Honoring South Africans Martyred in Afghanistan

BARTLESVILLE, OK – South African doctor, Hannelie Groenewald gathered with other medical personnel, preparing for a predicted Taliban attack in Kabul, capital of Afghanistan. Little did she suspect that the Taliban were targeting her own family because of their Christian faith. Voice of the Martyrs remembered their sacrifice this year on the Day of the Christian Martyr.

“Psalm 91. He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”

Hannelie Groenewald, a medical doctor from South Africa, had served the people of Afghanistan with her family for 11 years. In November, 2014 she and other foreign doctors were gathered on standby, expecting a Taliban attack. and she warned her children Jean Pierre and Rodé:

“You will face a very difficult day today and I’m not going to be there to help you, and Daddy is also not going to be there to help you. But Jesus is going to be there to help you through this, and he will be there. He promised never to leave us nor forsake us.’

But Hannelie didn’t expect the target to be her own family. That same day, she would lose her husband and both of her teenage children. Their home would go up in flames.

The Groenewalds were remembered this year for their willingness to represent Christ in a dangerous situation. The martyrs induction ceremony took place at Voice of the Martyrs headquarters in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.

Todd Nettleton, VOM Host:

“The Groenewald family, who we’re adding to the Martyrs’ Memorial today, is that kind of example. The kind of godly example that I hope my grandkids and great grandkids will read about and hear about and be inspired by some day.”

The Groenewalds served with an international team of Christians in Kabul. John Weaver was part of that team.

John Weaver, Author, “Inside Afghanistan”:

“We all know that a month before this Werner was at a conference. And at times people would ask, is it worth the risk, are you sure you still need to be in this country? And his response as we all know was, ‘Hey, we’re only going to die once. We might as well die for Jesus.’”

Cole Richards, President, Voice of the Martyrs:

“We were meant to look at examples like those on this wall. Those who have paid the ultimate price and those who pay a price every single day to faithfully serve their Lord. The Groenewalds faithfully served, and to this day Hannalie, who is the only survivor of their family of that attack, considers that it was worth it to go, it was worth it when they stayed, and she considers today that it was worth the price that was paid.”

The induction ceremony took place on the Day of the Christian Martyr, June 29th, which according to church tradition marks the martyrdom of the Apostle Paul.

Hannelie Groenewald:

“I believe they are in front of the Lord’s throne, worshipping and praising Him. Glorifying Him. And that they are just waiting for me to finish the race as well.”


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