When Pauline Ayyad’s husband Rami Ayyad, the owner of the only Christian bookstore in Gaza, was martyred in 2007, the only thought in her mind was revenge. But today she is teaching the widows of other Christian martyrs in Gaza to forgive their husbands’ killers and pray for their salvation, as she herself has learned to do.
Although Pauline’s husband Rami had received many death threats prior to his death, he refused to close the store. In 2007, he was kidnapped off the streets of Gaza, tortured, and shot dead. At the time, Pauline was pregnant with their third child.
Pauline's husband, martyr Rami Ayyad
Voice of the Martyrs Korea representative Hyun Sook Foley explains what happened next.
“For their own safety, Pauline and her children were moved away from their immediate family. But the only employment she could get in this new area was part-time and paid little. The identity of her husband’s killer was hidden by the authorities, likely due to his close connection with the terrorist organization called Hamas. Pauline felt lonely, lost, helpless, and depressed.”
“Others would tell me ‘Let us pray that God avenges Rami by making his killer become a Christian.’ But I didn’t want to pray this prayer. I wanted the man to die a horrible death and then be tortured in hell. But I prayed, ‘Lord, I know that I should forgive Rami’s killer because I am your daughter. But I can’t. Help me forgive those people. Really forgive them.’”
Forgiveness was a gradual process for Pauline, but she eventually forgave her husband’s killer.
Pauline and her three children remember Rami
“Now, even in my weak moments, the Lord closes the door and removes my doubts,” Pauline shares.
“‘That’s it,’ he says. ‘You are forgiven and you have forgiven.’ After that, I started thanking the Lord for the cross that he gave me. I started feeling that his yoke is light and that God gave me the strength to carry it.”
When the identity of Rami’s killer was finally revealed after he was accused of assassinating a senior Hamas official, Pauline posted his picture on her Facebook and wrote, “This man is forgiven.”
Now, almost 12 years after her husband’s death, Pauline is supporting a group of other widows. Each of these widows has gone through a similar experience as Pauline. These women pray, worship, read the Bible, and grow spiritually. “Pauline often tells them, ‘You are all daughters of the King,’” says Representative Foley. Foley says that while all of the widows Pauline is currently ministering to are Christian, she also wants to reach out to Muslim widows who lost their husbands in similar circumstances.
폴린과 그녀가 양육하는 순교자들의 아내들
“God has helped her realize that unlike her husband, who showed God’s love by being a faithful witness unto death, Pauline can best show God’s love by living for the faith and spreading forgiveness,” Representative Foley says.
“Not everyone gets to be called a martyrs wife,” Pauline says.
“That’s a great honor.”
Representative Foleys says that Pauline’s widows’ group is supported by Voice of the Martyrs Korea.
“We help Pauline and her widows have a safe place to meet, build each other up through Biblical teachings and discipleship, and work through their depression, forgiveness, and trauma through group activities.”
Individuals interested in supporting the work can make a donation online or by wire transfer (please indicate “Pauline’s widow discipleship”) to:
Donations are then tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. If you would like instructions on how to donate through the NHF website, you can follow our tutorial below.
To learn more about Pauline’s story and her VOM Korea-supported ministry, visit https://vomkorea.com/en/campaign/pauline.