Two years before this photo was taken, Father Daniel was celebrating Mass at Mar Elia church in Erbil, Kurdistan. It was August 7, 2014. After the service, he stepped outside to enjoy the warm Sunday morning. “The place was filled with Christians,” he says. “I was shocked. I didn’t know what happened.” He soon found out. Overnight, as many as 120,000 Christians had fled from nearby Mosul to escape the fighting.
Father Daniel turned from pastor to protector. It was a lot of responsibility for a young priest. Father Daniel was only 24, but he snapped into action. More than 1,600 people moved onto the lawn of the church, sleeping first in tents and then moving into small trailers without bathrooms or kitchens.
I loved being in Father Daniel’s presence in Iraq. He’s warm and funny and preaches in Aramaic, the language of Jesus. But what I loved most about this service was witnessing how people who have lost everything, like the woman in blue, still have something to give.
Photo ©2016 World Vision, Kari Costanza