need to be careful when dealing with her children as they attend school in Mosul where dangerous events are common.
In spite of the constant challenges she faces, Dalia hopes lie with her devotion to God. She concludes by stating she keeps the words of Paul within her heart and repeats to herself, "I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength".