Hannelie’s Story

They counted the cost. They knew Christ was worthy, and they willingly put their lives on the line and paid the ultimate price.

Hannelie Groenewald had expected the Taliban’s attack in Kabul that day. She and other doctors from her clinic had even been put on standby at a UN meeting in case of attack. Nothing, however, had prepared her for the Taliban’s actual target.

A terrible silence hung in the air, and nothing seemed to move. The usual city noises of traffic, horns and barking dogs were strangely absent. As darkness approached, Hannelie noticed that no lights were on in their top-floor apartment. She worried and prayed while awaiting news of her family.

At 5:45pm, the silence was shattered by the sound of gunfire, followed by a large explosion. Onlookers in the street scattered for cover.

Hannelie was to learn later, her husband and two children had not survived.

Answering the Call
Before moving to Afghanistan in 2003, Hannelie and her husband, Werner, had discussed the possibility of dying in the war-torn country. They considered the dangers of raising their two children, Jean-Pierre, then five, and Rodé, then three, in a region dominated by the Taliban. They knew their lives would be drastically different from the life they had known in South Africa. Yet God’s call was just as real as the dangers they would face, and they knew obedience to Him mattered more than their fears.

Still worth it
Nearly three years after the attack, Hannelie will tell you, “It is well with my soul.” Although it hasn’t been easy for her to find this peace, she knows God has been with her through everything.

Looking back on her family’s years in Afghanistan, she said it was worth it. She wouldn’t change a thing.

“I don’t think that we will ever know 100% what the impact is of what we made in Afghanistan through the years,” she said. “I think that we will know that one day, though, when we are in front of the Lord. But I believe that we made an impact on people’s lives. I believe, also, that my family’s blood that was shed, is like the seed for the Afghan church and that there will be a thousand-fold harvest in the end, because I believe God has the last move.”

Hannelie said she is proud of her family’s obedience to Christ; she knows their sacrifice and service was for God’s glory.

“It is easy for us as Christians to worship the Lord on Sundays in church and praise Him, but it is difficult to have a heartfelt obedience to the Lord and go when He calls you,” she said. “I believe there is a price tag attached to being a real born-again believer. Jesus Christ was persecuted Himself. He was crucified and we, his students, we are nothing better than He is or He was. It will happen to us as well if you really live a lifestyle that is like that of a born-again believer following the Lord in obedience. There will be a price to pay.”

“We had a clear calling,” she said. “We had a mandate with this; we counted the cost. We knew that something like this could happen. God allowed that for a reason.

“I know that they are actually chasing me on to finish the race as well, to finish well,” she continued. “I believe one-day Jean-Pierre will say, ‘Mum, what took you so long to get here?’ I believe they are where they are supposed to be, on Jesus’ lap, and I cannot wait to be there as well. But I have to finish this race for the Lord.”

See Hannelie tell her story  below.

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11 Responses to Hannelie’s Story

  1. Zeipi Toksy 1 October 2017 at 3:23 pm #

    This is the more reason why my ministry in Straight Street Ministry Inc of Lae city, Morobe Province Papua New Guinea continue to support the persecuted churches through VOM Australia by seed offering every six months and by organized prayer meeting every Fridays from 12 midnight to 6 am.

    I am going to use this beautiful video with my prayer warriors on Friday night to encourage and motivate individuals to hold fast onto our believe for Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

    Praise be to God all mighty.

    Zeipi Toksy
    Straight Street Ministry Inc

    • Voice of the Martyrs 4 October 2017 at 10:51 am #

      Thank you Zeipi. God bless you and your prayer warriors.

  2. Rosie 1 October 2017 at 7:30 pm #

    Your strong faith Hannelie after the loss of your family serves as inspiration and encouragement in the faith of the church worldwide including myself, especially now in Australia.

    May the Lord help us to finish our race well.

    God has promised to never leave or forsake us and He is faithful.

    May His gracious presence encourage you always,


  3. Arend Hartog 2 October 2017 at 9:40 pm #

    Dear Hannelie
    I pray that you will have the peace of God that passes beyond all understanding, one day you will see your family again in a perfect place with the perfect Savior.
    I pray for strength for you as you go through life without your family, but it won’t be long till you will see them again.
    God bless you for your sacrifice
    Your brother in Christ Jesus our Lord

  4. Lynette 5 October 2017 at 9:17 am #

    God bless you Hannelie.
    Thank you VOM for your work and support.

    • Voice of the Martyrs 5 October 2017 at 11:40 am #

      Thank you Lynette. God bless.

  5. Evelin 10 October 2017 at 6:42 pm #

    Dear Hannalie,

    I cried when I read about you and saw the video.

    The Lord called you and your family for this work, to suffer for Him, and Werner, Jean- Pierre and Rode were set

    apart to die for our Lord Jesus Christ.

    I pray that our Heavenly Father holds you close to His heart and you know His comfort and peace as you go

    forwards alone, but never alone, for Jesus is with you always.

    Your life and testimony spurs me on to follow Jesus with singleness of heart and greater determination.

    God bless you

    • Voice of the Martyrs 11 October 2017 at 9:27 am #

      Thank you Evelin. God bless.

  6. Sally-Anne Holden 30 October 2017 at 5:44 pm #

    May God richly bless your ministry and thankyou for putting all on the line for the Cross.

  7. Christienne 15 January 2018 at 6:05 pm #

    Dear Hannelie, I read your story and saw the video you made months ago but I keep thinking of you and coming back to your story. Your faith and obedience inspire awe and much reflection. May our Lord bless us all to be steadfast and immovable as you and your family were in Afghanistan. And may our Loving Father and Faithful Saviour fill you with unspeakable joy now and forever.
    God bless you.

    • Voice of the Martyrs 16 January 2018 at 1:03 pm #

      Hi Christienne, Thank you for your heart and prayers for Hannelie. Have a blessed day.

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